Autism. Social opportunities

With Christmas coming, we've had a lot of opportunities to be social at carols nights, parties, visiting friends and even just hanging out at the pool.

Bright Eyes has had two very good play sessions recently, connecting well with other children. One was at my friend's place, with her five year old, the other was meeting a new boy - aged 8 - at the Carols by Candlelight evening here at church. 

The factor that was the same in both cases was that each children he connected with was on the autistic spectrum. They played well, cooperated together and seemed to really enjoy each other's company.

Sadly for me, the rest of the social occasions haven't been that positive. I've felt so sad watching him try to play with peers of his own age, but just constantly getting it wrong. It kills me to see looks of annoyance on other children's faces, and then movements of avoidance away from him.

The thing that really upsets me is when I see glances of connection between other children about Bright Eyes, and the 'team' behaviour of running away, or subtle tormenting that then follows. It's not even the behaviour of tormenting - it's the knowledge between the neurotypical children that 'this kid is different, and if we wanted, we could do something mean together'.

I am seeing the beginning of behaviours towards my child that I knew would happen. This is what I've been dreading for the three years since his diagnosis. 

I guess the only positive thing about the fact that 1 in 160 (possibly more) children are on the autistic spectrum is that there's a lot of potential for connection between them, with so many around. I'm going to actively seek out the kids that he CAN connect with so he can build his social skills on his own peer level, and not just constantly fail with his neurotypical age peers.