One thing we always want as parents of ASD children is for them to have friends. We long for the day they will have play-dates, run around in the sun with other children and just be kids.
Despite this wish, every time we have a play-date I find myself anxious instead of excited. I worry about how he will do at someone’s home. Will he have a bout of weakness and the parent won’t know to give him his snack? Will he reach sensory over load? What if he gets hungry and doesn’t tell anyone? Will he remember his manners? Will the children fight or disagree? Will he recognize he’s had too much sun before he burns?
So many things that never crossed my mind when my NT child went to play at a friend’s house. I knew she could advocate for herself and navigate fine without me. I do not have that sense of comfort with my ASD child.
I dropped him off at a school friends house 20 minutes ago and since them all I feel is a heightened sense of anxiety. I never understand exactly why these thoughts go through my head and I worry he’s not alright. Other than as a parent of a child who has suffered damage or had an illness, medical condition or any affliction that makes them more dependent, you worry.
And it’s not until you pick them up and see they are fine, that the anxiety stops. There are so many things parents of ASD kids have to consider when their child goes to play. There may be food restrictions to observe or medications or medical concerns like seizures. You don’t want the other parent to see your child as a burden that’s coming over, or you as a neurotic mom. But yet these are things that have to be discussed before the play-date. So in addition to what time to come over, it’s what can’t he have to eat? Is he allergic to anything? Does he prefer not to be touched or get wet?
I often avoid play-dates and until now I didn’t realize fully why. He hasn’t been on a drop off play-date in 2 years. I am usually there or the child comes to our home. This time he is there without me. I have identified my fears so I can move past them and let him to be child.
This way I can let him to go play even with autism.