One thing that seems to be a common thread with Gifted Children, or Autistic Children is their struggles with making friends. I think Colleen from Raising Lifelong Learners wrote an excellent post on helping Gifted Children Make Friends. She has some great ideas and if your wondering how to help your Gifted Child, or looking for information as to why your Gifted Child struggles in making friends I highly recommend checking her post out.
For us we struggle with two areas while trying to see that Selena gets her social needs met. We noticed from the time Selena discovered she could read all by herself, she use to get confused as to why other children her age could not do the same things she did. Her vocabulary was so strong that most kids didn't understand what she was talking about, sometimes even adults didn't understand her. The second part that has hindered Selena is her inability to deal with large group activities. When in a situation where there are too many children, her anxieties get the best of her and she goes into flight mode looking for a quiet place to retreat to herself, this is more of a result of the Autism.
She wanted friends, every time we went for counseling, she would leave in tears crying, "I just want to be normal. I just want to be a normal kid!" We felt this strain was breaking her so we stopped therapy for now. Since we have Selena's self esteem has returned and she excepts the fact that it is OK to be different. We still longed to see her have friends.
This is not something I recommend everyone doing, I think you really need to know and understand your child. We have a friend who is a single mom who was struggling to keep a job due to lack of babysitting. We have known her and her daughter since Selena was born. J is 2 years older then Selena. I agreed to babysit, and just see how the two girls would get along. It was a leap of faith that I was taking, would J understand Selena, would she except her, would they be friends?
Let me just say these two girls play so hard together, this is not to say we don't have our moments, or times when we have to discuss appropriateness with Selena but J has become Selena's best friend. Believe it or not there are times when J even tells us to not worry, everything is fine, that Selena is being normal. J is not afraid to ask me anymore what drives Selena, or why she is doing what she is doing. J has an imagination just like Selena and they do a lot of role play with dolls, My Little Ponies, or stuffed animals. The same type play that Selena's counselor did with her. I think this is the best therapy there ever could be for any child.
Best friends taking selfies.
Best friends playing with their electronics.
What would best friends do if they couldn't enjoy the great outdoors together. From going to the park to playing in our yard, they play with a lot of passion and have a lot of fun.
This has worked and been a positive experience for us, but remember we can't pick our children's friends. These two girls didn't have to get along as well as they do, but we are pretty pleased that they do.