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Sudden horrible realisation of DS's lack of empathy :(

(54 Posts)
Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 10-Jul-11 09:32:22

The paed at our first appt asked me what DS would do if he saw me crying, would be come and comfort me. I said that I didn't know as I didn't cry in front of him.

This morning I fell down the stairs with a scream that woke DH up. DS didn't even move from his beanbag where he was watching TV. When DH asked him if he had heard me, he said yes. DH asked him if he realised that I could have hurt myself as I had screamed he said no. Once it was pointed out that I might have hurt myself, then then came and asked me if I was OK.

This really upset me as was really not the reaction I would expect from a 6 year old. His difficulties really came crashing down on me suddenly - think that I minimise them so much by making sure that we avoid sensory stuff etc, it reduces the reality of it all.

colditz Sun 10-Jul-11 09:39:25

Oh sweetie I had almost identical revalation when Ds1 was 5 1/2. I fell ovcer in the living room and landed funny - honestly thought I'd broken my arm. I screamed my head off.

Ds2 (Aged two FFS) tottered over in a state of great anxiety. He tried to lift me by my head, he tried to wipe my eyes with a baby wipe, he gave me his juice bottle, he cuddled me etc. Ds1 brought the Argos catalogue over and started pointing out Scalextric tracks that were within the budget I had set for Christmas. Ds2 chucked a fit at him, screaming "Mummy is HURT! Shut UP Argos cars, Shut UP Ds1!!!"

And it was such a slap in the face to see that despite the age gap, Ds2 had overtaken him already with the empathy.

Goblinchild Sun 10-Jul-11 09:46:52

Slashed my finger a few years back making dinner. Blood everywhere and me trying to find something in the First Aid to stem the flow.
DS came in and asked me if I'd got blood on his dinner, and when he saw that it was OK, he left again. He was 11.
You can teach appropriate responses to situations like this, but it takes time and will never be true empathy.
I did yell at him to come back, then told him to open the cupboard, take out what I needed, hold it in place whilst I wrapped the bandage and then let me sit down for ten minutes to avoid fainting.
He did all that and ended up finishing making his dinner himself with instructions.

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 10-Jul-11 09:58:12

Thanks ladies, I've stopped crying now at least blush. At least I will have a definite answer to the paed when we go back to the clinic to try to get the dx.

In our case this morning, Disney bloody Junior held his attention more than his mother bashing down about 6 stairs, screaming and hitting the ground!

Comes after we took him to the supermarket for the first time in about 6 months for a "big shop" as DH has started Weight Watchers so wanted to come too and doesn't drive. Cue the sort of behaviour exactly as we had for the past 5.5 yrs that had been minimised so much that my mum was saying that we woudln't get a dx.

.........and I have the summer holidays coming soon and I am off sick waiting for a probably operation - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh grin

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sun 10-Jul-11 10:01:25

It's not funny, really, is it? Any time that my DS3 has hurt himself or is upset and crying, DS2 just gets really cross with him for making a horrible noise and shouts at him to shut up! I do keep emphasising that it's not nice to be cross with someone who is unhappy, and model a correct response, DS2 you should say,"Oh dear, are you ok?" for example, but it never seems to work.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sun 10-Jul-11 10:02:01

Oh yes, DS2 is 11. sad

Goblinchild Sun 10-Jul-11 10:16:35

Mine is 16 now, and is much more aware and able to show concern and appropriate responses to other people's distress. It is heartbreaking, but I came to realise that his non-NT response really wasn't linked to his love for me.

Mitmoo Sun 10-Jul-11 12:20:31

My son 14 is very loving, loves a hug so I'm very lucky. BUT I was throwing up last week with an infection. Apparantly I was pretending just to stop him from going fishing and he was disgusted with me! Cheers Pal.

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 10-Jul-11 12:54:21

He is really loving and always wants cuddles and kisses so I sort of thought that he had empathy. I guess not grin

At least on here I don't feel the odd one out with all this as don't feel able to access the local ASD group yet without the DX even though they are very welcoming.

cory Sun 10-Jul-11 13:17:43

Please ignore me if I am barging in from a position of inexperience, but would it help if you told yourself that it is not actually a deficiency in his love for you, but in his ability to read a situation?

Supposing I felt really really unhappy and I wrote a note to (NT) ds in German explaining how I felt and how much I needed his support- he doesn't know any German, he wouldn't understand that I was unhappy, but it doesn't invalidate his love for me.

Some of the MNers on the spectrum have always come across as very caring people, but at the same time have been very open about how they struggle with reading RL situations. Just a thought.

Mitmoo Sun 10-Jul-11 13:24:10

As with everything to do with autism I try to find the funny side of things to be able to cope with some of the harder things. It does hurt sometimes but it's not them it's the condition.

Mitmoo Sun 10-Jul-11 13:26:42

I don't wish to hijack your thread, but I'm currently dealing with a disabled mother and a chid with AS. He gets so annoyed with Mum, though he loves her, when she gets ill, needs my attention so he can't have it 100%. It's as if he thinks she or anyone gets ill on purpose and always accuses anyone who is inconveniencing him by being sick of putting it on. He really believes it.

You are not on your own, honestly.

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 10-Jul-11 14:01:44

Thank you Cory. Thinking of it as speaking in a different language really is helpful. Really thanks v much

Mitmoo I know that none of what he does is to be mean or annoying or ungrateful etc etc. Just coming to terms with who DS is compared to who I expected - have read the Holland thing which although is a bit odd is quite true at the moment.

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 10-Jul-11 14:57:51

Oh Lord! Have just read thsi thread and been hit with a massive revelation! (Sorry to hijack/derail)..... When I was pg both times I had AWFUL morning sickness and OH used to get cross with me when I was sick! Now I have always known where DS gets his traits from but that has it me with a thump!

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 10-Jul-11 15:12:58

Sorry Never sad It is so odd isn't it how you can realise something that has been staring you in the face for so long.......

Mitmoo Sun 10-Jul-11 15:23:36

Never: I know what you mean, when I was first told my son might be autistic, my reaction was they're made, he's too intelligent to be autistic. I know my mistake, I've learned. When I found out what autism was really all about all of the penny's started to drop. It just fits.

cory Sun 10-Jul-11 15:33:06

Mitmoo, about your 13: 26 post, I find that even with high needs children who are not on the spectrum.

Dd got very angry with ds when he was diagnosed with the same connective tissue disorder which has made her disabled: she just couldn't cope with the thought of somebody else making demands when she felt like she need all the support there was. I had to confiscate her crutch at one point because she hit him with it. She, not being autistic, recognised her own reactions and knew they were wrong, but she just couldn't stop herself.

Triggles Sun 10-Jul-11 15:33:34

DS2 appears to have some empathy... unless you look a bit closer. His response is ALWAYS the same. Exactly the same. It's like he's in a play and he reacts and says his lines and then off he goes without a backwards look. hmm

Initially, it looks like he's so concerned.... until he says something completely off beat and unrelated... and you realise he's just reciting the expected lines... grin I'm used to it now. I've decided that for now we'll just teach him how to react, and hope the rest comes more naturally in time. We do try to explain to him, obviously, but I think sometimes it can be a "banging head against the wall" moment if you worry overly much about it.

LeninGrad Sun 10-Jul-11 16:22:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Starchart Sun 10-Jul-11 16:31:53

DS used to do that too, but I taught him quickly not to laugh and absolutely hammered it home because I saw too many situations where another child had fallen off their bike/a tree/a seat and ds was standing next to them laughing his head off.

It looked like he'd pushed them, even though he hadn't.

He doesn't have empathy, but he has learned not to laugh now at least.

LeninGrad Sun 10-Jul-11 17:39:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Sun 10-Jul-11 17:40:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Starchart Sun 10-Jul-11 17:45:13

I don't think it was complicated. I just stuck to ds like glue for a bit and every time someone somewhere cried, on the tele, at the park, his sister whatever, I would ask. 'Is that child happy?' and then prompt him to reply 'no, sad' and pull a long face I would give him a sweet.

It was just acting to get the sweet but the he started to get genuinely interest in people's expressions and sometimes ask 'what's that face?' or comment 'child is happy'

Goblinchild Sun 10-Jul-11 17:52:19

Oh Lenin, I'm sorry you are finding it tough going sad
Like Star says, the hard bit is that there is no easy fix, it's just consistency, repetition and clarity in your language. And time.
I started by stopping him laughing, without him understanding why. He was used to the idea that some things were not OK, even if he didn't get why. Then I worked on understanding why it was not OK to find something funny if the other person wasn't happy. It took ages.
DS and I used films and TV for a long time to do people watching, and get him to work out what people were feeling and why, but he wasn't ready for that until he was around 10 or 11.

LeninGrad Sun 10-Jul-11 18:00:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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