I was recently reading a post on Education.com. It was titled “Do Kids Need Friends?” The introduction really tore at my heart. It said:
“Human beings are social beings. Responsiveness is built in; we come into the world programmed to respond and relate to others. Even infants turn their heads in response to the sound of a human voice. Early in life children begin to interact with children outside the family – in child care settings, play groups, and preschool programs. The friendships children have with each other are different than those they have with parents and relatives. Family relationships provide an ease, a closeness, a deep sense of intimacy. But they don’t substitute for other relationships. Starting young and continuing through adulthood, friendships are among the most important activities of life.”
I have a 9 year old with Autism who also struggles with Apraxia. I think we all know what Autism is by now, http://www.tacanow.org/about-autism/ , but many of you may not know what Apraxia is. This a great website where you can find out more: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ChildhoodApraxia/. You see, it’s a real double whammy for trying to make friends. We are incredibly blessed that he has a device to communicate with, however, many kids still don’t know quite how to react to that and that moment where a connection could happen is lost. He will try to compensate by handing a child a ball or try and grab their hand, but when you are 9 and you do that kids think you are “weird” and begin to avoid you on the playground. This avoidance fills his beautiful blue eyes up with tears, as he desperately wants to connect and make friends. If I hover around him kids his age think it is strange and will avoid him even more. Some will begin to talk to him like he is a baby. When this happens my heart sinks right alongside his. This is the first year that I can tell by the look in his eyes that he knows kids see him as weird or different. His sisters used to provide a great buffer, however, they are teenagers now and it is rare that they come to the park with us anymore. And truth be told, he doesn’t really want a therapist, sister, cousin or parent following him around anymore.
He wants to do things by himself.
He wants a friend.
He wants someone ringing the doorbell asking him to play.
He wants and longs for this important activity of life.
I want this for him too.
I am hopeful kids like yours will give him a chance.
I will teach him and support him.
I won’t give up until he has a friend.
…Or maybe 10
-Cormac’s forever hopeful Mom…
To see Cormac’s video http://ff.tacanow.org/vanessa-surprise
For families with typical children you can help your child be an #AutismSuperHero. Here are some great tips on how to be a friend to Cormac and the hundreds of thousands of his friends https://tacanowblog.com/2014/03/17/being-a-friend-to-someone-with-special-needs/
Excuse me I need to go ring someone’s door bell ❤