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DS, autism, confrontation with choir leader

(14 Posts)
PatPig Wed 24-Apr-13 23:19:15

My son is 10 and has autism (HFA/Aspergers). He is good at singing, and recently joined a choir. There are about 25 in the choir, mostly older than him and girls, but three boys of his age.

I went along and watched the first week, and he was obviously put with these three boys because they were his age group. One of these boys in particular was messing around quite a bit, dropping his drink on the floor, and being low level disruptive.

Anyway, DS has been along a couple of times more, and today apparently he shouted at the choir leader.

As I understand it this one boy was being more disruptive than usual, which my son doesn't like (at school there are a couple of naughty boys, and he has got loudly angry with them being annoying, because my son really does not like people being annoying, especially when he is supposed to be working. School makes sure he doesn't sit with these few troublesome elements.), which was annoying him, and so the choir leader told the group of four boys to stop, and then a little later again.

My son said he was getting enraged by the second time they were told off, because he wasn't doing anything (this I am sure is true, but because they are four boys among a group of teenagers and a few girls, they are seen as one unit). The third time they were told off, he was very angry and shouted at the choir leader saying that he wasn't even doing anything.

This didn't go down very well, and the choir leader apparently called his wife to come, which she did. At the end when DS was picked up, it was explained that DS has Aspergers and the choir leader's wife seemed sympathetic, but the leader himself said 'I am not a teacher', which is true, it's a voluntary activity, and maybe it would be better if he didnt come.

Just wondering WWYD.

DS doesn't really respond very well to being told off anyway, though he is well behaved and diligent obviously without people winding him up. I hadn't heard that he had ever got angry to a teacher at school (but maybe they understand him bette) though he does to us, quite frequently.

BackforGood Wed 24-Apr-13 23:38:22

Did you talk to the choir leader in the first place, about your ds and the fact he has HFA ?
Did you explain how this might impact on him in the choir ?
Did you explain about how he gets anxious / can't comprehend that sometimes you do get 'linked by association' with someone being disruptive?
Does he recognise himself that he's getting wound up about something, before it gets to an outburst?
Does he use any system (in school perhaps) whereby he is able to acknowledge this and withdraw from the situation ?

PatPig Wed 24-Apr-13 23:48:08

No we didn't mention this in the first place, he has never had a problem in any activity he has done before, I guess I don't feel comfortable discussing it with people who arent necessarily seeing him much.

I didn't do the pickup, so I haven't actually spoken to the choir leader.

I think the school have said that he can go to his form teacher's room if he is getting wound up. They are aware of it as an issue, and more so the last couple of months than in the past really. I'm sure he knew he was getting annoyed, but he didn't have really a way out, when they are all together singing.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 25-Apr-13 08:17:55

I would ring the choir person or email and apologise for not giving him all the info he needed about your son but that he had never had a problem before.

I have to say I think the because school have put some strategies into place to help your Ds it is even more important for other people to be able to do the same, otherwise your Ds is out on a limb and isnt going to cope.

Sorry if this seems harsh and it is a real shame if your Ds cant go back. Maybe after you have spoken to the choir leader he might reconsider.

Good luck smile

GoblinGranny Thu 25-Apr-13 08:29:30

I'm sorry to have to say this, but how did you expect the choir master to accommodate his needs if he was unaware of what they were?
If you'd met with him before hand, explained a few basics about how to avoid stressers and explained how the choir leader could support him, then things might not have got to this point.
In all honesty, that's what I'd do now, and I'd begin with an apology to the leader and a bit of soothing to get him on your side and make him feel that he can be a part of helping your DS do something that he loves. If you can gain the leader's support, this could be beneficial all round.

Sunnymeg Thu 25-Apr-13 08:39:18

Unfortunately they have seen your son in a bad light and it will take a lot to bring the choirmaster round. It might be better if next time you ring or email to explain first. I did this with a club DS (11 Aspergers) wanted to join. They took about three weeks to get back to me and I had given up hope to tell the truth, but they came back with specific questions about how he would cope. DS has now been going for three years, some weeks are better than others, but we have a partnership and get him through the bad sessions.

BackforGood Thu 25-Apr-13 11:11:30

Exactly what GoblinGranny said.
If you didn't let the leader know, then how was he supposed to know to react in any way other than that which he did ? confused.
Maybe if you go and apologise, he might be willing to start again, but people are not generally mind readers. IME the vast majority of people are more than willing to try to accomodate children with additional needs, but you need to talk to them in the first place about it, or how are they to know ? confused

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:14:36

It is a bit crap of the leader to suggest your son just doesn't come IMO.

He should at least TRY to acccommodate him.

GoblinGranny Thu 25-Apr-13 11:28:11

Fanjo, unfair or not, this is a voluntary activity run by someone with no training in SN and possibly no wish to take someone's additional needs on board, who has been made to feel bad about what happened and appears defensive.
It would be a shame for the boy to stop going, when an apology for not mentioning it, and a bit of oil on troubled waters before a discussion might fix the situation for him, and for any future choir singers on the spectrum.

fasparent Thu 25-Apr-13 11:30:55

This happened too us , but was taking copied behaviour into school at his cost. Soon leaned it was a disadvantage too himself.
Best too arrange compromising dialog with choir master and your son too work out some strategy, perhaps a code some sighs between the two of them which will allow time out if and when need be. Both may find this useful and perhaps a bit of fun devising such. Has too be a partnership.

PatPig Thu 25-Apr-13 11:48:38

BackforGood I'm not saying that the man did anything wrong, was just asking what I should do.

My son has been taking part in various activities for several years and we have never had any kind of problem, so why would I have mentioned it? He's always been very happy to go to a variety of activities, and we've never had any issues at all.

PatPig Thu 25-Apr-13 12:20:47

Well I just spoke to the choir leader's wife, she was very nice, and said she knew a little about Aspergers, and said that they would split the four boys of my son's age into two twos, and put my son with the well-behaved one on the opposite side of the room from the other two who were annoying him.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:23:01

True..I'm not advocating hauling him over the coals for contravening the DDA or anything. .just seems a shame he just suggested that without any attempt to accommodate the child.

I agree the OP should have mentioned it..but also understand it can be a difficult subject to broach

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:23:49

So glad his wife has made that helpful suggestion

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