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How to help your child with Aspergers fit in and make friends

This article is written for parents who have a child with Aspergers in order to help them to support their child to make friends with their peers and find a social network. Your child has Aspergers, but that does not mean that your child is intellectually limited. In fact more than likely it is the complete opposite.

Children with AS often are very intelligent, which can make life even more challenging! Your child will understand if they are left out of games, parties, and other social events. They are not intellectually challenged, but they could be considered to be socially challenged. Your child wants to fit in with peers and friends both at school and in the local neighbourhood.

But it is likely that he or she does not know how to go about doing this. Role-play activities, in natural settings, may assist your child in developing the social skills that he or she will need. This could include role-playing scenarios such as how to join in playground games, how to converse with class mates, what is expected in group settings etc.

Providing them with a way to meet the special needs that they have may also be helpful. Special needs may include sensory integration techniques (of which I will mention more below), designed to reduce their anxiety. Anxiety among children with AS is common, usually because they cannot adapt to the stressors they experience.

Most common among those stressors are transitional periods (such as going from school to home ? which I will detail below). During transitional periods, it is best to let your child fulfil their sensory needs, which may include obsessing about certain preferred items or activities. An alternative may include providing them with calming activities, such as massage, deep therapeutic touch or wrestling if that is their preferred activity. The trick is to find what makes them calm down, and then do it. What makes your child calm may be completely different than what calms another child, but that's okay. Difference is inevitable and as far as I am concerned diversity should always be welcomed.

The transition to school and home again can be especially difficult. Work with your child's school to develop a method that works well at both ends. Social activities are important for all children whether they have special needs or not. Therefore it will be critical for you to work out what makes your child socially acceptable and methods to teach them what they lack.

Part of this challenge will be providing them opportunities to interact with other people where they will succeed rather than placing them in circles where they are not likely to succeed. For example is there a local scout group, sports group, church group or youth club that is led by someone who could be sympathetic and supportive of your child's needs? Often they will be happy to help you and your child with the right guidance. So in that situation you need to be a good advocate for your son and also an "Aspergers expert" to teach the leader and others that run the group about your son's needs. So to summarize this article it is essential that children with Aspergers are given the chance to build social networks and friendships. The challenge is that they do not have all the skills to do this. So it is important for the parent to teach their child through role play and other techniques these particular skills.

Then the parent should also look for social activities for their son or daughter that will be a positive and supportive experience for them.

Dave Angel is a social worker with families who have children on the Autistic Spectrum and is the author of a new e-book that answers the 46 most asked questions by parents of children with Asperger's. To claim your free 7 day Mini-Course for parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome visit: http://www.parentingaspergers.com today.

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