Year 7 with Aspergers struggling to make friends

(20 Posts)
Tiggles Wed 25-Sep-13 20:41:16

He's been in tears about it tonight. His best friend went with him to secondary but has now made more friends(they were inseparable friends for years in primary, once they finally made friends in year 3). He is eating his lunches on his own, outside.
When they had to choose partners at a wellbeing day last week, he had to go with the teacher.
I've suggested choir as he likes singing, but apparently its closed to new members (and he's been too scared to go before now).
I've suggested he goes to the special needs room as they have a bolt hole there, but he is too scared to go in on his own. He's worried there will be noone from his year there, so he still won't be able to make friends.

He was so enthusiastic for the first week or so, and now he is fading away again, like when he started primary and completely lost his self esteem and had to be home-edded for a year to get it back.

I've already had to contact the school as he is having massive panic attacks about bringing the right books in and out of school. They are very helpful but I don't want to come across as a complaining mother! I know they can't help him make friends, but would they be able to help in some way?

Oh bless him! DS2 has AS and has just started Y7 too. He seemed to have no shortage of friends in the first week, but keeping them has been a bit more tricky. sad

Tiggles Wed 25-Sep-13 21:02:17

sad oh dear.
I always feel its easier for DS2 who has high functioning autism and just doesn't realise that he should have friends.

boschy Wed 25-Sep-13 21:24:15

oh poor baby, I would keep going into the school - tutor? head of year? - they should be able to help. ours does peer mentoring, Y12s look out for lost Y7s (my DD1 is about to start being one) does that exist at your school?

if not, ask whether whoever runs the clubs he might be interested in could come and find him at break/lunch to take him to the right place - would that help?

boschy Wed 25-Sep-13 21:25:01

oops, posted too soon. also talk to SENCO? if they know he has AS they will want to make his life as easy as possible I am sure.

Tiggles Wed 25-Sep-13 21:29:02

Thanks Boschy I think that would help smile

I think part of the problem is he that his last school was very small and he really thrived, they were so good at dealing with his difficulties (eg talking him out from under desks) that they just didn't see them as problems anymore. So the primary has sent a glowing report on to the secondary and there hasn't been any transition put in place that the Ed Psych said would be necessary. I saw the SENCO in the induction week and she hadn't even got him on her list at that point.

MorningHasBroken Wed 25-Sep-13 21:33:45

DH is head of year 7 and would very much want you to talk to him about it, as much as you needed to. Much rather that than have kids (and parents) putting a brave face on whilst getting more and more upset. He would prob try and get your son into the choir - even if he had to bend the rules - and also perhaps find him a buddy that would take him into the special needs room, or failing that get the teachers in there to take him in some lunchtimes to get used to it. He would also notify all the other staff members so they could monitor it in lessons.

Are there any other clubs - dsd goes to a Science club at lunch, dss used to go to 'homework club' on occasion, there are often IT, chess etc he could perhaps try out?

Tiggles Wed 25-Sep-13 21:42:23

Thanks Morning, that is helpful to know.
I don't really know what clubs there are, or when they are, I guess even knowing that would be useful, as he is too scared to ask.
I've just sent an email to his teacher.

boschy Wed 25-Sep-13 22:10:14

ah right, in that case you need to get the SENCO on side ASAP. go in with the Ed Psych report, and ask what they can do to help him, and can they do it NOW please. also get his teacher on side - say you want to talk to the SENCO and also ask for list of clubs so you and he can have a look together and see what he might like to do.

Tiggles Wed 25-Sep-13 22:25:57

smile That makes a lot of sense.
I feel a lot more positive about it now.

livvylove13 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:44:14

Cadets. Sea Cadets if year 7 they can join from 10 years. My DSS has Aspergers. He was bullied very badly at middle school and at 13 was constantly crying he had no friends.

I said you are joing the cadets and choose, He chose air cadets. Found the details on the site. We spoke to his mum and of her went. He is now 15. Studying for GCSE and doing D of E and studying for cadey leadership exams.

Loves it has improved his social skills no end. Has learnt to do things he doent like. loves the rewards he gets from cadets,. His grades at school have improved and he is now a lot more confident. Give it a try its worth it in the long run.

Dededum Thu 26-Sep-13 18:07:29

My ASD son is now in year 8. The school were so helpful and really wanted to know what they could do to help him. Lots of school rules were broken/ignored to give him the support he needed.
DS1 does clubs every lunchtime and rarely goes outside - heaven for him grin

Tiggles Thu 26-Sep-13 18:58:50

Thanks both. I'll definitely look into cadets, I think he may like that.
School have been so helpful today, already put several things in place for him. Such a breathe of fresh air!

BlogOnTheTyne Fri 27-Sep-13 08:26:23

Just a sympathy post really, LittleMissGreen, as DT2 has Asperger's traits and by the end of the first few weeks in Yr7 had lost every single one of the friends he'd had since age 7 and some since age 4! He went into the same class as 2 best friends and they rapidly formed a twosome and excluded him and have now acquired on the of the new children in a trio - leaving DT2 out.

DT2 is now in Yr8 and has been amazing in trying to form new friends with some of the new-to-yr7 children. He goes to various lunctime clubs with them even though their interests are completely different from his own.

My heart breaks every time he mentions that his 2 ex best friends have exclused him/ not spoken to him for weeks but he seems to be rallying well and I'm pleased he's 'got' the thing about doing joint activities alongside other children can help you to feel they're friends. This'll help him in the future.

He doesn't really count the new acquaintances as friends as there's been no going round to their houses or them coming to us or anything outside of school. When I've suggested having one over, he refuses as he says he wouldn't know what to do with them.

It's v hard as in juniors, I could arrange playdates and I'd get to know the other mums and I believed DT2 would be friends for life with the other children from before. But I think in Yr 7 all the children are changing so quickly and you can't force friendships and he realised he didn't have much in common with his old friends anyway - although he doesn't with his new ones either sadly.

I've talked with the school and they've been sympathetic but there's only a certain amount they can do at this age and stage without trying to force artificial friendships. The thing that's helped the most is he now has 2 named children he sits with at lunch and goes to some activities with at lunchtimes (activities are/were key to helping him feel less left out). That's all he needed really - just an anchor point.

I'd definitely push for your DS to join lunchtime activities and try to get them to let him into choir too. Good luck. It's SO hard at this age and beyond as you feel like there's less you can do to help in a proactive way.

mumslife Fri 27-Sep-13 20:02:17

Feel for you. My son has aspergers and has just started year seven. I think the primary didnt do him no favours by the glowing report they sent. Secondary is very different from primary and they need to be on the radar as it were. Our school runs clubs purely for those with aspergers etc and my son has been going to some of these and enjoying them as well as other clubs for everyone as well. I would urge you to speak to your senco asap there is lots they can and should do

mumslife Fri 27-Sep-13 20:04:20

To add is your son into minecraft always a winner with other year sevens. Our senco even runs a lego club for yr sevens on the spectrum

LocalSchoolMum Sat 28-Sep-13 00:08:37

Definitely, stay positive. DS with ASD took a long time to make new friends, but eventually he did and I would say they are true friends.
He also has a couple of online friends that he met through minecraft in Year 7 and they still meet online now he's in Year 11, I think they even sometimes still play minecraft!

basildonbond Sat 28-Sep-13 07:16:46

Ds2 is in Y9 now and I've realised he has a different definition of friendship to me (has Asperger's/dyspraxia). He only ever has one boy round, very occasionally, and that's organised by me or the other boy's mum (they've known each other since ds was in y2 and his friend was in y1). He has made some new friends in school - other geeky boys - and he plays steam games with them online but even though one of them lives very close to us he won't invite him round - he sees his school friends at school! It worries me that lots of the other y9s are starting to have social lives and are organising cinema trips, parties etc and ds never gets invited but he doesn't seem bothered (and to be honest a teen party would be his idea of hell ...)

I think it took him until about half way through y8 for him to feel comfortable at school but at his parents evening at the end of last year his teachers were united in praise for him - he's very able and is obviously doing well and I don't think he'd be able to do that if he weren't happy (as background, he spent about half of y6 in floods of tears and it was often a struggle to get him to school)

It does take longer for AS children to find their feet at secondary but it sounds like your son's school is on the case - I hope he feels happier soon

mumslife Sun 06-Oct-13 18:14:23

Good post basildon. Our idea of friendship would often be very different to someone with aspergers. Online friendship cam often be all they want an or need and if they are happy then thats the main thing

Tiggles Sun 06-Oct-13 22:47:07

Thanks all, I hadn't seen the later posts smile
DS seems a little happier. School have put lots in place to support him. He seems to be talking from his friend from primary again too some times.

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