Helping Kids with Aspergers Disorder Build a Network of Friends
Making Friends Isn't Easy for Kids with Asperger's Disorder
Kids with Asperger's Disorder don't find making friends to be an easy thing. Building friendships can be so difficult that these kids go through childhood feeling lonely, with few close relationships. It can be a very sad existence for some kids who would love to have friends, but just don't know how to make and keep them. Parents of kids with Asperger's Disorder can provide support, and help make building friendships a whole lot easier.
In the Neighborhood
Invite kids from your neighborhood over for periodic play dates if your child is small. Birthday parties are a great place to start, but you could print off some cute invitations to a swimming party, backyard bug-fest, or BBQ. Bring your child with you to help give out the invitations. Help your child with specific social interactions during the gathering. Ask him to help you give each child a snack or encourage him to share certain toys. Engage in conversations between your child and the children present in a way that helps your child become involved in the conversation in an appropriate way. Gently remind your child against any behaviors that could impede his social success, such as standing too close to a friend. Just be sure to remind him away from the crowd. Neighborhood get-togethers can develop into more children visiting your home to play with your child. This is a great way to help him build new friendships with kids in your community.
Making Friends At School
Kids with Asperger's Disorder usually have some challenges in making friends at school. You should share your concerns with your child's teacher, and ask that she help facilitate social interactions involving your child on the playground as well as in the classroom. In addition, talk to your child about specific things he can do to make more friends at school. Rehearse various social scenarios with your child so that he can practice approaching children to ask them to play.
Identify and Address Negative Social Behaviors
If your child has social difficulties, using social stories may be a good way to teach more appropriate social skills. Social stories are stories that address a specific behavior, and give concrete, easy to understand, appropriate ways to act in a situation. The story can be customized to your child's behaviors. Work with your child on any negative social behaviors he has that might be impeding his ability to make friends. Practicing more appropriate behaviors may be all that is needed to help boost his confidence in making friends.