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Feeling low this evening about DD (5) poss asd/aspergers, - struggling at school to make friends...

(19 Posts)
josben Tue 30-Aug-11 23:12:40

I am dreading school starting again in September, DD really struggles socially, and can sometimes have aggressive outbursts with other children, and i have also seen her be a bit mean. I have had a mum blank me over the school hols and i think this is to do with my DD and her DD... I know DD needs extra help with understanding social situations and I really try to talk to her about being friends with everyone and have read social stories to her. This really really worries me but I am hoping that this will get better.

DD can be really kind, caring and loving but she does struggle in social situations with lots of other children. She is better in a one on one play situation. She has had playdates (ie children coming to us to play) which have been okay. Although invites back are few and far between. I am not sure if i should just stop trying so hard to get her to form friendships and just accept that the situation is as it is. DD doesn't seem bothered and is quite happy doing her own thing, although i realise this will change.

I veer from ignoring the problem and thinking things will get better to feeling very down about it all as i do tonight. I can't really talk to any friends about it.

Her teacher has been brilliant and she was the person that highlighted DD needs and has got inclusion support involved and has helped us with an IEP and put me in touch with a support group,etc.

If anyone has any advice, i would really appreciate, sorry if i have rambled a bit smile

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Aug-11 23:44:18

Can you persist with the playdates but have just one or two social targets that your dd has to meet or try to achieve.

And although this might feel a bit like bribery, try to find out what the playdate likes to do/eat etc and make it as fun and rewarding for them as you can so that they are happy to come back.

Hopefully eventually, your dd will learn enough skills for it to be about her, but for the moment you have to get people over who are happy to be practised on for other rewards iyswim.

josben Wed 31-Aug-11 00:00:51

Wow, i will persist happily if you think that will help... - maybe i need to be a bit more inventive with playdates and have a task such as baking etc. Is that what you have done Starlight...? Do you think DD will find friendships easier as she gets older? (She is a young 5 and a July baby)

I am just thinking now that maybe i have left DD and a friend just 'get on with it' when she has ha a playdate and have not made it structured enough. We have moved house over the school hol which has been chaos, so DD has not had much opportunity for playdates, although i have tried to orgainise a playdate this week but the friend can't come over... I am feeling like i look a bit desperate (which i know i shouldn;t care about)...

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 00:09:23

Yes. Supervised playdates. Prep for your dd, with reminders. Don't make her targets too big or give too many at once, and try to reward her for remembering the targets/social skill at the time ideally with social praise, but if she doesn't respond to that with something tangiable.

I don't know what her difficulties are though so can't suggest targets. But you could start with a greeting.

'hello, would you like to come and choose the first game/toy?' and if she does that and plays with that toy for 3/5 minutes then the next game can be to make cakes/play with one of the 'special' toys that you keep out of reach for 'special behaviour' or times etc.

But you need to supervise to a.make sure she is prompted to get it right, and b. for you to take notes on what she finds difficult for her targets next time.

I agree though it can feel awkward arranging play dates because if your child is not all that easy, you feel like you are begging almost, which is why you have to try to make the child want to come back for other reasons firstly.

josben Wed 31-Aug-11 00:23:28

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated.

I was reading a thread on here earlier about a mum who thought a friends DD was on the spectrum but didn't know whether to say anything, when i am feeling paranoid i feel that some of the other mums at school are discussing DD, her behaviour and maybe if shes got special needs. i have only told a few close friends as i don;t want DD to stand out and be labelled but may be I am being silly and should just be up front that DD needs additional support...?

I had worries about DD from when she was around 18 months, she could be aggressive, biting pushing, she also had no attention span and was a very late talker. As she got older nursery highlighted a few worries about her interaction with other children and then when she started school, her teacher echoed this along with saying things like she was in her own little world and it was ovious she needed support. Then we were referred to a paed and inclusion support.

My family, mum DH are still in denial, and think that she will grow out of it, so sometimes it is difficult to know what to do...

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 31-Aug-11 08:22:59


Use a "label" as purely a signpost to getting your DD more support. You are your child's best and only advocate here; the worst thing you can do here is ignore and deny. To your credit you have not done either.

As for your H and the wider family their position neither helps them or their granchild/daughter. Something also for your H to bear in mind, they need to get their heads out of the sand because their position is not fair on you either. Denial is indeed a powerful force.

Have you contacted the NAS as yet; they could advise you further as well.

With regards to school has anyone ever mentioned the word "Statement" to you. This is something I would seriously be now considering with regards to her additional support needs. Inclusion support and an IEP are all very well and good but its limited overall. Your DD needs more and importantly a document that is legally binding.

Is your DD on School action plus?. With previous paed involvement she should be on this particular tier of support anyway.

Junior school can be particularly difficult due to the increased pressures of school work along with the increased and unwritten social demands and conventions.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 08:33:37

Labels aren't for life necessarily.

But you might find yourself in a position where you are forced to choose between a label of 'ASD' or 'Naughty'. One of them gets your dd understanding and support, the other gets her punished.

josben Wed 31-Aug-11 22:39:00

Thanks again for your posts, really appreciate your advice, i have heard of a Statement but i have been told that our school rarely does them (or something like that.)

i will ask about about it and also about school action plus. Inclusion Support have been good but their involvement has come to an end as apparently they are now only dealing with more serious cases...

I also have a questionnaire which i keep trying to complete from the paed, but it asks sooo many questions about DD's history from when she was a baby to now - i can;t remember everything they are asking . So i am worried i am going to give inaccurate information... How important is the questionnaire that the paed sends out? I am putting off completing it... (DD has only had one appt with the paed by the way)

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 22:47:27

'i have heard of a Statement but i have been told that our school rarely does them'

LOL - no actually I'm not LOLing. We all get told this by the way. Perhaps your dd doesn't need one. It is possible. With some levels of need within an exceptional school it is certainly possible, but rare.

Who from your school told you that?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Aug-11 22:48:21

tbh, it isn't that I think your dd needs a statement that I am cynical.

It is the fact that you have been told that your school rarely does them that makes me feel they have a secret iyswim.

pigletmania Wed 31-Aug-11 22:51:04

josben my dd aged 4 is the same, her main difficulties are speech and language delay, social communication difficulties, and dev delay of 2 years. The Ed Psych suggested that dd should be exposed to many social situations as possible for her to improve, and over the holidays I have tried, and have been successful. I have made a few mummy friends at preschool and have invited them around and they us, for playdates, on a regular basis over the holidays, this has gone down a treat, and has really improved dd social skills tenfold. I am particularly good friends with one of the mums who's ds goes to dd pre school and she has taken us out to different locations (i don't drive) and dd has really loved this, and really gets on with the older sister of my friends ds, she asks to play with her and wanted to phone her to say goodnight one evening. It also helps that my friends dd (aged 6) is a lovely girl, who is very understanding of dd SN, and makes a lot of effort to play with her and make her join in. So yes continue the playdates occasionally, and take your dd out to different things locally

josben Thu 01-Sep-11 08:12:15

Thanks again Starlight for your post, it was a mum who has a DS with ADHD, but i'm wondering now if she said our LEA/or area rarely does statementing... not sure I will ask her again. My DD's teacher has not mentioned statementing and she has been very keen to get inclusion involved etc ... so I'm not sure what to do - but I will investigate. Would a statement give my DD some one on one help at school? As I am thinking about possibly gettign DD extra tuition to help her with her school work as I know that Year1 will be quite different to reception....

Pigletmania, thanks for your post - that is really positive,, are you quite up front with friends and other mums about your DD's difficulties? Has you DD had a dx?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Sep-11 09:17:23

" My DD's teacher has not mentioned statementing and she has been very keen to get inclusion involved etc ... so I'm not sure what to do - but I will investigate. Would a statement give my DD some one on one help at school?".

However, you have written that inclusion have ceased involvement with your DD as they are concentrating on more "serious" cases. Also inclusion do not generally have a lot of sway in schools with regards to additional support needs, they could say much to school re recommendations but school could actually do very little as a result. They don't have to follow to the letter what inclusion say.

TBH these people are more than happy not to really do anything more than they have done with the result that your DD and you as a family suffer even more. You are truly your child's best - and only - advocate here. You are the best placed person to fight her corner for her because actually no-one else will.

A statement is a legally binding document and it can provide 1 to 1; it is the surest way of ensuring longer term support within the school system. SA plus is not legally binding and the support offered on it can be limited in scope. You also need to think longer term i.e Juniors and secondary. Without a statement in place she could find those places extremely hard.

LEAs still issue statements, its not the school's decision whether to issue a statement or otherwise. If DDs school "rarely does them" I would also be wondering why there are perhaps so few children within that environment. Who also told you that BTW?.

merlincat Thu 01-Sep-11 17:27:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

josben Thu 01-Sep-11 20:45:37

Really appreciating your advice again smile Attila, it was a mum friend who has a DS who is 8 and has ADHD, she has been through a very long process of getting his needs assessed and she had mentioned to me that statementing is quite rare (must be in our LEA) She's also a speech therapist and so i don't know whether she has a stonger opinion about it because of that? I see what you mean about it giving 1:1 and also longer term support - i will def l look into it and try and get aa statement for DD.

Merlincat i read your post with interest, i think i have def not been putting enough effort into playdates smile! as you say if it works you do anything to help you kids and give them the best chance of being happy

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 01-Sep-11 20:50:55

Well it might be contrived, but as long as no-one is their against their will and they all enjoy it then there is no harm.

BUT, you do have to use the opportunities for your dd to learn. Be specific with the targets. i.e. today you are going to let x always go first and not scream the house down.

lingle Thu 01-Sep-11 21:09:17

agree with everything starlight mckenzie says. I like this book - helps you build up the whole social skills thing - just like you'd build up reading and writing.

I'm also struggling with the whole "I really try to talk to her about being friends with everyone" thing. Ds2 - who also has social skills problems at 6.0 - has made a best friend (mutual - whoo hoo! there is hope!) in his peer group but tends to describe everyone else as "not my friend" blush

I think the word "friend" is used in quite complicated and confusing ways by us adults. After all, if a little child is struggling to understand what "friend" really means ie "person you like to play with, that you feel comfortable with, who likes you" then what chance is there of firming up on that concept if we adults are saying that you have to be friends with everyone? A teacher friend of mine used to use the word "kind" instead ie "you have to be kind" and that always seemed to work well.

Simplest possible playdate: get up to date video, invite child who lives close by (neighbours are ideal, make up story about why it will be convenient to drop them off yourself so you control length of playdate, let kids watch video and share one (v. important)bowl of popcorn. then take child home whilst s/he still wants more.

Re: other parents. A phrase I've found helpful to use again and again is "Ds2 still has a lot to learn about X". it means I can talk about his problems whilst still expressing the fact I think they are soluble. Works a treat when you have to talk about other people's kids too and you don't want to describe them as "naughty" or "rough" grin.

josben Thu 01-Sep-11 23:19:09

Starlight, i understand what you are saying with targets, one of the issues with have at home is DD's outbursts around her 2 older brothers, who are 9 and 10. She will lash out ans hit them occasionally and can have meltdowns and shout at them when she is tired.... i am thinking that maybe i should make play more structured at home when she is with her brothers, although with difference in age and sex I will have to think through what will appeal to all of them... i probably leave them to their own devices a bit too much...? dd had playdough out today which she enjoyed....

Lingle thanks for your post - i will def look into getting the talkability book it looks v interesting,... Its good to hear that your DS has a mutual friend, really positive smile I think that you may be right about the word friend being a bit confusing, but i guess i get a bit worried that DD only seems to want one friend and then i worry about how she is when another child tries to join in...! but i think that encouraging 'kind' behaviour is a good idea.

lingle Fri 02-Sep-11 09:30:02

well, if I manage a break-through with DS2, I'll let you know! smile

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