Understanding How Frienships Work The Exceptional Way

I love to hear all about Michael’s day when he comes home from school. It reminds me of me when I was a little girl and would come home bursting with news for my mother. It’s especially interesting how similar some of the stories are that he tells me, and how different other stories are. Due to autism, his understanding of people and their motivations are quite unique. For example, Michael has a really dear friend Mark whom he plays with almost every recess. They are two little rascals or peas in a pod, as the saying goes. Well, the other day Michael wanted to be alone to do his battery stimming (see previous blog), and Mark was not understanding that Michael needed to be alone. Michael being kind and seeing that Mark wanted to play with someone, tried to introduce him to another good friend he plays with in the schoolyard. They were in the same class a few years ago, and now still see one another in and outside of school. So Michael told his friend Mark to come meet the other friend, Larry. It was the way he did it though, that was quite unique.

“Mommy, I didn’t want to play with Mark so I tried to give him to Larry to play with.”

I bit my cheek to not laugh.

“Michael, you can’t give friends to other friends. Did you tell Mark you wanted to be by yourself for a bit?”

“I tried, but he didn’t understand. That’s when I had to pull his hand and give him to Larry.”

He sighed. “I know. It’s cause I wanted to do my batteries and be alone for a bit.”

I had to laugh when he went downstairs to play. This social stuff is hard on all kids, but for children on the spectrum it’s a whole other ballgame. Fortunately, both these boys have autism too so they also struggle with social rules, and I’m sure there were no hurt feelings. Still, it made me stop and think. How confusing are social norms for all of us sometimes, even us neuro typical folk? How do we manage our relationships and our personal space? It’s a tough one.

Exceptional Moms, how do you prioritize and organize your friendships and your space? Is it a priority for you? If not, it’s time to make both those things important in your life. It’s only in realizing how important friendships are in learning about ourselves, and how important it is to know when you want to be alone, that you can fully grow as a human being and show your Exceptional Child good friendship protocol and alone time decorum. Until next time.

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