DS zones out when he's disinterested. This is fine if he's at home and needs to relax but a real problem when we're in company. He can completely blank people - doesnt even register they are talking to him unless you really make a big effort to get his attention. If something interests him he will come alive. I really wish he could at least pretend to be a bit interested when he's not. He really likes certain friends but realistically they're unlikely to want to hang around with someone who switches on and off. I dont know! Im just worrying so much about DS's social skills. His school keep saying they see big improvements in him in general but I wonder am i deluding myself believing them. I bring him to meet people and he will be excited about seeing them but then he goes off focusing on a stick or a puddle or something and paying the people only a bit of attention, if any. When we go home he will talk about what a good time he had with his friends even though he spent most of the time not playing with them.
I tried social stories and they work to a limited extent - maybe i should make a better effort with those. He just seems to really shut down and nothing can reach him - except something of interest to him. Sometimes i wonder is it a sensory thing. I find it hard to understand how he can be so focused and engaged and charming when he's interested in something - and then so distant at other times.
I know he may always need to zone out a bit but I'm wondering, as he gets older, will he be able to regulate this a bit when he's in company. I can't help him with social skills if he's so zoned out.
I just have this big fear about him being alone as he seems to like the idea of having friends but i dont see how he will be able to keep friends.
I would guess he's using it as a way to self-regulate which to me is a good thing, and not something I would try to overcome. As you say, when he's interested he engages socially, so he just needs to meet more interesting (to him) people and he'll find his friends.