Consumer Reporting
17 Months

Mad Skillz

Social skills are still a struggle for Noah. "Social skills" being probably the most vague and imprecise bucket of Early Intervention nonsense we have come across so far. People hear "social skill problems" and immediately assume that Noah hits or bites or plays roughly or...I don't. Spits and hisses, like he's spent his life locked in a closet. So when those people meet him, all charming and bubbly and eager to please, they wonder what in sam hill we're talking about. "Social skill problems. My ass. That I just farted out of. Loudly. In an elevator. NOW who's got 'SOCIAL SKILL PROBLEMS'?"

So...yeah, it's not exactly something that makes a lot of sense the first time you meet Noah. Especially if you're an adult. It's subtle. It's more of an inability to connect with peers. Other children. (Someone once sent me a link to a blog entry they wrote about dyspraxia being a "social planning disorder" in addition to motor planning and it was absolutely perfect and I cannot for the life of me find the link now.) Noah likes the IDEA of other kids, but not much else. Mostly he just wants to go to their houses and play with their toys. Over here, by himself. You go over there and do something else, preferably something that will allow him to keep 10 feet of personal space at all times. Independent or parallel play, but no cooperative play. No turn-taking, no engagement, blah dee bleep bloop blah go the assessments. Questions like "what is your name?" or "how old are you?" are not things he knows to ask -- hell, getting him to answer those questions is still a crapshoot. He gets anxious and unnerved around groups, easily annoyed by any inadvertent bumping or touching, tantrums when another child wants things done slightly different from him, is apt to wander away mid-conversation and avoid eye contact and generally just seems painfully aware of how painfully awkward the whole thing is. 

But oh, he's definitely improving. The private school, in particular, has been AMAZING at helping us with the more vague big-picture sort stuff like this. (The public school basically classifies social skills as "HITS, IS TROUBLE" or "DOESN'T HIT, THEREFORE FINE.") I've seen the improvements. I've written about the improvements!

Here is another improvement:

There's a slightly older boy who lives next door. I don't really know how old he is -- they're a diplomat family, the mother doesn't speak very much English and/or seems terrifyingly shy. Every morning she takes her son to the main bus stop around the corner where all the kids from the public elementary school get picked up, and most mornings she's just returning as Noah's bus picks him up right at our door before taking him to the exact same school. She wonders what's up with that, I can tell, but she doesn't ask. Her son is probably first or second grade, at least.

Sometimes the boy comes outside and joins Noah on his scooter. He's got a bigger, faster one, but slows down to indulge Noah's attempts to keep up with him. Noah refused to ask his name at first, but instead shrieked "LITTLE BOY! COME BACK HERE LITTLE BOY!" after him until I finally asked him myself.

"Noah talks funny," he said to Jason a few days ago, but he didn't seem too bothered by it.

Yesterday, after school, I was unloading Noah and Ezra from the car and told Noah he could play outside for a bit, since the weather was so nice. "Maybe your  friend will come out and join you," I suggested, gesturing at their front door.

Noah had a better idea. He walked up to their house and knocked on the door. Then he turned back to me, terrified. What had he done? What was he supposed to do now? He looked like he was about to turn and flee when the little boy came to door and opened it.

Noah stood there, completelysilent, while I watched from back on the sidewalk, wondering how much coaching I was supposed to provide. After what felt like hours but was probably seconds, Noah pointed at the boy's scooter parked in their foyer, then back at himself.

"Okay," the little boy said. "Let me ask my mom."

He emerged with his helmet on a few minutes later and they were off. He attempted to teach Noah how to play tag but goodnaturedly let it drop when it was clear Noah didn't understand how to play. They took a break and sat side by side on the curb for awhile, chatting about something I couldn't quite hear. 

Ezra was hungry, so we came inside and I kept poking my head out the door or window, chewing on my fingers and generally not really knowing whether it was okay to let Noah be and unsupervised, just out there on the sidewalk. I started to head back outside when I heard Noah ask the question:

"Do you want to come to my house and play?"

"Okay," the little boy said. "Let me ask my mom."

She arrived a minute or so later, struggling to explain that she needed to go pick up her husband, so actually if he could stay with us for 20 minutes or so, that would be really helpful. I assured her that it was fine.


The boys marched down to the basement and Noah stopped on the stairs and looked back at me. "You keep Ezra up there. Not down here. This is my friend." 

I know, Noah. I know!



Holy, crap, awesome. Congratulations to Noah. A friend! How lovely.


This made me cry...I am so happy for you and for Noah!


The only times I cry at blog posts are when I am laughing too hard, and when people announce the birth of babies. This was like a birth announcement.

Sounds like it was a great moment. :)


this post made me cry - i'm so happy for you and so proud of Noah!



Kate @ And Then I Was a Mom

If I lived closer, I'd so buy you and Noah a round of chocolate milk, on the houe. Yay, yay, and yay.



*high-fives the internet*


Oh dear Lord - how awesome. And while we want brothers to play together, it is so blessedly normal that he'd make sure you knew Ezra wasn't invited to this party.


How wonderful for your son Noah - what a huge step he has made with the support of that amazingly intuitive little boy next door. Those first real friendships a child makes enable them to just grow in confidence exponentially, so this is a landmark day for your son. You must be so proud of him. A special day indeed.


It is just so awesome to watch the progress that he is making Amy! Reading him figuring it all out, and rejoicing in himself, is just womnderful. Go Noah Go!


* i know the feeling and just YAY!


oh, look. you just made me cry. again! but oh, amy, i am so happy for all of you. noah's progress is just amazing. so very amazing.


Do you know how much I want to print this and put it on my fridge?!?

Seriously- my 4 yr old, dx'd on the spectrum, SPD, CAS (apraxic), blah blah- we're the same way. Adults think he is just wonderful- so polite, such great eye contact, yah yah yah. Then get him with peers and its its its....just like you described.

I'm so happy for Noah. And for you. This made me almost cry and I cannot WAIT for the day my little guy has his first Friend.

Thanks for sharing.


Tears. You know. Both at Noah's leaps and bounds, AND at the other boy's acceptance of Noah just as he is. So very wonderful. :)


I think I was the dork who sent you to the link. :) I switched blogs, but put the post back up for ya. (linked in the url thingy)

Noah rocks. :)


Awesome! Really, really great. I've got a huge smile on my face right now.


Awesome! Really, really great. I've got a huge smile on my face right now.


That is so fabulous!!


You totally made me cry. Oh Noah, so proud of you kiddo.

ccr in MA

Oh, how wonderful. I'm so happy for you both!


That is so incredibly awesome! I'm glad Noah has made a friend!

Anna S.

Oh, wow, another Noah story that made me flutter my hands and almost cry. So sweet.


That is so amazing!!


I am totally crying. This is awesome.


I hope someday, when Noah is old enough to understand our comments, he can come to an entry like this and read about how awesome everyone else in the world thinks he is.

Are you listening, future Noah? We think you ROCK.

chatty cricket


Heather Ben

Awesome! I'm so proud of him!

Heather Ben

Awesome! I'm so proud of him!


Hooray to you Noah! I am rooting for you!


Wow. Just Wow. Your journey may not be the one you planned, but isn't it awesome?


tears. in my eyes. Awesome!


Misty eyed for sure...


Tearing up happy tears here, because I so understand it. All of it.

Go, Noah!


oh my gosh! I am tearing up!


Yay Noah! I love how you capture these moments and make us all cheer along with you. I'm so proud of that little guy and I don't even KNOW him! So awesome.


*sniffle* Yay Noah!!


I remember you said you used the It Takes Two to Talk information when Noah was beginning to talk. They have a newer program called Talkability that teaches parents how to teach children how to initate, maintain, and end interactions with peers. Check it out!


That is incredibly sweet. Good for Noah! Good for the little neighbour boy too. There are many 6/7 year old boys (believe me, I know a LOT of them) who would absolutely not deign to play with somebody who was a little younger. I hope you will find a way to let the mother know how nice it is that her son is so accepting and kind. You should both be proud of your boys.


As a mom and an aunt to a precious 4 year old little boy with a similiar cluster of traits, I am so tickled by Noah's accomplishment that I absolutely had to comment! Congrats to you, and, most importantly, to Noah! What fabulous, amazing, awesome day for all of you!


I feel like I could have written at least the first half of this post. It's scary.

Bachelor Girl

Oh, Amy. This story made my heart swell to eight times its normal size.

(In a good way. Not in an enlarged-heart sort of way.)


Dude, that is freaking awesome.


Gah! I cried. Am crying.

Way to be, Noah.


That is just so beyond beautiful. Kids simply amaze me.

Tears. Real and true tears.


Yay for Noah! OMG it bring tears to my eyes to read the progress he's made. I'm so happy for both you and Noah. He's such a special little boy. :)


Crying over here. What a great story, and a GREAT kiddo. How wonderful!


YAY NOAH! (Sorry for the allcaps there.)

But again, YAY NOAH!!!


Aren't they just fantastic! My son, who is autistic, received his first phone call last night from a beautiful boy with Asperger's. The other little guy just blabbed for ten minutes about Thomas and Diesel and my boy repeated most words he said, two seconds after being spoken, thanks to echolalia. But damn I cried. A phone call!! A friend! Beautiful kids indeed.


I think this is my most favorite post of yours EVER. LOVE it!


This is so amazing! I shall now perform a happy dance. I babysit a boy has his own set of "issues" and it is always so amazing to see him grow and learn and be awesome. Congrats Noah!


This is so so so awesome! I am so happy for Noah and HIS friend! So cool, so cool.


Oh! You made me cry. I know the joy you are feeling, Amy. Good for him! So happy for you guys.

bethany actually

It's my birthday today. I'm considering this post a present to me, because oh, how wonderful! :-)

Lady M

You capture these moments so beautifully. Go Noah!

Sharon Heg

Coming out of lurkerdom to help you celebrate the absolute and total AWESOMENESS! You GO, Noah!


Amazing. All of it.


oh my goodness. i love this.

also, i might need noah to give me lessons. making friends is hard! well done, little man.



That's the most awesomest thing EVER!

Go Noah!


SO WONDERFUL!!! So proud of Noah! and what a great little boy that neighbor sounds like!


How absolutely wonderful! Love love love the news!

korin Rasmussen

De lurking to say hooray! I'm themother of Ruby, a 3.5 yr old spectrum kid... and this reminds me that days like this will come, some day.
Way to go Noah... he IS your friend, and he won't be your last.

Mary Jo

*SOB* omg what a wonderful day for Noah. Seriously awesome.


Ha, I seem to recall that I had "social skills" like that when I was a kid too.

I've more or less figured out how to behave by now, but still wonder how what I remember as an endlessly miserable childhood would have been different if I'd had actual help instead of my mom just telling me to make friends and play nice all the time. I didn't really "get it" until a few years into my 20s.


Awesome. The thing that I've learned is that when you have a child with an illness or delay sometimes it's the most everyday normal things, the things they just can't do that every other kid half their age does that seem like the biggest achievements. And I'm so happy that things are getting better for Noah and for you.


I'm crying now. So happy for you and Noah.

Having a kid who is not talking (much)and playing next to other kids at the age of 3 and a half, I sometimes worry about the whole friend-thing in the future.


WOW what a wonderful moment that must have been!

I just came over from so havent read anything but this latest post, but i just had to comment (and im generally a non commenter even on blogs i read regularly)


Yes, tears.








Awesome. Just awesome. He is doing great.


I am so proud of that kid! I'm sure he was so stinkin proud of himself too. He deserves to be...and you do too!


This story just made me feel good about the world. Yay for Noah!


I read all the time but rarely comment but I had to tell ya that your post brought a tear to my eye this morning!! There is something about when your child makes a friend that is so special. Special for you that they are out of your hair and special for them because you know that they are happy!! By the way I love ya!!!!!!!! Keep up the awesome work!


OH! I am squeeing with delight on your son's behalf! How wonderful!!


Yay Noah! Some day, I hope that boy next door reads this and realizes just what a wonderful thing he did, accepting Noah as he is so quickly. Enjoy the weekend!

Cheryl S.

Total goosebumps. Hooray for Noah! And hooray for the little boy who is perceptive enough to realize that Noah can still be his friend even if he "talks funny" and doesn't quite get the game of tag!!! Super hugs all around!


Go Noah! I'm repeating everything that's been said already. I am tearing up at work as well. I love the internet aunties comment. And Laney's comment that it feels strange to feel so proud and happy for the little boy whom I have never met. Go Amy!! It's great that you gave him the time to act instead of intervening! Great instincts!


This post actually brought tears to my eyes! You should be proud, Mama. You are doing a wonderful job with your precious boy!


WooHoo!!! I'm at work on the outside but cheering on the inside!!! Way to go, Noah!


Oh, Noah. Add me to the list of readers crying at my desk. Your beautiful, brillant boy!


I have to tell you, I think that the love and tenderness and compassion that you bleed with every word you write about Noah and the way you and Jason have approached learning about his journey and what he needs are what parenting must be all about. Everything you write, while it is so clear that he is making progress every day, I think the more subtle undertone is that you are also learning from him as you all go through this together. And I think THAT is what makes me choke up a little (in a good way) every time I read one of these posts.


Wow. How cool that he has a FRIEND! And right next door! That is too cool. Good for him for making that huge leap. Way to go, Noah!


Oh, I forgot. Yay for having such a great kid next door who is patient and kind to a younger kid. This also says something about your neighbors.


Wow! Check him out!
If I'm tearing up and doing a little clap at reading about it, I can only imagine how ecstatic you were to witness this.


I know you get tons of comments and are really busy but I am hoping you can take aminute to help me out. Noah and my son have so many of the same issues, I have been reading you for several years and had many of the same experiences. My son is in the process of being evaluated and diagnosed. The psychologist already told me she thinks it is autism. But I am wondering about SPD... can you email me some links or let me know the books that you feel helped you the most with figuring out what was up with Noah?

I am struggling with second guessing myself and trying to come to terms with all that is going on with my son. I could use some resources that are really a HELP and not just confusing.

Thank you for ANY help you can send my way.


so happy. just....happy.


God bless his little heart. Big fat crocodile tears are rolling down my face this morning. I'm so happy for you both!!


OMG, that is AWESOME!!!! WTG Noah, you rock :)


Tears! What a lovely, lovely little boy you have.


Oh how awesome! Yay Noah!!!

Elyse Crawford


Dorothea Richards

I'm so excited for Noah! And for you. I'm sitting here at my desk at work and just smiling - there's nothing like a good Noah story to start off my day.

bad penguin

Hooray for Noah and his friend!


Man, I got teary-eyed reading this. I can't even imagine how great you must feel :)


I was crying happy tears by the end of the post! "This is *my friend*" OOOHHHH! So great!


Oh Yay!! Just. yeah, yay! Go Noah!


I am so proud of him. My heart swelled with pride hearing this story. I barely avoided tears! Way to go, Noah!

Springsteen fan

Thanks for this post, Amy. So, so glad. More good times to come, I hope. Lots more.


Happy Fists to Noah!

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