It's hard watching Hassaan doing a group activity with other kids. Inevitably, he does not participate with the other kids - he'll end up off by himself, quietly going about whatever it is he wants to do. He's not upset or seemingly saddened by this, but it saddens me because I see the fun that all the other kids - including Hammad - have with each other, but then there's Hassaan over by himself.
We went tobogganing today with a friend and her kids. There were six boys in total, ages 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The five and six year olds were mine, the one, four and eight year olds were hers, and the seven year old she was babysitting. At the snow hill (which was huge, by the way, to the point it was actually broken into three hills - low, medium and high) the kids pretty much all didn't play with each other. Well, the one year old stayed with us grown ups anyway. The four, seven and eight year olds mostly stayed together as they were sharing two sleds between the three of them. Hammad talked to the others but pretty much just kept going up and down, sticking near us. And then there was Hassaan, who went here and there, quietly going up and down, going to the very highest point and then speedily bouncing down the hill over all three levels to the bottom where he looked so small from where we were mid-way between top and bottom (and I swear this child has no sense of self preservation at the speeds he was going). But sledding is, for all intents and purposes, an individual activity, especially when your sled is really a saucer that can't fit more than you. The part that saddened me was afterwards.
When we had reached the point that fists were being thrown between the other three, Hammad looked exhausted and the baby's fingers were cold, we decided to call it a day and go to McDonald's. I wish this McDonald's had a playland, but alas, it does not. It does have a couple of video games, though, so we went there so the kids would be inside and could play together. Hammad played with the other boys, moreso after the seven year old's mom came and picked him up. But Hassaan didn't even really approach the other boys maybe more than twice. He didn't talk to them, didn't interact with them, it was as if they weren't even there. In fact, I'm pretty sure that, yet again, in Hassaan's world, they weren't there at all. He's teacher says his social skills are improving, but quite frankly, I'm not seeing that in the rest of his life. And in fact, the kids who his social skills are improving with he's been in class with since September of 2009. It's now January of 2011. And it's taken this long (because in November his social skills were still an issue - they're just now "improving") for him to talk to or even acknowledge their presence beyond one or two kids. And one of those kids he's known since they were both in preschool together from the age of two - so "improving social skills" doesn't really count with "No-mi" because they've been together for four years now.
What I see is a child who doesn't interact with people at all. Not in the same "very shy doesn't interact." We all know a child like that - who looks wistfully at the group of kids she wants to play with from behind her mum's legs but it too shy to go over and say hi and play with them. No - with Hassaan, he doesn't even acknowledge they're there, and when he does, his behaviour can be so odd that they then just look at him like he's nuts and continue on with what they're doing.
Hassaan's teacher thinks he might have Aspergers. Sometimes I think she's right.
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