I didn’t realize what the problem was until today

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. 

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Jimmy Rock
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Jimmy Rock

This is important stuff. It has seemed, and you explicitly state it here, that you didn’t really think that Elliott had any challenges socially. While the clinical definition of autism has changed over the years, the element of difficulties with social communication has always been a cornerstone of that definition. If Elliott was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, then those social difficulties exist, at least in the opinion of the practitioner who diagnosed him. Issues with perspective taking can present big challenges. Keep in mind that your interactions with Elliott are restricted on many levels and subject to routine,… Read more »

BeckyW
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BeckyW

Oh boy Rob. Elliot reminds me of my now adult son with HFA, Jacob. Jacob has such a high IQ that he looked at how we acted, and deliberately mimicked us as a child. So he wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until he was 19! Jacob is so verbal that people thought he was just rude, at least in the past. He’s finally learned to relate much better to others. One of his coworkers told me Jacob had the best customer service skills there. I was so thrilled! Elliott is still young and he will hopefully learn to be less sensitive.… Read more »

kimmy gebhardt
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kimmy gebhardt

I’m going to mimic what Jimmy said and make the same suggestion I’ve made before- play dates. He needs exposure to more than just Emmett. The rules for brothers are not the same rules that apply to friends. Perhaps the more time Elliott spends around his peers, the more his perceptions will evolve. He can’t be the only child in the school that would benefit from socialization- get together with the other parents and work to help each other’s kids while helping your own.

Jimmy Rock
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Jimmy Rock

By definition (specifically referring to DSM 5 but it probably generally applies to any reasonable definition you can find), an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis necessarily requires a deficit in social communication and interaction, so everyone on the spectrum has some sort of “social issues”. I definitely agree that it can be difficult to detect, particularly by the untrained eye, in milder or “high functioning” cases. I am curious though – when signs of a social communication deficit are an absolute prerequisite to a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder — how is it possible that “not all kids in the… Read more »

Jimmy Rock
Guest
Jimmy Rock

This is important stuff. It has seemed, and you explicitly state it here, that you didn’t really think that Elliott had any challenges socially. While the clinical definition of autism has changed over the years, the element of difficulties with social communication has always been a cornerstone of that definition. If Elliott was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, then those social difficulties exist, at least in the opinion of the practitioner who diagnosed him. Issues with perspective taking can present big challenges. Keep in mind that your interactions with Elliott are restricted on many levels and subject to routine,… Read more »

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Oh boy Rob. Elliot reminds me of my now adult son with HFA, Jacob. Jacob has such a high IQ that he looked at how we acted, and deliberately mimicked us as a child. So he wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until he was 19! Jacob is so verbal that people thought he was just rude, at least in the past. He’s finally learned to relate much better to others. One of his coworkers told me Jacob had the best customer service skills there. I was so thrilled! Elliott is still young and he will hopefully learn to be less sensitive.… Read more »

kimmy gebhardt
Guest
kimmy gebhardt

I’m going to mimic what Jimmy said and make the same suggestion I’ve made before- play dates. He needs exposure to more than just Emmett. The rules for brothers are not the same rules that apply to friends. Perhaps the more time Elliott spends around his peers, the more his perceptions will evolve. He can’t be the only child in the school that would benefit from socialization- get together with the other parents and work to help each other’s kids while helping your own.

Jimmy Rock
Guest
Jimmy Rock

By definition (specifically referring to DSM 5 but it probably generally applies to any reasonable definition you can find), an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis necessarily requires a deficit in social communication and interaction, so everyone on the spectrum has some sort of “social issues”. I definitely agree that it can be difficult to detect, particularly by the untrained eye, in milder or “high functioning” cases. I am curious though – when signs of a social communication deficit are an absolute prerequisite to a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder — how is it possible that “not all kids in the… Read more »

Erica
Guest
Erica

I thought, in order to receive an autism diagnosis, social-communication issues had to be present, whether the person was diagnosed under the DSM4-TR or the DSM-5? I think the stereotype of HFA, is someone boorish, aloof, egregiously awkward — and prone to frequent altercations with their peers … but for many people, social issues will be much more subtle. Especially in childhood when expectations are low (relatively speaking). And especially when the person is highly intelligent, like Elliot, and is using said intelligence to compensate. For me, my social challenges, while somewhat obvious in childhood, didn’t truly stand out until… Read more »

Erica
Guest
Erica

I thought, in order to receive an autism diagnosis, social-communication issues had to be present, whether the person was diagnosed under the DSM4-TR or the DSM-5? I think the stereotype of HFA, is someone boorish, aloof, egregiously awkward — and prone to frequent altercations with their peers … but for many people, social issues will be much more subtle. Especially in childhood when expectations are low (relatively speaking). And especially when the person is highly intelligent, like Elliot, and is using said intelligence to compensate. For me, my social challenges, while somewhat obvious in childhood, didn’t truly stand out until… Read more »

Jimmy Rock
Guest
Jimmy Rock

Thanks to Erica for reinforcing what I commented on above and using her own personal experience as an example. Maybe her words will resonate more with you, Rob, than mine. But whatever the case may be, I do hope you take what she and I have independently said and think about it a bit. Believe me, I appreciate that you’re doing a service to the autism community and the general population, but please rethink your position regarding socialization and autism. It’s kind of important, and without mincing words, you’re wrong (your statement “not all kids in the spectrum have social… Read more »

Jimmy Rock
Guest
Jimmy Rock

Thanks to Erica for reinforcing what I commented on above and using her own personal experience as an example. Maybe her words will resonate more with you, Rob, than mine. But whatever the case may be, I do hope you take what she and I have independently said and think about it a bit. Believe me, I appreciate that you’re doing a service to the autism community and the general population, but please rethink your position regarding socialization and autism. It’s kind of important, and without mincing words, you’re wrong (your statement “not all kids in the spectrum have social… Read more »

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Rob, I’ve looked up and down the pages for the most recent entries, and I’ve re-signed in a couple times. I still can’t find where the comments went on the last three blog posts. I got here by clicking on an older comment.

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Rob, I’ve looked up and down the pages for the most recent entries, and I’ve re-signed in a couple times. I still can’t find where the comments went on the last three blog posts. I got here by clicking on an older comment.