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Aspergers Children and Friendship Problems

"My Aspie son is 10-years-old, and friends are a big problem. He never has anyone call or come over. Should I push the issue or leave it alone since he is  content so far just to play by himself?"

What do most parents want the most for their kids with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism? Friends!!! We are social beings and because of that, we desire friendships. Some people are more social, needing to be surrounded by other people constantly, while some of us are much less social, preferring to spend some of our time alone.

Socialization is difficult for kids with Aspergers. Friends are hard to come by. Other kids do not understand the characteristics of Aspergers and may think your son is awkward, aloof, or conceited. There are things your son can do to improve his chances for friendships, if he so desires.

Here are a few suggestions:

* Social skills classes help kids with Aspergers learn ways to interact with their peers. Some schools offer these classes to their special needs students through the speech and language therapy department.

* Peer mentoring picks up where social skills classes leave off. Typically developing peers are matched with students with Aspergers. Friends are made while these peers act as social guides. This can be quite effective at opening dialogue between peers while a protective peer mentor is in control.

* Special interest groups or clubs, both at school and in the community, will give your son opportunities to practice his newly acquired social skills with kids that share his special interest or topic. For example, your son could join a computer club or band at school while enjoying bird watching or local history meetings on the weekends.

* Personal hygiene is sometimes a forgotten concept in kids with Aspergers. Friends may not be so accepting if your son has poor hygiene habits. Create a visual schedule to help him remember the basics to cleanliness.

Bear in mind that friends are not the most important thing to some kids on the autism spectrum. Some of these "special needs" children truly are more comfortable with very few friends and spending most of their time alone. If your son is obviously happy and content, as you say, there may not be an issue here at all. If you notice your son struggling with who he is, or with depression or anxiety, you may want to intervene.

For now, make sure he is learning proper social skills and interacting with peers and adults appropriately. As long as he is happy and productive, take your cues from him.


•    Anonymous said… As an autistic adult, I can say this with confidence: encourage him, but respect his wishes if he chooses not to take social opportunities. He will learn social skills when he's ready. You can't force them smile emoticon
•    Anonymous said… Don't make a up fuss over having no friends...he will take that as there's something wrong with him. Some people just prefer more solitary activities. When an opportunity does present itself, just be there to help,it along, if need be.
•    Anonymous said… I encouraged it, but hes not intrested in any group things so enouraged it by coaching him on how to make friends. I think as they get older they find people who have similar interests as them. My son is 12 and this is the first year he has friends. He also has a lot of online friends, who I believe are on the spectrum as well.
•    Anonymous said… I just let my be for the most part. We leave the social opportunities open. I ask him if he wants to go with me when we hang out with our other homeschool families. He recently took a Boy Scout camping trip and because of that didn't want to go to our friends sons birthday party at chuck e cheese because he was done peopling for the weekend. Don't push it but leave the opportunities open for possibility.
•    Anonymous said… I think our kids need us to set up play dates for them as they can't do It them self
•    Anonymous said… I worried too during my son's teen years. He found his group of friends in college. He's since left school and is alone again but seeing what he can do on his own helps me relax and let go a bit.
•    Anonymous said… My 12 yr old is the same. He has Scouts and karate where he can hang out with other kids. I don't want to push other kids on him. (Or him on them).
•    Anonymous said… My 9 year old HF Autistic/Aspie has his moments.He doesn't have many friends and when he's home he doesn't have any at all.He likes to be by himself playing video games with his online friends which is a few as well.It does worry me as he gets older,but I don't force friendship on him.It makes him too uncomfortable.
•    Anonymous said… My aspie is 11 and typically he played by himself until this year. He has started participating in a social group on the weekends as part of his therapy and it has really helped.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter has an s.e.n youth club that she goes to x
•    Anonymous said… My son is 10and has had a lot of support re social skills at school in a nurture group. It's l helped him massively, he's been taught the things that come naturally to most people. He has more friends now and is much better in social situations than before. I think due to his aspergers he's learnt fast and well as he is very bright.

Post your comment below…


Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group said...

Jan Howarth I would try him on sites such as Moshi Monsters or Bin Weevils. Its a good way to make friends without having the physical contact. Ive got friends whose son/daughter have aspergers (like my own son) and they have found it very helpful x
35 minutes ago · Like · 1 person
Emma Apple I wouldn't push it. Maybe see if he wants to join an after school club or sport to promote more social time for him.
31 minutes ago · Like · 2 people
Melissa Timberlake I have that same problem with my son, he is 10 also.
23 minutes ago · Like
Amy Williams My son is 10 and he has friends call and I ask him to have friends over and he never does. I wonder the same thing. Should I push him...
21 minutes ago · Like
Helen Menezies My son is 12 and after me asking & asking he finally got phone numbers off two friends! He hasn't called yet but it's a start!!!
18 minutes ago · Like
Julia Dyson I have a 9 yr old boy with Asperger's and I take him to the park and anywhere that there's any potetial opportunity of him socialising. Websites etc., merely make them to used to not having contact in the real sense which then makes their future less bright when it comes to having friends, partners etc. x
6 minutes ago · Like
Julia Dyson ‎*potential
6 minutes ago · Like
Judi Bauer Schulte once again, another perfectly timed article!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this article! I have a 14 yr old daughter with Aspergers. She has unintentionally pushed kids away because of her social awkwardness. While her younger 13 yr old sister is extremely outgoing. She can't understand why she does not have friends like her sister has.

Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group said...

Kristin Ruege-Knapp My ten year old is the same way. Sometimes he is sad when he sees his sister have a friend over but overall he is content to do his own thing. I wouldn't push him. Make suggestions of clubs and things he can do. Maybe he will show an interest in an after school activity. Good luck!
4 hours ago · Like
Nicki Proskauer my 8 year old is the same - she has "friends" that she plays with at school but nothing more. She used to have a friend who would come over for playdates from K - 2nd grade but now the friend doesn't want to play with Audrey because she is not as mature as the others. I do think these things will work themselves out. We just keep on putting her in situations to be around other people.
4 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Danielle Clute I put my son in a social group but he of course isolates himself even in the group but we still at least try.I also invite his friends over at least once a month but we do some fun activity ,and I have to get involved(which is time consuming)but i prompt the kids from one activity to the next.It works sometimes but not always.Its very hard situation.
4 hours ago · Like
Lynn Mulder That is a hard question. I do think though that at this age kids are more open to or tolerant of kids with special needs. Once into middle school, not so much. So I am pushing it at this time. Just my thoughts.
4 hours ago · Like
Michelle Telford my 16 yr old is the same...doesnt go anywhere or see anyone....but cant force him (been there done that!!) on other hand he has a nice group of online friends who he seems to get on really well with...they meet up and chat and play games online. wish he could get on as well with his peers, but we are now at the point where he has been removed from mainstream schooling and we are awaiting a place in an aspie unit!
4 hours ago · Like
Tish Newman My son 15. Same as above. I never have pushed it. He trys but kids dont get him or want to come over. Its been really sad for me and him especially when he sees his 7yr old sister having a normal social life with her friends. Iam in the process of trying to hook him up with aspie kids online and groups and people who know groups etc in our local area. Wish u all the best.... Its a hard road!
3 hours ago · Like
Anthea Adams Turner I think that we would all like for our Aspies to conform and fit in with what society deems normal and the same goes for friends and socializing. My Aspie is a scout, belongs to his schools computer club and manages well enough at school, even though he has no friends calling or coming over. We socialialize with family, cousins, grans and grandpa's and for now we as his family are his best friends and someday in his own time he will meet that one real friend who will be a friend for life.
about an hour ago · Like · 1 person

Anonymous said...

I am starting to think along the lines of what Anthea said - we are trying to make them conform to our idea of what they should be doing socially. My son is perfectly content to play by himself at home (xbox, computer, reading, etc). But he DOES also participate in scouts and after school clubs. It has not yet translated into any true friendships but I believe that as he matures, when he finds people with similar interests it will happen of it's own accord. Pushing a friendship when it's not really there risks alot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings. All that being said, my biggest issue is the level of intolerance he has faced at school the last two years (4th and 5th grades). I am crossing my fingers that middle school will not be as bad-and I will be watching what the school does this year like a hawk.

Anonymous said...

I wonder my 10 year old Aspie son says he is happy to have a friend over but then pushes that same friend away with negative comments and generally disengaging? He seems to have no desire to wnt to get along but I feel it is so important he learns to make and keep a friend. Any suggestions?

Mygifted1 said...

My son is 13yo he has the same boys in his 8th grade class since 5th grade they interact with him but they will talk in front of him, invite others in front of him and then say you wanna come too. Then they go the whole school day and say see you Monday while he watches 2-3 of them go n car rider line and he shrugs it off but I get pretty annoyed. I try not to engage about it because I don't want him to feel worse than he does.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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