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what do you do with things like this ?

(59 Posts)
thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 08:45:23

sorry if this is a bit trivial but would really like to know how other people deal with similar situations .
ds2 (AS) wanted me to write him a note for PE this morning , to make up some reason why he cant do it . we have had this alot . I talked to him about what he dislikes about PE and he says that he basically just doesnt want to do it because theres no point to it . He cant be bothered getting changed , to play a bit of football that he doesnt particualrly enjoy , to get changed back again . He doesnt have any problems with dressing or undressing and isnt too bad at football.
I explained that i didnt want to lie to the teacher and that its not a solution . I said i would ring school let them know he hasnt taken his kit and that there is a problem which needs to be discussed .
He is not happy with me and has left the house saying he might not even go to school and that i dont care about him .
He just can never see that sometimes in life we have to do things we dont want to and his answer is always that he is not doing what he doesnt want / like . its one thing after another . His way or no way .
I am assuming this is all part of having aspergers but what do i do about it ? Am i making things worse trying to make him do things and face up to things he doesnt like ? or would it be worse to keep arranging things to suit him ? If there was something he found really distressing about PE i wouldnt hesitate to insist school find him something else to do but it really does always seem to be that he thinks he shouldnt have to make the slightest effort , that life should always be super easy .
he is 14 btw so maybe a bit older than a lot on here
any advice appreciated smile

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 21-Oct-13 10:14:28

I would make him do it, important life lesson - you can't always get what you want. Otherwise how will he respond when an employer asks him to do something he doesn't see the point of?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 21-Oct-13 10:29:37

He needs more, not less practice at coping with situations he doesn't find easy or meaningful.

Provided you are certain he won't come to harm from this PE lesson (and it doesn't sound like he will) through lack of support then tbh, I think you are absolutely right to insist he follows the school rules however pointless he deems them.

Can you help him find exercises to alleviate the boredom or help him find a point?

I found PE boring and meaningless beyond measure so I really do sympathise.

Is there a position in football he'd rather play or is he always stuck in goal or deep field for a winning side!?

thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 10:49:32

well thats what i was thinking , the more i fix things his way , the more he seem sto expect it .
Trouble is it often leads to big meltdowns and total refusal to go to school at all . I also have had camhs saying we need to lessen the stress at school to improve whats going on at home for us . He wont be doing PE now today anyway because he refused to take the kit with him . i am just hoping things dont get worse , as in when it comes time for the pe lesson, because hes only just been allowed back in normal lessons after an internal exclusion . that was to do with his ict lesson , which is another story confused
still trying to get through to the pastoral lady at school as i need to make sure hes even arrived shock

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 21-Oct-13 10:59:00

I take the opposite approach I am afraid. I really cannot see the point in forcing kids like this to do everything everyone else is doing.

I see no evidence, based on recent surveys of education and ASD, which indicate that mainstream education with its rigid regimes is a valid construct for many children with AS.

This explains why more than 70% of them end up with secondary mood disorders. Again, based on research evidence.

I would ask myself - what are we trying to achieve? Normalisation? Is that even possible?

A lesson you have to do things you don't want to do? Isn't he already demonstrating that he has learnt that lesson every day by going to school?

I think the outside world is a much more forgiving place to people with AS than the school system.

So what is to be achieved by the sensory/social nightmare that is PE?

It's good to keep fit? When he is older he can go to the gym, alone with a set of headphones. He can be taught different ways of keeping fit starting now.

The regime of team games? Why? Will he learn anything from being forced to take part? How many of us learnt anything from team games? How many of us still play them?

To be honest, he would be better served sitting somewhere quiet in a library doing his homework so you don't have that stress when you get in.

ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 11:37:06

Agreeing with everything that IE said.

There are many ways of keeping fit, many of them much easier on someone with sensory and, perhaps, coordination issues than team games. Playing football is not likely to be preparation for the type of work that your DS (or mine) will be doing and that time could far better be divided between some quiet time catching up with work and doing the sort of odd jobs that involve a bit of leg work so he's not been sat on his bum for the entire hour.

thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 12:00:21

and i also agree with everything you both say inappropriate and ouryve . if only he came with a manual it would make things easier grin

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 21-Oct-13 12:14:17


I don't agree with IE and Oureyve on this. That's because I think practicing boredom and coping with pointless things IS an important life skill.

I also would be worried about allowing too much rigidity as I know with ds if I gave him a pass out of activities too easily he would narrow his interests over time and become more reluctant to try new things.

Having said that I do think there is a case to be said for school on a general level not being a place that does much for preparation for adulthood expectation. There are a lot more choices as adults. School can sometimes be cruel in their rigidity of expectations, and schools are alike, whereas no two careers/jobs are the same.

But I still think that providing it doesn't harm, putting up with something he doesn't like very much is something he'll come across again and he needs to learn the skills for finding the plus points within situations.

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 21-Oct-13 13:26:22

But Star, I think they can cope with boredom and putting up with something they don't like - he's going to school !!

Sometimes, that has to be applauded for the massive achievement it is for these kids.

Also, his interests will narrow whatever you do and this is not necessarily a bad things as long as it doesn't stop him doing things HE wants to do. I firmly believe that special interests in AS kids are what gets them through life 99% of the time. Or we wouldn't have computer programmers, scientists, artists etc

This is why I found ABA so disappointing for older children. Every refusal is seen as a battle for 'control' or a downward spiral against the drive to be 'normal' and fit in.

Well, our kids don't fit in and as they get older they bloody well know it. And I rue every moment I spent forcing my strongminded but compliant chap to do so because I made him feel like crap for no reason.

Because who he is is pretty bloody great and I don't give a toss if he never plays cricket or rugby or paints or does DT or does dance or anything else.

The only downward spiral for these kids, as I see it, is straight out the school gates to complete disaffection or depression.

I have seen Prof Tony Attwood speak a couple of times and he is very much in favour of dealing with reality - pare down the curriculum and do what you can to get these kids through school.

School is not life. Knowing what you can cope with and what you can't is the best life skill are Aspies can be taught.

OneInEight Mon 21-Oct-13 13:40:02

I think there has to be a balance but probably go more towards ourvye and IE with ds2 and more towards starlight with ds1 - nothing like consistency!! For ds2 leniency on some things means he will go into school whereas if I/school insisted he do the things he finds difficult (music/RE/dance) then there would be total school refusal.

For ds1 because he gets some enjoyment from school we tend not to give him a let out clause. "Wake up and Shake up" was a major issue when he first started at his present school but now he has admitted that whilst he doesn't like the thought of it he actually enjoys doing it. The noise and the embarrassment factor would be too much for ds2 to handle so I would ask that he would be excused similar activities.

PolterGoose Mon 21-Oct-13 14:05:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 21-Oct-13 14:21:20

IE You know I believe you are disappointed with ABA because what you got was disappointing, not because there is anything fundamentally wrong with ABA.

Perhaps it is the difference in stages between our children. However, perhaps I am not being consistent with my own strategies. Usually I say that provided ds has given something new and scary a decent try then he can make up his own mind whether it is for him.

So for example when he was 3 I had to force into his mouth some rice-pudding that I had made him (this isn't ABA btw just to be clear) because I knew he would like it. I had to force it on a spoon into his mouth because he refused to touch it.

In defiance he shrieked and spat it out immediately. I didn't react.

Then he got a spoon a wolfed the lot.

I took him to join a glee choir recently. There was a trial session and then you had to sign up for the term. I insisted he attended the first session for the full hour. He was uncomfortable and a bit anxious-looking and I watched carefully so I could pull him out if I needed to. He struggled hugely compared to the other children who followed the instructions beautifully. He had to learn a song AND a dance which was tough and he didn't manage it.

I negotiated a second trial session and on the way to it the following week he insisted it was the worst thing I could ever put him through and made a loud protestation.

Now I have no idea what happened in the week before his first and second session, but perhaps due to the strengths of his memory and imitation skills he struggled a bit with the first 20 mins and I felt absolutely awful for puting him through it but for the last 40mins he was clearly one of the better singer-dancers, encouraged to 'demonstrate' and all the way home he was complaining that a week was too long to his next session.

So I suppose unless it is harmful to a child I like to keep as open a mind as possible that something within the session will appeal, even if not immediately, at some point.

I am not trying to make my child 'normal'. I am trying to give him as wide an experience as I possibly can within the constraints his own disability imposes on him in order to widen his experiences enough for him to have the biggest choices later.

I am happy to admit however, that this is probably a whole lot easier with a 6 year old than a 14yr old (regardless of disability).

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 21-Oct-13 14:25:16

That was not the first ABA consultant I had tried.

And I think age is key here. A 6 year old is completely different because older children with AS are very aware of the pressures on them and how they 'disappoint'. This is why mental health problems are more likely than not.

They know how to comply and what is 'expected' but somethings are just not worth the battle.

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 21-Oct-13 14:26:42

I agree Polter. My priority is to protect DS's mental health while supporting him to make the choices which will help him in his life.

If that means he can say - I don't do PE, ever, thanks. Then that is fine. Who cares?

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 14:29:18

If it were primary, and school was otherwise OK-ish, I'd go with Star. Same if he were at a special secondary school, or even a decent ASD unit.

For a 14y old in MS secondary, I think he's most likely hating almost all of his school-life, possibly getting bullied for being the worst at everything sporty, anxious about the changing-room/showers ordeal, fed up being shouted at by the PE teacher... this is just one simple thing that could be made comparatively easy, and so IE's points make absolute sense.

ABA stuff does work, so it's wrong to use it for inessentials. You don't cure a dog phobia in a child living next door to an illegal breeder crossing Pitbulls with Japanese Tosas

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 14:31:17

btw, agree with I think practicing boredom and coping with pointless things IS an important life skill

that's why ds is still in MS school grin

ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 14:41:05

We quite frequently shove a piece of food into DS2's mouth, Starlight! Sometimes he simply doesn't trust its appearance or can't remember that he likes it because it's something we don't eat often. We normally judge it right and 9 times out of 10 he says yum and eats the rest (or asks us to feed him the rest if it's a tricky or sticky food)

We still won't force DS1 to do PE. Or join the class ukulele band, or choir. Some days, we have to settle for him being willing to at least cross the threshold of school. Being there is such hard work for him.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 21-Oct-13 15:00:16

Hmm, just thinking about this some more.
DS is in a special school so perhaps I feel it is extra important for him to engage in mainstream extra-curricular activities but they are for a limited time each.

If his whole day were 'mainstream' activities I might feel different.

Anyway, just to say, regardless of all I have written above I wish my mother had bloody well pulled me out of pointless, bullying, mindnumbing PE and I wasn't even all that bad at it.

thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 15:19:12

lots of good points made here , i am pondering on it all . with ds2 it seems that if something happens once , in one situation , he expects it to be the case for everything .
so , if i were to say ok ds2 you dont have to do P.E because you hate it then he would expect me to allow that for all the other subjects he hates . dont know if this is common with AS ?? He would then react very strongly to this not being the case.
He doesnt actually like any school subjects at all really .

sometimes we will have a scenario where he wants to go somewhere , like the beach and ds1 wants to go to the cinema , so we say that saturday we will do ds2 choice and sunday ds1 . He gets to go to the beach but then on the sunday decides he would rather stay at home and watch tv . He will then refuse to budge and say something like ' well whats in it for me ? I dont want to do that' . in the past i have threatened him with a consequence to try and make him comply and ended up with a meltdown (not proud) i have recently taken a different approach with things like this , i have tried explaining to him how it makes me feel or how its not very fair whilst empathizing with him about how he feels which has worked a bit better . i have learnt a fair bit from the book recommended here 'lost at school' and would recommend it to others . i am still learning and i keep in mind that i should choose my battles but i find it hard to choose !
i worry about what will happen when he doesnt like something at work , will he just not go ? i worry that he seems to expect me to fix everything to suit him and when i cant he is angry with me .

He got to teenage and realised that if he refuses to do something no one can actually make him . He once refused to take part in his construction lesson at school , the teacher didnt do anything but ring me about it and all of a sudden he was refusing to do other lessons aswell because he thought he could get away with it . well , thats how it looked anyway . its really hard to know what to do .

Polter is right in that with the school refusal and recent exclusion something different needs to happen . I did ask about altering the timetable but the school didnt seem at all keen . I havent given up on that yet though ! He is much more giving, happy and compliant when the stress of school is removed . I havent given up on the idea of home ed yet either .

thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 15:25:21

well , when i think back i hated PE . I was really shy and embarassed and would have been overjoyed if my mum had got me out of it .

PolterGoose Mon 21-Oct-13 15:49:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 16:04:23

a note for PE this morning

You could. So long as it was true.

"DS can't do PE today because he can't cope with the sensory overload of the rapid change of clothers and tepid shower. His AS also means the uncertainty of which team he will be is picked for results in severe anxiety. His social -communication disorder means he is unable to process these reasons easily himself.

He has been unable explain this well enough for you to understand and make reasonable accommodations under the Equalities Act, which will allow him to participate in PE. I'd be grateful if you could phone or meet me to work out a plan. Until then, DS is excused from PE by reason of the severe anxiety it provokes, which is hidden until he gets home"

xx ((lol)) XX thrifty's mum (mobile no, email)

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 16:05:52

Make the note very specific to PE problems, to avoid the
in one situation , he expects it to be the case for everything you fear

thriftychic Mon 21-Oct-13 16:18:27

wise words as always polter , thankyou smile
maria , i see where your coming from , thanks for that , it made me grin

ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 16:25:30

Another book added to my Kindle!

I should really get it charged!

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