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Advice from other parents of ASD children..(8 Posts)
Our family is considering a move abroad and as excited as DH, youngest DD and myself are about it, eldest DD (who has AS) is (unsurprisingly) very against the idea. She has managed to think of a few positive things because we have all been suggesting some pros and cons, but her cons list is extensive and she says even if we all go, she is going to stay behind and live with the family who will rent our house (partly because she doesn't want anyone in her room). I did explain that wouldn't be possible and she said she would live with her best friend instead.
What would you do? I know she would actually get a lot out of the experience, and a lot of her concerns (such as never seeing her friends again) are unfounded, but I don't know if it would be too much for her to cope with. She is 11 (12 in a few months time) so I know this is generally the age when friendships become ultra important. She does feel very happy in her current school and is doing really well - Are we mad to take the risk of leaving for the unknown?
In terms of figuring out if it would be too much for her to cope with…. is she used to travelling, does she settle easily into a new place when you go on holiday? Is she happy to go out and explore or does she hide away? How much support does she get in school, and how much support she would get in the new country? Is she in a mainstream school or special school? Do you have a plan if she is unhappy or starts to fall behind (socially, behaviourally or academically) at school?
If you are happy about all that, then your best bet is probably to prepare her early for the transition. Photos of the new house, new bedroom, area round the house, new school. Could she have contact with anyone at the new school - letters, photos, skype - before you leave? People with Asperger’s often find it hard to cope with uncertainty, so could you send your DH over to sort all that stuff out before you and the family join him?
Good luck, it sounds very exciting!
Good questions to consider and some good ideas about photos and getting in touch with her new peers before arriving ...thanks. She is actually quite outgoing in personality but the obvious issues with change are her biggest obstacle.
It would be a move with my job, but it might be possible for DH to get in some practise as a house husband for a few weeks before taking it on for a while abroad
Biggest problem would be a plan for what to do if she did struggle or fall behind. Lots of food for thought.
Please keep the ideas, advice and suggestions coming!
How big a change? Very different, culture, language, social expectation?
Is AS recognised in a good way in the new country?
The school she would go to in itself is a little British community on its own and in that sense, culturally there won't be much change. But the climate is very different and the language/alphabet of the country also very different. School has good LS too.
We have had holidays in the country and she coped well on holiday with the differences, but longterm is unknown (for the whole family, really!).
She has been researching the area on the internet and actually agreed that there are some things she would like to do there, and some good things about the place. I think it will just take her a little while to come around to the idea, so we have set a deadline for the family to make a decision and hope that will be enough time for her to accept it will be an adventure and to know that we are always able to leave if any of us find it is not working.
Thanks for the 'food for thought' everyone.
Try a social story about it.
If she is in to ipad there is also a sesame street app about moving house, which might allay fears a bit.
We have had a chat as a family and made a collective decision on when to move. It means I have just declined a job offer for later in the year but now she has time to prepare for a definite moving date (assuming I get another good job offer!). We want the move to be as positive as possible for all the family, so if that means a slight delay, so be it. We will get there eventually (although wandering in the freezing rain, dark and traffic this evening I kind of wished a change was on the horizon a bit sooner!)
Like the idea of a social story, but I think she would scorn me for suggesting Sesame Street!
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