Saturday, November 05, 2016

Published Saturday, November 05, 2016 by

An unexpected moment - seeing my autistic Son think of someone else

social communication and autism - making progress

This morning my Son floored me with an expected moment, a touching gesture of kindness towards his sister that left me speechless.

To many this would not be such a big deal - an older brother thinking of his younger sister. To us this is huge.

The party dynamic

Despite always having enjoyed his birthday parties, last year's birthday party was disastrous. In the run up to the party he refused to talk about what he wanted, all I knew was that it had to involve paw patrol. So I spent weeks making a paw patrol cake, and arranged a pizza making party with some friends he had not seen in a while (he had moved schools). Most of the day was spent under the table refusing to talk to any of the invited guests, and he complained for weeks about me getting the party wrong (turns out paw patrol & pizza just don't belong together).

Over the past year he has struggled to form friendships at his new school, and in social gatherings he spends his time with Dad rather than trying to engage with the other children. Engaging with other kids is just not high on his agenda, even though he says that he wants friends.

This year, I decided not to push the party agenda .... but kept checking in with him to see what he wants to do, just in case he changes his mind. Until this week, he was completely disinterested and had not desire to invite anyone from his school.

Agreeing to a party

Today was different. When I asked whether he wants to invite anyone from school to his party,  he rattled of a number of people from his year. He even agreed when I suggested that we invite his whole year (there are about 15).

We then got to talking about his cake (Lego city) and some of the things he wants to do at his party.

It was more than I could have hoped for, and then he floored me.

Extending the invitation

He asked his younger sister if she would like to invite her two closest friends to his birthday party.

His thinking of someone else and asking them what they want, is a big leap forward for us. After years of him seeming disinterest, and telling people what he wants them to do (rather than asking), this is a glimmer of hope that he is starting to consider the people around him.

I would have hugged him, if he would have let me. Instead I smiled quietly inwards, a smile that has lasted all day.

I hope that this is something that continues to develop for him as I know he wishes he that he had friends, and this has been something that got in the way of that.

Party time

I now have 3 weeks to find a venue, invite his class and sort out a party that will find the balance to meet his expectations without being overwhelming. Let's just hope we are more successful this year.