to think my friend's son may need more help than she's willing to admit?(16 Posts)
I will start this off by saying I am in no way experienced with SEN or autism, behavioral disorders or ANYTHING, so I am 100% happy to be told I'm way off base and to mind my own.
My friend's son is 5. We have boys around the same age, I've known her since they were babies. They've always been very different, but as they've grown older the differences have become more apparent. I've been suspecting that there's something going on, undiagnosed, with her son for a couple of years but I've never said anything since a family member of hers did and she became very upset and defensive. I just supported her and decided not to say anything.
A few examples are;
He doesn't talk much. When he does his speech is slightly slurred.
He won't answer direct questions, he will look at the floor and hum when he's spoken to directly.
He doesn't make eye contact with anyone, including his mum.
He keeps his eyes half closed all the time, peering only at things through his lashes.
He doesn't like walking into buildings, he stiffens and has to be dragged over the threshold and gets very upset.
He has food issues. He won't eat wet food, anything mushy. His diet mainly consists of bread and ham, and plain pasta that has been patted dry.
There are other things too.
I'm posting this now because he started school last year and his teacher has raised concerns recently at a parents evening, but my friend was adamant that he's just shy and there's nothing 'wrong' with him. And was really quite upset that anything was mentioned.
Does it sound as though he may need to see someone? And should I say something, or just mind my own business? She's asking my advice, and I'm not sure it's a good thing to lie and say I don't see it too anymore, because I do.
If she is asking for your advice then give it. Why lie? You won't help anyone that way
If you don't want to say something that directly says you think her DS has issues, can you suggest that any investigations/testing that the school wants to do wouldn't be a bad thing as it could help her DS with the issues arising from his "shyness"
She's asking for advice in a way that I know she won't be pleased if I say anything other than "he's fine, don't worry about it" if you see what I mean. She's gotten defensive, and a bit angry, whenever it's been mentioned in the past.
I just wanted to see if others saw anything that would concern them in my post before rocking the boat, tbh.
If the school has noticed it then they'll be keeping an eye. I would maybe say something non-committal about your not being qualified but if the school is raising it as an issue then maybe she should have s chat with them about their concerns? Only if she has directly asked you though. Otherwise, stay out of it. It sounds like the school have an eye on it - getting involved could just lead to upset.
The school haven't suggested testing yet, it was just a conversation at parents' evening along the lines of "do you have any concerns? only we've noticed blah blah..."
If she's asking your advice, and you think that there may be a problem, then maybe suggest to her that whether it is shyness or something different it might be good for her ds to have more support and a good way of accessing it might be to have him assessed by someone who knows about these things. Is the school offering to refer him, and to whom btw?
Can only say what I would do. I'm not an expert in this area but lots of experience with children.
I would say, "the school are not the first people to mention it to you, they are experts in child development and know that development varies widely but are still concerned, if you're honest with yourself there is something that needs addressing. It may be social anxiety or something else, but for your sons sake surely it makes sense to see what advice, help and support might be available to make his life as happy and easy as possible."
It's really difficult for a parent to face that their child might have difficulties in my experience. I knew with ds and dd before it was officially diagnosed but it still hurt anyway. Your friend may need time to let the school's concerns sink in.
You could suggest that she approaches her gp and discusses the school's concerns with them so that she can either be reassured or referred to a paediatrician for a more knowledgeable second opinion.
I do feel for her , it's probably her worst fear.
Don't lie , it isn't a lie to say you aren't experienced in anything like that but that the school will have the best interests of her son at heart.
You description does sound as though an assessment would be helpful .
I can understand why she's reacting how she is. She's probably scared and is maybe burying her head in the sand about it.
I think pp have given good advice in what to say to her about there being no harm in having him looked at to see if there was anything that could help with his shyness.
Gently guide her in the right direction to see a specialist and she may need support with what comes from that.
Yes I think stressing I have absolutely no idea, but trust the school, is the right thing rather than saying what I think she'll want to hear.
Thank you. It's tricky.
No one wants to be told their child has additional needs.
But, as a parent who is trying to get her child assessed, it's better to get it done because the support he needs can then be put in place. The problems don't go away, they become more marked as the child grows older and develops differently to their peer group.
Why not suggest she speaks to the school SENCO and offer to go with her for support. She can ask what help he needs to overcome his shyness in school and when the SENCO mentions other things you could gently say 'well it can't do any harm to get these things ruled out can it?'
My dd is 10 and her quirks Mark her out as very different from other 10 year olds. Five years ago you would struggle as an outsider to see a difference.
It does sound like your friends ds needs to at least see SALT but also an assessment for autism.
Reassure her it's not a bad thing. This is just who he is. But as he goes through school, having a diagnosis will open doors to support and extra help if it's needed.
I would ask her what answer she wants you to give.... an honest answer or a reassuring answer.
Frankly if she knows in her heart but is trying to deal with it herself a wishy washy answer isn't going to help much.
Yes I would want that investigating and quick. I have seen what difference the wrong or right support makes.
Feel for you OP, I have a friend who is similar re her ds who is same age as my ds. I just don't rock the boat, its not my concern, IMO her head is well and truly buried. I can only concentrate on my own children. At least, the DC also have a father, so my theory is at least if my friends view is skewed then the father can speak out.
My son has asd ( or asc the new title) there is help and support out there. However he needs the diagnosis.
I do find it hard with ds and like last night I was up all night as he was having one of his meltdowns.
The earlier he get diagnosed the sooner he can help he needs.
Perhaps say to your friend to have him tested just to shut everyone up.
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