Michael has been doing something for awhile that is really cute and can cause both of us some stress too. He makes “play dates” with friends at school in his class and those outside of his class. For all his comprehension, he still will shake his head when I remind him that 1) I need to know how to contact the parents of this child if we are to schedule a play date and 2) Even if I have their info and they mine, they have to be free on the day and time that Michael and said buddy are arranging this “play date.” I have a joke with one of the Moms who Michael likes a lot. I will call her and tell her “our boys made plans again for this Saturday at 1:00 pm,” for example. We laugh about it, and try our best to see if we can arrange something. If not, both Michael and the other boy handle it, but with other kids I don’t have the option of knowing how to contact their parents. Sometimes I’ve had to break the news to Michael about not having all the information. What I did for another friend in the class was ask the teacher if she could relay our home phone and telephone number to this particular boy, his classroom BFF this year. He has two other BFF’s in other classes that he gets together with as well. Now we will be planning something with them for a future PED DAY.
It has struck me how Michael’s brain processes things differently, including comprehending something like a play date. He is learning more and more to go with the flow, but sometimes will still get caught up in details. Pre- planning his free time to avoid anxiety is something that has helped enormously, but sometimes he will still worry. We are both learning ways to navigate around this. I am so happy that he wants to interact with friends and chooses things like sledding, swimming or a movie, typical pre teen boy things. No more play dates with toys. My little guy is growing up.
Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children do on play dates with friends? Do they prefer their own company instead? Don’t forget, not all kids on the autism fit the “loner label,” though it is hard for them to relate to others socially. The important thing if for parents not to push either way. Let your child decide what friends they want to see, and do not want to see. Let them set the pace of social encounters. You will not be disappointed when you give them free reign. They will find what works for them. Your job at that point is simply to guide and support them. Until next time.
Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey? I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparentnet.wordpress.com
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