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Year 8 child feeling isolated

(17 Posts)
sighbynight Tue 25-Mar-14 20:53:24

My eldest is in year 8 and he's feeling increasingly down at school. He has mild special needs. He looks like he has mild special needs, which doesn't help. He's a very nerdy boy. I say that with all love. His social skills aren't great and he has mild ASD.

He only has one real friend at school - and his social skills are worse than my DS. All the other boys - or a significant number of other boys - call him names constantly. In the real world it would be considered homophobic, but being Y8 boys, they don't mean that he is actually gay, just that he is "odd". They switch the computer off when he's on it, and make him a general butt of jokes.

How do I counsel him about this? I don't know what to say. My husband sympathises, but says that boys that age are horrible and there is little to be done about it. I'm encouraging him to speak to his head of year about it tomorrow, but I don't really know what that will achieve. After all, he's hardly having his head flushed down the toilet.

Am I being PFB about this? What would you do?

ThreeBeeOneGee Tue 25-Mar-14 21:05:40

At DS1/DS2's school, the Learning Support department holds a Friendship Club every lunchtime.

If the school doesn't have something similar, then are there other clubs he could go to at lunchtimes? In any average-sized secondary school, there must be some other geeky boys, and also some less socially confident boys.

The name-calling and turning off his computer is still low-level bullying and isn't acceptable. The school will have a policy on bullying and how they deal with it.

sighbynight Tue 25-Mar-14 21:12:55

Thanks ThreeBee. Yes, the unit does a similar club. I'll remind him about that. The head of the unit is a bit of a old duffer though. I spoke to him about it at parents night. Very unworldly. The head of year is a bit more blokey (I've emailed him and prepped him. Interfering mother. Cringe) and might have more proactive advice to give.

I've tried to interest him in clubs but he finds it too nerve-wracking. I was a shy child myself, so I can sympathise. But I also know that the only way out of shyness is pushing yourself out there. Tough love!

ThreeBeeOneGee Tue 25-Mar-14 21:16:25

You might be able to persuade them to put something on his IEP, or to ask if they could give him a bit of extra support friendship-wise.

sighbynight Tue 25-Mar-14 21:31:59

Yes. You are quite right.

Diane31 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:34:32

My son is 13 and has high functioning autism; he is extremely happy and comfortable in a special school for minor special needs. He is in the asd class and the other children have minor special needs or just got bullied/didn't cope in massive high schools. The school does the curriculum and even goes up to 6th form. Is there a school like this near you? Good luck.

sighbynight Wed 26-Mar-14 06:37:06

Thanks Diane31. The nearest one is over an hour away. The subject was brought up when we were at the diagnostic stage. He has three younger siblings though, and logistically it wouldn't work. Even if we could get him a place!

Diane31 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:04:09

That's a shame. Our son is getting to the stage where we think he could do with going to mainstream for a few hours a week as he is picking up some traits from the more asd boys and the teachers say he is more attentive in some lessons that he likes such as science but on the whole we are keeping him there as he is happy. Schools aren't too far away here though so we are lucky, despite living semi-rural ourselves. The high schools are huge though.

Could you consider part schooling and part home education? Good luck.

Diane31 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:06:07

PS It's good your son has siblings but let's be honest, most children, special needs or not, don't bother with their siblings in school do they??? I know this from my own, my friend's children and from being a mid-day assistant!

Minime85 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:28:20

have you spoken to his form tutor? what other pastoral care things do they offer? it might be they have clubs specifically to help with skills like that. and nurture friendships. also there could be peer mentoring which happens very successfully at my school and really is good.

I think the name calling and computer stuff is low level bullying and needs to be dealt with. get in touch with tutor or HOY. or is there a behaviour team there you could contact? give them a chance to sort it and act on things but if no joy go straight to management.

sighbynight Wed 26-Mar-14 11:36:37

Peer mentoring or a buddy system would be great. He needs someone to show him how to be, IYSWIM.

He is supposed to be speaking to the HOY today, so I'll see how that goes. If there is no improvement, I'll speak to him myself.

Takver Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:50

"They switch the computer off when he's on it, and make him a general butt of jokes."

That sounds to me like bullying - low level, but still plenty to have a massive impact on your ds especially if he is already lacking confidence socially.

I've got a dd in year 7, also not great social skills, she was on the receiving end of low level bullying (name calling, taking her book & throwing it around, repeating what she said in a silly voice). School definitely took it seriously - she initially spoke to her form tutor, but I also phoned HoY to make it clear what a big impact it was having on her confidence. I think it did help as it all sounded quite minor individually, but I could explain the cumulative effect.

HoY brought together dd with the girls concerned, which in fact was a really stressful and traumatic experience for her, but does seem to have made a difference - fingers crossed since half term things have been much better.

nkf Wed 26-Mar-14 20:12:03

Tutor, Head of Year. Get it stopped. And, no, not all year 8 boys are horrible. Good luck.

sighbynight Wed 26-Mar-14 22:01:14

Spoke to HoY today. He rounded up the ringleaders and spoke to them within an hour. Son much happier tonight. We'll see how it plays out over the next wee while.

snakeface Tue 01-Apr-14 09:17:21

You completely did the right thing speaking to HofY, and I hope things have settled down a bit. Your DS was being bullied and shouldn't have to deal with that rubbish, glad school took it seriously. I wish your ds nothing but good things and am sending him lots of positive thoughts - for what it's worth!!!smile)))

sandyballs Tue 01-Apr-14 09:43:28

That is def bullying and I'm glad school took it seriously. I have children in year 8 and this wouldn't be tolerated in their school. It's making his life a misery, poor boy.

Swanhildapirouetting Tue 01-Apr-14 10:41:20

Your son is being bullied, and you should log any further incidents. And don't blame it on his SNs, blame it on the bullies, even if it is a whole class thing.

Ds2 has ASD, in year 7 and is in mainstream on SAplus, so they are on alert for him having difficulties with social communication making friends One of the more important things for him has been having a TA around he can go to during the day (not his 1:1 but he knows she is there for him) to clear up any administrative issues, or organisational things he might get upset over (think losing PE kit, or not understanding class work) This makes him less of a target because I think when they are stressed or make mistakes in class, the other children often pick on them more (yes I know that's horrible but it is true) and also your child's responses might be more emotional, again making him target.

The other thing is that he has access to the SEN room in all break times and a lot of structured activities going on, so that he is not having to make his own social life up as he goes along. He does drama club, touchtyping, goes to voluntary Mass and does the readings, and some literacy interventions. Also Nurture Club which a friendship circle where they have a mentor to pull it together. So far there has been one major incident of bullying but that was jumped on by the school, and ds himself has reported nothing since.

Although I would mention that sometimes the child themself can blank out low level bullying and ostracism and not really see it for what it is, blaming themselves or thinking there is nothing to be done, and they just have to get through the day (often leading to outbursts at home as a result sad. That is why you have to be quite proactive and find out exactly what is happening.

The other thing, which is really hard, especially if you have other children to deal with, is to make a point of inviting someone round just for your son, and make his 1:1 friendships at home happen for him, because unfortunately they might not happen by magic or osmosis. This can be a simple as inviting someone round to play a computer game or watch a favourite telly series.

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