It has happened several times over the past month. I’ll have a parent say something to me about what their child with autism is doing and I begin to chuckle. The story will align perfectly with the developmental stage the family is working in. I don’t know why it surprises me every time, but I continue to stand amazed by how remediation is changing these children! It never gets old to see the progress the kids are making and I always enjoy the stories the families share. One story, for example, is a 6 year old boy who is working in a developmental stage of a 3 year old. The parents shared today that they would like to see their son have friends. I shared with them that my almost 3 year old daughter’s best friend right now is her big sister and that she is beginning to play appropriately with her cousin of the same age, but outside of that doesn’t have friends. At the 3 year old developmental level we are looking for a beginning understanding of friendships as children transition from parallel play into a shared, co-regulatory experience.
This family shared that their son is playing very well and comfortably with his little brother and is starting a simple relationship at school. It’s amazing how a year ago he was unable to understand even the beginning steps of friendship. Now as the family is working on this stage in development they are beginning to see these friendships naturally start to form, starting with his sibling and moving into those outside the home! Once they saw this parallel with a neuro-typical child they were ok with the point their son was. They understood that as they continue to move through objectives and as their son builds competence with friendships in safe settings, he will be able to develop more friendships.
Many families come to us stating that they want their child to have friends and that’s one of the first things they want to work on. We often need to explain that as we move through the developmental stages, they will see this naturally happening, but we won’t focus on that specifically. Families who have been in the program for a while will attest to the fact that this is indeed true. It’s so cool to watch remediation work!