Just recently I had the joy of attending a field trip with my son. They went to Gold Medal Gymnastics gym for two hours. They had an intense 2 hours of physical activity that I think none of us will forget any time soon. But the most memorable thing wasn’t all the jumping and playing around, it was what I heard from another mother and Amin’s teacher.
A mother approached me and asked me if I am the mother of Amin. Then her husband joined her and they couldn’t stop talking about the friendship between their son and Amin. This information was really new to me, although Amin’s teacher had told me before that she wanted to talk to me sometimes soon to let me know about some progress with his social skills.
Apparently they became friends soon after school started this year. Amin’s friend is older than him, but he thinks anything Amin does is just way too cool. Even when he throws things across the room, he actually asks Amin to do it again and again because he finds it very amusing. (I hate to say it, but I am really happy about this advancement. They act like typical little boys.)
Also, when he needs help with some tasks, he asks Amin first to help him, and Amin is more than happy to do so. Although his teachers taught him to make sure he is allowed to get up from his desk and go to him for help. Another great social skill advancement.
They get into trouble together too. Apparently Amin found it very entertaining the way his little friend clears the table, so he too asked him to do it over and over again. They got 3 warnings from the teacher, then they were both in time-out where they had their very own giggling session. When the teacher told me all this, it took every strength to keep a straight face, which eventually failed. I apologized to the teacher but she told me she was so pleased with this social interaction that she had a hard time to stay on top of the situation, but I guess she was much more successful keeping a straight face.
The delicate nature of early friendship often can be baffling to autistic children, and they find this social interaction impossible or very hard to achieve as opposed to “neuro-typical children”. If the family is blessed with several kids, then they have a much easier time to learn and create closer relationship with others. But some families, like mine and those of Amin’s friend, do not have that option and they have a bit of a challenge to figure out how to make friends, and how to sustain this very valuable life skill. Friendship and lessons learned through friendship are a very important development in every human being’s life.
Friendship is a beautiful gift from God. Friendship with worthy individuals is a great factor of happiness.
Ali ibn Abi Taalib (ra) once said: “Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company (friendship).”
This was a great surprise for me, but it didn’t stop there. I was told that when his little friend has medical issues, that Amin gets up and stays right next to him until he recovers. That is a clear sign of compassion. I cried along with his friend’s mom when we heard this.
A child with ASD has reduced ability to read body language or connect through body language. But it would be very insensitive to say that autistic children have no feelings. They have feelings like everyone else, but they have a hard time to express themselves. This is another proof that ASD children can and do make friends, and that they can maintain those friendships. Honestly, I personally think that ASD friendships are probably much easier to maintain because they are really honest and they never have to worry about deceiving one another unlike some other typical peers of theirs.
I learned a great deal about my little boy in this event, and so did his teachers and even the principal. We are all anxious to see how much they will advance in this very important social skill that helps them to deal with everyday life problems.
I had been wondering if my son was advancing or just staying at the same level. I got my answers that day. I am happy and thankful to God for allowing me to see my son’s gradual awakening.