About Friends Are…?

Children on the autism spectrum often want to interact with other children, but they sometimes have trouble making friends. Learning how to foster appropriate friendships can avoid problems as they grow older, prevent bullying, and lead to better relationships with peers with or without autism–and the earlier these skills are learned, the better.

Non-autistic children usually learn social skills naturally and in a spontaneous way, by watching and mingling with everyone around them, but children with autism may need to learn these skills in a more tangible way, through social stories, role play, and other means.

My grandson has been very fortunate in attending an excellent after-school program, which focuses specifically on social skills. Still, putting what he learns into practice with his peers and friends does not come naturally to him. One day, after a particularly rough day, he asked me if I could please write another book for him. When I inquired what it should be about, he responded that it should be about making friends, and that he wanted me to call it, Friends Are…?

Of course, this book is by no means a comprehensive manual on how children on the autism spectrum can nurture friendships, but I hope that the different “friendship rules” in Friends Are…? can be a springboard for conversation, as they were for my grandson and me, and that the Word List and Fantastic Friendship Rules Checklist in the back of the book will be helpful to you as you teach your child the important social skills needed for developing good friendships.

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