I don’t know about you but I am always worried that Jamie isn’t social enough and when I say enough she is NOT social at all.
She doesn’t seek anything social and when she is in social situations she is does not have a clue. She doesn’t understand social situations and she doesn’t understand how to be social. But people are always banging on about how we need to “socialise” our kids. But why?
I for one only socialise as and when I want to with people that I want to, so why am I arranging play dates for my child with children who have completely different interests and lives? She doesn’t want friends, she doesn’t need friends and she doesn’t feel bad for not having friends. She just wants to be left to get on with the things she enjoys in life, like Sims, Little Big Planet, Minecraft & Pokemon. 10 year old girls don’t have the same interests, or if they do it is very rare or they are usually also on the spectrum and probably also do not want to socalise!!
So I arranged said Play Date with some lovely girls who Jamie used to go to school with. They came to our house so that she was in familiar surroundings. The first thing I noticed was that these girls talk!! Now Jamie is verbal but she doesn’t “chat”, they talk about music and TV and what they’ve been doing. So straight away it is uncomfortable. For around 20 minutes they happily played on the Wii U, but then that was enough. Jamie stuck her headphones on and sat on the other sofa with her IPad. When one of the girls asked if they could sit next to her and watch her reply was “no thank you”. So I make lunch and put the Disney channel on for the girls while Jamie continues to eat and read on the IPad. I can tell she is anxious. She agrees to play dolls upstairs after lunch, but when I follow her up she is actually reading stats on Pokemon cards. 5 minutes later she’s lying on the sofa in meltdown. I have an hour to kill now before the girls go home and i’m feeling sorry for them and Jamie. They don’t really understand why she doesn’t want to play with her, she doesn’t understand why they want to play. So Jamie goes on Little Big Planet to calm herself while the girls walk our dog round the estate. They ask if they can go to the shop??? Jamie never goes outside on her own let alone off the street we live on and I actually don’t know what to say. What do 10 year old girls do, what are boundaries, where do they go? So I say I will take them to the shop on the way home.
We make the 30 minute journey to where the girls live and Jamie has her headphones on the whole way. I stop at the garage to fuel up and the girls jump out and go into the shop – another thing I have not experienced. Jamie didn’t even noticed we had stopped for fuel she was so far in her own world. We passed the place where Jamie rides so the girls were asking her questions, she simply replied “no thank you” and put her headphones back on. The girls ask to go to McDonalds, again I am shocked, Jamie never asks for anything. They are literally worlds apart. So we drop her friends off and I have to take her headphones off so she can say goodbye. Then we make the 30 minute journey home in silence …
So what has she gained from this socially?
How has this affected her anxiety?
Was it worth it?
Will I do it again?
Well i’m sat here now mentally exhausted, so I can’t even begin to imagine how Jamie is feeling. It was lovely to see her friends again and I really wanted it to be a nice day where she would realise that it’s something she should do more often. But did it make her happy?
What makes her happy is being in her own world, obsessing about her own interests, and being calm and routine.
Ask her who her best friend is she will tell you her dog. Her dog makes her happy :)