Friendship is an essential part of human life. Every individual needs friends to pass their life as a social entity. But my autistic child Mahi, like many other autistic individuals, is incapable of making and maintaining friendship. He always remains busy in his own world which is one of the main traits of the autistic individuals. We understand, Mahi also enjoys the friendship, but does not know how to make friends and to reciprocate different activities of a friend. It is the responsibility of the parents, teachers, and caregivers to improve their capability of making and maintaining friends, improving socialization to achieve a significant development in learning.
Requirement of Friendship in Human Life
Human beings are the main elements of nature. They can not remain isolated without friendship and socialization. Socialization is essential for every child for their development as perfect human being and friendship is a major part of socialization. It is also one of the main ways of learning different activities in the life. In the modern era, the facebook and other social media have increased the horizon of friendship in human life. Wishing ‘Happy New Year’ at the beginning of an every new calendar year brings the friends closer and increase feelings for each other. Sharing good and bad of life with the friends can bring more happiness to life.
“True Friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life in the desert island ….to find a real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing”—Baltasar Gracian
Autistic children are always lacking in socialization and thereby making friends. Friendship helps the people in creating bondage, solving many problems, learning different aspects of life, improve social life and making a perfect human being. Definitely, there is a negative impact of the bad friends in the life. But, first comes capability of making friends, then selecting good friends. There is no question of selecting good/bad friends by the autistic children as they are incapable of making and maintaining friendship.
My son Mahi is 21 years old young boy but he does not have any friends in his life. At this age, he should have many friends in his life like his classmates, colleagues, neighbors and social media friends. In the third world countries, generally, the boys in this age pass their evening time with their friends and come late at home and puts the parents into tension. Sometimes, smokes one or two sticks of cigarettes with the request of the friends and would have been caught by the mother and faces some difficult time. But these are also an enjoyable part of the life for the parents in the different stages of the development of their children.
But our Mahi never puts us in tension as he does not have any friend. He is unable to go out independently. He is unable to make any friend in the social media. So, there is no question of putting the parents into tension. In the morning, he gets up from the bed, takes breakfast, and goes to school. After coming back from the school, he takes the lunch and then plays games on his computer, surf internet to find out his liking places through google earth and download those or enjoys the Hindi serials in the TV. These are the only ways of passing his days and night without any friend.
Friendship in Mahi’s Life
Mahi like other autistic boys and girls does not have any friend in his life. His sister Moutushi, uncle Raj and teacher Farjana are the closest persons like friends in his life. His only sister, Moutushi is the best friend in his life. He only communicates with his sister since his childhood. He is a semi-verbal autistic boy and has the capability of uttering words only but unable to frame any sentence. But he is capable of exchanging his views and ideas with Moutushi. Sometimes, he used to chitchat with her as they used to stay in the same room. Now though Moutushi stays abroad, they chitchat through skype. He narrates all the stories of the Hindi serial in front of his sister.
He has got another personality like a friend in his life, his teacher of Proyash, Mrs. Farzana. He talks many things in front of her. Even, he does not hesitate to make a complaint to his teacher if he is admonished by his parents at home. He considers her as one of his best friends. He also leaks out the secret information about the home to his teacher.
He does not have the capability of making friendship with new people and also does not know how to reciprocate the good wishes and good deeds of somebody who wants to become friend with him. For example, somebody is trying to embrace him or hug him. He cannot reciprocate it; rather push him forcefully or does something obnoxious.
When some guests come to our home, initially he does not go close to him/her. But when he starts receiving love and affection from him/her, he starts going closer to him/her and reciprocates in a different way. He throughs different articles of the guests here and there. Sometimes, he takes their mobile phone and immerses into the bucket of water. But he never tells a lie. He confesses everything on the spot. This is one trait of the autistic children, they never tell a lie.
Recently, we are observing some changes in him. He has started understanding, good-bad, big-small, boy-girl. He also understands who like him much and who likes less. He enjoys the company of his mother than his father. He likes going to school rather than being in the home. It means he is enjoying the company of his surroundings.
Last few days, he has got a young teacher of his age in the school named Farhan. The boy is a part-time teacher at his school, Proyash. Throughout the day Farhan remains with Mahi. He has become his playmate and grown-up friendship. Farhan also resides in our locality and accompany Mahi while going to and coming from school. Mahi has started enjoying his company. Now Mahi does not feel like to be accompanied by his mother while going to or coming from school. Rather he feels comfortable with the company of Farhan. So there is a friendship growing between them, we can understand it. He has started enjoying the taste of friendship. This is a very good symptom for an autistic individual.
Most of the autistic individuals are lacking in making and maintaining friendship because of their poor socialization capability. My Mahi was also like that. But our continuous effort can make them interested in making friends and improving their socialization. If they are capable of making and maintaining friendship, they can establish effective communication. Once they are capable of establishing communication their understanding and vocabulary might be grown up.
We should always help our special needs children to increase their socialization as much as possible. We should help them, and inspire them in their every step of life to make friendhip and maintaining it which may pave their way of self-dependency.
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