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So DS has a friend and I dont know what to do!

(22 Posts)
porridgelover Mon 05-Nov-12 19:04:30

DS is 9yo with HFA/Aspergers. He has associated Dyspraxia and Dyslexia. Very bright and geeky but so poor socially. I read someone on here say that children on the spectrum operate at 2/3 their chronological age....well that would be DS on a good day.
He has been going to the same school since pre-school and all the boys in his class have known him since that age.
I have seen him sit on the sidelines in the school yard at 3, not knowing how to join in; becoming the kinda-odd, weird (in one parent's words)child at about 5 or 6, on to the last 2 years of him really struggling to have any friends. To the point where not one of the people he invited to his birthday last year, turned up. He was being bullied in school, and he knew it.

So, over the past few months he has been talking a lot about Freddie. I 'know' Freddie to see him, but dont know his parents or have any other connection with him. Last week, he came over to our house for a playdate during mid-term. Today, at school collection teacher called me over to comment on DS's inappropriate behaviour in assembly. He has a TA, they understand him pretty well, and it was just to let me know he had a bad day. Teacher brought up about Freddie; and mentioned that F is so good with DS.
I asked her, in slight desperation, was it a mutual friendship or was it that Freddie (who is a mature and lovely boy) feels sorry for DS? She assured me no, they get on well both ways.

I don't know what I am asking really. I want to support him on this. It would be mad to get involved wouldn't introducing myself to the parents at the school gate? I'm worried about his upcoming birthday; I want it to go well for him this year. But there will be no party for people to snub him- he can have Freddie and another boy for cinema and pizza or something like that.

I found myself in Tesco this afternoon, staring at the cadbury's mini-rolls, thinking 'I'll ask MN about that' grin

Advise me do I handle DS having a real friend? sad smile

saintlyjimjams Mon 05-Nov-12 19:09:50

I don't think you have to handle it really.

DS3 (NT) had a very real friend with (fairly obvious) HFA. When together I would want to make sure that ds3 wasn't taking advantage of his friend in any way (he wasn't) but otherwise just left them to it. DS3 had no idea that his friend had autism but loved spending time with him. Unfortunately he moved countries so that's why this is all in the past tense (and ds3 was very upset).

What I'm saying really is if Freddie is accepting your ds1 for who he is (as ds3 did with his friend) I don't think you have to do anything really.

porridgelover Mon 05-Nov-12 19:19:32

OK.Thanks saintly. I probably am over-thinking it. It's understandable given that he has had 'friends' but they have been the sort to call him names behind his back, and poke fun at him. This feels like something precarious and I want to rush in and make it stable for him. But thats daft isn't it?

MammaTJ Mon 05-Nov-12 19:29:50

I think just try to relax and enjoy it. My DD had one of the seven people I had invited to her party turn up. That girl has been invited for a sleep over next weekend. EEk!! Just gently give them opportunities to be friends out of school to re-inforce the friendship in school.

porridgelover Mon 05-Nov-12 22:09:25

Thanks mammaTJ.
Am I completely mad and over-thinking it? grin

frizzcat Mon 05-Nov-12 22:35:31

Yep and I think I would be the same, we spend so much time fighting for them, fire-fighting and damage control - we can't help but be suspicious and square the old shoulders, butsometimes i think we can't see the wood for the trees - in that we forget how far they've come. I'm certainly guilty of seeing my ds difficulties and forgetting that as hard as I'm working he's working a lot harder to overcome them and sometimes I have to let him go and let him try these things for himself. When ds is invited to a party I automatically think this has been enforced by a parent rather than the child choosing to have my ds there? Instead of just being pleased he is included and it isn't necessarily the case that another parent has enforced the invite.
Keep an eye on it, if only to reassure yourself - but take a back seat, your ds has managed this all by himself, allow yourself a smile and hooray for him

coff33pot Mon 05-Nov-12 22:44:53

of you don't know the parents just send notes via teacher when you want to arrange anything like Freddie coming for tea or joining you in cinema or day out. Just follow your ds lead and ask him if he fancies inviting h round.

Be prepared for tho gd like your ds changing his mind last minute or getting tired of it if you arrange to many play dates in eagerness though. Ds has point blank said no on a hard school say because he has worked out it doesn't bode we'll when he is stressed.
Leave it to his own pace x

porridgelover Mon 05-Nov-12 22:54:50

frizz, yes thats it. I am unprepared for normality. When teacher beckons at collection time, I automatically 'square the shoulders'.
coff33....I would be afraid of that too. DS is so sensitive, I am sure he would pick up on my incredulity that this is a genuine friendship. When what I am trying to do is forestall him being disappointed again........

coff33pot Mon 05-Nov-12 23:10:20

you can't forestall him for disappointment however much we want to protect x

It won't help our DCs learn to cope with rejection or hassle when they are older and they are too old to be tied to us.

if the friendship is going to work then it will smile

if not he will move on to another. DS had no friends to just one and now I have 3 kids all wanting to come after school. But what I have found is the my ones have fallen by the wayside but the dxed or just quirky ones remain. It as if the seek out their own comfortable niche like a magnet. It's great as they are all finicky on if to tired or just don't want to come but it seems accepted as the "norm" among them whereas nt kids would take offence to it smile

TapselteerieO Mon 05-Nov-12 23:13:44

porridgelover it is great your ds has a friend, I have a very friendly ds, who I think would love to make friends but his HFA & immaturity make it so difficult.

So sad reading about children not showing up to his birthday party that is heartbreaking.

For my ds I invited families rather than just children for his party - it was pretty hectic, we had it in a tiny hall, we had a film and party games, not sure what I will do for his next birthday, moving house and area and dreading the whole getting to know people thing.

Good luck for your ds's friendship, hope it works out, very heartening to read that such a thing can happen!

porridgelover Tue 06-Nov-12 08:29:28

Thanks coff33 and tap.
I have calmed a bit this morning. Everything you say is true and is what I would do with DD2. But I worry about DS. Well I suppose, that worry is mine alone and I have to let him get on with it. I am so delighted for him though smile.

coff33pot Tue 06-Nov-12 08:45:22

I bet you are delighted smile

I was dancing on the tables practically when ds had his first ever friend home for tea and that was only last year. It's a nice fuzzy feeling smile

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 06-Nov-12 10:08:06

At the boys primary which is very small there are few boys and so parents arrange playdates from reception on a reciprocal basis. It doesn't come from the kids. Double-edged sword - I was hyper-aware that they may take advantage and some did. So I stopped reciprocating if I didn't think they were a good friend. After a while I would casually mention why I didn't think they were a good friend. As DS1 has got older he is unable to maintain friendships with most NT kids although he can superficially act them out. But he does not have any interest in them as people and he does not get their feelings. I used to think that his attempted friendships were very important to him but he does not have genuine emotional attachment. School phobia resulted in 3 different primary schools but as soon as his 'friends' were not his peer group in the classroom they were dead to him. He had no interest in contacting any of them.

It is difficult though when the kids refuse to have someone visit. There is a boy in DS2's class that DS will not let me invite for a playdate. To my mind he is obviously ASD but his parents seem to be deep in denial and say that he is 'terribly bright - that's why he spins constantly/lines up to go back to class at the beginning of break etc'. Still he came to DS2's birthday party even though it was at Go Banana's. He hung back for about 15 minutes but by the end his parents had to drag him from the play equipment.

sc13 Tue 06-Nov-12 11:30:00

Thanks for this thread porridge. I could have started a very similar thread - DS (6), dx of ASD, in mainstream, seems to have acquired a girlfriend. She's in his class. On the one hand it's all very sweet: she wrote him a card with a red heart on it, and told her mum she's in love. DS keeps asking after her, and they play together. On the other hand, I am not just worried, but terrified that DS will be heartbroken when she (inevitably, as I see it) 'moves on'.
Coff33 is absolutely right that this is all part of life, and they have to learn how to cope with it. I don't know why I am so very worried - I feel very stupid, not to mention paranoid and slightly ungrateful. I just wish I could protect DS against everything - I would like him to have this golden life where he never has to get hurt...

MammaTJ Tue 06-Nov-12 18:28:41

You are not over thinking at all. We all do it. Analyse and try to work out how best to deal with situations.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 06-Nov-12 19:16:58

What to do?

Why, put up your feet, drink wine, congratulate yourself and say a prayer of thanks for the relationship.

lingle Tue 06-Nov-12 21:22:01

If it is overthinking, the great thing is that you are doing it here in the safety of mumsnet. I don't think anyone in rl would still be on speaking terms with me if I couldn't come on mumsnet to be intense about DS2's friendship challenges (which haven't gone away, though they change! updates available on request).

lingle Tue 06-Nov-12 21:22:45

<hijack> how are you sc 13?

porridgelover Tue 06-Nov-12 22:10:05

Thank you all. <<gushes>> See I knew MN would get it. How can I mention over coffee the pride and simultaneous worry that DS has a friend. How weird is that?
But you get it.
NT kids have the ups and downs of friendships; its part of learning about life. But his ups and downs are so extreme, and he will feel it so intensely if/when this friendship shifts, that I have to consider how to support him.
And at the same time, the best way to do that, is to do nothing.
Thank you for helping me feel I am normal (ish) to react like this. thanks

sc13 Wed 07-Nov-12 11:46:51

"NT kids have the ups and downs of friendships; its part of learning about life. But his ups and downs are so extreme, and he will feel it so intensely if/when this friendship shifts, that I have to consider how to support him."
Thanks porridge that's exactly what I was trying to articulate (to myself as much as to anyone else).
And hello lingle!!! Here all fine - re the divorce, DS seems to have gotten used to having 'two homes', even though he's almost always with me. He has reached the developmental milestone of trying to play the parents against each other. Also, he is now swimming unaided! They've given him a line to speak at the Christmas play (the triumph of hope over experience, I guess), and since he started (private) music therapy again he seems much more communicative and calm in himself. So generally all good (touching wood). I would love to have an update on little lingle's friendship challenges!!

lingle Wed 07-Nov-12 12:00:39

well, trying to stay relevant to porridge's OP, one good thing is that I'm not too intense about it all just now. An adult friend told me recently her son didn't want to come and play at our house and somehow it just seemed ok - didn't stab in the stomach. No doubt there will be another intense phase soon! doing my music work helps me to "do nothing" in the sense that porridge means it.

DS2 is now 7. Socially he's like a young 6 year old boy
(I am an optimist). As you know he has the background/fortune of the very strong relationship with adored big brother and that hasn't changed. That protects him from bullying though he already worries about what it will be like when DS1 leaves primary (DS1 is "cool" and in year 5).

DS2 did as you may remember have the whole "I only want one friend" thing going on in reception and consequently trouble in year 1. That has eased up. Now he talks about having several friends. However, I mostly see him playing with his brother, and party invitations are thin on the ground - whole class only. So I think he is finding his place on the edge - where I was. He's very loyal to groups he's in - his class, boys versus girls, etc. I think that's what he has instead of closer companionship with classmates.

We have the blessing of a teacher who is sparse with her words this year so he is gaining loads of confidence on the academic side - she started her career as a SN nursery nurse so she talks (or rather doesn't talk) like a Hanen book.... She says he finds partners easily - that kind of thing. She isn't really interested in the social side, which you'd think would infuriate me but I think he's almost getting too old for the teachers to do anything except watch out for bullying.

lingle Wed 07-Nov-12 12:07:06

sc13 re your son's "girlfriend", are you able to think of it in terms of the friendship skills he is acquiring because of this friendship? That was what I clung to when DS2's intense best friend started moving away from him (oh, and I devised lots of novel music curricula and did lots of impossibly hard things for other people's musical kids - and all because I couldn't put that energy and drive to any bloody use for my own child......). The whole "I cannot solve my child's problem but I can solve this unrelated child's unrelated problem" thing is very very therapeutic for me, in a way that law just can't be. Because you always have the hope that if you invest in unpromising children, a karma-type force will make some stranger will invest in your child........

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