Having a wobble, please reassure me that I'm not making my son a social misfit(14 Posts)
My son has very mild aspergers and has been home edded almost since the start, he is 11 now and is an only child. He is funny, reasonably smart and quite confident in most areas. Getting him to do any learning is a nightmare but that's another story. The problem I have is that he only has a few friends who are also HE and are boys. He has tried some home ed groups which he didn't enjoy so we stopped going, have had meet ups with other home edders individually but he's not fussed about doing it regularly and we have tried scouts which he didn't like either. Maybe the problem is mine as he seems very happy with the way things are going but I am being told by family members that he SHOULD be going to groups and by not making him go I am sentencing him to a life as an outcast who will never get a girlfriend as he doesn't know any girls! I'm sure he would meet up with other children if he could find some that he actually likes as the friends he DOES have, he loves spending time with. We go out and about every day practically so he's not at all isolated. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
What does he do as a hobby?
Sports and music are an obvious and fun way to do group activities.
rogue he likes cars, dogs and the countryside.
I would say at 11 it would be good for him to do something with other children where you aren't involved. I wouldn't worry if you've tried a couple of things and he didn't like them as there are so many activities. Mine have done things and not particularly enjoyed them too.
My dd has done over the years
Hmmm. IMO a hobby that can be done in a structured way is a fantastic thing for anyone to have. (My also slightly ASD) DS plays an instrument. We invest a lot of time and money in it as he loves it, but also because I think it will be a fantastic thing for him when he goes to uni and after. He plays in a band (a mixed blessing) and a regional music group which has a residential weekend. A few (really nice lads) who he wouldn't know otherwise and him meet for jams occasionally in each other's homes. It's fab. It's a huge thing in his life now (he is very lucky to be very naturally musical though).
Would your DS enjoy something like a cycling/mountain biking club perhaps?
I vaguely knew a woman who used to take her teens on all kinds of guided walk, ramblers club, national trust bat walk type things. There's loads and loads of that sort of thing around. You might find him making friends with people who are not his age, but that's not the end of the world 😊
We have a country park in our county which has organised outdoor activities for young people (climbing, canoeing, orienteering, wildlife watching, survival skills etc). Sometimes people join as individuals and meet folk there, or sometimes the HE group might book a session together if enough people are interested and there is a discount.
Is there something like this in your area?
(I was thinking it might fit in with him enjoying the countryside)
Thank you so much for your responses.
Rita He did go to scouts for a while where I left him and he was fine until a couple of bullies joined and slowly all the boys that weren't comfortable with being punched all the time, left the group!
Omm That's my thinking that just because he only has a few friends of his own age (he interacts with much older boys and adults all the time) that its not the end of the world. Unfortunately I have people in my ear saying that he MUST MUST do things with other 11 year olds.
Third good idea, I'll look at those sort of clubs, thank you.
Rita Sadly he has the musical ability of a brick!
I think if he's very happy then you are doing a great job and friendship is about quality rather than quantity. It's very easy for other people to have an opinion about what you SHOULD be doing but you know your son best. Plenty of time to discover girls too! I'm taking my DDs (also asd) to the cinema this afternoon because they want to avoid other teenagers at the weekend. Fair enough, I think mixing with their own age group is the hardest thing.
boot thank you for that, I think some people thinks he is odd for being satisfied with how things are at the moment. Hope you have a great time at the cinema this afternoon.
My son ended up doing hardly any HE-only groups and more time in community groups - he has autism and ADHD and does better with structure, so he did (and still does, at 17) martial arts, drama, swimming, music (he was rubbish at it too, OP, but he still did it ), science groups. I think it's easy for home educators to get so settled in the HE way of things that they forget there are load of other activities out there too.
We used to do bat walk kind of things too, and lots of school holiday activities arranged by the local authority. Ds is very interested in science and maths so we went to a lot of lectures at our local uni and other venues. Just getting out and about, opening doors, giving him opportunities to see what's out there. He wasn't always thrilled by them at the time but certain interests did develop over time. You just have to keep at it.
I agree that if he's not bothered about friendship in the same way that others are, then that's ok. But he will need to learn routine social skills for being independent out and about, so there's a limit to how much you can just accept that. IMO, obvs.
One thing that's been fab for my son is Youth Council. Maybe have a look and see if there's one in your LA?
queen thanks for those tips especially the youth council, I'll definitely look in to that.
It really has been brilliant for my son. His group is full of 'bright but quirky' kids, lots of outsiders if you like, some because they have some SN and others because they're very clever, or don't drink - kids who don't conform to the typical teen norm. I think it's a wonderful thing for those with autism because they're encouraged to think outside of their own needs and focus on community issues. Also great for developing independence because they have trips away in the group (supervised, at a distance), and they go to London once a year to campaign. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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