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To ask if DS's friend as autism?

(93 Posts)
TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:24:13

Name change in case outing.

DS has relatively recently made friends with a new boy in his class at school (they are 8, Y3). The boys have a lot of similar interests (unusual ones for boys their age) which they have bonded over. On the one hand i am over the moon that he finally had a friend he doesn't have to prented to like football for etc but on the other DS's behaviour has started to mimic the friend's in a bad way.

I have seen this boy have 'meltdowns' - unable to cope with seemingly everyday things, shouting, banging walls, running a sort of inner monologue out loud about how unfair if all is etc etc. and DS is now doing the same.

I know the mum to say hi to, to have a brief playground chat with. we have been chatting more since the boys have become friends. She has never said that her son is autistic but i want to have a conversation with her to establish the facts so i can find a way to deal with DS's behaviour.

To be clear, whether he is or isnt autistic will have no impact on their friendship, i have no intention of stopping them being friends or trying to put DS off the boy. Basically i really want to say to DS 'your friend has reasons he acts the way he does, you have no good reason to act out like this'.

So WIBU to speak with the mum? I'm really struggling with this swing in DS's behaviour and I dont know how else to move forward as nothing seems to be working. sad

gingerbreadbiscuits Sun 22-Apr-18 07:27:01

Would you ask about any other private medical information of another child in your son’s class and then share that with your son?

Or even ask if another child has a medical condition?

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:29:05

if it was something visible that i wanted to be able to explain to DS properly what it was so he could understand then yes i would. not any random child, but someone he was friends with, then yes i would.

NotTakenUsername Sun 22-Apr-18 07:31:29

I’ve no experience with mimicking melt downs. Not to say it isn’t a thing. But an actual melt down is so distressing I can’t imagine wanting to, or frankly being able to emulate it. sad

Perhaps you could speak to her about these behaviours, and say your son is doing similar. Ask for advice? I don’t think blaming this boys example will end well. Try not to ignore the emotions behind your son’s actions either - maybe his friend has modelled a behaviour that finally works for him to let out his ‘stuff’ in a way he never knew before, iyswim.

Bixx Sun 22-Apr-18 07:32:44

No, don’t ask. If he does have ASC and she wanted to share that information with you she would have.

NotTakenUsername Sun 22-Apr-18 07:33:59

In fairness gingerbreadbiscuits we have a girl in Dd class who is never done having head lice. I have told Dd to make sure not to let her hair touch this girl’s hair. They are still friendly but just a wee boundary.

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:36:11

nottaken that could be a better option. i'm not at all ignoring that DS clearly is using it as a way to vent frustrations but he very definitely didn't do that before this friend came along and it is so so clearly a mimic of his friend. Whilst i appreciate it as being a way to let off steam it is also not an appropriate way to do it.

ANy suggestions of methods to give him to help him release his anger in other ways?

Pippioddstocking Sun 22-Apr-18 07:36:46

No , don't ask . If she wanted to share that information with you she would have done already

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:37:59

would it be ok to say to DS 'it is not ok to copy the way "Tom" deals with being annoyed' ?

NotTakenUsername Sun 22-Apr-18 07:38:25

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Lots of suggestions on numerous asd support pages.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 22-Apr-18 07:39:50

The point I focused on was that you said you were not going to discourage the friendship, or to be negative about the boy. That is a huge act of compassion and understanding on your part. Most parents, MNetters included, in the real world would not have that attitude.
Whatever the boy’s needs are, and whether you talk to his mother or not, you need to have that conversation with your son. In the same way you would if he had a friend who swore. He has control over his behaviour and responses, and you expect it of him, whatever his friends do.
Good luck, and thank you for not rejecting the idea of a friendship with a challenging child.

Ellapaella Sun 22-Apr-18 07:43:25

You don't have to mention the way his friend behaves at all, simply tell your son that it's not acceptable for him to react in that way and explain why. I wouldn't even mention his friend.

SickofThomasTheTank Sun 22-Apr-18 07:45:38

Yeah I'm a little shocked that you (seemingly) haven't had a chat with your son about this? It could easily (or perhaps not so easily) be nipped in the bud without knowing if this other child has ASD.
I don't have an 8yr old boy but I'm pretty sure if you let into him that you're aware that he is mimicking his friend, then I suspect he will stop. Perhaps he doesn't realise he's doing it?

I suggest trying your best to sort it with your son before even mentioning it to the boys Mum as she may not react well. It's likely she is very sensitive defensive about her son's behaviour/condition.

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:46:01

skating the boy makes DS so happy to finally, after 3 years at school to have someone who shares his interests. and when the friend is in a good place he is just lovely, a bit blunt and too the point admittedly but he is giving DS more confidence that it is ok to be himself and have his own interests that aren't football! you make a good point comparing it swearing, you're right, i can just speak with DS and focus on him having control of how he acts and reacts.

WhirlwindHugs Sun 22-Apr-18 07:49:22

If they are 8, it's possible the other parent does not know if he has autism or not. She may be just noticing how unusual he can be, he may have been referred but not diagnosed yet (it can take years)

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 22-Apr-18 07:49:23

Trying, my son was that boy. Someone like you and your response would have been gold.

notsohippychick Sun 22-Apr-18 07:49:41

Hello!! I wouldn’t ask to be honest. If she wants to offer you information she will.

My son has autism and all his friends parents know his condition, but is because I offer the information.

All you can do at this point is make it clear to your son that acting this way will never get him what he wants. Whilst he maybe cross, angry, which is perfectly ok to feel, he needs to express it in a different way. Preferably by telling you his emotions before he acts out.

Unfortunately you can’t conteol the other boys meltdowns, or behaviour, all you can do at this point is try and influence your sons.

Hope this helps.

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:50:07

sickofthomas - my confliction on that is i dont want to make the friend out to be a bad person - "stop copying Tom because his behaviour is bad". I thought that it might be better to be able to say "Tom acts the way he does because of the condition he has, he can't help it. you can help it and i expect you not to do it" - DS and I have both seen how calmly and amazingly Tom's mum handles the behaviour, what DS gets from me for the same is much sharper because i believe that DS has no good reason for being so downright rude and disrespectful. It is partly the way Tom's mum reacts to him that makes me more sure that it is some form of ASD.

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 07:53:06

notsohippy thanks for sharing. i know i need to focus on DS's behaviour, i just thought it may help if i could explain why Tom acts like that and why its not ok for him.

skating flowers

NotTakenUsername Sun 22-Apr-18 07:56:00

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt I think you are worried about your foot, but can be sure your heart is in the right place.

Tom’s mum sounds great. I think she can give you some advice. But asd is a spectrum - lots of coping mechanisms she uses will work because they are good coping mechanisms to deal with those really big emotions, not just because her son has asd. Don’t be too hard on your son. Even a copied behaviour is a behaviour he is displaying.

OneInEight Sun 22-Apr-18 07:57:53

The thing is if she tells you and you tell your son then your son will tell his classmates and his classmates will tell their parents. So basically what you are asking is for her to publicise her ds's ASC (or not) to the world.

IWantMyHatBack Sun 22-Apr-18 07:58:32

You don't have to mention a condition to your DS though.
When I've had similar situations I've just said to DS that some children react differently to things/struggle to stay calm etc, but that I still expect him to behave himself.

TryingNotToPutMyFootInIt Sun 22-Apr-18 08:00:21

oneineight i appreciate your point but it would not occur to DS to tell anyone else at all. it would not be a 'thing to tell people' in that gossipy way, he's just not like that. but i do take the point.

nottaken do you think i would be ok to speak to Tom's mum and just say 'DS has started doing XYZ, you are always so calm with Tom, can you give me some tips?'

Aeroflotgirl Sun 22-Apr-18 08:00:40

I have dd 11 with ASD and learning difficulties, I share this information quite voluntarily, it is obvious though as well, with the hand flapping and stimming. This boy might by undiagnosed, or not have ASD but be going through a phase. If yiu ask mum, it coukd be embarassing if she says no. I personally wouldent mind being asked, but she might. She might know something is up, but have problems dealing with it, or in denial. Just tell your ds not to copy his 'meltdowns', they are personal to him, he does not need to do that.

FlyingCat Sun 22-Apr-18 08:02:19

Just thinking this through, what will you do if the mum told you that no, he does not have asd but is just struggling emotionally with joining new class/ being eight/ whatever else... maybe her ds also never had meltdowns until recently...

I’d be very nervous in suggesting to your son that less desirable behaviours are somehow ok for his friend but not for him. I feel like that sets up a pattern of exclusion of his friend from social norms for the future that can only be harmful.

I would maybe focus in on your son’s behaviour and alternative ways for him to express how he’s feeling with a dose of ‘everyone handles things differently - but we do it this way’ if the comparison comes up.

Good luck!

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