You have likely heard the term "social butterfly" which is commonly used to describe a person who is socially savvy and who participates in many social groups and settings. If we think about the life cycle of a butterfly, we can consider that becoming a social butterfly is a part of a more complex process of learning and development. A butterfly is first an egg, then a caterpillar, then is encased in a cocoon or chrysalis before emerging as a beautiful, graceful, creature that easily and freely soars from place to place. Butterflies are unique with various colors, patterns, and designs. They can either blend in or stand out in their environment. Butterflies are also essential to pollination and the overall life cycle of their environment.
Now consider the social life cycle of a person with Autism. They too do not often start out as a socially savvy being and rather navigate through a process of learning and development as they move toward becoming their best social self. However, through frequent and varied social opportunities, the person with Autism slowly changes and grows as they become more socially aware, learn social cues and social norms, and practices new skills within peer interactions at school, at home, in the community, and later at work and other in important social relationships.
When we are patient, we may see the eventual development of a beautiful butterfly. When we are patient, supportive, and creative with a person with Autism, we will also see the development of a skilled social butterfly ready to move within a variety of social settings to establish and maintain friendships and other important social relationships.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!