Wednesday, January 21, 2015


A writes: 
Hi Philip! Thank you for offering to answer our questions! Anyway, my question is about how to introduce my son to new people. He is six years old by the way. He does not speak or use a letter board yet.

For instance, some new people moved into the house next door to us, and when I saw them in the yard the other day I introduced myself. My son came over and the neighbors said "hi" to him, but of course he didn't give them a verbal response. I said to the neighbors, "This is B." Then said to B, "B, these are our new neighbors!" He kind of started running away or something, so I said to the neighbors, B is autistic and does not speak, but he understands you and is very friendly." Do you think this was the right thing to say?

Sometimes children will say "hi" to B at the park, but he cannot say hi back, or use his body to wave or anything like that. I'm not sure if I should say something to the other child to help them understand my son is not being rude or that he doesn't want to play. Or maybe if I said something it would embarrass B, and I should just let the kids work it out on their own.

Is there a certain way that you want your family to introduce you, or are there certain things you do not want them to say to others about you? I want to help my son be social, but I don't want to embarrass him or share personal information without his permission.

Sorry if this question is confusing. It's hard for me to put things into words sometimes. Thank you and your mom so much for your time, and I understand if you don't get a chance to respond. Have a great day!

Hi A, I have a hard time meeting new people. I mean to make fears of new people less. I feel misunderstood by people who don't know me. I feel helpless to introduce myself. I need my mom to help. You can help your son by introducing him and explaining why he doesn't play or talk. I think people are more understanding when they know I am autistic. Opportunities to learn about autism at great length are reading books describing autism by autistic authors like Ido Kedar and Naoki Higashida. I think you can tell them your son understands everything. He wants to be able to cease pacing and be able to talk and play. Autism is a different way to experience the world. I listen well, hearing each word. But my body doesn't accept my mind's awesome instructions well. Kids accepting me as their friend can make life more joyous.
From, Philip

Lisa's note:  We have found it useful to have Philip write a letter to his classmates at the very beginning of each school year.  We have also shared his letter with kids at church and other activities.  Prior to Philip being able to write his own letter we shared a letter by Ido Kedar called "Imagine Having Autism." (click highlighted letters to read them) Helping educate people about Philip and autism has allowed him to feel more comfortable with others and enjoy the blessings of friendship and relationships.

Philip taking part in Pinewood Derby last year.

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