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Children with Autism not interested in people?

(32 Posts)
Wallace Mon 31-Jan-05 21:12:51

I am doing an Access to Nursing course and as part of my course I get to go on placement. I have chosen to go to a school for children with special needs. I am really excited (and could waffle about it for hours..). I am going to be helping out (as a Learning Support Auxillary) in many classes including classes for children with Autism. I asked the Teacher if the children would be upset/concerned about having someone new in the classroom. She replied that they wouldn't even notice as they are not interested in people. Is this a generalisation?

As you can imagine I am keen to learn as much as I can before I start on Thursday as it will be a very steep learning curve once I am there!

Blossomhill Mon 31-Jan-05 21:20:43

Very much so Wallace I am afraid. It depends on the child and the severity of autism. Lots of people with Aspergers and HFA are interested in people but find it hard to interact socially. I do think that is a bit of a generalisation. The same as autsitic people do not give cuddles or eye contact. I know w very severely autistic boy who cuddles his mum a lot!
Hope it all goes well

Wallace Mon 31-Jan-05 21:30:52

That's what I thought blossomhill. Just thought I ought to clarify that it wasn't the class teacher that said it, but the depute head or someone like that.

Thanks for your

Blossomhill Mon 31-Jan-05 21:32:41

Unfortunately there is not enough information out there and all people assume that anyone with autism is like Rain Man!!!

edam Mon 31-Jan-05 21:44:02

My sister, a learning difficulties nurse, once said 'people don't make sense to X', X being an autistic child. Not that this child wasn't interested, exactly, just that people were strange and unpredictable to him and he craved predictability.
Don't know if this holds true for other autistic children. But her top tip was NEVER stand in the doorway when you are with an autistic person. If that person feels overwhelmed and needs to escape, they will barge past you. And, according to her, it would be you own fault if you got hurt!

Socci Mon 31-Jan-05 21:52:36

Message withdrawn

Christie Mon 31-Jan-05 21:57:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jimjams Mon 31-Jan-05 22:14:02

depends on whether you're male or female to my son. If you're female ds1 will greet you (by sniffing you probably) and then not pay you much attention unless he wants something, If you're a man he'll climb onto you and sit in your lap and cuddle you and generally hassle you for attention the whole time you're there (always surprises plumbers etc who come when he's here).

Not sure about the door thing edam. Ds1 hates doors being open so if you stood in one here he'd shove you out of the way to shut it. Not an urge to escape- just doesn't like an untidy door.

They're all different (just like NT kids).

Chocol8 Mon 31-Jan-05 22:30:42

Agree they are all different - my ds attends Theraplay and the psych said he is unsure as to whether he is AS as he shows empathy (lots of it) and this was not a trait. The woman who runs the autistic group locally said that Autistic children cannot cuddle and that if they do, they are not autistic!

My ds is extremely loving and often cuddles and kisses me, but he fits all the other criteria of AS.

Like Jimjams - he especially loves men and craves their attention as he doesn't get it at home (no partner and a very part-time dad).

Socci Mon 31-Jan-05 22:34:02

Message withdrawn

edam Mon 31-Jan-05 22:36:11

that's interesting Jimjams. Just a comment of my sister's I recall from years ago, when she first worked witih an auti kid – I don't think it's her general theory of autism, or anything.

Jimjams Mon 31-Jan-05 22:53:53

your local autism grooup woman sounds a bit owrrying chocol8! can't cuddle? Baloney- had a very long cuddle with ds1 today watching a french video (he loves french videos for some reason- I have no idea whether he knows its a different language).

edam- it just made me laugh as quite often people leave and then turn round in the doorway to say bye or whatever. DS1 literally shoves them out and slams the door- but its becuase he likes shutting dooors (if you sat in our kitchen and saiid "oh I must go home in a minute" he would grab you and try to pull you too the door. But then I spend hlaf my life opening and closing doors for him. grrr.

Socci Tue 01-Feb-05 01:30:04

Message withdrawn

Swilt Tue 01-Feb-05 09:01:25

My ds who has HFA is extrememly affectionate. He is forever cuddling me and saying that he loves me so much. However he does have difficulty with empathy, in fact when he catches me crying, he just completely ignores me, doesn't react in the slightest. But yesterday, he actually showed some empathy towards our pet dog, he was concerned that our dog had been outside in the garden for too long and that he might be getting cold. That was really sweet.

JakB Tue 01-Feb-05 09:04:01

Swilt That is really, really sweet!
My dd is 'very' severely autistic (they seem to add emphasis with every new report!!!!) and she is the most cuddly little lady ever, gives great eye contact (if she wants to) and even kisses (sort of open mouthed, doesn't know to close her mouth). But I could be sobbing in the corner and she wouldn't notice.

alison222 Tue 01-Feb-05 13:46:31

Just reading this out of interest.
What is HFA please?

Swilt Tue 01-Feb-05 13:51:56

High functioning autism

JaysMum Tue 01-Feb-05 13:58:02

High Functioning Autism....Aspergers.

J is exactly the same as your ds1 Jim Jams....he is not so keen on women but any workman coming to the house gets plagued to death by J who insists on taking out all their tools to see how they work.He also asks everyone who comes to the house what time they are leaving....then stands waiting for them to go!!!!

The worst thing is if anyone dares to walk in our house with their shoes on....he goes mad and gets the hoover out to clean the carpet where they have walked....my neighbour thought we lived in a mad house the first time she came to see us. She was greeted by J asking her to go home and then following her around the house with the hoover....she soon learnt that she kicks off her shoes in the kitchen before coming into the house!!!

Hey ho they are all so different....it certainly makes life interesting.

onlyjoking Tue 01-Feb-05 19:53:56

well kids may have the same DX but they are all affected differently, i hate it when people make sweeping statements like i bet they are good at drawing, maths and computers, when i tell them that my three arent good at any of those things then people get a bit desparate to say something positive so they usually say oh but arent they beautiful !
i would expect that some kids in the class will be bothered about someon new being in there space, my kids are very watchful, they have no wish to tell me what they have done at school but are able to tell me in great detail what everyone was wearing that day and what picture everyone has on there lunchbox

Wallace Tue 01-Feb-05 20:53:56

Thank you everyone for your input. I am going to be working at Drummond School in Inverness.

christie - whats a SLD / PMLD school?

From what I am reading here (and other things I have read) it sounds like routine is very important to children with Autism, and someone new taking part in the class is bound to disturb the routine. Shall I let you know how I get on? I feel hearing your stories gives a little bit of insight to ASD, which I hope will help

Swilt Tue 01-Feb-05 21:02:41

Wallace, I'd love to know how you got on.

That is just like my ds, I can't get any answers regarding his school day, but he always can point out different clothes, hairstyles etc. On his first day after Xmas, I asked him if anyone else had a new coat, not only did he mention names from his own class, he started mentioning many names from other classes as well.

Davros Tue 01-Feb-05 21:20:16

It is a generalisation but I also think its very true to a degree. My DS is also affectionate and bonds with adults very well. he didn't always, he used to hate other children but now is basically indifferent to most of them. I would say that just about all of the autistic children I know, whatever severity, don't take much interest in people they come across incidentally, they would have to be engaged or there would have to be something intrinsically interesting or reinforcing about that person. They may give someone their attention but they don't necessarily want an unknown person to give them attention and they don't just respond because someone does something that "kids are supposed to like", its usually a lot harder than that or, as I said before, there has to be something about that person they've taken to.

onlyjoking Tue 01-Feb-05 21:27:35

yes there has to be something about the person, maybe an argos book or a couple of thomas trains

Wallace Tue 01-Feb-05 21:38:00

Good point Davros...I use that approach when working with NT (is that right?) kids - I don't try to force them to interact with me - I let them take the inititive when possible...leave it up to them to be ready to interact with me. I know as an adult I wouldn't want somebody trying to persuade me to play/talk to them if I didn't feel like it, so why force children if they don't want to? Would this be an okay way to work with ASD?
Sorry if this doesn't make much sense - my brain shuts down at this time of night making it impossible for me to form a coherent sentence...I'm off to bed!

JakB Tue 01-Feb-05 21:53:19

Onlyjoking Or dangly earrings, a necklace or glasses, in my dd's case. Or anybody holding food of any description...

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