The other day during ABA we took a trip to the park. There was only us and another mother with two kids there. As soon as we stepped on the grass this boy (maybe around 5-6yrs) comes running up and talking to our therapist about random things: Spider-Man, rocks, school). He turns to Eli and says “hi, do you want to play with me?” Eli, being nonverbal, walked away without saying anything. The boy stood still for a second looking at him then took off running. He sat down on a nearby rock and started crying. As he cried he screamed (very loudly) “nobody ever wants to play with me! I don’t have any friends! Why doesn’t anyone like me?” It was so uncomfortable. I knew that Eli was just nonverbal and didn’t mean any harm, he just didn’t know what the boy was saying. I went over to the boy’s mother and explained to her that my son was nonverbal and autistic and he wasn’t intentionally ignoring her son. She went over and explained to him. This is when Eli, completely on his own, saw the boy being sad, walked up to him, waved, and motioned for him to play. All on his own! Sure, it would have been perfect if he had done it right away.
Eli has a lot of difficulty in social situations with people aside from my husband, myself, and his therapists. He can’t tell when children are sad, Annoyed, or angry. A lot of times he doesn’t even hear what other children are saying or asking him. Hearing that boy cry like that broke my heart. The sad thing is, his mother seems completely unphased but the boys outburst, leading me to believe that it happens all the time. My first thought was, will this be Eli when he is older and starts to realize he is a little different? It’s a possibility. But after seeing how far Eli has come in the short few months we’ve been doing intensive therapy I see so much progress from him. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he won’t become a great little boy that all the kids wants to play with.