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"It's because he's an only child"(14 Posts)
I am enraged and it's irrational, but still enraged.
DS (6yo), dx of HFA, had a playdate today with his NT schoolfriend. She told me she spent all morning playing only what he wanted and remarked wisely "It's because he's an only child".
She must have heard this from her mother, who just has NO IDEA how much effort, time and energy my partner and I put in to encourage DS to be more flexible, think about others, play what others want to play, be polite, say hello and goodbye, share toys, etc.
I later found out that actually DS had tried to be more flexible and played what his friend wanted for a long while. I think she had been seeking some adult approval and got it, first from me (telling her how kind and patient she had been with DS) and then from her mother (who told her 'oh well done, you're very good at that, aren't you'). It enrages me that her mother is so complacent about her DD's impeccable behaviour that it doesn't even occur to her that DD might be telling a few white lies in order to be told what a good, patient girl she is.
I would like to ask her mother: does she think that DS's incessant teeth-grinding and nail-chewing, his difficulty reading facial expressions, constant anxiety, extreme repetition, hand-flapping, fear of cereals, extreme word phobias, etc. etc. are down to his being an only child?
AIBU? Yes, probably. But aaaaargh.
People are stupid and judgemental!
You know that being an only child doesnt cause autism.
Unfortunately you will probably hear this lots of times, my Dd3 is my youngest child and that was blamed for her difficulties by family members.
Most people just dont get it.
Be kind to yourself 💐
At least they weren't more direct - other people will question your parenting which is fairly irritating! Sounds like you are doing a great job
Six year olds often 'remark wisely', I really wouldn't read too much into it. (I've been told I can't do things because I am really old ). I would also never trust a six year old who told me that she 'always' did anything and learnt very early not to take sides. Their perspective can be very distorted.
Obviously your ds HFA has nothing to do with being an only child but maybe the mum thought it was an easier explanation for not sharing - and may not even have been applied to your ds originally. How do you get on with the mum - could you have a chat with her?
Thanks so much for your really kind replies.
Blaeberry: her mum knows about his diagnosis, but yes, you're probably right: it is a much easier explanation. She's not a close friend but we chat at the school gates. Her DD's friendship with DS has really helped him: she laughs at his slapstick jokes and wordplay and sort of 'gets' him. It's really thanks to her that he could get through the school day last year. So it makes me feel guilty writing this. But their friendship is beginning to thin, as are the other few friendships he has, because he is kind of 'stuck' emotionally, and his peers' games are becoming too complicated for him.
Thing is, I feel particularly wretched because I spent ages lecturing DS on "the rules of friendship" before he clocked what I was talking about and gently protested that in fact they had spent a lot of time playing her games.
We have a playdate lined up for tomorrow but he says he wants to cancel it "because of the rules". I feel like I've ruined the little confidence he had playing with other kids. For ages my strategy was not to intervene, but now that he is losing friends I feel I have to, with this "rules" approach which I thought he would understand but clearly isn't working.
Despite all my best intentions I seem to spend my entire time criticising, being annoyed, lecturing, despairing .... no wonder he's so anxious. How can I get better at this and help him enjoy life and friendships?
Give yourself a break (and in the kindest way a little shake), they are tiny it doesn't matter. Annoying but not cruel. Like him as it, and tell him so.
Does he do any activities? My ds does beavers and I think having some structure helps him interact with the other children.
I've had that too. But I suspect if I had several kids it would be blamed on that. It is something to ignore though and just write off as ignorance.
I found with ds that playdates needed to be fairly structured and organised. I look back now though and think I worried too much about social interaction stuff, he's autistic so it's bound to take longer. Also, some kids like taking a more backseat role so perhaps she's just not a good fit for your ds.
Thanks for these replies -- helps to keep things in perspective! Last night I was spiralling and dramatizing. Feel a bit saner now.
Sometimes I feel that despite all his best efforts DS will always be portrayed as the difficult only child, and sometimes that will be exploited (in the case of this particular friend to make herself appear angelic).
Also, as the difference between him and his peers becomes more noticeable I can see his friendships falling apart, and that is especially depressing because of all the wonderful progress he was making socially.
Thanks, Blaeberry, I'll look into Beavers!
tbf girls' friendships are a nightmare at the best of times - my dd has a couple of girls in her class who are very good at exploiting others to make themselves look good. It sounds like this girl may be one to remain friendly with rather than friends with.
She's ignorant. But you and me are ignorant about other things. I have a dd with autism. But I'm certain I'm ignorant on other stuff and that my ignorance has probably irritated people. I didn't meant to.
(I should have pointed out the "lots of siblings not enough guidance" thing gets thrown about a lot too you learn after a while that a lot of what even quite wonderful experts conversation is filler, ignore and focus on the good bits)
Socially the difference between a nt 6 yo girl and an nt 6 yo boy is YEARS so adding the deficit associated with ASD this little girl is likely to be on a different plane. On another 2 or 3 years she will be old enough to be kind but at this stage he is a sitting duck for even the nicest child to practice their newly found (and sometimes horrifying) skills of manipulation.
What you want is a boy child in the year below (if possible with a younger brother) and a laid back mother who you can drink tea with and relax.
The community pead said that dd didn't have ASD, she was just jealous of her siblings because I'd had 4 dds in 5 years and she wanted attention . You're damned if you do, damned if you're don't!
It is frustrating when people can't attribute behaviours/challenges to ASD, but to something else. Regardless of how many other dcs you did or didn't have, they'd still have ASD!
Like zzzzz said I found this age the period of most manipulation by children. And disaster for my DS who has very limited self preservation skills and can't understand why people aren't telling the truth!
I soon learnt when children came up with "I did X and aren't I so wonderful" to either nonchalantly say "that's nice" or ask DS questions that allowed him to show what nice things he did.
For example "oh DS, X told me she play d y game today with you because it's your favourite, isn't that nice? What game did you play that X wanted?" Then I'd praise DS for being kind too.
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