Most children with autism have a tough time fitting in with their peers. In fact, because autism's core symptoms include difficulty with social communication, social problems are almost inevitable. But while your child with autism may not ever become the homecoming king or queen (though nothing is impossible!), there are some concrete steps you can take as a parent to help your child make sense of the expectations of people around them.
Teach Your Child to Speak Like a Child
Speech and social therapists mean well, and often they do well. But most therapists are grown women. And most children with autism are little boys. As a result, it is not uncommon to hear little boys with autism speaking uncannily like grown women. "How are you today?" "It's a pleasure to meet you!" "How was your weekend?"
While phrases like these will stand your child in good stead when he grows up, it will put him at a disadvantage on the playground. So listen in to therapy sessions, make suggestions, and, whenever possible, help your child out by teaching him (or, ideally, having other children teach him) kid-speak. Kids don't say "Thank you so much for the lovely gift," they say "wow, this is cool - thanks!"
Teach Your Child to Play
As a parent, you will have noticed that your child generally prefers solo play, and rarely if ever chooses pretend play. Solo play isn't a problem in itself, of course, but in order for your child to take part in any type of group play she will need the skills to do so.