Sunday, November 23, 2014

So My Son Doesn't Like People...Neither Do I!

Figuring out how to begin this post has been difficult. 

Should I start by saying "I always knew A was different " or "People always made references to the differences in A as compared to my younger son."? While they both sound like the statements from a concerned parent, both statements would not be the entire truth. I honestly believed there was nothing wrong with my child because there was nothing wrong with me.

Let me repeat that.

I honestly believed there was nothing wrong with my child because there was nothing wrong with me.

If you ask any of the people closest to me, you will find that I have only a few close friends. As a habit I am skeptical of people, reserving my trust for those who prove they are worthy. I have always been a loner, despite growing up in a home with six other people. Most days, you could find me in my bedroom reading a book or surfing the internet. I enjoyed the company of others but I preferred my solitude. 

Because this is how I've always been, my initial reaction when I was told A was having issues with social development, was to say the least, unconvinced.

I was uncomfortable in certain social situations and preferred to be alone, that doesn't make me Autistic?! However, when I tried to explain this to the therapist who was initially involved in A's care, she shed some light on the situation. 

The primary difference between A and I was that I chose to limit my social interactions with people. Put me in a room with 50 people and I could effortlessly socialize, carry meaningful conversation and even make a few friends. Limiting my interactions was a choice I made as an adult, not a product of a disability. 

I think that sometimes as parents it is easy to compare the.actions of our children to our adult actions. I don't like people and I was perfectly fine, so why wasn't he? 

Through the process of educating myself on A's diagnosis, I learned that one of biggest misconceptions of those with Asperger's is that they do not like the company of others.

This is absolutely false. Autistic and aspbergian children and adults value friendships just as much as those without. They just have a more difficult time forging these relationships. In many cases, much like with my own son, one too many negative interactions, leads to low self esteem and a wariness during social interactions. 

I would love to hear your insight or opinion on this post, as well as some experiences you or your loved ones have had involving negative social interactions that have impacted you.

What are some strategies you use to encourage social development with your child?

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