In October, I ran a series called 31 Days of Homeschooling on the Autism Spectrum. It was a chance for me to get out many of my thoughts on the topic of raising a kid on the Spectrum.
Funny thing about that. Since we’re still raising him, things come up all the time. For over a year we have been dealing with a rather…unique situation. A hard situation.
It is one of those situations where our hearts ache and break for our son while at the same time we’re ready to put on armor and grab swords and go to battle for him.
We all want our kids to have friends. Since Autism is one of those things that naturally hinder our kids from socializing like their more neurotypical peers, it’s an area that requires a good deal of thought and planning, and let’s face it: A whole lot of trust.
We really, really need to be able to trust the parents of our childrens’ friends.
Yes, I know this is the case with ALL of our kids, but in this case it’s extra important.
Our son is a sensory seeker. He’s also 14 and just a hair shy of 6 feet tall. He’s not a touchy-feely type kid, but he is a hugger. That’s all, just a hugger. He gives very manly hugs to his friends (most of them are accustomed to it even if they never, ever hug friends, they do hug D1). He hugs us (of course). He doesn’t touch people otherwise, besides maybe a handshake or fist bump. Autism is awkward, and so is our son. Hugs are it. He loves them.
So when the father of two of our boys friends told my husband, “We love having the boys over but I really would prefer (D1) not come because he makes (our daughter) uncomfortable”, we were rather alarmed. What did he DO?
“She said he rubbed her shoulders and it made her uncomfortable.”
First, he wouldn’t do this to ME even if I asked him to, nevermind some 11 year old girl. He’d simply never do that. Ever. A hug I can see. A friendly shoulder rub? Um. No.
So we agreed. We wouldn’t drop him over to play there without us present again. If we were going to be there then he could come, but otherwise we wouldn’t bring him. It has caused several tearful situations when D2 was asked to spend the night (with D1 present when he was invited. Nice.) So we just said bag it.
The thing that really gets me is that we know he didn’t do it. I don’t know why she said it, but I am positive he did not do it.
Fast forward a little over a year, and they are inviting “the boys” to come over, as if they had never made this big deal about the situation. As much as we want them to both be able to go over and have fun with their friends, we simply don’t trust the situation.
And it kills us.
Please, please be aware of the possibility of false allegations against your kids… especially your sons.
A cognitive communication disability leaves them wide open targets for possible abusers or allegations. Know and be sure you can TRUST the parents of your kids’ friends, and be prepared to discuss your child’s special situation with them ahead of time.
You want full confidence that they have your child’s best interest in mind too! Prepare your ASD kids for self-protection. It could have been so much worse for our son. Don’t let it be for yours.
Looking for resources? Check these out:
How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by (14-year old, Autistic) Daniel Stefanski
The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide by JD Kraus (a young man with Asperger’s)