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My daughter has some strange social problems, can anyone shed any light on this ?

(17 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 12:57:19

Hi, my 5.5 year old daughter has a developmental delay and speech problems. She is always very sociable with adults and talks to strangers all the time. She gets quite obsesive about people and won't forget the names of students we've had from years ago. She has one friend at school, but generally dosn't socialise much with the other children. She likes one to one attention, and if she's with a group, either at school or in the park, she'll either play on her own or with a much younger child. She loves babys and toddlers.
How can I encourage her to be more sociable with other children ?
When we have her best friend around to play, they seem to have loads of fun, then Lucy's suddenly had enough and shuts herself in her roon and refuses to play with her friend. At birthday partys she also does this. Sometimes, she tries to go to sleep under a table or in a bedroom, which can be embarassing. It's like it's just too much for her to cope with and she wants to shut herself away. She still looks forward to partys though.
When she's with us and other adults, she is such a charactor. No one would ever think she had any problems socialising in school etc. Strangers always make comments such as "She sounds happy" or "you're not shy are you?" She sings to herself a lot of the time, even in public. I think she likes the attention of adults.
I'm really not sure how I can help her with her socialisation. I'm also not sure if I should try to curb this fixation with certain people? At the moment it's my MIL's student. She won't leave her alone. The student does encourage this and feeds her sweets without me knowing. hmm When she's fixated on someone, that's all she'll talk about. She'll role play being that person, then I'll have to play being that person. She gets very distressed if you won't play the game. She'll cry and say "I want her to be my mummy, not you!!" sad
I don't think it's healthy really.
I'd be greatful of any advice. thanks smile

wahwahwah Fri 23-Jul-10 13:00:02

Is she an only child?

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 13:01:06

Yes, she is.

wahwahwah Fri 23-Jul-10 13:07:34

I sounded a little like only child behaviour. I think they sometimes can relate better to adults and find other children, well, childish! They don't always 'get' that an adult is not their friend (if you have ever seen Little Man Tate you will know what I mean). Ours is an only child too.

Clubs are good - find something that she is passionate about - and get her mixing with other kids with the same focus (then it won't just be a matter of being with other kids).

Kids do get fascinated with other adults. They only see the fun, child-friendly side of them. If they were nagging them to eat their greens or tidy their room, then the shine would quickly fade!

Miggsie Fri 23-Jul-10 13:08:58

It sounds like she has not learned the basic social "rules" of friendship and socila interaction.

There is a book the rules of friendship here.

HOwever, if hse has developmental problems she may benefit from social/occupational therapy in which a specialist teaches children very directly about how to go about normal social interaction.

You can get this privately or through the local education authority, but I believe the LEA/school has to put a child forward for assessment before one is supplied and even then, there may be a waiting list.

BenignNeglect Fri 23-Jul-10 13:11:10

What sort of scenarios does she role play? Do you think she is practising interacting with the person she's currently fixed on? This is a total guess, but I'm wondering if she isn't sure how to act/deal with certain people, so she practises what could happen, but if things go a little off piste she finds it hard to copy sothat is when she has had enough and shuts herself away?

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 23-Jul-10 13:12:30

One thing stands out for me DD also has speech delay (severe) and also tries to go to sleep/hide away in busy situations, I sometimes think it gets too much for her..she is younger than your DD though (3.9).

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 13:13:37

I'll have to look out for Little Man Tate. grin

The one thing she's pasionate about is music. I've looked for music clubs but they're all for toddlers and pre school children. I don't think she's ready developmentaly to learn a real instrument, and anyway, it would be her and an adult. (just how she likes it), but not helping the social side of things.

That's true about other adults, she only see's the best in them.

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 13:17:53

Thanks everyone. Really good point BenignNeglect. That could well be it. She does seem to practice social situations, or make up storys.
Sometimes when she's not sure what to say or do, she'll start singing (loudly) hmm

wahwahwah Fri 23-Jul-10 13:20:04

Of course, that child was a maths genius as well as being an only child, but the part where he finds out that he isn't really 'friends' with Harry Connick Jnr is the bit I mean. He arranges to meet him to go to the zoo or something and when he doesn't turn up, he goes to his flat and finds him hungover after a party (HCJ not child). HCJ tells him that is is just a 'kid' and he was only being kind sad because he was sorry for him.

It all turns out well in the end though.

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 13:23:39

I think having speech problems makes it harder for other children to understand her. Adults can make more educated guesses and will follow it up and are far more likely to have a conversation with her.

She once said to me "I don't like my voice, why can't I talk like my friends?"

It was heartbreaking to hear her say that, as it never seemed to bother her before. I explained about her speech disorder and that she has problems making the right sounds, but reasured her that it'll get better and that she's got a lot better already.
She wasn't convinced though. sad

LIZS Fri 23-Jul-10 13:28:09

Have you looked into your Local Authority's music and arts provision ? They may do workshops and group lessons for primary age at weekends or school holidays where she can try different instruments and have some fun with music.

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 13:30:56

That would be fantastic for her LIZS, I'll see if we have anything like that where we live. smile

MollieO Fri 23-Jul-10 13:36:35

My ds is 6.1 and sociable on his terms only. When I ask him who he played with at school nine times out of ten he will say he played by himself as other dcs didn't want to play his game. At parties he is the only one not joining in, despite him knowing every other child at the various parties we go to (all school friends).

If he has friends over to play everything is fine so long as he is leading whatever play they are doing. If the other child tries to lead then ds will go off in a sulk and won't play anymore.

At home he is happy to play by himself (along with his invisible friends, complete with different voices).

He is an only child too but mixes with quite a few other only children, none of whom behave like him. He is very comfortable with adults and older children but also notices and takes an interest in younger children (he is a favourite of a number of school friends younger siblings). He seems to know more children from other school years than his peers.

I have been concerned enough over the last couple of years to discuss it with his reception and year 1 teachers. Neither of whom think it is an issue to be concerned about and simply say that some children are more social than others.

He does different activities which are a mix of individual and team. He is a lot happier in individual pursuits but is gradually getting better joining in the team ones. He is pretty young for his age so I just hope it is developmental rather than anything else and I take comfort that his teachers aren't concerned.

What has your dd's teachers said about her socialising at school? Have you seen any improvement as she gets older?

wahwahwah Fri 23-Jul-10 13:39:18

Would singing help her speech?

We have been told by the school that playdates are great, especially not on 'his turf' so that he learns to play other peoples' games and by their rules.

He is a happy little chap but can be a bit, well a lot, stubborn! And he is always marching up to strangers to tell them off 'you dropped litter, you know... there's the bin over there!'.

mummyloveslucy Fri 23-Jul-10 18:03:35

Wow! good for him wahwahwah. grin They need to be told and hopefully it'll shame them into not doing it again.

Rookielove Wed 05-Oct-11 18:49:42

This sounds just like one of my neighbor's kid who is a twin. The other twin is very outgoing, but the other has social problems, just like you described.

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