Monday, August 18, 2008

Social Skills

One of the largest challenges in having Aspergers Syndrome disorder is Social / Friendship Skills. My child wants desperately to have friends and craves peer interaction, although some Aspies do not care to interact with anyone. Unfortunately for Jake, it always turns into a disaster soon after he meets a friend because he has no clue on how to keep them.
For one, the Asperger child has very few interests, and talks about the same interests constantly. The peers body language is ignored so the AS kid keeps talking about it the same subject repeatedly, which annoys the other child.

Additionally, AS kids are clumsy and has poor motor skills, and non-athletic, so he does not fit in with the "sports kids". The AS kids don't get the social cues on the playground, they tend not to understand the rules of a game very easily, misinterprets other kids actions, and rarely has things in common with the average kid. This means he is last picked on teams, and also often left out of social situations because he is considered nerdy or odd.
I find Jacob at least 2 - 3 years behind maturity wise, and other kids get turned off by his silliness behavior. Also he has a huge imagination; dreams about dragons, knights and secret places. Most kids his age are out of that stage already so they don't connect well with his pretend world. As a parent, it is very sad to see your child not having any friends.You want them so badly to have friends to enjoy.
He is very quick to anger and gets agitated very easily which does not help keep a friendship going. I notice he fly's off the handle then says things to others to retaliate.
Jake has made a friend and kept him for over a year now. He is a boy of Jacobs age with Aspergers and the friendship continues because a lot of parent intervention. Without it, this friendship would have been over just like the rest.
Trying to teach Jacob what is socially acceptable is difficult for me, Jake seems to be very hard-headed and does not like to follow my advice for some strange reason on this subject. It seems more believable to him and better coming from another source such as a teacher, other adult or even peer. It is very sad for me to observe my son in these incidences. He often is upset because he has no one to play with, and cannot see the causes of his actions. This causes many meltdowns and sleepless nights for him.