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I need a thicker skin.

(17 Posts)
ilongforlustre Sun 20-Oct-13 09:51:40

Hello all.

This is my first post. I have lurked for ages and you lovely people appear to be the font of all knowledge!

I have a 9 year old boy with AS, he has had his diagnosis for a few years now. It hasn't always been easy but he presents quite mildly really and has come through school with a great class who accept and understand him really well. He is very quiet and reasonably compliant given his difficulties and really hasn't been in trouble that much...It has all been a poor preparation for my youngest DS.

DS2 is 6, almost 7, he has speech and communication difficulties and an iron will! We have been to see the paed as school were finding him difficult to manage and he struggles to relate to the other children, basically he winds them up and gets very easily frustrated which leads to him lashing out at them he is massively exuberant which often comes out as silly and is very 'up front'. Paed does not believe he has any ASD as he made eye contact and was quite social at the appt. School are pretty much convinced he has ASD always have been and I'm frankly confused. He's so different to his brother.

At home his behavior can be poor but we work relentlessly on it and I think manage him quite well by giving consequences and following through. But playing out, parties and social events with school friends are a complete nightmare. I never pick him up without the host giving me a catalog of his 'naughtiness'.

I feel he has become labelled as the naughty child there are whispers and looks in the playground and snide remarks about him. I'm starting to feel really isolated

He has a party next week (he's really excited) and the Mum is a bit of an Alpha, I'm anxious that this will not end well, I cant seem to make him behave unless I am in the room and I cant stay as there is nobody to look after DS1 and an afternoon with Alpha Mum might finish me off. Frankly I'm dreading it.

How do I develop this thicker skin I hear people talk about?

Also please dont think I fail to manage his behavior it seems to be all I do and I'm exhausted by it.

Sorry it's an essay, can you tell I lack people to talk to?

PolterGoose Sun 20-Oct-13 11:13:22

Hi lustre and welcome flowers

Well, the paed sounds like a bit of a twat, eye contact is not on the diagnostic criteria for ASD confused and it is quite usual for kids with ASDs to have ok social skills in consulting rooms, which are usually quiet and prepared for situations hmm I'm sure you know that having one dx with an ASD greatly increases the chance of a sibling having ASD too. I'd ask for a second opinion. Of course, it might not be an ASD, could be any of the related and often co-morbid conditions, but it really sounds like you should be taken seriously. It is unlikely to be nothing though, if you already have a ds with Aspergers your parenting skills are probably already pretty finely tuned (we have no choice, in my opinion, we have to be more proactive, skilled, flexible etc as parents of dc's with ASDs etc).

With the party thing, do you know how long he can cope with? So, you could pick him up early, or you could ask the mother if he can just stop off to give a gift and say hi but unfortunately he won't be able to stay, you don't have to give reasons.

I have lots of experience of the whispers and the naughty child label. My ds is 10 now and has Aspergers and other stuff. He was quite aggressive in infants and in Y3 there was a 'campaign' to have him excluded, I recently found out that the parents who led that also encouraged their child to goad mine to react to add weight to their claims that my ds shouldn't be in school. Pretty bloody awful, but my ds has made incredible progress and can just about/mostly behave in school now. It's taken a long time and I've not exactly developed a thick skin at all, it still hurts. But, knowing there are people on here that understand and are supportive has made an enormous difference. It's much easier to cope with the isolation in real life knowing I can come here and be part of something.

Are school supporting your ds?

capticorn1 Sun 20-Oct-13 11:23:26

Hello, your post reminds me very much of my son at the age of 6 and the playground politics that went with it, but my son doesn't give eye contact when you talk to him but he will give eye contact when he talks to you (more so if he is talking about one of his obsessions).

Giving eye contact does not mean that your child does not have an ASD, it is not a prerequisite to a diagnosis it is just one of the traits on the triad of impairments that may indicate an ASD.

Is your Paed an expert in ASD? If you are unhappy with what you are being told then you are within your rights to ask for a second opinion.

Please remember that all children on the Autism spectrum are not the the same nor will they all have exactly the same traits (even siblings can and often will present differently).

Do you have a local Autism support group that you can contact? Have you read some of the excellent books on ASD? The books by Tony Attwood are good and so is one called the out of sync child (can't remember the authors name).

Growing a thick skin comes with time.

Hope this helps.

capticorn1 Sun 20-Oct-13 11:26:23

Keep asking questions, there are loads of people here who can help you.

PolterGoose Sun 20-Oct-13 11:27:15

I forgot to mention my favouritest book ever 'The Explosive Child'

childrendriveumad Sun 20-Oct-13 12:09:22

No more to add, except that I also empathise. DS (7) has SPD (well that's the only diagnosis so far) his behaviour at school has labelled him too, to the point where his name is used as an adjective for a certain type of bad behaviour sad An incident at the end of year 2 provoked school into getting more help in and an educational intervention programme is now in place which involves all the children in the class as well as one to one sessions with ds.
With regard to parties etc, my ds was the one who didn't get invited for quite a while - which actually helped in a way! I now send him with an extra large present for the child as compensation ;) !
Seriously though, I think the thick skin is very hard to grow.
Chin up, you will get through it x

youarewinning Sun 20-Oct-13 12:53:41

Hi and welcome smile

Agree the eye contact thing is a red herring. My DS also gives it when chatting (read relentlessly informing me!) about Minecraft but if you talk to him 9/10 times his eyes are darting all over the show. What eye contact he does give is after years of 'training'.

He is also the quiet and seemingly placid child like your older DS (mines also 9 and being assessed for AS) but was and is also that child who "behaves when I am there". I've had to develop a really thick skin to the people who think it's because I'm strict and he's scared to misbehave when I'm around. hmm It's more because as mentioned above you become finely tuned to your child and can see things before they happen and employ our favourite pastime of distraction grin

Seek a second opinion. Get the school to refer to outside agencies too listing what they see and how it affects him. I also found looking at the ICD-10 criteria for ASD/AS helped me (I googled after being told thats the assessment he'd have) because it highlights how the eye contact, pointing thing is only one very small part of it and only 1 of 6/7 criteria within that section which indicate an ASD - and only 2/3 have to be present.
Maybe a handy tool for disagreeing with the pead.

youarewinning Sun 20-Oct-13 12:55:33

Oh and my DS never seems to be invited to parties anymore!. I've never had any really bad reports but I'm sure it's not coincidence.

PolterGoose Sun 20-Oct-13 14:32:25

Mine doesn't either youare, thankfully he doesn't care!

youarewinning Sun 20-Oct-13 15:03:58

Neither does my DS it seems! He would much rather go out alone with me where he can decide what happens! That sounds spoilt but he just does not do groups or walking round with people.

Trigglesx Sun 20-Oct-13 16:36:22

Eye contact is a bit of an odd one with DS1 (7yo) as well. He can flick his eyes towards you, and if you insist then he will open his eyes very very wide (think a bit scary look grin) and look at you. But he absolutely cannot maintain it. Not for anything. You can tell it's unbelievably difficult for him. Yet we were told he has good eye contact. Um, sure. If you say so. But he doesn't.

Just out of curiosity, what DOES the paed think he has? confused

We felt a bit confused with DS1, as the paed wouldn't flat out say to us that he had ASD, although she did list off other things he had. But when she met with his teachers, she very clearly stated he did. Go figure.

youarewinning Sun 20-Oct-13 21:53:39

Put it this way, I work in an sld/pmld school and all the children who have asd in my class and others in the school all have better eye contact than my DS. Thankfully there are many peads who actually understand asd - that is why I think a second opinion is your starting block.

MY ds2 has ASD and his eye contact has never been bad as such. He doesn't look at the person he is talking to, so when as a family we are all at home it's hard to figure out who he is talking to (or rather AT..he does monologue a lot!) but he isn't avoidant. he also wants to be social..but isn;t sure how to get it right.

I also work with children who have very severe ASD and SLD and many have very good eye contact.. will grab hold and look me directly in the eyes if they want something! It's defo not in the diagnosis and your Paed is misinformed sad

I would go for a second opinion.

Sittingbull Tue 22-Oct-13 14:54:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sugaplumfurry Wed 23-Oct-13 14:29:42

ilongfor My think skin comes and goes, having no thick skin most often smile. I'm sure one day we will both think 'bugger it' and aquire our new skin grin

Ds has eye contact but will look away after a period of talking to us. He has said to us before that he can talk/listen/think better when he doesn't look at people. When he was observed with us present in the CAMHS office for his initial appointment he had good eye contact taking into consideration he was pre-occupied with lego so only looked up briefly to make a comment or quickly answer a question then he carried on with what he was doing. However when they assessed him in the classroom there was barely any which would make sense as to what he had said.

sugaplumfurry Wed 23-Oct-13 14:30:24

-thick skin! oh lord my spelling is pants today grin

ilongforlustre Sun 27-Oct-13 08:03:12

Thank you very much for your replies. Sorry it has taken me so long to come back the last week of term is ridiculously hectic.

Trigglesx - the paed does not think he has any underlying condition and doesn't want to see him again. It was a bit confusing as she accepted that he had some obsessions and struggled in some social situations but thought it was mainly down to immaturity.

I must confess that I now see I really wanted her to say it was nothing and that he was fine. When DS2 went into school DS1 had been given his diagnosis two months previously. It was expected and I knew it was right, I was relieved but it was also a bit painful.

DS2 was three weeks in and not even on full days when the school started to express their concerns and also tell me that he was "low in the class". Honestly I just couldn't see it, I knew he was strong willed and frankly a handful but I didn't see any ASD, there had been no concerns at pre-school I was so angry...but perhaps that anger was not all about DS2's situation. I was fresh off the back of DS1's diagnosis and I didn't realise how much I had invested in DS2 having an easier time at school.

Every day I was going in after school, it was "he cant do this, he cant do that, he cant make friends in the playground, we need a referral". I felt pressured into it but I wasn't ready.

I did my best in that consulting room but school and I weren't seeing the same things and it came out all disconnected.

Now I see some of it, there have been more social situations since, and he started playing out...*Poltergoose*, I have personally witnessed some 'baiting' outside my house and I am sure it happens a bit in the classroom but to be fair DS2 is easily set off. Also I know more about Minecraft than I ever cared to know...what is it about that game?

There is a local Autism group and a SENCO I work with thinks it might be a better route to a second opinion so I'm going to join.

Oh and he never went to the party, I discovered it was a two hour disco. Big No! So he had a friend over instead, which I think went well...if he likes Minecraft

Thank you for listening. Sorry to go on and on.

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