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DS says he's weird(12 Posts)
DS (nearly 10, AS) has started coming home from school saying the other kids say I'm weird. He moved out of specialist into mainstream ed this year and we had the expected transition difficulties, compounded by some bullying which the school have sorted out. Sadly he is now realising how different he is and he has found it really hard to keep the friends he initially made. He's been crying every day saying the other kids tell him he is weird and I don't know what to say to him because he does behave in some ways that are unusual and there's no getting around it. He doesn't know he has a diagnosis but he is bright and I feel as though I need to give him some answers.
What do I say?? My heart is in my mouth about it and I don't want to do the wrong thing.
I would tell him he has a dx personally. I don't know if it's the right thing to do but I've never kept DS's disabilities from him. He knows he's 'different' and to me it feels right to acknowledge that isn't all in his head and means we can have open conversations about how to manage different situations.
That's my approach though and it may not be the right one for your family.
Is he getting any support to help him with his communication? Is he seeing SALT for example?
Dd3 was just coming up to 10 when I told her about her dx of Asd.
We got the book "Inside Aspergers, looking out " I think it was called even though her dx isnt Aspergers I explained that her typ of Asd was the same.
We talked about how brilliant it is to be different and how her Asd can help her to think in different ways.
She was great with it because she already knew she was different but didnt know why.
I'm going to re-iterate the need to talk to him about his diagnosis. We've been quite open with DS1 since he was 6 or 7 - there's no getting past all the appointments and assessments he has and the fact that he has a full time 1:1 at school without being honest, really.
There are some fabulous books aimed at older children with aspergers. I've not read the one mentioned by Ineed, but I shall look it up, now I know about it. Freaks Geeks and Asperger Syndrome is a a great first hand account of Luke Jackson's take on life with AS. Kathy Hoopman's books are worth a look. She wrote the picture book "All Cats Have Aspergers" plus loads of fiction with a central character with AS, such as the Blue Bottle Mysteries. Some people like the Asperkids books, which provide a lot of practical advice for different social situations. He might find "Different Like Me" inspiring as it's a book that celebrates the achievements of a lot of "weird" people.
And the book Ineed mentioned is another Kathy Hoopmann book, it turns out!
I promote different is good/fine/normal. We think all people have a profile of ability (and deficit) just some are more obvious.
I'd reclaim "weird" as a positive. "A wrinkle in time" and "witch week" both are great books for "odd one out" feelings.
I personally think they will always find something to tease about. Teach him about kindness and bravery and what "good" looks like. His dx is a small part of this and he is not the only child facing this. (My eldest got it from a teacher . Two years later she is strong as steel )
You are all so kind, thank you. I think I would prefer to tell him myself but dread him being so upset about it because he gets so upset about most things but I think he just needs to know what's going on. I'll have a look at those books - I think I have the survival guide somewhere - so will get some in. He does have a SALT at school so I will raise it. There are a lot of children at his school who do SALT and learning support so up til now we have been able to pass it off as nothing special but it doesn't seem fair now. Will get some books in and then broach it!
We told ds1(10) about his diagnosis right from the start.
He liked many of the books listed.
Now he is quite open about being "a freak, a weirdo and a nerd". We were even laughing about it last night.
Hope your ds can too accept and even laugh about it.
The bitcoin inventor and the pokemon creator are both on the spectrum. I think it helps if they have some positive role models to refer to as sometimes being different can be cool.
May I please share a story about my DS. He started secondary last September. After a few weeks some children started telling him he was weird. This was DS's reply:
'I'm really glad you said I was weird, everyone at my primary thought I was, but no one has said that here. Yes I am weird, it's better than not being weird .Thank you so much for telling me. I feel so much better now!'
Guess what, no one has said anything to him since!
It is difficult, but we have worked hard on DS's self esteem, he is different but equal to everyone else.
My DS wasn't diagnosed until he was 13...he was first assessed at 7, but because he also has a speech disorder they kept reassessing him without diagnosing as while everyone agreed that he warranted a diagnosis of something - they wouldn't agree on what that diagnosis would be.
Because (obviously) he prefers things in black and white and because I didn't realise how long he would remain undiagnosed I didn't tell him about it.
He was about 10 when he started saying similar things and it really affected his self esteem - telling him about AS made a huge difference (and of course the actual diagnosis when it came) and now at nearly 18 he's very comfortable with it and so much more confident than I ever thought he'd be...it really did make a huge difference to him to know that he is normal for him and understand about why he was noticing a difference between him and his classmates.
So I say you're absolutely doing the right thing by telling him.
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