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How can we help DS3's confidence/social issues

(10 Posts)
Fuzzymum1 Sat 18-May-13 22:11:06

This is likely to be long as I don't want to drip feed etc and want to give the full picture.

DS3 is a very sweet, well behaved six year old who is bright and articulate and is often complimented on his manners etc. In school he is confident and will happily interact with his classmates and other children and adults in the school, and happily narrated the school play. One afternoon a week his class is taught by the headteacher (who he likes) and this causes him some distress - it took almost a term of tuesday morning meltdowns to get to the fact that while he doesn't mind having the head teach them he doesn't like not having his teacher. He's used to it now and although he doesn't like it still, he now copes with tuesdays.

He likes to do the right thing and hates to think he's done or might do something wrong.

While he will happily play with any of the children at the school of just over 100 4-11yo he refuses to go to anyone's house to play and will often refuse to go to parties even though he always enjoys them after an often shaky start.

He's recently started going to Beavers and is struggling to settle - he's been 4 times and has yet to be confident enough to be left without a parent. He knows a few of the children there and his older brothers have been through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in the same place. Last week they went for a hike and DH accompanied him. When it was time to come home they were offered a lift with the mum of one of the children he knows - he point blank refused to get in her car (with DH) and was screaming and kicking and trying to run away down the street.

Today he went bike riding with DH - they got to the cycle track and in a split second he went from excitement and looking forward to it to throwing his bike on the ground and screaming and crying that he didn't think he could do it. He learned to ride a bike a couple of weeks ago and has been happily trundling up and down our cul-de-sac for the last couple of weeks.

DH and DS2 have asperger's. As, we are sure believe, FIL does too. DS1 is a typical confident teenager with no social issues which is amazing since I have social phobia and his dad has the social skills of a brick

I have tried very hard not to see every little issue in DS3 as an indicator of AS but it's getting harder not to see these things in that way, especially with his sensitivities to clothing texture and his insistence on wearing socks inside out. We haven't spoken to any professionals about our concerns as we're only recently beginning to think this way.

He is much more 'socially aware' than DS2 and 'gets' humour in a way DS2 just doesn't.

He's admitted he thinks beavers is fun and wants to go but will argue that he hates beavers if we suggest leaving him for a little while - we've pointed out that the leader has our phone number and we live literally around the corner and will come straight back if there is a problem. He's desperate to have the uniform but we've told him we won't buy it unless he starts to go without a grown up because I don't want to buy the uniform if he's never going to settle there.

Any ideas how we can help him not be so nervous and dependent on one of us being there? Do these behaviours seem like AS?

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 18-May-13 22:35:57

We have a have a very similar family, and yes I think your DS is likely on the spectrum, maybe near the diagnostic boundary.
Sorry, that's not what you want to hear, I know sad.

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 18-May-13 22:46:11

Oh, and our son with Aspergers has (when not stressed), very good eye contact and humour, could do Sally-Ann test before he was 5... And yet, still had Significant issues, much more subtle now in his teens, academically doing very well, and applying to uni next year. School has been a hard slog, a lot of stress and sleepless nights (for us, not him!), but he is "getting there" iykwim. Somewhat stereotypically, he intends to study engineering grin!

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 18-May-13 22:53:42

I didn't actually make any useful suggestions did I?

For new activities can you make it a rule that he tries something 5times or 10 times before deciding if he wants to continue?

MrsShrek3 Sat 18-May-13 22:59:24

your description sounds like something I could have written about ds1. who is Aspie.
He fooled us for years. we had never-ending conversations. (dare I add both dh are asd specialist professionals...blush ) DS1 clearly has theory of mind so gets humour, perspective and emotions (the latter to to a large extent, the first to a Not Apparently ASD level, or so it appears?!) However he is totally disabled by a routine change or "no plans" unless given written instruction a week in advance wink
Again maybe not what you wanted to hear.... but your knowledge is evidently vast and you will know how to do things best for him. TBH the very asd-friendly household that you have will be supporting him quite effectively already smile he is actually very lucky you are his parents. Perhaps not how you see it yet, but so true. You understand.

MrsShrek3 Sat 18-May-13 23:03:10

we gave ds1 a notebook. he wrote down his version of what was happening for the day and evening (he likes 24hr chunks) sometimes it looked like gobbledegook but he understood it (and thankfully we didn't have to translate!) with a hand me down mobile at 7yo plus said notebook, he began to be happy to go all sorts of places. smile confused

Fuzzymum1 Sun 19-May-13 13:30:44

Thanks for all the input, it's not surprising that you all see AS indicators as well really. I'm struggling with it today, finding the whole thing hard to deal with. DS2 is now 15 and slowly becoming more independent etc, I have tried so hard not to attribute any oddities in DS3 to AS that I think I've tried too hard and have been in denial sad

Today I kind of lost it a bit - he was invited to a party, a disco, that he was really excited about all week - when it came to time to get ready he started with the usual excuses and being unsure. Normally I coax and cajole him and we get him there and after what seems like eternity up to an hour of being clingy he usually joins in and has fun. I managed to convince him to go and we got to the door of the place the party was at and in the blink of an eye he went from excited and chattering to the friend we'd met on the way to meltdown and refusing to go in. I spent a few minutes trying to convince him, reminding him that he usually has fun once he's settled in etc and eventually after three times of him saying yes and then refusing I lost my patience and told him that if he didn't go in this time we would go home. He tried one more time, lost the plot and so I took him home - I know he's disappointed in himself, I'm disappointed in me for not being more patient but it all just got too much for me. It was as much as could do not to cry all the way home :'(

I know how much DH and DS2 struggle day to day, I cope with supporting them most of the time but now I just feel like I'm going to be outnumbered by them and with DS1 (who I get on so well with) leaving to go to uni in the autumn it all just feels so neverending....

Kleinzeit Sun 19-May-13 14:06:40

It sounds as if your DS can cope with socialising in a familiar setting but if the setting is unfamiliar – someone else’s car, someone else’s house, a party – then he gets very anxious?

With the party, could you try something like this: “we’ll go inside to have a look, then come straight out and you can go home if you like; if you want to stay we’ll go in again for five minutes and come outside, and then we can decide whether to go in again and stay for the party or come home”. Might that work? Then you can congratulate him if he goes inside at all, congratulate him even more if he manages to go back in again and stay for the five minutes.

My DS was quite routine bound and once I’d persuaded him to do something a couple of times he’d usually carry on. And I’d bribe him with sweeties too! smile If your DS will stay at Scouts so long as you’re there, then if poss carry on doing that for the time being; that will promote his confidence, and he may feel more confident if he doesn’t fret you’ll abandon him as soon as he shows signs of coping! When he is coping (which could take a long time) then you’ll probably be able to withdraw gradually. And don’t try to do the lift home thing – by the time he’s coped with Scouts he probably can’t cope with any more newness.

I don’t quite know what to say about the surrounded-by-Aspies thing. My son has AS, my father has some signs, but my DH doesn’t. In my family I have the only Aspie kid but all my nephews are a bit bonkers and I think we just don’t do easy kids! flowers

MrsShrek3 Fri 24-May-13 23:10:52

Fuzzy, hugs thanks

DH has his aspie traits Ways and ds1 dx. Strange as it may sound, I actually find it easier most of the time to "get" him than the NTs. Try not to get bogged down. Your ds is still your ds, you know the drill already, he hasn't changed from being him just because now you have some clearer pictures of his needs. As you also know, you may have a mindbending week and then it will all settle down again. Hang in there and keep posting all you can if it helps smile

Fuzzymum1 Sat 25-May-13 20:43:41

Thanks everyone. I had a meeting with his teacher on thursday to discuss it and managed to get through it without crying. She's lovely and has done some reading up and is going to keep an eye on him. TBH school is where he is happiest because he knows the routine and his teacher is very firm and what she says will happen happens so he knows where he stands. That's probably why he obsessively reenacts school all the time - we have regular phonics lessons and assemblies at home, LOL. I'm a lot calmer than I was earlier in the week when I just felt like "here we go again"

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