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How hard do you try to teach your children to fit into NT world?

(28 Posts)
lisad123 Fri 09-Sep-11 18:41:38

I guess, after the thread about China and ASD, Im intrested how much we do as parents to help our children fit in with the NT world??
Im of the belief that its more role to teach my girls how to function in a NT, what is socially acceptable and how to manage without me being there to make allowances for them. Some have said this is wrong as their shouldnt have to learn to fit into the NT world, but that the NT world needs educating about accepting SN.
I also have friends that dont leave the house because the child they have with SN doesnt want to/cant cope/isnt willing too.

Hope this discussion doesnt come and bite me in the arse later grin

Ineedalife Fri 09-Sep-11 18:48:41

I am trying to teach Dd3 some of the social rules which will hopefully help her later in life.

She can be very outspoken and often appears rude. She has little or no understanding about the difference between familiar and unfamiliar people.

I too see it as my responsibility to try to help her understand some of these social rules, I dont feel as though I am making much headway at the moment but I will keep trying.

At the same time though I do not try to stop her being who she is.

There Lisad, if the discussion bites you on the bum I am right behind you grin.

LunarRose Fri 09-Sep-11 18:57:17

I missed the China and ASD thread, it sounds interesting any chance you could link to it?

In answer to your question, I don't think I could make DS fit into the NT world if I tried. I suppose I look at it as trying to enable him to access it as much as possible with the necessary adaptations on both sides.

Dammit I believe that any family must get out. I don't think anyone can be "normal" if their stuck in the whole time.

BakeliteBelle Fri 09-Sep-11 19:01:12

It probably depends on a) how easy it is - or not - for them to fit into the mainstream world and b) whether it makes them happier to be part of the NT world. Different disabilities cause different issues with mainstream society.

I attempt not to let DS hit, spit at or shout at people but he will never look normal and I accept he will always be viewed as different. I haven't got to the point of never going out but everything we do and everywhere we go is organised with military precision to minimise problems and we avoid many things that any 'normal' family would take for granted.

What happens to Chinese children with disabilities who can't fit into mainstream society? I'm not wildly impressed with what I've seen of China's reputation for human rights for severely learning disabled children (haunted by a film of a naked child strapped to a potty 12 hours a day)

pleasestoplying Fri 09-Sep-11 19:04:31

I think it has to be a combination. I expect the NT world to make accomodations for my son, and expect these to be made for legal but mainly moral reasons.

However, I work really hard to motivate him to want to become less socially isolated and unacceptable in his behaviour so that he can live in mainstream society as an adult. The reality of mainstream society is that not everyone will be willing to make every adjustment that would be desirable and I might not always be around to force/ persuade people to do so. The Gary McKinnon case was a harsh reminder of this.

Until 2 years ago, my son had no desire to adapt or think outside himself; he now does (to a degree) and so is willing to work on ways to avoid the worst extremes of his autism (biting, throwing, headbutting, spitting etc.). This means that he will engage with social stories, anger management and I even think that it might be time to try CBT again for the obsessive and repetitive behaviours.

So I suppose the main focus is on helping him to want to adapt to the rest of society's expectations and rules, while still expecting that society to be a little flexible towards him. After all, it's much easier for society to make allowances for him than for him to do the same, so a bit of effort from others is kind of fair.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 09-Sep-11 19:11:47

Mine has no learning difficulties except the AS, and I think that makes a huge difference. So although I have spent a great deal of time enabling him to live in the world, PFN and attend MS school, I wouldn't generalise about anyone else's experience or choices.
He is open and confident about discussing his AS, and by explaining what he needs and what he finds difficult, I hope he's easing the path for another child without some of his skills.
Fortunately, he finds studying the weirdness and strange quirks of the NT world quite entertaining, and he knows a lot more now about cause and effect.

'There Lisad, if the discussion bites you on the bum I am right behind you'
Do you realise quite how grin that reads?

signandsmile Fri 09-Sep-11 19:12:13

This is a really interesting thread, as ds is still small I am only at the beginning of this,

I think (at the moment... I too may be in for an arse biting in the future, grin) that for us it is a balancing act. I am really open about ds having ASD and LD, (so all the mums at school gate know, as in conversation I have mentioned his SN groups and the ASD playgroup he goes to.) Because dh is physically disabled we 'stick out' a bit anyway grin

I think the fact that he himself doesn't care about 'being like' the others and fitting in makes it easier. He just 'is' how he is. People take him as they find him, I don't mind the jumps and flaps when excited and the hum as we walk, I do get him to quiet down if he is disturbing others, or can't concentrate himself, but otherwise don't mind. I am quite strict on conforming re safety stuff, (hand holding etc) and on not hurting other people, and I do provide a 'running commentary' grin on what we are doing and why, (and how well he is doing).
We don't do some things others do, cause I know they would distress him, but somethings we do with adaptations, (church with ear defenders for example)

utah Fri 09-Sep-11 19:15:57

at present my son is non verbal autism but I am strict, I do not use queue assist (if I dont teach him how to queue who else will), I insist he walks (he is 4) and ensure my other children do not miss out because of their brother's disability. I have high hopes for him and I want him to have a wonderful life the same as my other children as when he gains independence (forever the optimist) the adult world will not be excepting of certain behaviours. My son does not have sensory issues though (hypo sensitive) so I know this makes it a lot easier.

saintlyjimjams Fri 09-Sep-11 19:19:13

Ds1 will never be able to fit into the NT world (severely autistic with severe learning disabilities). He goes out every day (he has to or he goes loopy). We're just back from the beach where he ran into the cafe kitchen (totally not allowed, but they know him well there so aren't nasty, as I tried to get him out). He also stuck his head in a few open cars/boots. The owners today all laughed.

So - he's not allowed to be damaging. If he hits stuff or people (ie me) he is physically removed but it's mot realistic to expect him to be able to not run into places he shouldn't be so assuming he isn't damaging anything (luckily he usually looks rather than touches) then I manage that by removing him in his own time.

We also go to places that work. Such as the beach - he is known well enough there now for me not to care if someone gets stroppy (they must be a tourist). Last week for example he ran into the lifeguards hut and three people I don't know all greeted him by name. He then tried to fiddle with the shutters but I stopped him as I figure lifeguards need to see out. So I was happy for him to hang out in the lifeguards hut, but not for him to affect their ability to do their job iyswim. If one of the lifeguards we know well is in there I take my cue from him.

I wouldn't take him to a cinema (he'd be too noisy) but I would take him to an autism screening. I wouldn't take him to a sit down restaurant but I'd take him to eat in mcd's, a cafe or a pub.

If people have a problem with him behaving oddly, but in a way that doesn't actually affect them (and some do) well frankly they can fuck off!

signandsmile Fri 09-Sep-11 19:27:47

I agree grin

Chundle Fri 09-Sep-11 19:43:52

With dd1 I'm forever giving social reminders "let's not stand so close to man in front" "please don't touch strangers hair" etc etc as I feel growing up in NT world they need to learn some social norms. With dd2 I'd like to stay in the house forever with her and never leave smile

lisad123 Fri 09-Sep-11 19:45:24

grin Ineedalife, I hope your nit that close behind me to bite my bum!

here is link to china thread. I do not agree with physical punishments at all and try very hard to not punish the ASD traits that they have no control over iyswim.

MangoMonster Fri 09-Sep-11 19:48:58

Agree with Bakelite, think it really depends on your child's potential. If it's possible to donall the things an NT child does with extra help, that's great. Some kids won't be able to do that and that's where the world needs to be more understanding of SN. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it's that easy to understand unless you have some experience if it, especially with hidden disabilities. Have to be honest, I had completely the wrong idea of asd before my ds was dx. I thought people with asd could do all the things NT people do and that it was something they could learn to adapt to, not so sure now.

oodlesofdoodles Fri 09-Sep-11 20:06:09

I try desperately hard to teach my child to fit in. So much so that I make him self concious and sometimes inhibit him learning things at his own pace.
He's pretty borderline imo, but quite odd to outsiders. I feel sure that with the right early input he can bridge the gap to be able to eventually hold down a job, get married etc.
I guess self assured people can get away with a certain amount of eccentricity. So it's a terrible balancing act between teaching them to fit in without undermining their confidence.
If anyone has the answer please post it here.

anonandlikeit Fri 09-Sep-11 20:11:39

I dont think i've conciously tried to make him fit in to the NT world BUT I do try to help him to be happy as a part of our family & I guess we are all NT so by helping him learn the "rules" at home it will help him with society in general, if that makes sense.
We are fortunate in that DS2 LOVES rules, its when there are no rules to follow, no clear direction that he finds so scary.

I dont think i worry so much about him fitting in to the NT world but I do worry if his behaviour is different and then that may put him at risk.
Where he can be included i encourage it, partly because its just easier, partly because i believe it is good for him.
But if he wants to be himself the thats fine too, strange behaviour genreally doesnt hurt anyone or anything, and who am i to say whats "normal" anyway.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 09-Sep-11 20:12:26

Mine relaxes at home, so he can do the highwire act in public.
Like picking my battles, I selected what i wanted to focus on when he was younger and let the rest go. Now he's 16, he and I select things together, he still listens to my opinions and takes advice.
Much better than a lot of the NT teens he has as friends, to the bewilderment of their parents.

anonandlikeit Fri 09-Sep-11 20:17:23

I think also i have always known that ds2 will always need some level of support & won't be able to live totally independantly as an adult so i guess the need to fit in to the NT world is not so important as he will always be part of the SN world aswell IYKWIM.
Not to say that i dont have high expectations, because I certainly do but I am also realistic.

saintlyjimjams Fri 09-Sep-11 20:24:46

Of course it varies. Ds1 is nothing like a child with HFA or AS or even moderate autism so they shouldn't have the same expectations

Tota1Xaos Fri 09-Sep-11 20:35:12

Interesting question. Bakelite makes a very good point about the vast difference range of SN experiences we have. I am in a similar position to doodle, I think, very much in NT world with minimal support/allowances made, but we are very lucky that DS is quite placid natured, and we can queue and eat out etc with him. I absolutely dread the transition to high school (even though it's 4 years ahead).

HecateQueenOfWitches Fri 09-Sep-11 20:42:25

I just do my best to teach them how to function. The social rules. Personal space, not gibbering in people's faces grin not yelling stuff out, that sort of thing.

Practical things, like how to buy stuff. ATM I am teaching my eldest telephone skills. He made my sister laugh when he phoned her up and said "Hello Auntie X. I am perfecting my telephone skills." My younger son isn't ready for that yet, since he will just yell into the phone, no matter if you have just that second told him not to.

So I think it depends entirely on the child and their level of understanding.

I have come to realise that it's really up to us to do as much as we can to teach our children how to function in a world that, let's face it, doesn't much want them in it sad

And I have also come to realise that the world doesn't care about people with sn and any so-called 'allowances' they claim are made - are only made up to a point and so long as it doesn't inconvenience angry So we'd best do all we can, cos the truth is, we're on our fucking own.

saintlyjimjams Fri 09-Sep-11 20:51:31

I don't know. It's rare but there is one mainstream place that ds1 goes that is totally accepting of him and they go out of their way to accommodate him and welcome him. He also does inconvenience them quite often just by being himself but they keep doing more and more for him and they genuinely seem to like having him around. I'm not sure they realise how unusual they are - I do frequently tell them how grateful I am.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 09-Sep-11 20:54:36

Absolutely agree Hecate, and it infuriates me that my DS has been blessed with a fantastic MS secondary, inclusive teachers for the most part and other adults that have enabled him to take part in some fantastic hobbies.
Because if it can happen for him, it should be possible for so many other children like him. There is no reason other than people's indifference and unwillingness to be inclusive.

zzzzz Fri 09-Sep-11 21:08:42

I don't see nt and sn as 2 different worlds so I find this quite hard to answer. I think I try very hard to help all my dc gain the social skills and understanding that will allow them to interact with others without causeing offense or upset. I have to try harder with my sn kids because they find this harder to understand and implement.

AryaStark Fri 09-Sep-11 21:31:15

DH and I try to vary familiar weekend routines. Just a bit. Because life is full of unexpected things.

But the looks and stares we get in town if we don't visit the shops in the correct order or shock miss one out altogether are very disheartening and depressing.

We're trying to be responsible parents, trying to teach DS and yes, he will melt down a bit, but it's hell on earth a bloody shopping centre FGS, not a performance of Hamlet.

Ineedalife Fri 09-Sep-11 21:36:59

Have just popped back to see how the thread is going and read goblins comment.

I did realise how the comment sounded but I was more thinkg that I was hiding behind lisad to avoid the flack if things got nastygrin.

Lisad... no I am not that close, just a cowardgringrin.

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