Thursday, December 12, 2013

Autism Answer: When Shay's Social Struggle is not a Struggle!

Last night I took my two youngest boys to our small town homecoming bonfire, located behind the local high school. Forgetting my book purposefully at home I just sat back and watched my boys hang out with their friends.

Shay (my fifteen year old) was looking for his new girlfriend, having promised to meet her there. I saw a group of extremely cute "popular girls" approach him, and play the giggling and overly loud flirt game. Shay gave them a little attention but I could see him looking around for his date. A moment later I saw Shay's face light up as he waved to a fairly large group of "fringe girls". They were not so well dressed, many of them chubby. They were jumping up and down with excitement and hollering Shay's name with gusto. All the kids had that out-at-night-with-my-school-friends energy. Shay said a brief but polite good-bye to the popular girls and sauntered off wearing an air of cool to meet the friends he was wanting to hang out with.

No judgments, he didn't snub the popular ladies, he just wasn't there to make the right friends. He was there to hang out with his friends. 

Sometimes the social challenges that Shay still struggles with can be really hard for him. He often feels confused,  hurt, and misunderstood. He has a habit of imagining insults that aren't even there, and then insulting in return.

And sometimes it just means he sees certain things clearly. Like picking friends that he likes, not the ones that most people like.

Sometimes, Shay's social struggle is not a struggle, and can be quite beautiful!

Those are the times I like to celebrate and encourage. Those are the times I like to learn from. 

Shay hanging with a couple of his lady friends!!