Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The New Friend

Photo by twobee

We just recently moved to a new complex on the other side of town.  While E. usually has some challenges making friends, he had a few kids to pal around with at the old complex and was worried about whether he was going to find anyone to play with at our new home.

A few days after the official move, E. asked if he could go out to see if he could find some kids to play with.  I didn't see a problem with that, so I told him to check back in an hour.  When his hour was up, he came back bursting with excitement over his new friend.

I was happy to hear it, and for the rest of the day, all I heard about was how cool Luke was and what Luke was into and what they had done together.  I was looking forward to meeting Luke, this child who was so quickly accepting of E. and all his quirks.

A couple days later, E. came back with Luke's dad's phone number and a request that Luke come over and play.  I was impressed that he had thought to get a phone number and called Luke's dad, ready to meet E.'s new best friend.

It turns out that Luke is not even five years old yet.  E. will be twelve in just a couple weeks.  I was disheartened and felt like I should have known.  E. doesn't get along well with kids his own age and typically prefers the company of kids who are much older or younger.  It's a pretty stereotypical behavior for kids with HFA, and it sometimes hurts to see E. behaving in "textbook" fashion.

I explained the situation to Luke's dad, who also didn't understand why E. would want to play with someone so much younger.  He was understanding and even walked Luke over so that we could meet.  Luke and E. played together well, even including little sister in their games (Luke is, after all, much closer to her in age).  Occasionally E. was disappointed when Luke was unable to follow along with some games and wasn't interested in looking at items through microscopes, but they seemed to have fun.

Watching them together, I completely understand why E. would seek out a friend like Luke.  To Luke, E. is the cool, older kid who takes the time to show him neat things.  He admires E., and he doesn't see the differences the way a child his own age (or older) would.

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