A few days ago we had a visitor. A seven year old boy who goes to a regular school and I won't use the term 'neurotypical' because no kid is typical, I prefer to just say non-ASD. He came with a lot of expectations, he was meeting us for the first time and entered our house with full gusto, bursting with questions! I was looking forward to it ☺ He immediately approached Aarwin and started by asking his name, age, school name, what toys he has, will he share them, yes or no? Then, he asked him, why are you not talking? Why are you pushing me? Why are you not looking at me? Can you hear me? Aunty why is he so unfriendly? Does he act rude with everyone? I took a deep breath and kept a smile on my face. I did tell his mom time and again to tell him and prepare him for his meeting with Aarwin because he is in a much better position to understand Aarwin than vice versa. Yet she didn't. Alas.
I told him, please sit down and let me explain some things about Aarwin too you because he wants to be your friend and I know you want to be too. Look at my hand, what do you see? He said, five fingers. Do they all look the same? He said, No. Do they all help us with the same tasks, he nodded no. Is every flower on a plant the same size and shape? No. Is every apple you buy, look exactly the same? No. Does every cloud look identical, he said No and was very anxious as to why I would ask this.
By now he could hear Aarwin using some rote speech to communicate and he had no idea what he was saying. He made a face, aunty what is he saying? Why can't i understand him? It sounds very confusing to me. He was in despair.
I looked at him and said, think about the questions I asked. What I am trying to tell you is that nothing made by nature is perfect or symmetrical or identical or as per the rules. Only machine made things are made by a mould and come out looking perfect. He was quiet. He was still restless. He wanted a perfect friend. A boy who would jump at seeing him and want to do everything he wanted him to. I said, come, sit with Aarwin, I will sit with you both and help you make friends.
In about ten minutes of just sitting with them, Aarwin opened up, he was super excited, dragged him by the hand to play with his fans, made him switch on and off, started touching the face of his friend for his eye contact and demanded all the attention i could see the boy is still very restless but he was still pondering on what i told him about Aarwin. He said, don't worry aunty, I think in a years time I'll understand Aarwin perfectly.
I smiled, and moved away from the room and let them deal with each other. It wasn't the world's most perfect friendship but it was the beginning.