I’ve come to an important realization today. I used to think that Elliott didn’t have any issues with socialization. He has friends and interacts with them throughout the day. When we’re out in public, he’s the most polite kid in the world, and people comment on it all the time.
All those things are good. They’re great actually, because not all kids on the Autism Spectrum have those skills.
Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that what he’s been struggling with has to do with social skills. On the surface, everything seems great. It’s when you look a bit deeper that the problems become more apparent.
Elliott struggles to understand where people are coming from.
Today is a perfect example.
Elliott was riding the bus home from the field trip to the zoo, and he was sitting with one of his best friends. He noticed that his friend was talking underneath his breath, as Elliott put it. Elliott asked him what he was saying and his friend told him he wasn’t saying anything.
Whether he was or wasn’t saying something isn’t the point. Elliott took it as his friend is keeping secrets from him, and it ruined the rest of his day.
It’s really easy for me to forget that this kind of thing happens all the time, because Elliott is so intelligent. When you talk to Elliott, you’d never guess he was Autistic, unless you know what you’re looking for. If you spent time with him, it would become more apparent as that time went on.
Elliott is always getting his feelings hurt, because he doesn’t understand where other people are coming from. It’s probably a social queue thing, but it’s not in all situations. It seems to be in situations where he’s experiencing emotion.
I’ve spoken with him countless times about how he’s reading into things. Intellectually he understands, but emotionally it’s lost on him.
I can always tell if something happened by the way he walks out to the car after school. When he tells me what took place, it’s usually the result of him simply reading the situation wrong.
To be fair, most of the kids in his class are on the Autism Spectrum, so they aren’t always gifted in the ways of communication. I’m sure that doesn’t make it any easier.
The other issue has to do with Elliott being so literal. Emmett is way more literal than Elliott but it’s still a big problem.
I’m looking forward to working on some of these things this summer. I don’t have a plan in place just yet, but as soon as I have some ideas, I’ll share them here.