Sometimes

My friend lives in a world by himself.
Sometimes, he lets me join him.
Sometimes, he doesn’t.

My friend is like the sun.
Sometimes, he shines.
Sometimes, he disappears to a place I can’t see.

My friend is like a puppy dog.
Sometimes, he listens to what I say.
Sometimes, he just doesn’t understand.

My friend is like Abraham Lincoln.
Sometimes, people are amazed by his honesty.
Sometimes, they are angered by it.

My friend is like an Encyclopedia.
Sometimes, all his knowledge is very impressive.
Sometimes, I get bored and want to put him aside.

My friend lives in a world by himself.
Sometimes, I invite him to join my world.
Sometimes, he joins for awhile.

Being social seems so natural! In those diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism, this lack of social ability is, of course, one of the red flags. Beyond that, there are other children and adults, some with and some without diagnoses, that find themselves in this world of social confusion. When a seemingly bright and capable person has difficulty with something as basic as socializing - engaging with people, interacting, understanding the impact of facial expression, tone of voice, body language, and using basic social skills - parents are baffled, peers are often un-accepting, and the child with the difficulty loses confidence in his ability to engage with peers, making it even more difficult to socialize.

The problem can grow right into the classroom setting, where social skills are essential for success. There are far more unwritten social rules than there are written ones. Why? Because they are quite obvious and easily mastered by most. This being the case, the teacher sees no need to write social rules for the school setting. Truth be told, she wouldn’t have enough room on her walls to write them all! A child without understanding or knowledge of the rules usually struggles, sometimes enormously. As the struggles grow, parents and teachers often begin seeking help.

There are therapies, books, and resources out there for these children. Here at Learning to be Social, parents, teachers, peers, relatives, friends, professionals, interested parties, and those struggling with socializing issues themselves can find real help.