My oldest son, Logan, is on the Autism Spectrum and children on the spectrum have a really hard time making friends. They are socially delayed and typically don't understand social cues that everyone else seems to understand naturally. For example; looking a person in the eye, asking a question to keep the conversation going or simply greeting the person you know when you see them.
We continue to work on these social cues year after year. Hoping that someday he'll make a friend and want to have playdates like his younger brother does with his friends. We found a community for Logan in a very unexpected place: Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments. A local comic book store hosts Yu-gi-oh tournaments every month and the room is packed with (mostly) boys of various ages who enjoy playing Yu-gi-oh.
This is where my son can shine in his Autism! It's okay that he's rattling off stats of various cards to everyone who sits in front of him, they want to hear it! It's alright that he isn't looking them in the eye because they are playing a game that requires you to look at your cards. He can stand when everyone else is sitting, he can walk on his toes, he can chew on his tongue...none of this matters because he is playing a game that the room of kids are interested in playing. And for once no one notices his Autism. Several times I have observed my son in this environment and welled up with tears because finally after so many "failed" experiences in extra-curricular activities that he couldn't do or wasn't coordinated enough or didn't have the attention span for.... finally he fits in! I have such gratitude for this amazing little community, the open-mindedness of the kids who attend and for the owners of the store for creating this very welcoming environment!
If you live in Maryland check out the Dream Wizards store.