Shannon (father of 4 children, 3 with autism): We’re pretty lucky – most kids seem to get along good with all our kids. Even though Alex stands to the side, other kids will try and involve him. And, because he’s always got toys with him, they’ll come up to him and talk about his toys that he’s got. They always try and interact and involve him in everything they do.
Joanne (mother of 2 children, 1 with autism): Kids do tend to radiate to them and I’ve found that Flynn always has children around him, and always has children who want to play with him. He can’t always communicate with them exactly on their level but he’s getting better. And with Xalie, also, children do radiate towards her, there’s always children who want to help her, she’s always the one that children want to help, because her communication skills aren’t as strong. But, once again, they do lose interest quickly because she’s not giving back what they’re giving to her with the communication. Which is one thing, but there are always children who want to be there with them. It’s just teaching them how to keep those children interested and wanting to play with them.
Rachel (mother of 4 children, 3 with autism): Dominic, for some reason, he’s always the most popular kid, wherever he goes. He’s such a, like, they’re all really cool characters. They’re all, umm, vey likeable and that sort of thing. So he goes to school and you see all the boys and girls flock him like ‘Oh Dominic, oh Dominic’, and the boys make sure he knows what he’s doing and they really help him and that’s what actually made me more emotional when he started school is seeing all the other kids helping him. Cause I thought ‘Oh, cool they’re really, like, they’ve got all this empathy’ and they’re little boys, you’d think they’d just be like, want to go play or something, but they’re like ‘Come on Dom, you have to do this’ and ‘come with me’ and it was really good to see them take him under his wing and of course the little girls pack his bag for him. He can do it, he just doesn’t. He’s like ‘if you’re going to do it for me, go for it. Here’s my bag, lady.’
Shannon: I think they all take to him really well. They umm, a lot of them sort of help him, take him under their arm. There’s a few kids that we’ve seen that really get in his face, so if he’s in a bit of a wandering mood, they’ll get right in his face and go ‘Oh no Dominic, you’ve got to come and do this.’ And you know they are quite understanding.
Sharon (mother of 2 children, 1 with autism): He’s got a few really great mates that he hangs with, and he knows he can feel comfortable with and so he just becomes this different person. And like I say, it’s a shame that not everyone sees that. Umm, but like in terms of, you know sometimes when I drop him off at kinder and a kid will come up to him and say ‘Hey Peter.’ And he may not turn around and sort of [ignore them]… my response to them is to say ‘He can hear you. He’s just not tuned into you at the moment.’ I say ‘He’ll come around later.’ And sort of ‘Oh that’s fine.’ So they don’t get too fussed about it.
Bobby (father of 2 children, 1 with autism): They see Peter as, basically, he likes to do his own thing sometimes. And they usually go and participate. And that’s when Peter will start engaging with the children. Umm, however, once Peter gets involved or the kids get Peter involved, then basically they really adapt to Peter and there’s this pleasant nature that he has, as a child.
Jane (mother of 2 children, 1 with Asperger’s): The kids do look out for him and they do try and encourage him. And when he wants to he’ll participate in the game, you know, on his own terms. But then when he’s had enough, he might pull back.
Sharon: Peter’s kindergarten, they read the story All Cats Have Asperger’s. And they try to give them an understanding, even at such a young age. And so what I like to think is that if we build this awareness and we build this understanding, what this does is builds children’s ability to be more tolerant.