Monday, June 04, 2012
helping your child with autism make friends.
The one thing that I want for Max to have more than anything in the world, is friends. That sounds like a simple thing, but for that to become a reality, there is a lot that needs to happen. From a skill development perspective, Max has to prefer the company of others to being alone. He will need to understand the give and get of relationships. He needs to have the opportunity to develop deep and meaningful friendships outside of his immediate family.
Max has a lot of people in his life who he likes a lot. He has favourite therapists who he lights up for, his EA at school who he will do anything for, and of course, his respite worker Sarah, who is his favourite person on earth. Out of all of these people, only one is male. I would like him to have the chance to have a male role model, besides his dad. One who he feels comfortable with, and likes as much as he likes Sarah. It has been a long time in the planning, but, it looks like he will finally get to build this type of relationship.
Over the summer, Max will be spending mornings with my friend Tracy's teenage son, Matt. They have started spending time together on Sunday afternoons to give them the chance to build a friendship naturally, no pressure. Last week Sarah came over for the first Max and Matt afternoon to answer any questions Matt had about the ins and outs of Max. Yesterday, the two fellas hung out on their own and played stair-ball (a game that involves throwing a ball up the stairs and catching it when it bounces down), played outside, and cut paper. Max was very, very happy and Matt's comfort level and confidence increased considerably. The key for me is that Matt is not a therapist - that isn't his role with Max. Matt will help Max learn an entirely new skill - and that is how to be friends.