We are getting our handful of gorgeous spring days here in Sioux Falls. Soon humid heat will take over and we will wilt while the corn and weeds leap up to embrace the sun.
Last night we were guests at an outdoor wedding rehearsal. Our son with autism enjoyed being outside in the pleasant weather. The site had a swing set and that’s a gross motor activity that calms him.
More than that, the couple’s extended family includes a gaggle of boys around whom Joey is comfortable, in no small part because they are so friendly toward him but also understand that his reactions to them will be…uh…different.
I took this picture last night. It looks like Joey is isolated in stereotypical autism.
But notice the slight turn of his head. From his place of shady comfort on the soft grass, he’s enjoying a social moment. He’s connected to the boys who are throwing and kicking various balls around the field to his right.
Although working to establish social connection and interaction with people with autism is vital, so is a gentle touch that finds their comfort zone. For Joey, that’s often just on the edge of things. He smiled on the edge of the dance floor at his brother’s wedding reception, for example. He didn’t need to run away, but he didn’t need to dive in either.
His comfort last night – and the fact that others accepted his comfort zone – gave Joey social pleasure on his terms and allowed mom and dad to visit with friends and enjoy social time on ours.
Besides, they had a taco bar with nachos. I mean, that’s a winner, whether or not you’re neurotypical.