We were sitting at Johnny’s favourite spot in our neighbourhood, a plaza with a fountain and statue that he finds relaxing and peaceful. We were approached by a little boy who says, “I know you. You rode the school bus with me and you were in Mrs. …….. class.” I had to get Johnny’s attention away from the fountain and to the little boy who was eager to talk to him. “He’s talking to you Johnny.” Johnny smiled in recognition when he saw the boy. “Do you want to play?” Such an innocent question but when it comes to ASD it is a mine field. Johnny didn’t say anything and instead turned to look at the cascading fountain. The little boy looked crestfallen and I quickly said ” I think he is resting from the hot day and the long walk we had.” The little boy shrugged and walked away. “He wanted to to play with you….did you want to play with him?” Johnny turns and smiles at me. “Yes Mommy.” It was then that I realized that he was not sure of what do especially with the fountain competing for his attention. I then suggested that next time to keep it simple and just say “Hi” and smile and let the boy help you. He liked that idea and gave me a big hug.
Later the little boy came over with a penny he had found. “Johnny I found this….you can have it to throw in the fountain.” Johnny smiled and said “Hi…thank you” and he dropped it into the water. It was cute to see both boys leaning over and watching the coin sink to the bottom and then share a moment. They smiled at each other and then the little boy ran off.