We had a pretty awesome experience today, with our kids first real play date. In all our years, the kids have never had a real play date because play dates for kids with Autism isn’t always easy, or ever easy.
Without spending a great deal of time on this, I’ll simply say that trying to find actual peers for kids with Autism can be an enormous challenge. Even if you do manage to find a peer, there are literally a million things that can go wrong.
Putting two or more kids together with the many issues that can go along with an Autism diagnosis, can be a disaster.
One example I can remember from the kids just interacting with classmates has to do with boundaries. Some kids with Autism have very, very firm boundaries. They don’t like being touched, sharing toys, or even having their parent interact with another child outside the family. I’ve seen that last one a few times at my kid’s school.
A major problem arises from the fact that while many or most kids with Autism have very firm boundaries for themselves, they themselves don’t understand boundaries as they relate to other people.
I’ve seen many times, a child freaking out because another kid touched them or got too close. At the same time, the other kid is upset because he was touched or infringed upon.
Emmett is the poster child for this. He’s huge on everyone following rules, but not always following them himself.
If you find that hard to follow, don’t worry. Just know that it’s often a no win situation.
With all that being said, the boys had their first real play date yesterday.
I’m friends with the Mom of a few of the boy’s friends from school. I asked if she wanted to get the kids together and let them play for awhile. We decided on the free indoor playground and scheduled it for yesterday afternoon.
Long story short, everyone had fun. Elliott was in a funk for awhile, but once his friends showed up, he came out of his funky shell.
Lizze and I encouraged Elliott to play before his friends got there but he was upset about something. We never figured out what that something was but what matters right now is that he felt better and had a great time.
I even said screw it, and let Gavin play on the playground as well. If it’s not crowded, I’ve no problem with him playing. If it’s really, really crowded like it was yesterday, I have him hang back because I don’t want anyone getting hurt. As careful as he tries to be, he’s not very self-aware.
I would hate for him to accidentally bump into a little kid, and a problem arises as a result. I hate having to think like that but what people see when they look at Gavin, is an almost eighteen-year-old, who’s not supposed to be playing on an indoor playground with tons of little kids. Trying to explain anything is pointless because in my experience, people either don’t care, or don’t listen.