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Autism tolerance and a 4 year old

My husband's best friend has a little girl who is going to evaluated for autism. The little girl, sarah, is three and a half and acts like a 2 year old. She doesn't interact or play with other kids including my 4 year old and has other symptoms as well. My 4 year old spends a lot of time with her because her dad babysits for us often. Last night my four year informed me she doesn't like sarah and doesn't want to play with her anymore. I asked her why and if anything happened and she said no, she just doesn't like her. I have suspected that sarah may have autism for a while so I have always reminded my daughter to play nice and share because sarah plays a little different than her. I reminded my daughter of that last night too but she just said I want to take a nap when they are here so I don't have to play. I told her that was rude and she was not going to do that. I understand why my daughter doesn't want to play with sarah, she doesn't share, she doesn't play, and she whines and cries a lot, but I don't want her to think it' s okay to not play with her. I do not know how to explain autism to my 4 year old and make her more tolerable of sarah and other's with disabilities. Any advice how to deal with this.

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Asked by lilysmom2607 at 5:04 PM on Apr. 7, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 17 (3,406 Credits)
Answers (2)
  • Well, that's really tough. I would tell her that Sarah is a very special friend because she is a little different, not bed different, just not always like her. She, unlike your DD is still learning how to do things like share, take turns and talk with other kids about fun things. Tell her this other little girls needs a good kid teacher to teach her how do these things. Encourage games that force interaction or are good parallel play games like bubbles, building blocks, coloring, watching a movie together. Explain to her that she can be a helper for Sarah.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 5:09 PM on Apr. 7, 2011

  • As the mom of a 4 year old daughter with Autism, I am so pleased that there are sensitive parents like you who are trying to teach your kid how to be a good and understanding person. That said, I wouldn't force your daughter to play with Sarah. Keep communicating about it, but let her read a book or play alone sometimes. Sarah will probably grow to be more and more social and your daughter will grow to understand better. I like the previous poster's point about being a kid teacher. That is good, but I'm sure no kid wants that responsibility all the time. All in all, don't let your daughter be rude, but don't force it.

    Answer by Hazelnutkin at 5:31 PM on Apr. 7, 2011

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