Social skills deficits are one of the main symptoms or markers of autism disorders.
It seems that kids in the high-functioning area may or may not be more or less socially inclined. I think the range goes something like: some seem to not care that other people are in their world, some care but mainly want other people to stay out of their way, and others care but just can't relate.
In other words, I thought my son seemed like he DID care what others think of him and how they respond to him, and he usually looks around for his brother and sister when he's ready to go outside to play. He may not be great at some of the nuances of communication: sarcasm, nonverbal signs, facial expressions, eye contact, etc., but he does want social contact.
Or so I thought.
This week at camp; however, the kids made a craft that caused me to pause and think that perhaps he doesn't want so much socializing after all.
They made doorknob hangers for their bedroom doors.
Big Brother' s had a "go" sign on one side and he had written "Welcome. Come On in."
On the other side, he drew a "stop" sign and wrote, "Do not disturb. This is quiet time."
Sister's doorknob sign was colorful, as usual, and had "Do not disturb" on one side and "Welcome" on the other.
ASD son had written, "Come in. DO NOT DISTURB" on one side. On the other he drew the red-circle-with-line-through NO symbol containing his brother's and sister's names and wrote "NO" and "KEEP OUT!"
He had his sister's name in the NO symbol twice. Hhmmm.... So, if he's in a mood for company, they can come in as long as they don't get in the way, and if he's not in the mood for company, they had best just stay clear of the door altogether.
Maybe we need to work on reciprocal play skills a little more.