I think the following is a good example of how a high-functioning child with ASD can really struggle.
Frances wanted to go to a classmate’s birthday party to which she had been invited because, in her own words, she doesn’t usually get invited to parties.
I worried about it beforehand for weeks because of her sensitivity to sound as well as her tendency to become overwhelmed by her environment in general. I was worried that any meltdown could put a damper on a little boy’s birthday party, too.
Yesterday, she went to the party. She participated in all of the laser tag games with the other attendees.
She stayed close to the father of the birthday celebrant during the games of tag, and close to me in the party room, and she seemed to have had a good time.
Unfortunately, the special vest worn during the laser game weighs about 5 lbs. — and it made Frances uncomfortable. Specifically, her shoulders were affected.
That’s all that she could focus on during the rest of the party, and she mentioned it to anyone who spoke to her.
I just kept redirecting her attention to whichever activity was occurring — emphasizing that we had to let her classmate enjoy his party — and that’s how we made it through to the end of the event.
All in all, I’d have to say that it was her first time making it all the way through a party, and she did well.
This morning, she didn’t want to go to school (no surprise) because of the discomfort in her shoulders — so, I kept her home for a couple of hours. She wasn’t happy to go, but I’ll know at the end of the day if she was able to get some enjoyment out of being there.