I took Ava to a birthday party today. Her two friends, a set of twin boys, turned 2. They are the cutest little guys — I just want to squeeze them every time I see them. Both are so smart, and so loving. And they dig Elmo big time.
We went to one of those huge kiddie party places – complete with hundreds of screaming toddlers, a sand pit, baby dolls, a kitchen set up, a fake grocery store, slides, a Habit-trail type maze and little cars and ride-on toys.
Ava was fine for the first half hour — although she kept putting the fake fruits and vegetables in her mouth. She went down the slide a few times. She played with baby dolls and the kitchen set. I toyed with the idea of putting her in the sand pit, but I knew most of it would end up in her mouth or her socks. No thanks!
After about forty-five minutes, Ava started to withdraw. I noticed that Ava does not tantrum, she withdraws. She gets very quiet and just wants to be held and be hugged. She did not want to walk around anymore or play, she wanted us to hold her and squeeze her tight. It was a rainy day and there were a lot of people there.
Ava does not eat pizza, so I gave her a lunch of snap peas, ravioli, olives and fruit. She would not drink out of a cup, so I gave her a sippy cup of water. Ava had a hard time sitting in her chair and was constantly sliding down.
We left shortly after we ate, which was fine because we needed to go home for Ava’s 1pm therapy session. What disturbed me was, I noticed that Ava is becoming more and more anti-social. I always took comfort in the fact that Ava loved children. She loves to run up to kids, hold their hands, hug them and walk with them. She sometimes stims when she sees a kid she likes — opens her mouth wide and tenses her fists. But now children are invisible to her. I had a playdate two weeks ago with another little girl and Ava barely looked at her.
I wonder she is losing her socialization or she is reacting to the incidents where we’ve had to steer her away from children (mostly parents) who did not welcome her friendliness. A few weeks ago at nursery school, a bratty kid stole a toy from Ava and another little rat would not let Ava hold her hand. A few other kids ran away from Ava when she went near them. At a restaurant, a few weeks ago, I had to guide Ava away from a little boy whose parents looked disapprovingly when Ava approached their son. At nursery school the other mothers do not encourage their kids to play with Ava. I can’t help but think Ava feels that she is not supposed to go near children.
The other part of me thinks she is regressing socially. The last holdout of normalcy is leaving her. I know she is advancing in other areas, but to lose socialization is critical. Her therapist suggested that I have a playdate with a therapist present so we can guide Ava into socialization and encourage her to acknowledge other children. I am going to try a playdate — and hope Ava regains her social skills.
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