Neil has never been the most sociable of characters. It’s one of his traits that I would attribute to his ASD.
Most of the time he’s not interested in playing or interacting with other children. He’s prefers his own company, and would choose to play minecraft on his own over playing with someone any day.
He will sometimes play with Caitlin, but only on his agenda and she has to agree to play his way. Sometimes, when he’s not in the mood he will refuse, which can be tough for Caitlin as she doesn’t understand.
When he decides he does want to play, it’s always centered around Minecraft. He’s not in to knights and dragons or cops and robbers or anything like that, it has to be Minecraft related.
He’s not usually bothered about being around other people, he can happily play alongside children at parties and soft play, but he won’t actually play with them.
There are times when he decided he wants to join in, but you can see he doesn’t really know how. I’ve seen him go over to a group and just loudly say something, I think in hope that they will respond. Or he will jump in to their conversation quite loudly, but you can tell he’s feeling really awkward because he’s usually swaying from side to side as he does it.
That’s the bit that upsets me a bit…. I’m happy enough to let him play on his own… if that makes him happy, that’s fine. It’s seeing him wanting to join in but not knowing how that I find hard. We are currently waiting on a referral to a social skills group which I hope will help him in those kinds of situations.
Anyway, last week I wrote about how we have had a new play park built in the village. The kids have been keen to go every day, so after school I usually take them down for a little while before dinner. One afternoon last week, we were in the park as normal, and I was sitting on one of the seats watching the kids running around. As usual, a few other children were also in the park.
Imagine my surprise when I see Neil chasing after another boy with his fingers pointed like a gun, shouting nee nar the police are going to get you, as the boy ran away with some ‘stolen apples’. This pretend scene continued for about 5 minutes before Neil lost interest and went back to Caitlin. While it may not have lasted long, the play looked so natural, and Neil didn’t seem anxious to be joining in at all.
That was a big step for him. It was so nice to see him joining in, without his anxieties taking over, and for us, that’s a fantastic achievement.
Jeannette’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements Highlights From Last Week