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How do you deliver provision when a child just wants to be the same?

(22 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Tue 30-Oct-12 23:21:02

DS, 9, with AS, is really growing up. He has settled well to a new school (now the staff seem to understand him better) and he is learning to communicate his feelings through a book - he writes worries/concerns down for the teacher.

I posted last week as he had a very strong action to social skills groups. He had not realised that is what they were and he was clearly very upset to find that he was being 'taught' things in them. Things he felt he knew. It made him feel that everyone thought he was stupid.

Now DS never complains about seeing the OT, our own SLT or the physio. I home schooled for a while and he does stuff with me. However, he seems really to resent sharing things so openly with school. Like this is his private business sad

DS does need to see there is a personal benefit in doing stuff (don't we all) and clearly is not motivated by the idea of these groups but I am not sure what the answer is as he is also saying he doesn't need to learn anything, he is just fine as he is.

Ideas?? I

lisad123 Tue 30-Oct-12 23:26:22

Do they need to be done in school? Dd1 doesn't want anyone in her new school knowing her dx. Her teachers do but none of the parents do.

zzzzz Tue 30-Oct-12 23:29:52

Actually I have a lot of sympathy with his stance. He is growing up and privacy is a big deal to me too. I hate people knowing my business. Could you treat him like a grown up and ask him to come up with a way of learning this stuff without upsetting him?

coff33pot Tue 30-Oct-12 23:52:22

As long as he is happy within your family environment and his social skills are polite even if to the point then maybe he is happy as he is smile

I wonder if he might "go along with it" at home or out and about with you as this is everyday life.

I am not a friend of telling ppl all and most where I live if not all dont know me at all. Its very much a case of on my terms with no surprises smile

Perhaps leave it ebb away. He is clearly upset by it but I suspect he will be thinking of the social issues and maybe he will work his own way round it with you as role model smile

coff33pot Tue 30-Oct-12 23:53:32

Or the school needs to change tactic completely and restructure his social skills learning into something different without using the word "learning" or "teaching" as it clearly is a red flag to a bull and I so understand him there x

lisad123 Wed 31-Oct-12 00:08:28

Tbh most of the girls social skills are taught by us rather than school. Books are always good as are social stories.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 08:52:24

IE - I can relate to a very strong motivation to 'pass as normal' where the academic curriculum is increasingly sacrificied as they get older in an attempt to explicity understand the social curriculum. The problem seems to be that as interventions become more obvious to their peers it threatens the ability to pass and be accepted as 'one of the boys'. DS is not 'teflon-coated' and can't cope with the teasing that NT kids dish out to DC known to have interventions - even where the diagnosis may not be known. Teaching staff get increasingly frustrated because 'he won't help himself'. One of the main reasons the transition from primary to secondary failed. He knows he can't cope with the increasing demands without 1:1 support and becoming (to him) obviously SEN which he considers totally wrecks his ability to make new friends in a new school. Its obvious to him - he finds it hard enough to make friends as it is - he told an NT friend that he was dyslexic (not the rest) and his response was 'well, you hide it well'. DS was delighted.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 31-Oct-12 09:10:54

Thanks for this.

I completely understand his point of view. The trouble is I am a already doing his lap top skills, his working memory programme and physio at home.

The physio is not part of his statement but the rest is but I am doing it so he isn't' dragged out of class. It is not easy to do this as he does battle about it - every day.

It is hard to get to the bottom of it with him and get him to talk about it properly and there is also an element of knowing that, given the choice, he would not do numeracy, literacy or anything else not to do with Batman or Star Wars!

I have worked on social skills for a while with him and do it 'organically' as these things arise rather than formally. But he trusts me and I understand him.

A school it is delivered by a TA who, although a former teacher, does not seem to understand the basics of ASD and DS can't stand her.

And he does struggle at school frequently doing things people consider 'rude' but he says he doesn't care!

I think the SLT provision is poor as you fight for SLT yet many of them have no idea what sort of provision to offer to a bright Aspie because they never deal with children with AS unless you fight for it .....

What happens to his statement if you start to deliver this stuff outside school?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 09:34:43

So he doesn't care about seeming rude and breaking social rules because he is unaware of their existence, but does he not want to do the intervention OR does he not want to be seen to do the intervention. Not caring but hiding doesn't seem to add up. He seems not to want to be judged as similar to other children in the group and yet he did not seem to mind being in the same group until he learnt it was a SALT intervention. DS2 has been recommended to attend social studies group by SALT but I don't think school group is appropriate so he is not attending (more anger management).

I'm going to argue to 1:1 teaching of social skills relevant to him that are then practised in real life settings like the classroom so that his IEP has particular social skills targets that have to be witnessed 5 times for progress to be acceptable etc. You can deliver the training at home but you need teaching staff on board re the ability to practise skills learnt, the IEP targets and measurement of progress. 1:1 is not social. Don't know the link but google NASET Examples of TEP Goals and Objectives - suggestions for students with autism.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 09:36:10

TEP Goals?

IEP Goals of course!

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 31-Oct-12 10:21:56

Thanks. I think the 'I don't care if people think I'm rude' is entirely consistent with not wanting to do this stuff in school.

When I explained what the purpose of the social skills stuff was, he said he doesn't care if he doesn't understand things or people think he's rude. But this has probably been said in reaction to not wanting to do the groups. Whether he really means that is another matter.

I ink 1:1 is the key by someone he knows and trusts and can do this discretely. Unfortunately, we don't have that with his current TA.

I actually sometimes doubt how 'real life' the classroom environment is for teaching these skills anyway!!

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 10:49:23

The classroom is not the right place to teach social skills but DC needs to be in a social setting in order that he can pracitise skills. The classroom is the main social environment in which he is trying to function on a daily basis.

The most discrete way would be to focus on one skill at a time, taught at home if doing at school is the issue, and then for teaching staff to provide opportunities to practise/record how may times it is manifest etc. I do sympathise with the number of interventions you end up making at home - it always seems to be the most important ones. With a demand avoidant child who believes home is not the place to work it can become a counterproductive daily battle DS2 school is trying to improve communication between school and parents re NC levels and have done this by photocopying the tick sheets that the teachers use as a matter of course, ie discretely, all the time. CT explained to us that skills we thought DC2 had demonstrated were not ticked off because staff have to witness them on 3 occasions before they can do so. If staff do it routinely for academic skills they can also do it for social skills.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 31-Oct-12 11:23:37

Thanks Keeping. This is helpful.

I am not sure that the classroom is any kind of 'real' environment to practice anything social really. It is completely artificial and bears no relation to real life, the workplace and adulthood generally.

I think I need to distinguish between those skills he needs to function in the classroom and school and the longer term social skills needed for 'real life'. Some will be the same, e.g. being able to communicate. But perhaps this needs an evolving 1:1 process of engagement with him rather than artificial and generic skills groups

We tried ABA earlier in the year but his TA decided to implement how she felt it should be implemented so the whole thing fell down.

You have given me alot to think about - do keep challenging me as I need to think this through.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 12:09:41

All social environments are artificially constructed iykwim. Classrooms are no less 'real' to DC who experience them five days a week for at least 11 years just because they don't teach the skills required during adulthood. smile

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 31-Oct-12 12:16:02

I do think school is peculiarly unreal social environment which bears no relation to anything in real life before, during or after it.

I also think there is a problem generalising skills learnt in this setting to any other and vice versa.

I do agree that there are functional coping skills and strategies specific to the setting that are useful to learn but I would distinguish these largely from things such as understanding social thinking, non-verbal communication etc which are generally never taught in school.

troutsprout Wed 31-Oct-12 12:36:15

Would it help if he RAN the group? ( or thought he was?.. Or it could be presented as such)
Ds .. Year 11( 15 Aspergers/ hfa) "runs" a social skills group with senco salt, and a few nt kids for kids in year 7,8,9. As far as he is concerned he is helping them with their social skills and is a role model for the younger kids.(which is true...he IS ...but he's also there to work on HIS ss too). He has similar hobbies to some of the kids lower down in the school and apparently that has been really good with getting the little ones to talk.
9 is upper end of primary school... Perhaps could work?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 12:36:20

I think you mean thankfully school bears no relation to real life but it is one of the realities we are forced into and from a child's presentist pov is the one they must survive within in order to reach the next (better) one.

I think it depends upon the skills your DS needs to be taught - turn-taking, not dominating the conversation, not interruping etc - are life skills. Yes, there is a problem with non-generalisation but once a skill has been taught it should then be possible to expand the situations where it is appropriate to practice that skill. Generalisation also does not come naturally just like social skills that need to be explicitly taught. Some DC can't read body language and other social cues that give important contextual information about what people with whom they frequently engage do and don't like. My DS is oblvious to the obvious. Because it is taken-for-granted (nonconscious - facial expression, eye contact, proximity etc) others are not able to adequately verbalise their displeasure which can be interpretted as 'people don't like me'.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 31-Oct-12 12:38:06

Oblivious to the obvious!

AgnesDiPesto Wed 31-Oct-12 17:08:24

I agree I think it needs to be done 1:1 then generalised by providing opportunities to use the skill. School is clumsy at this sort of thing. Even NT children would hate their teachers to know much about their life outside school. Teachers also don't know how to teach social skills.
The sort of coaching / mentoring ABA idea. Perhaps a mentor / befriender / buddy outside school?
Or a group of AS children doing group therapy? This happens in USA but not really found its way over here yet eg I saw a video from Autism Partnership of a social skills group where all the children had an obsession with something and talked about when it was ok and not ok to talk about the obsession - it was with older children (teens) so they were talking about dating etc as well as other social rules. The staff said it worked really well as although it was clearly therapy, everyone had the same issues and felt better that it was not just them.
I know a local social services inclusion team ran an evening social skills group and hired someone who I think was a psych who specialised in it to run the group.
Other ideas are things based on his interests eg a local mum has set up a pokemon / nintendo games group and her son's social skills have improved as he's very motivated by the activity. They now have 14 children go (not just AS)
What about drama groups?
Sometimes local arts groups run courses we have this fab one near us which parents rave about.
I think its one of those things you might have to make happen yourself on the basis if you build it other children will come.
Just another thing to add to your to do list!

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 31-Oct-12 17:42:45

Thanks. I think you are right. I will just need to sort this out myself - what's new!

Keeping, I think half the problem is that the turn taking generic stuff is what they pump out in all these groups on the basis that 'these children' need to be taught to play monopoly, take it in turns, have no empathy etc. Well that is true of some but DS has never had problems taking turns or playing monopoly

It is also deep,y frustrating that the NHS SLT an TA have ignored what I said about teaching explicitly and have expected to dump in a group and expect him to pick up by osmosis what he can't in al life.

So it is about crap provision really.

Agnes I am speaking to someone from autism partnership tomorrow. I see eh run social groups outside school which look great but are in Leeds!

Trout that is a good idea. I think mixing the groups more would help. He really resented feeling that he was I. The 'problem' child group. Why they did it this way I don't know.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 31-Oct-12 18:25:28

Hope it goes well and they come up with some suggestions. If the Govt stopped wasting money on people who have no skills in the area perhaps there would be some for lots of little ABA group skills projects around the country. I'm sick of SALT recommending turn taking, this has been recommended about 6 times in 3 years for DS. I don't think they know anything else to do.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 01-Nov-12 08:24:57

I agree. It's like they have a list of things which they use with every child irrespective of whether they need it or not or whether it works or not. So they do turn taking, describing a how someone feels etc but they never teach explicitly

DS is perfectly competent in groups in explaining how someone would feel if they were punched. He's not stupid. He also knows that if you get stressed and someone winds you up, you should't lash out. This doesn't happen very often but it can.

But life is much more complicated than that and what he needs are the specific skills step by step to make sure he can cope not worksheets on how people feel.

No one has any idea what else to do.

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