Monday, October 15, 2007

Friendship 101

While having a session with my daughter's speech language pathologist, Nora, the subject of friendship came up and my daughter Savannah asked her if her two twin boys who also attend the same high school say hi to my daughter when they see her because they feel sorry for her because of her Aspergers? She wanted to know if Nora told her sons to go out of their way to say hi to Savannah because Nora told them to? Nora assured my daughter that she does not discuss Savannah with her boys and if they said hi to her it was because they wanted to and all on their own accord. It seems that my daughter got it into her head that anyone who paid any attention to her did so because they felt sorry for her.

I was completely unaware that this was happening and having her share her thought processes really helped Nora and me understand why my daughter may be having so many problems connecting with her peers. If people were reaching out to her and she thought it was because they pitied her she was more than likely not reciprocating and closing off from anyone who was trying to make contact. I told her that if she wanted to have friends she would have to do some of the work too. No one was going to come up to her and say "Savannah will you be my friend?" It was a process that may start with a hi in the hallway and she needed to show that she was interested by saying hi back and a smile wouldn't hurt either. I asked her if she would like to be friends with someone who always looked sad? I suddenly saw this light bulb go off in her head when she said, You are right Mom, the perky people have lots of friends and they are always smiling. "I thought they were smiling because they had lots of friends" Out of the mouths of babes!!!

Suddenly my daughter understood that she played a big part in making friends and if anyone said hi to her she was going to return the salutation and with a smile to boot, even if it felt uncomfortable. It will be interesting to see if our little talk has any impact on how people respond to my daughter? I am positive that her peers are reaching out to her and because of her incorrect assumptions they are getting the idea that she wants nothing to do with them, when that is the farthest thing from the truth.

Happy Friendships


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