Given all the difficulties the Asperger’s Disorder child has when he plays with others, parents often ask if it might be better to simply avoid play dates. If he plays alone, he won’t have social conflicts, be rejected, or suffer frustration and anger outbursts that often occur when he has a playmate. While this is certainly true and will make life easier for you and your child in the present time, it will deprive your child of the necessary experiences to develop social skills.
You can try to teach him all the social skills in the world, but nothing can teach social skills better than direct experience playing with peers. Children learn how to get along with others by actually interacting with them, observing their reactions, and modifying their behavior to fit the situation. Through trial and error children learn what works to get along with others and what gets you rejected.
Your Asperger’s Disorder child will surely experience social problems and rejection. As difficult as it is to see this happen, it is best to resist your protective instincts to keep your child alone. Instead there are ways that you can be protective during play dates while helping him to increase his play and social skills.