Okay, so it goes without saying that one of the most awful points of stress for a mother of a child with developmental delays or disorders is the crippling fear that their child won’t learn to make friends, or won’t be accepted by his or her peers. We are literally up at night, stressing, that our child will be bullied or picked on– or worse, ignored. I would find myself spending half of my time with Jp at the park or pool just trying to get him to play with other kids while he looked at me with a face that said, “What is the big deal, Mom?”
Finally, we just stumbled across it. The thing that finally works 100% of the time. No lie.
Super heroes. Yep, Iron Man, Spider Man, Batman…all the other “man’s”, too. We got Jp into (it wasn’t hard, I promise, boys love them for a reason) all of the crime fighting cartoons: Super Hero Squad, Spider Man, Avengers, Lego Batman…all of it. Little boys cannot resist the draw of talking about super heroes, pretending to be heroes, and are immediately attracted to other boys that are like-minded. So? How does one turn this little piece of knowledge into a social integration tool?
We literally stopped buying him all of the little cute punk-rocky clothes that we think are cute on him because he looks like a tiny grown up. I mean, there is a few in the closet for holidays, but mostly it is jam packed with super hero shirts and hats.
It hurts me, it does, to not be able to dress him up like my little doll anymore but the effects are worth it. All it takes is taking him to an event with a Spider Man shirt on and it takes about ten minutes for another boy in a Batman shirt to run up and start playing. It’s play fighting and I know that some mothers may be against that type of thing…but I am all for it as long as Jp has a buddy. It doesn’t always last forever, since Jp’s communication is still a good ways below age appropriate and it is off-putting to some children, but it’s better than watching him struggle to find a way into the circle of kids every single time. It’s an ice breaker that he can wear.
It would work for girls, too. But I have no idea what girls are into these days? PInk and Sparkles? My Little Pony? Whatever it is, use it. And bring some cool toys for sharing. That always helps!
Because the more (guided and appropriate) social interaction that there is early, the more likely it is that they will build the confidence that they will desperately need for school.
Childhood Development autism comprehension disorders developmental delays language delays life hacks parenting PDD-NOS pragmatic language impairment social communication social communication disorder social language in toddlers toddlers
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