“I can’t handle him, Mom.” My son with Aspergers syndrome was crying as we walked down the hallway to our apartment. “I don’t want to go on our bike rides anymore.”
While I was elated that my Aspie was conveying his thoughts and feelings, my heart broke for him. He was talking about a neighbor friend three years younger than himself.
We live in an apartment complex, and this was a friend we saw almost daily. I couldn’t abruptly stop playing with our group of friends during the warm weather. I was already running interference between the two. What was I to do?
How I Helped My Son with Autism Deal with a Difficult Child
- I listened. I gave him space and time to calm down.
- I told him we’d figure it out. (I also cried in my room and prayed.)
- I became more watchful for my son’s distress signals. The other child was a high-energy, sometimes in-your-face, younger boy who is all boy. He himself was still learning how to get along with others. The irony is the two boys like each other a lot, but they often butt heads. I simply had to be on guard more and step in when my son couldn’t handle a situation, when he was overstimulated. I also became even more conscious of how much time they spent together.
- I shared resources with the other mom. I gave her my copies of My Friend with Autism and Sensitive Sam to read with her son. I explained that I thought perhaps these picture books would help her son understand my Aspie a little better.
- I continued to help the boys work things out each time there was a problem. I am grateful that in this case both moms feel comfortable in letting the other talk to both boys. I let her talk to my son about getting along and she lets me talk to her son.
Thankfully, in this case the other mom wanted to help the boys as well. She read the books with her son and talked to him about autism. When she returned the books to me, she said, “I don’t know how much he understood, but at least now I have something I can refer back to.” Fortunately for me, she started the homeschool year early because her son was ready to move on. For me, that meant my son with autism was naturally limited again in how much time he spent with his friend.
Was this summer exhausting for me? Yes. Was it easy? No. Did my Aspie grow? Yes.
I hope my story will encourage you to keep going, autism parent.
In what ways have you helped your child work through a difficult social situation? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Jenny Herman wants to live in a world where dark chocolate dispensers reside on every corner. As a homeschooling special needs mom, she’s been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum, and various blogs. If she survives the onslaught of testosterone in her home, she may take a moment to blog, read a book, try a new recipe, or loom knit a gift. You can find Jenny’s book The Power of One: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life on Amazon. Discover her tips for special needs parenting, hands-on homeschooling, and pressing on at jennyherman.com.
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