Many children with autism, like C, love to engage with others, but their ASD prevents them from understanding how to do so. Most times C will light up if a child tries to engage with him, but if he’s left alone he will find many ways to occupy himself, and usually happily so.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to accept that he has no concept of social reciprocity. I suppose to some extent I’m projecting my desire that he not be lonely. And yet C hardly seems like a lonely boy.
While reading to the boys last night, I found solace in the following passage from Ferdinand:
Sometimes his mother, who was a cow, would worry about him. She was afraid he would be lonesome all by himself.
“Why don’t you run and play with the other little bulls and skip and butt your head?” she would say.
But Ferdinand would shake his head. “I like it better here where I can sit just quietly and smell the flowers.”
His mother saw that he was not lonesome, and because she was an understanding mother, even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.
I don’t want C to be lonely. I want him to be able to have friends if he wants. More than that, though, I want him to be happy; sometimes that means just letting things be as they are.