My Son on the Autism Spectrum Sometimes Misses Social Cues

Recently, our son has had some issues at school. It’s hard to know what really happened.

They say if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. The theory being that autism is so different in each person that no two people have exactly the same symptoms.

My son has social communication difficulties. He cannot read most facial expressions. He can read happiness, but if we are irritated or upset, he doesn’t usually see it until it is extreme. Growing annoyance or boredom on a peer’s face usually doesn’t register with him. Realizing that someone else might not enjoy the same things he does, or that someone else isn’t thinking the same thing he is, is often hard for him to comprehend. He also has a slower processing speed, so when friends tell him not to do something, it often doesn’t register until it has become a problem. His brain just works differently than many people around him. This can cause a lot of misunderstandings with peers.

We don’t condone certain behaviors, however, it can often be a manifestation of his disabilities as he struggles to communicate his emotions, thoughts and understand what is going on around him. Years of speech therapy and occupational therapy have helped, but his brain will always work different from neurotypical people.

Charlie, his service dog, helps him work through some of his feelings. Charlie also makes the other kids more interested in our son, and more willing to be kind about his differences. Regardless, he has to deal with the consequences of his actions just like any other child.

He has the ability to learn how to control his emotions, it’s just going to take longer for him to learn. Meanwhile, we are working on educating the world around him so that they understand we’re working on it and can be a little more patient and understanding of who he is.

A version of this post first appeared on An Ordinary Mom.

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