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DS2(6, resolved receptive language+sensory) struggling with social niceties -how to deal

(5 Posts)
lingle Sun 28-Aug-11 19:55:52

My DS2 is doing great. But he can't handle situations where a child from his class bumps into us in town and says hello. He also couldn't accept birthday presents from other children except his best friend without showing tension and maybe dropping the present/turning away, etc. Lastly, he is wholly lacking in tact, not knowing how to just say hello if a child you don't particularly like says hello to you.

I think it's the fear of other children except for his brother and best friend - the never knowing when they might make some complex social demand. I can remember as a child almost seeing an "aura" around other children as they approached me, I was so scared (the developmental problems run in our family).

Anyway, as he's out in the world being judged by NT standards (you'd need to be an expert to spot the language stuff now) I'd like to help him. It seems such a pity because often these things are easier than they seem (I remember what a revelation it was when someone told me that if offered a compliment you only have to say "thanks!" then stop talking - brilliant! problem solved!)

I wondered if anyone has experience helping a child with this issue at this developmental stage? I find it quite tricky as a parent because it's obviously embarrassing when he is standoffish with the children of my acquaintances. He and his socially confident best friend are inseparable at school so, whilst he is probably considered quirky, he's not "different enough" for other kids to excuse his lapses in manners. I made a mistake long ago handling his fear of hair-dryers because I was embarrassed as a result of which it hardened into phobia - I don't want to repeat this.

I'm wondering if I should write a note to his new teacher asking school to do some rote-learning/role-play in his "ginger bear" social communication group? I think they might handle it better than me (after all, it's not their friends' kids he's being standoffish with...). My slight concern about leaving it to school is that I don't think they have a real concept of what it's like to be so afraid of most other children (whereas I can remember it) and not to know how to be nice back when people are nice to you.

dolfrog Sun 28-Aug-11 20:34:51


You and others of your family who sahre these types of issues are the best able to help your DS2 because you have been there, developed ways of coping, and now you need to explain these coping strategies to your DS2. So that he does not feel alone and isolated and thinking he is the only one with these problems.

We are a family all of whom have some degree of APD which can cause many communication and social difficulties, and we have help our DCs work around their issues by explaining how we tried to cope, when we were their age, and even now on a daily basis.

There is no such thing as Normal, it is a concept many use to hide their own differences, and some like us may be more different than others. In our house APD is considered normal, and nonAPDs are consider strange, but that is because normal only a concept of the average for any given statistical population, and for each fluid group the mean, average or normal set changes each time some one leaves or someone else joins.

Leaving the provision of support to the less well informed is not really an option more a cop out.
Have you explained your own differences to your acquaintances, yet, as this may help them explain your DSs issues to their children

lingle Mon 29-Aug-11 10:44:10

you are passionate Dolfrog! Would it be fair to say that this is a political issue/issue of principle for you?

Others in my family who share these problems would, unfortunately, either (i) quickly start talking about the weather/the merits of taking particular transport routes or (ii) find a reason to leave the room if I tried to engage them! So it would get a bit lonely smile. Also, I was still snubbing compliments at 14/15 so I don't have insight into how to deal with these issues as a young child (I failed to deal!) only into how not to deal!smile

But of course the opposite response would be to treat this as a mere question of teaching him manners - that's why I've come back to the SN board - only the people on here realise it's not as easy as that when you're overwhelmed!

dolfrog Mon 29-Aug-11 17:55:37


the lack of willingness by family and others has led to some very close to me to feel worse, and that everything was their fault, that t hey had failed their parents, family and friends, and lead to teenage self harm, and worse in later life. The opposite was true.

And the only way to get the help and support required is to breakdown the barriers of ignorance ands sometimes self denial. Which as you say is not easy as for many it is too much of a problem to try to understand the disabilities of others who are desperate need of support and understanding.

I went through years of disability discrimination in the work place, and eventually had a breakdown because of it. I still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress when anyone repeatedly fails to understand the nature of my disability, which can even happen on forums like this. All of my family share my disability, and unless others are prepared to understand then they will have to go through the hell that both me and other family adults have been through due to the preferred ignorance of others.

So this is for me an issue of principle, that we all need to understand each others disabilities and needs however complex they my be. Funny how if others have an accident or illness which results in them sharing our problems, how they then demand that we understand their issues.

lingle Mon 29-Aug-11 19:53:48

I hear what you say. I hope you don't mind me mentioning this but I saw your posts expressing some strong views against people using ABA (if I have remembered rightly)

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