If I think friendships can be difficult for me, it’s harder for him. J wants to develop friendships. Or at least, he wants to interact. Just as he can spot airplanes far enough away that they only represent flecks companioning the clouds among the blue skies, J spots a potential playmate. He runs to them, as best he can, as fast as he can, usually screaming all the while. Screaming “Hello”, “Hi”, the person’s name if it’s known or just plain roaring. Anything he can do to hold this playmate in place just long enough for him to get within greeting distance.
When he gets there, the interaction is strained as he struggles to figure out words to say or he becomes just overwhelmed enough to manage dino roaring in their face with a mouth seemingly too big for a boy his age, agape in true T-rex fashion. Obviously, to neurotypical peers or those who haven’t interacted with J in the past, this can be startling. The looks of panic about their faces, bodies tense in anticipation or just plain cringing back while they try to remain yet brace; unless a game of chase ensues, all interactions are typically gone.
J is left roaring, jumping up and down, finding the words, “Do you want to play with me,” but unsure of what to do after. In the true sense of the word “Friendships”, J has none. The sadness this has brought me is unexplainable. We have not been fortunate enough to find his angel, but we are his greatest advocates, and somehow we will do our best to help him to his fullest social potential…I hope.
What have you done to help your child develop friendships? Does this happen with your child?