I have a 6 y.o. son with AS. He started Kindergarten (M,W and rotating F for full days) this year and for the most part has been doing pretty well. His biggest struggles are in the areas of social communication, transitions, emotional regulation and sensory.
Anyhow... At the start of the school year, when we would talk about recess time, he said he was playing with rocks and sticks. I encouraged him to ask to join other children in play or to play on the playground equipment. A few weeks into the year, he started playing with the "crew", a group of boys from his class. They were playing every day on one of those glider things were you hold onto a bar and slide across a rail.
For the past few days, when I have asked about recess he said he has been playing alone. I asked him why and he told me that the crew is playing on all different things now and making new crews. I suggested that he could ask one of his friends if they would like to play something else and he is totally stuck on the fact the whole crew has to play together on the glider, or they can't play together at all.
He attends a social skills group on Tuesday nights at a private facility. When I was picking him up last night, I asked the MHP's that run the group what their thoughts were. They asked him all the same questions that I did (yay! made me feel like I responded well to the situation!) and reminded him that if he wanted to play with friends on the playground, he might have to play what they want to play, not on the glider. Again, he got totally stuck.
His social skills MHPs are going to help me write a social story for him. I also have a call into his SLP at the school district. All of his speech goals are based upon his social communication. I am going to ask her if we can have someone help facilitate play at recess time for him. I really think it would be as easy as having a para give him the prompts to ask another friend or two to play together and having them decide what to play (not just the glider) just prior to go out. He is a very quick learner, so I don't think it would take too long for him to practice this skill and begin using it on his own.
In the meantime, it just breaks my heart. He is such a little social being, but just doesn't get how to play with others. I have a very strong suspicion that all his time spent with the crew was probably him engaging in parallel play. The other boys my like him just fine, but I doubt that he has made any connections.
Does anyone have any other wonderful suggestions for how to help him work through this? In the research that I have done, it is my understanding that building these social connections is so important at this age. I just so badly don't want to see him getting left behind on the playground because he doesn't have the skills to ask another kid to play.