Friendship is an important part in the growth of every child, but for a kid with ASD that can be something very difficult to achieve. However, when they have a good friend that can change their life, and it helps them to develop social skills. As parents, you can’t make friends for them, but your role will be to help them navigate the strange and fantastic world of friendship.
The importance of friendship
Friends can make ASD children feel more secure while interacting with strange people; it also gives them a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. With friends, they can have experience in managing their and others’ emotions, responding to a variety of situation that will involve feelings, negotiating, cooperation and playing.
Problems to have friends
ASD kids tend to presents this restriction when making friends.
- Start a conversation and keep it during a long time: ASD kids have many difficulties starting a conversation and keeping is almost impossible for them. But when they begin to interact with peers and making friends that will start to change, it won’t be a quick change, but slowly they will improve their communication skills.
- Thoughts and feelings of others: they have a hard time trying to understand the thoughts and feelings of people. They can even appear cold, and sometimes they will hurt without acknowledging. Friends will teach them how to deal with different thoughts and feelings.
- Children’s activities: for a kid with ASD participating in regular activities like spent a time in the park will be strange and stressful. Friends will include them in their activities and help them learn the rules and basic behavior.
- Body language and expressions: for them, facial expressions and body language are like quantum mechanics, they couldn’t completely understand them, but their friends can work with your child the different aspects of that point in social interactions.
- New situations: ASD implies to live in a routine to make them feel secure, they suffer from a strong sense of loss and fear, when something new appears in their surroundings, friendships can erase their fear and make a try on different things.
- Social problems: children with ASD can’t comprehend social issues, like solving disagreements between classmates, but building friendships can change that, having friends will give them the skills to try to understand what is happening and how to help.
How parents can help their child to have friends
You can’t make friends for them, but you can lay out all the situations and help them to find one. Learn how to make it happen.
Know what are your child’s favorite activities
For ASD children is tough to find something that can bring them joy, but when they find it, they can start to be happy. In that environment, they can develop friendships because they will see people with the same interest and that is the bond that will put them together.
Invite kids to an activity
You can work this with their teacher, ask her or him who are the children that are more close to your child, or even asking your child who does he or she want to be friend with? Always speak with your child, because he or she knows exactly what will be the best, and in the end, they will be the one experiencing the friendship. This visit can work perfectly if you make a plan with the other parents, to have a schedule of the activities because kids to act more comfortable when everything is prepared since before.
If your child starts to feel insecure because he or she doesn’t want others close to their toys, games or other stuff, you can plan a trip to the park, like a picnic, with different games, or a visit to the aquarium or museum, everything will depend on what the kids will enjoy more, and which one can bring more time and space to reinforce their interactions.
After school activities
Research and find the best activity that your kid will enjoy after school, maybe enrolling him or her in soccer practice will help to make friends more quickly, besides the tons of benefits that sport can give your child. Start to find activities that can give your kid a way out of the stress of school and other difficulties from ASD.
All of this is with one goal in mind: to make your child enjoy the benefits and happiness that a friendship can bring. Remember, friends are the siblings that we choose; for that reason, every ASD kid deserve to know what is like to have a friend an be one. Come to Autism Soccer, and know all the programs we have to help your child to develop a true friendship through sport.
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