Jake, 12 years old
(San Antonio, TX)
We have always taken great pains to model and discuss different behaviors in different social situations with our son Jake. For the most part, he has always either completely ignored us and did whatever he wanted to do, or he decided it would be best to shut down for the duration so he wouldn't have to worry about it.
We recently attended a retirement dinner for a co-worker of mine, a woman who always gave Jake a great audience for his survivorman lectures whenever he would come into the office with me. She was always so impressed that he knew so much about the outdoors and asked how often we went camping, to which I had to reply, almost never.
At the retirement dinner, Jake had a classic Aspie moment when the speeches began and everyone stopped what they were doing to pay attention and he just kept eating his dinner. What can I say, he was hungry, uninterested and being quiet. But afterwards, he told me he wanted to go say hi to the woman who was retiring. I told him that was fine, but he hesitated. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "Well, I don't know what to say...it doesn't seem right to just say hi and walk away." Sing hallelujah. I worked hard to compose myself and not make it a big deal and told him if he wanted to say something else, it would be just fine to go up to her and tell her he just wanted to come over to say hi and congratulate her on her retirement, and the rest would take care of itself. He left and didn't come back for 15 minutes, during which time I watched him have a great conversation. I waited until I got home to cry.