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so - how hard do I need to keep working on his social skills now?

(33 Posts)
lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 17:40:13

So DS2 is now 5.9. Once had severe receptive language delay and sensory issues. Almost certainly well within normal range now. Doing stunningly well for a child who didn't recognise his own name at 3.4 - has two little mates in reception who come round to play - one of whom considers him his best friend - I can leave him alone with either little friend and hear their conversations and their games - I don't need to intervene. gets on brilliantly with DS1 (8), though DS1 is very understanding - perhaps even too much so......

As you'd expect from a child with this history of delay, his social skills are still pretty raw. He gets anxious around other kids because he doesn't understand swift changes in rules and doesn't pick up the etiquette of a new game very fast - there's probably also still some invisible language processing problems. He and DS1 just had a disastrous game of baseball with two neighbouring kids and he just annoyed everyone. He couldn't understand why they weren't playing "right" and tried to impose his rules with zero success..... you get the picture....

If he was a natural loner, I'd leave it at that and think "well that's fine, I love him as he is, and he can always pursue specialist interests with his chosen few friends as he get older".

But he's very sociable - playing on his own doesn't count as play for him.

So I can see that he will want to play football, want to understand jokes, want to be easy in other kids' company.... but that's going to be a long journey.

Do I ditch the piano lessons (he excels) and spend that time teaching him how to kick a ball around in more flexible ways with a wider range of children? Or do I think "sod it, his chances in the happiness lottery of life are a bit smaller than some, but he has to learn his own lessons now"....?

answers on a postcard please!

total chaos, are you around?

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 17:45:08

PS, if he had to choose between being the world's best pianist and being easy in other kids' company, I have no doubt he would choose the latter.

pps sorry to harp on such a mild issue but I never feel understood in behaviour/development - you just have to have been there......

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 17:46:43

PPS, wish I could send a postcard back in time three years. I'd have given anything for this to be my biggest problem with him.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Jun-11 18:07:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Jun-11 18:08:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 18:22:31

are you able to link to that thread Lenin?


LeninGrad Mon 06-Jun-11 18:25:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pagwatch Mon 06-Jun-11 18:30:31

I would let him continue in the areas where he excels. A personal sense of pride helps everyone.

Social skills are important but confidence in any area helps socially. But support social skills in anyway you can - hopefully you will get some specific advice. I have no experience here as ds2 has no interest in social interaction really. Unless there is something in it for him grin

Pagwatch Mon 06-Jun-11 18:33:11

Lingle . There is a huge virtue - comfort even - in knowing that ds2 does not give a shit.
Your "mild" issues are not mild. Don't apologise for harping on ! not harping at all....

And x-posted with Lenin.

CanYouBeHappyAnyway Mon 06-Jun-11 18:42:26

is there a music group/class/even an event at school to build up to, where he can combine a hobby at which he excels with a social outlook?

agree with Pagwatch that awareness can e a real bugger.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 06-Jun-11 18:56:37

Will school help? Some are very good at circle of friends stuff, using other children who could do with a bit of help and some good role models. If your DS has a statement or is on SA etc, could you have it as an IEP target? My school does a weekly 'puppet club' with good quality hand puppets where the children get to act out stories, turn taking, etc with the advantage of getting the puppet to do the talking.

castlesintheair Mon 06-Jun-11 19:03:01

My DS sound's like yours and is also an ex-receptive language disorder/sensory issue child. (I think I may "know" you through the support thingy set up by Totalchaos?). Anyway, I would keep going with the things he excels at but also really work on the social things especially as he so wants to engage. Things started to click for DS (now 9) just over a year ago. He now has no problems joining in a game of football with a bunch of strangers, telling/understanding jokes etc. He fits in. Never thought I'd be able to say that!

I kept encouraging play dates particularly with boys outside of his tight network of 2/3 best friends. He's now got a much bigger circle of friends. He also joined a football club. I didn't push him. He wanted to. He's also done some of those holiday camps. Does your DS get support at school? They used DS's 1:1 hours to help with social issues as the need for academic support had passed. Also how's his reading? Becoming a fluent reader coincided with starting to "get things". Something you can work at with him easily. Buy a joke book. DS had his nose in one for months a couple of years ago. Keep going, you're doing so well and in another 3 years time you'll be able to look back as I do and be amazed that things could turn out like this.

I really don't want to sound smug or cause offence now that DS's needs are so mild but I would have given a great deal to hear something like this when my DS was first diagnosed.

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 19:40:50

yes I remember you very well castles - we used to talk about the positives about your lad, do you remember? - I'm delighted to hear about your DS's progress.

Yes, I will keep going. It would be too easy now to just label him as "shy" and ignore it, but the fact is I need to keep building up those skills.

We managed a game of "football" with the neighbours this evening. I had to be in the game. But that's ok, -I just have to go back to the old techniques of thinking "this is where we are, this is the way forward".

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 19:44:29

thank you pagwatch. I'm sure you are right. I retreated into academia myself, so there is a big risk I might take for granted those areas where he excels.
music is the one area where people are going to say "wow you're good" rather than "well done for trying".

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 19:48:02

thanks for that point canyoubehappyanyway.

DH and I were saying last night that we will guide him to (i)duets and group playing (ii)guitars and/or (iii) saxophones (iv) drums.
Stuff that makes the most immediate connection with the greatest number of people.
Again, he much prefers to play duets than solos, so the music has to serve the social agenda, methinks......

It just goes to show how you can be intensely social yet lack the skills to make lots of friends!

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 19:54:46

castles - 16th October 2008 - I made your day smile
and it turns out I was right too!

ohmeohmy Mon 06-Jun-11 20:16:20

we've been advised to look into 'social stories' as a way to help with social skills. New to it but you talk through a situation and how the kid feels then discuss what the other person might be feeling or expecting from the social interaction then discuss what the kids could do. Write it down and read it over and over till sinks in. There are books on teh technique so google could help.

IndigoBell Mon 06-Jun-11 20:48:33

I'm sure you can work on social skills and keep up his piano.....

It would be a real shame to give that up.

TotalChaos Mon 06-Jun-11 20:55:42

Hello Lingle - would be nice to meet up at some point again, our boys again sound to be in v. similar places atm, mine is also quirky but uber social. Unfortunately I think whilst displaying a social immaturity, whether or not it's due to the language delay, or a separate more permanent issue, we have to consider our boys as more vulnerable than the average child and needing a careful eye kept on them.

yes, agree with castles and the other ladies. good to keep on with his area of talent as 1)it boosts his self-confidence 2)has potential to diverge into more social music making activities 3)from personal experience as quirky but v academic, I was probably saved a bit from worst of high school bullying by respect some had for my academic skills.

My DS can be a bit of a rules boy too btw, but enough of a conformist (with others, not family!!) to manage that sort of thing OK. DS does seem v comfortable ?more comfortable with slightly younger NT children or with children with SN, than, say some of children same age on our street. Get the feeling a couple of the slightly older girls have been unpleasant to him sad. Atm he's only really doing school based extra-curricular activities, but mean to look into Cubs and martial arts for him.

sphil Mon 06-Jun-11 21:33:41

DS1, now 10, is similar in many ways to Castles DS <waves to Castles - remember our dreamers thread?> We had some success when he was in reception/ Year 1 with a social story which I wrote and my Mum illustrated. It was based on my observations of him playing and the things he'd said to me about the playground. It basically gave him a script of the things he could say to get into a game and options for responses if the game didnt go his way. At that age he had very little idea of how to initiate a game and wasn't flexible enough to be able to follow the twists and turns of other children's games. Over the years we've done quite a lot of discussion of social rules and occasionally some role play - although he didnt have an instinctive grasp of such things he does catch on very quickly when taught. Now he's 10 I have few concerns for him socially - he's always going to be quirky but has found a group of like-minded friends and has a pretty good understanding of social rules. Some of it is what we've done, some is down to maturity, some is ( as Castles says) a result of avid reading and an awful lot has come from the bonding rituals of Pokemon, Lego and Dr Who!

lingle Mon 06-Jun-11 22:13:25

"wasn't flexible enough to be able to follow the twists and turns of other children's games." - that's it in a nutshell.

"although he didnt have an instinctive grasp of such things he does catch on very quickly when taught" that's just like my older son too. I hope DS2 can learn as well.

thank you for posting TC. I will take your advice. I can cope with the idea of "keeping an eye" - that doesn't feel so full-on. today after he came to me in tears because of the baseball disaster, I told him that it was ok to change the rules, it was ok that he wanted different rules, that no, the other children wouldn't switch to his rules, nor would they go inside and play trains with him, and that all of that was ok.

after all, with language, we have all the tools we didn't use to have to help him.

castlesintheair Tue 07-Jun-11 09:59:23

smile thanks for that lingle - it's nice to go back in time and be reminded of how far we've come. Your comment always stuck in my mind, I just didn't remember who had said it!

<waves back at sphil - lovely to see you> Yes, DS also mostly lacks the instinct but quick to catch on when taught and yes, yes, the bonding rituals (love it!) of boys stuff - in our case football, trading cards, F1 - have helped enormously. lingle, there's so much to be gained from your little chats like the one you mention in your last post - draining though they can be - it's just something we have to do with our boys I think, a sort of on-going role play/counselling drip feed service that eventually (hopefully) sinks in.

someoneoutthere Tue 07-Jun-11 11:02:04

Hi Lingle, sorry my post is not about your op, just curious about how you got to the stage you are now with speech? I mean it is such an amazing progress to get to where your ds is now considering the delay. What did you do, how did you work on his speech so intensively that it improved so much in such a short space of time? Sorry, if I am intruding.

lingle Tue 07-Jun-11 12:44:44

right, i'll keep up with the little chats. It's funny teaching something I failed so miserably to learn myself!!! But I did manage it with DS1 so fingers crossed.

lingle Tue 07-Jun-11 13:08:26

"What did you do?"

judging from a quick glance at your recent posts - which look so familiar - the same things that you are doing. constant observation and analysis and hard work.

on a technical level, he does seem to have been a classic visual learner so I was constantly refining and taking ownership of the whole visual learning thing.

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