Molly is an 8yo girl that lives in Union County, North Carolina. Join Molly and her friends, as they teach us about their differences and similarities. Each month will have a different disability focus.

Molly has a friend named Ryan. Sometimes she goes to Ryan’s house to play.

Ryan has a younger brother named Daniel. Daniel has autism.

Daniel wants to play with Molly, too, but Molly isn’t sure how to play with Daniel. He does not always like to do the same things as Molly. Sometimes he is loud. Sometimes he gets mad. Sometimes he does not understand what Molly and Ryan are playing. He makes them play something else.

Molly decided to ask Daniel’s mom for help.

“Mrs. Dermid, I want to play with Ryan AND Daniel, but it is hard. I don’t know how to have fun with both of them. Can you help me?”

Here are some things Mrs. Dermid said:

1. Be Patient. Sometimes it takes longer for Daniel to understand what you just said. If you talk too fast or rush him, he may get confused and upset.

2. Say what you mean. If you say, “That’s cool,” Daniel may think you mean the thing is actually cold. It can be hard for him to understand words that mean more than one thing. Choose words that are not confusing.

3. Find things to do that you both like. Daniel does not like playing pretend. He thinks it is strange for a little boy to say he is a dog, or a little girl to say she is a Mommy. Daniel likes to do activities. He likes to run. He likes to swing. He likes to build with blocks and Legos. Daniel likes to play with toys like trains and cars.

4. Sometimes things are too loud, or too big, or too cold, or too dark for Daniel. Kids with autism sometimes think things are “too much”, even when it does not bother you. If Daniel is getting upset, think about if what you are playing may be “too much” of something.

5. If Daniel gets upset during a game, you can give him the choice to calm down, or to quit playing. If he stays upset, you can walk away. He may need some time to calm down by himself.

That afternoon, Molly and Ryan and Daniel all played together. They built houses and cars out of Legos.

Later, Daniel went outside to swing by himself. Molly and Ryan stayed inside and stomped around the Lego houses, pretending to giants.

Everyone had a fun time.