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6yo does not interact with children he doesn't know

(8 Posts)
Pepperminto Tue 29-Dec-15 15:31:05

My 6.5yo son will not interact with any child that he doesn’t know when we go out. This can make trips to the playground impossible (unless they’re deserted!). It can also add stress to trips to museums or other places because if another child comes near him or tries to interact, his reaction is to cry or run away at speed. He refuses to be involved in any clubs or after-school activities - this is due to the fact he would be in a new situation with children he doesn’t know. He has been like this for about 2 years.

Some background: He is an only child and does spend quite a lot of time with just adults. That said, I have always made sure he has plenty of time interacting with others (baby/toddler groups, play-dates, nursery, etc).

He is fine at school and has friends, although he will not do anything with a group of them after school. He is happy to have one friend over after school, and if we go to another friend’s house, I still have to stay with him.

I think he likes to be in control and is fearful of situations he cannot predict. I think he also probably worries about fitting in and being accepted.

Has anyone had a child like this? I spend quite a lot of time reassuring him, but not had much luck. Any tips/advice appreciated.

Chopz Tue 29-Dec-15 15:38:47

He could be NT and very sensitive/shy and just needing lots of reassurance. However struggling with change/interaction issues can also be symptomatic of ASD.

Pepperminto Tue 29-Dec-15 15:54:29

I must admit that this behaviour (and other things) has made me question whether it's ASD but I have never looked into diagnosis, partly because I thought that school would flag it. That said, school is where he seems to get on okay (after a difficult first year), probably because of the familiarity, consistency of routine, etc.

We cope okay, but I just find myself massively adapting what we do to avoid certain situations that will cause problems.

Chopz Tue 29-Dec-15 18:27:02

Is it worth talking to your GP. If he has high functioning ASD he will most likely slip through the net for many years - which would be a shame as getting a prognosis is positive for various reasons.

Chopz Tue 29-Dec-15 18:34:03

What's the senco like at his school? The school won't involve an ed psych unless they absolutely have to. It's cheaper to ignore things if possible. Tight budgets. DS's senco regularly failed to pick out severe dyslexic children (despite parents flagging things). Things only got better at secondary.

JammyTodger Tue 29-Dec-15 20:23:43

He sounds very much like my son, also 6.5y. It's only in the last couple of months that I've noticed a little change in him, more willing to get involved in social situations. Before that he would not (for example) go on a bouncy castle if there were other children on, not engage with other children at a birthday party, etc. One to one, or with kids he's known pretty much all his life, he's fine - totally normal little boy who is quiet but popular at school. Apart from the odd frustrating moment it hasn't occurred to me to actually worry or get any sort of diagnosis because I was exactly the same as a child. I'm still an introvert, but also a perfectly normal and fully functioning human being with a career and family.
I'm not saying you're wrong to worry, but I think sometimes more extrovert people see loners as people who need to be fixed when actually we're fine as we are. In my son's case we've had many a chat about it and I've tried to let him know that it's ok to be the way he is as long as he is happy. If he shows signs of it becoming a more extreme social anxiety then we will have a rethink.

zoemaguire Tue 29-Dec-15 20:35:31

One of mine is like this, though not quite as extreme (she'll tend to ignore not run away from unknown kids, and is fine at friends houses). Having wondered in the past, i'm now 99% sure she is nt - she is super attuned to social nuances and unspoken subtleties, for instance, and very flexible and laid back. I think she is just extremely introverted. She is happy and though she is unsurprisingly on the edge of social groups, she has plenty of friends, she just likes her own company. Again, if there were signs of anxiety, I'd step in, but otherwise she just is who she is, and that is OK. She is a lot more confident at nearly 8 than at 6.5, incidentally, so sometimes a bit of extra maturity helps.

Pepperminto Tue 29-Dec-15 22:05:53

Thanks for the replies. I often waver between thinking he's fine and we can cope with his current issues, to thinking he must be on the spectrum because his reactions to things are so different to what I see in others. He also has problems with other things such as not going to the hairdressers - I have to cut it confused , not sitting in the dentist chair, being physically sensitive to clothes. Fearful and sensitive pretty much sums it up!

Jammy - I'm an introvert too. I much prefer socialising in small groups, hate parties etc, so I completely understand that anxiety and social pain that he feels. I suppose it's just hard to see him missing out in social situations due to his anxieties, and if I'm honest there's a part of me that would just like him to be like the others.

Chopz - re: his school. Funnily enough they have an autism centre as part of the school so I've always thought they would say something if they spotted any signs.

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