Autism and Making Friends
With Autism, some days you never know what you’re going to get. Some day are hard and you question if anything you are doing is going to bring fruit. When these thoughts come into my head I reflect back to the scripture, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. I try to take serious the command that God has given us parents to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord Deuteronomy 6: 6-9. Some days I question if my kids hear anything I say, and then it may be days later even but one of them will remember something I said and pull it out and share with a sibling or one of us. Those moments make it all worthwhile. And sometime Autism and making friends is difficult.
One thing that really worries me, and I have to turn it over to the Lord, is my kids making Godly friends. My oldest Bookworm has trouble making friends because of his aspergers and my middle one Turtle has trouble because of the PDD-NOS but we have really worked with them and worked with them in the word of God about friendships and also worked with them with social stories and acting out HOW to be a friend,get a friend, and keep them. Still with all that my older 2 have struggled. My oldest thinks everyone he meets is his best friend and my middle one is very shy. Total opposites but perfect how God made them. My job as their mom/teacher is how to teach both kids ways to reach out and learn to overcome the obstacles that are there. For my oldest we have worked a great deal with him on slowing down, reciprocating conversation ( he has a tendency to be very one-sided in conversations, mostly about himself and his likes), we have worked with my middle son about paying attention and focusing. He is very interested in other people and will once he knows you talk about you, but he has a very hard time striking up that conversation.
For the past couple years I have worked and worked on this. I have cried because my oldest is 8 and still does not have that ‘best friend” you long for them to have. The one they can speak to and call when times are rough, call to share the good news in happy times and to eat popcorn and talk late into the night while watching movies or well whatever it is that boys do lol. Then one day my oldest got a journal and I told him he could write in it. He was so excited about this because it I finally found one with a lock that was all boy. After he had this journal for a while my oldest let me read part of it. I cried. I cried buckets of tears. Why? Why did this journal bring me to such tears?
Bookworm had filled out the questions to kids in the journal. Some of these questions are This is to certify that_____is a great friend. He wrote in Jesus. This is to certify that ____ is the coolest person I know. He wrote God. This is to certify that ____ is also a great friend. He put God. This went on and on. See all along I had been trying to teach my son, I wanted him to have friends, I wanted him to have a best friend. However, it was my son who taught me. Isn’t Jesus supposed to be our best friend? My son is years wiser then this old mom of his. See I was living in the flesh. Having friends is GREAT, I have many friends whom I have known for many years and I love them so much but isn’t Jesus supposed to be my very best friend? In all this, in all the social stories, the acting out, the talks about friends my son already knew how to make a best friend and how to keep him first.
Jesus is a best friend who loves you just the way you are, socially awkward or the social butterfly. He helps you to be all that you can be. No one has ever loved my self, my husband or our sons the way that Jesus does. You see Jesus loved us so much, that he gave up his own life for us. Greater love has no man then this, that a man lay down his life for a friend. John 15:13. Jesus wants only what is best for us. He teaches us, guides us, encourages us and is there for us. He listens to us, holds are hand and will even carry us when we are weak. Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28. He always has time for us.
Being a child of God is not always easy. There will be trials and there will be times of testing. “In the world you shall have tribulation many troubles: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33 but he will never leave you nor forsake you Hebrews 13:5. He is our go to for advice on how we should live, should we read a certain book, or watch a certain tv show or listening to music that has bad words in them. Food for thought, whatever we watch, whatever our kids watch, read, listen to, etc the Lord is right there with them watching it too! Philippians 4:8 is the ultimate best friend advice for our kids, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
My Bookworm and my Turtle are both very happy. Even if in trouble my Bookworm can still smile. I think this goes to the fact that no matter what Jesus is their best friend. If God is for us, then who can be against us? This past year I am so happy though that my Turtle made a good friend. My Bookworm went to family fun night at church recently and for the first time EVER sat WITH a friend the whole time. I know God has blessed both boys with a friend because of their love and devotion to him. To me this is the ultimate blessing God could give, to know that first and foremost my kids have learned and are continuing to learn to place God first in their life. Thank you God for humbling this momma’s heart and for the moments, which are many, where my kids teach ME.