9 year old has trouble showing excitement/happiness
, takes life very seriously
I'm posting this for my friend.
She was in the class room this morning of her 9 year old son, and the teacher again expressed concerned over his lack of positive emotion. This isn't the first time people have commented on this and it's starting to worry her.
He is known as 'grumpy xxx'. And there are often comparisons to him being a grumpy old man.
He struggles to show excitement, example being: if he is in a group activity with other children even though he sometimes appears to get almost excited about the upcoming event but as soon as he is asked if he is looking forward to it he shuts down and will turn defensive and grumpy and reply with a stern 'no'.
He has also never had an interest in childs toys, even when he was an toddler, and seems to lack imagination, he is very black and white with his views and will get really cross if there are changes to any daily schedules ie. Upset and angry when teacher was off poorly.
He's also extremely fussy with food, will only really eat pot noodles happily, everything else a huge struggle.
He struggles and gets very angry if he can't have the last word on something he feels very strongly about, even butting in on adult conversations if he has a strong view on the topic, he's not shy in that respect. In the evenings he watches minecraft videos or plays x box, no interest in much else.
I suppose the biggest worry is that he is isn't happy with life as he seems so grumpy and takes life so seriously for a child of his age. He got very stressed about the electricity company turning off power yesterday as they received a letter to say they would be without power from 3 till 5pm, the power actually only went off for 30 seconds and he had a bit of meltdown as it wasn't what the electricity company had said they would do. This really upsets my friend as she's not sure why change should upset him so much. She doesn't feel like he enjoys life as other 9 year olds do.
Does anyone have any similar experience or advice I can give to my friend?
Thanks for your reply. Forgive my ignorance but I'm guessing a diagnosis would help if if that's what he has, but how does she go about investigating it? How is your son since his diagnosis?
He does sound as if he could possibly have an ASC. One benefit of a diagnosis is that people would work with his personality rather than against it. For example people with ASCs often have a very strong need for familiarity and routine and they do get upset when regular routines are disrupted - even when it's for something nice! So if he did have an ASC then respecting his need for routine and giving him plenty of advanced notice of necessary changes would probably make him feel more relaxed and happier inside. And it would enable people to make allowances when the unexpected happens. No-one expected my DS (who has an ASC diagnosis) to react well when his teacher was off sick. And I have been letting him get the "last word" for years, I use a strategy called "lasting word" instead. A lot of children with ASCs suffer very badly from anxiety and your friend could look in to ways to help her DS cope.
Another benefit is that he may get help to develop his social and communication skills. Many children with ASCs do want to socialise with others but they aren't flexible enough to do it easily. And children with ASCs can be quite bad at epxressing their own feelings - he may well be excited about the trip in his own way but he could also feel overwhelmed by uncertainty about something new or simply unable to express his good feelings.
One way to get it investigated is to go to the GP and ask for a referral for assessment. Waiting lists can be long but he should eventually get seen especially if the school will support the referral.
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