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Fears about initiating conversations etc

(9 Posts)
PinkFloorboards Wed 14-Feb-18 13:38:22

My autistic 13 year old is a bright funny boy who, when chatting at home or with friends, is articulate and doesn't hold back! However, I've seen him lose a lot of confidence over the last couple of years in his interactions with people he doesn't know. He refuses to even go to the local sweet shop now coz he doesn't want to deal with speaking to them, in case he says the wrong thing and, in his words, it 'would be so embarrassing'. Yesterday we were together in a cafe and I ordered a coffee, when I asked to say what he'd like he wouldn't even say the words 'hot chocolate', he just glowered at me for not ordering for him so he didn't have to speak.

He also says he doesn't ever initiate conversations with peers; that he is happy to respond but doesn't have the confidence to initiate anything.

He is starting a new school in September, going into year 9 after a year out of school, and I'm worried about him being socially isolated. He loves company and feels rejection keenly. Does anyone have any suggestions for resources, books, strategies, anything at all, to help with this?

amunt Wed 14-Feb-18 14:45:42

We tend to identify the steps required, practise them with family and then try in the real world, e.g. shop. Each time really rewarding the effort. I haven't used it but 'crafting connections' is supposed to be good.

PinkFloorboards Wed 14-Feb-18 16:06:46

Thanks Amunt. I've mooted this with him but he's pretty reluctant but I will try again!

zzzzz Wed 14-Feb-18 17:55:30

Does he want to fix it and be able to talk freely. Until he does I doubt there’s much you can do. Ask him, and go from there.

PinkFloorboards Wed 14-Feb-18 19:05:59

Hi xxxxx yes he says he'd like to be able to, but is very rigid in his belief that he can't. I've said if he was willing I could help him with this issue role play, discussing it etc) but he says 'knowing' how to do something and 'feeling able' to do it are very different things for him.

amunt Wed 14-Feb-18 19:47:49

I've heard some adults with autism say that drama/acting clubs helped as they learnt to 'fake it' initially with confidence and then this lead to a more natural confidence in the skills learnt. But as you say, the tricky part is getting past the mental block.

zzzzz Wed 14-Feb-18 20:22:07

I would think practicing by recording yourself and then listening to it back would work.

tanjanavarro Wed 14-Feb-18 20:53:09

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

PinkFloorboards Thu 15-Feb-18 07:58:24

Thanks both, yes drama and recording himself both sound good ideas. He responds to humour so I could try to bring humour into recording ourselves doing roll play.
By the way sorry zzzzz don't know why I called you xxxxx!

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