One of the questions that kept us awake at night was Can a Child With Autism Really Have Real Friendships? This was something we could not, and would not know the real truth too, and it scared us. We always were concerned about social skills, and if he would be able to have a real job, or live a married social life. However the real concern was friendship. It will be a challenge, and we will continue to help him as much as possible to grow, but always a concern.
What we really want to discuss tonight though, is real intimate friendships. The best friend, the one they look forward to seeing, the person they tell their secrets too. We also would like this person to be the same age as Carter, as he enjoys being around adults instead of children. Well, today was something that made us see that this is a possible scenario, and how sad it makes us when you really think about it.
For those that follow our life story, you know that Carter is now home schooled, due to problems in school while I was deployed to Somalia. Carter mentioned his friends a few times while being home, and we didn’t think anything about it. We assumed he wanted to get out of the house and going to school was the easiest solution. However, today proved otherwise, and how wrong we were.
Kinley had an end of year party for her class at school today, and Kelli decided that Carter should be able to go. You see that since 75% of his time for school this year was at this school he earned that party just as much as the other children.
So what is the feedback on the home front!!! Carter was super excited to see his good friend Michael, and had a great time catching up with him. YESSSSS!!!!
This was so exciting, and makes one think about the stereotypes spread about Autism. So can these children make friends, I say absolutely. There is no doubt about it. They will flourish even if you think they can’t. They enhance, adapt, and use their intelligence to connect on different levels than you can ever imagine.
Some of the skills that are important to know when making friendships:
- • Knowing how to enter into other children’s activities
- • Knowing how to welcome other children into one’s own games or activities
- • Recognizing when and how to help others, and seeking help from others
- • Providing compliments at the right times and knowing how to respond to compliments
- • Knowing the right time and way to offer criticism
- • Being able to accept and handle criticism from others
- • Incorporating the ideas and suggestions of others into an activity
- • Give and take in conversation and activities
- • Managing disagreement with compromise instead of aggression or emotional outbursts
- • Recognizing and understanding the opinions of others
- • Understanding facial expressions and body language
- • Empathizing with others in both positive and negative situations
- • The appropriate behavior and comments to maintain solitude or end the interaction.
One of the ways that has been shown and discussed to us is the use of social stories. An effective tool that assist in the learning of such skills with the use of visual stories that show these children how it should play out in real life. Using sentences and structure to develop these stories is the key, and repetition is helpful. Make it fun, and gather ideas from places like Pinterest. You can get some many free templates, it is super easy to do.
We are so excited that Carter had a heartfelt and warm interaction with a friend today, and one small weight is lifted off of our shoulders today. Even when you stay awake with anxiety, days like today make all of those night worth every second.
Follow our stories above, and read about out life story.
Comment below with some of your stories that show how children with autism can make friends. Readers would love to hear about them.