My son has high functioning autism. His teacher this past year and the entire staff at the school has been wonderful. So supportive and accommodating. I feel like they truly care about his success and really want school to be a positive experience for him.

His IEP review is next week. I feel that his goals this past year were pretty much on target but I'd like to see more goals related to creating empathy, building personal relationships (he doesn't really have any friends and is very sad about that), and understanding and expressing his emotions. He often relies on high level emotions (happy, sad, mad, frustrated, calm) but cannot tell you why he feels that way.

At home and often at school, he likes to pretend he's something - a car, a truck, helicopter, barn cat, one of our dogs, our neighbor's cat. It becomes very hard for him to focus in school because he's pretending to be these things and behaving like them - making noises, hand gestures, attitude, facial expressions, etc. He knows that at school he has to be "him", not all these other things but reverts back to being a race car while in line in the hallways or at other times.

He also has a very myopic view of the world and cannot understand compromise. If the other kids don't want to play what he wants, he's unable to see their point of view and play what they want for a little bit in order to trade off and get them to play what he wants.

He's very literal. During one test, he was told to imagine that a friend came over to spend the night and wet the bed. The friend was very upset. What should he do? He started explaining step by step what the friend should do to clean up and what he should do the next night so his sleeping bag wouldn't get dirty.

These are all social skills and I know the school is going to want to focus on issues that are effecting his education. The noises and pretend characters keep him from focusing and distract other children so I know I can get them to include them.

I always struggle with finding ways to get them to support him socially and could use some insight and ideas if possible.

I think it's marvelous that you're offering this advice to the public. As a parent, I often feel like I'm my son's only advocate but I'm unable to articulate what he needs, only his deficiencies. It gets overwhelming. But I'm very, very fortunate to have such a supportive school for my son.

Thank you!