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Social Skills Groups - any experience?

(5 Posts)
moosemama Fri 10-Jun-11 17:20:55

We have been considering some local clubs/groups that sound interesting:

One for boys from 7-11 who have Aspergers, one for secondary age boys who have Aspergers and one for siblings of children who have Aspergers (there are equivalent girls groups as well).

From what I can make out, they are a bit like youth clubs, with table tennis etc, but with 'a focus on improving social skills and building selsf-esteem, by engendering a sense of belonging'.

They run one evening a week.

Ds is quite keen to find out more and try it out if possible and ds2 quite likes the idea of the siblings group, although the leaflet (sent to us by CAMHS a few months back) dates from 2009 and there's no website, so we don't actually know if it still exists.

Does anyone have any experience of this type of group and if so, was/is it a postive experience for their ds?

I 'get' the importance of a sense of belonging etc, but am not sure how much social skills can be improved when the room is full of others who have the same impairments. confused

At the moment I'm thinking it would be good for ds, if only from an extra activity/interest point of view and for him to finally get to meet other children with AS, as I do feel he is starting to recognise his differences from his peers at school and it would be good for him to realise that he's not alone.

coff33pot Fri 10-Jun-11 17:46:08

I have no experience of social groups moosemama but it does sound like a great idea smile Especially as you say he will meet other children viewing lifes experiences the same way.

The one I have tried with dd (5.11 poss AS) is cubs. He is the only one there with impairments. He was accepted very well and in the first instance I went along (he thought mummy was volounteering too). They hurried through his investment (fully fledged cub) so he got his uniform and looked the same as everyone else.

When stating DS issues to them and my reasons for wanting him to join (social skills) they did say once a diagnosis is made to let them know as they can actually apply for funding themselves to have a 1 to 1 for him if necessary just to be on the sidelines if needed.

I have to say ds loves it and has been going for around 5 weeks now and last night was the first night he went on his own (he actually requested to). On collection I was told it went well. He actually walked down to the beach with his peers holding another boys hand (total rarity) On the way back he said he was too tired to walk and he was getting anxious but they didnt make a fuss. One offered to hold his coat and one held his bag to make him lighter and he didnt freak out. Also he didnt want to put his socks on (which always causes a big row at school) but they made no comment.

I dont know if this might help with one of your family but it certainly is helping my DS smile

cankles Fri 10-Jun-11 18:10:08

Yes it's a great idea. Ds2 was involved in a group with an adhd charity over here and he loved it. It's the only time we have involved him in something that we have had absolutely NO protest in getting him to go. I also have a friend whose ds (aspergers) and he is involved in a social opportunities group which is very successful, there are lots of activities and friendships have developed - which is great because these can then continue in the adult group.

I think it's worth giving it a go - I have also been thinking about involving ourselves in one of our local parent support groups - for the same reason, ds2 is now 10 and we need to start setting up links with other families to make friendships (if poss) and have something a bit more concrete in place before he turns into Kevin the teenager!

moosemama Fri 10-Jun-11 18:21:00

Thanks coff33.

I do think the boys need to widen their horizons. Ds1 used to go to chess club, but the guy that ran it has had to give it up, so now he doesn't do any extra-curricular activities at all. Dh was supposed to be enrolling them all in family Tae Kwon Do classes - but least said soonest mended about that - suffice to say I am sick of reminding him and that's one year on!

My main concern is that, as they don't have any web presence at all, I can't get a feel or any information for them. All I've been able to find out online is that they've been running since 2005 and submitted accounts last year, so it sounds like they are still going. Its run by a charity and I know nothing about the people that run it.

It seems slightly odd that the inclusion team, who are generally very clued up on support groups etc haven't mentioned it to me at all, but maybe it just hasn't come up yet. I might drop them an email and ask if they've heard of it.

Their leaflet says they also do training for parents and their aim is promote good mental health for children, but despite it saying their groups are only for children with Aspergers - on the front of the leaflet it states they support families of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, which makes me a bit hmm because I hate it when children with ASD are lumped in with BESD children - maybe that's just my personal bugbear, which has its roots in inappropriate educational provision though.

We still haven't made it to the local ASD Parent Support group, which is actually on next week. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go to that first and ask if anyone has any experience of it. I know I'm being ridiculously cautious, but feel I need to have some third party experience/reviews of them before I can consider letting my boys attend.

moosemama Fri 10-Jun-11 18:22:08

Thanks cankles - lol at Kevin the teenager - ds1 is 9 and some days it feels like we are already there! grin

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