Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What do you want from us?


There's a group of kids who play in front of the building across the street from us. They ride bikes and scooters up and down the sidewalk and attempt to play dodgeball on a six foot wide strip of grass. Ryan really wants to play with these kids. He chases them down the sidewalk, tries to initiate games of tag by running up to them and tagging them.

But these kids don't get him like the kids in our building do. They do not reciprocate when he makes it obvious he would like to play with them. They make no effort to include him.

And today, one snotnose little girl rode her bike as far from Ryan as she was allowed, repeatedly shouting "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!?"

I didn't want to discourage Ryan from his attempts at socializing, but I redirected his attention to an ant climbing a tree while I contemplated whether or not to react to the brat. I chose not to.

When most people think of an individual with autism, they picture someone who craves isolation and avoids human contact. But Ryan truly wants to interact with other people. He rushes up to literally every person he sees and shouts a hearty "Hi!" If he receives no response, he will just keep getting in their face and saying hi until the other person acknowledges him or walks too far away.

He wants to make friends. He just doesn't know how.

Ryan has not yet learned the unwritten rules of interaction that come so naturally to the average person. He doesn't understand the concept of personal space. He doesn't know how to approach another kid and ask if he can play, and he has no clue if the person he wants to play with isn't interested in him.

And I don't know how to teach him this. Suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand where you are coming from. My 6 year old is the same way. She wants to make friends but doesn't know how. She ends up being too up in their face or not interacting at all. It breaks my heart and I don't know how to help her. Sorry I wasn't any help, just wanted you to know I know or at least can sympathize what your feeling.



Keep it civil, people.