Hey there, Dads of Aspies! Let’s talk friendship – not the TV show kind, but the real, live, playground kind. Helping your child with ASD make friends at school can sometimes feel like you’re a novice juggler at the circus. But don’t worry, I’ve got some tips that’ll have you feeling like the ringmaster in no time!
The Play-by-Play on Playtime
Remember, making friends is an art, not a science. It’s less like baking where you need precise measurements (1 cup of eye contact, 2 tablespoons of small talk), and more like a freeform jazz session.
1. Start with the Man (or Woman) in the Mirror Encourage self-awareness. It’s like being a detective in a mystery called ‘Understanding Myself’. If your kid can recognise what makes them tick, they’re halfway to understanding what might make a potential friend tick too.
2. Role-Play the Day Away Role-playing can be fun – let’s pretend we’re at a zoo, and social cues are the animals. What does the ‘lion’ of body language or the ‘monkey’ of facial expressions look like? Get in there and have a laugh while practicing greetings and conversations.
3. Playdate Prep Set up playdates like you’re setting up a game of Monopoly. You’re aiming for a fun game, but with enough structure to avoid anyone flipping the board. Small, structured playdates can be less intimidating and allow for one-on-one interaction.
4. Highlight the Superpowers Every kid with ASD has a unique superpower. It could be a memory like an elephant or a passion for dinosaurs that rivals any palaeontologist. Encourage your child to share these interests with others. It’s like their superhero cape – it makes them stand out and can be a great conversation starter.
5. The Buddy System Remember when you were at school and needed a partner for the three-legged race? It’s like that, but with friendship. Find a friendly classmate who can be a peer buddy, helping to guide your child through the social maze.
6. Feedback Fun Post-playdate, have a chat about what went well. Keep it light and breezy – it’s a chat, not an interrogation. Think of it as a coach’s pep talk after the big game.
7. Teachers as Teammates Get the teachers on board. They can be like friendly umpires, helping to facilitate social interaction during school hours.
8. Patience, Young Padawan Patience is key. Friendships can’t be microwaved; they’re more slow-cooker style. Give it time, and let those social skills simmer.
9. Celebrate the Small Stuff Did they share a toy? High five! Did they ask a peer to play? Do the dad dance of victory!
So, keep your chin up and your dad jokes ready. Making friends is a journey, and every journey needs a navigator. Just know that you’re not navigating alone – the Dads of Aspies community has got your back!
About the Author:
This post was brought to you by DOA.AU, the go-to hub for dads with Aspie kids. Our aim? To make the journey a tad easier, a heap more fun, and a whole lot more informed! Join our community for more tips, stories, and dad jokes that only we find funny. 😉
Note: Always consult with a professional when implementing new strategies or tools for you or your child.