Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful for Friends

The more I learn about kids on the autism spectrum, the more thankful I am for the life we lead. Jack goes to a great charter school, where kids are taught from an early age to be respectful of each other and to always do the right thing, "even when nobody can see you." Not that things are always perfect, but he has some good friends there and for the most part, he's loved and accepted for the special person he is.

At the end of the school year, I went through his yearbook to see what his classmates had to say about him. I saw comment after comment that mentioned what a great "drawer" he is. He thinks signing yearbooks is a big waste of time and so not interesting, but for me it's a little window into his school life. Nice to know he's a contributing part of his community.

We're very blessed to have some great friends. Now that he's out of school for the summer, I have to make an extra effort to make play dates for him. He'd be happy to spend all day every day on the computer or playing video games, but I've been able to set up times for friends to come to our house or for him to go to theirs. We've seen a couple of movies, too. Sitting in a cool, dark theater on a hot day is really a treat!

Sometimes it's tough prying him away from the technology. The past couple of weeks he's discovered that he can "friend" people online with the PS3 (Sony Playstation) and they can play a video game online together for hours. He has a microphone, so they can talk to each other. He knows not to give out any personal information, cause there are "bad guys" out there, but so far it's been pretty innocuous. I'm right here in the same room with him most of the time, and I can hear them talking to each other. I feel like he has "friends" to play with even when he's home alone.

He doesn't have buddies in our neighborhood, but I'm so grateful for the good friends he has from school and his youth group at church. Without them, the world would be a lonely place indeed. It's good to have friends.


  1. I take exception to the statement, "he doesn't have buddies in our neighborhood" ;) You're right though about friends making all the difference.

  2. You know I wasn't thinking about you guys when I said that (obviously!). I was trying not to harp again on our awful neighbors across the street. You guys live a couple of blocks away. You know we LOVE and appreciate you. I was including you in the "nice" friends group. ;-)

  3. Your son's school sounds amazing! I wish we could find one like that. We've had some teachers try to teach my son's classmates that people are different and to respect those differences, but it only works if the child's parents teach it as well, and it seems as though so many don't. I also fight that technology battle with you. My son's scripting games and writing HTML and it's quite the challenge to pull him away. At least he's learning some type of social give-and-take when playing games with others online, but I do hope for the day when he's found the friends he deserves! Have a good weekend..

  4. Hi, deebeeautismmama! Thanks for commenting. We're very lucky to have gotten into the charter school that has a very long wait list. Everybody is there by *choice* and not because of where they live. If families don't adhere to the rules (which include performing 30 hours of volunteer work per year), you can be asked to leave. They actually teach values such as responsibility, respect and integrity at an early age. We haven't had a problem with bullying, but Jack's disabilities aren't as severe as some children's. Also since most of them have been together since kindergarten (not much turnover when it's so hard to get in), they kind of understand and accept each other. It's a pretty close community. You have a great weekend, too. Happy 4th of July!

    Debbie K.