I’d say Z don’t have friends as he prefers to play alone but I think that wouldn’t be the truth.
Since he was small it’s been the same, but he’s always taken to one out of the girls at playgroup. Him and E, they always had a bond, maybe it’s drifting away the older they get, when differences are noticeable, E wants to play games, chase and chat, that’s not Z, he likes to run and jump. She will still follow Z around when it’s just them two together, she watches, she observes, she copies him. Maybe when Z learns to use his words E will be that little older and the friendship will return to how it once was. She still says Z is her best friend, and will introduce him to her other friends.
All the children he spent many hours with before school all ask about Z so he has friends who look out for him and accept him even if it’s kind of a one way friendship for now! They know Z is different and they’ve never really questioned it just accepted it. Some will sort of mother him, which is so funny to watch.
Lately, since being in school and I as a parent has spent more time with other parents all in the same position as me, I’ve noticed that Z does play. Not like the children we went to playgroup with, they play. Z, B and G watch one another, they smile at one another they accept one another. They play in a unique way, similar to that of young children at that Parallel play stage. They chase one another maybe not realising that children play the game tag in the same way but the boys don’t play tag, when one has enough they just walk away and get on with something else. Just recently I watched Z play a game with G, to us it was like cat and mouse, to them it was fun, Z would run and G would attempt to push him off. There was no nastiness in being pushed, Z laughed, and carried on. They were laughing, the we’re looking at one another, this was two children with autism playing.
Where as Z and B play, it’s more rough and tumble, both appreciating the sensory feedback they get by being touched by one another, by being laid on or climbed over. Both laughing and just kind of accepting what the other one needs, and when enough is enough I love how they both walk their separate ways!
I never thought Z would have any friends, he’s never shown any interest in children as children, now he’s starting to watch them, take notice in them and engage with them, which as a parent shows me that maybe Just maybe he is capable of making friends.
Blog was originally written for family fund.