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HOBBIES FOR DS2 WITH AS - IS IT POSSIBLE OR AM I KIDDING MYSELF?

(13 Posts)
HelensMelons Tue 21-Oct-08 19:59:54

Newbie to Mumsnet.

DS2 is 7 nearly 8 and diagnosed with mild autism about a year and a half ago.

DS1 enjoys swimming/horseriding, DD3 enjoys dancing -

DS2 can't be bothered with Beavers (runs about, doesn't engage or just hides) so I have stopped trudging there each Monday evening. The swimming club didn't want him and he was shouted at - so we stopped going. He doesn't want to horseride - because he finds it difficult waiting around for others to get themselves organised - by which time the notion has gone.

I would really, really, love to have some suggestions on a hobby that he might be able to engage with. I sometimes wonder if there is such a thing?

Can anyone help, please?!

PussinWellies Tue 21-Oct-08 21:04:53

Mine's now 12, but these are the things that have engaged him over the past few years:

Model railways
Drawing vast, intricate maps
Sailing (OK, a long shot, but we have a local-ish club with lots of spare kids' dinghies)
Cycling
Scouts, oddly enough, though Beavers and Cubs were never feasible. More racing around and less standing in circles, I think.

I do so recognise the not wanting to wait while others sort themselves out. Good luck!

mabanana Tue 21-Oct-08 22:52:58

He is very young. IME boys with AS/Autism seem significantly younger than their peers anyway. What is he interested in? What do you think he is good at? Is he coordinated?
Do you want him to join an outside group, or just find something for him to do at home?

Troutpout Wed 22-Oct-08 09:42:49

Oh i find this hard too
Have had similar problems with him being shouted at or punished for 'not listening'

Most groups which he has started seem to come acropper because they tend to focus on achieving a certain level or passing grades or tend to get very serious by the time the child is about 7-8.Any mainstream group means that you also feel the pressure of any other parent that you are taking time away from their child if your child needs extra help.
We've had more success with holiday short courses tbh...where everyone is more intent on having fun and not passing a certain level.
How about an instrument? is he interested in music?

My boy goes to a youth group run by a youth worker and helpers partly funded by the local churches. This one is nice because it seems to be fairly loose and goes with the flow of whichever children turn up but also organises stuff outside too. They did a 5 mile walk in the peaks on sunday with the kids leading the way with maps.

He also goes to a social group for children with aspergers run by a local charity for carers. This is quite good because it is run by salts who work on improving social skills at the same time.(although it's situation by the railway track was perhaps misguided...the salt said she loses them all completely every 10 mins when a train goes past grin)
I was hoping there would be more on offer at secondary school but they tend to be sport or drama based rather than say computers, Science or art or geography.

coppertop Wed 22-Oct-08 10:08:20

Martial arts? It tends to be very structured and very little waiting for other people.

Does he like to be outdoors and active or is he more of a stay at home type?

mabanana Wed 22-Oct-08 10:27:50

I also think you need to be upfront with the leader of any group beforehand and tell them your ds has Aspergers, describe how it affects him, what problems he might have etc. I think it is tricky if they don't know and treat them as naughty, because that's not really their fault, but is also inappropriate. I have found a drama group for my ds where a friend's ds with AS goes, and where the leader feels confident about dealing with a child with AS, but at just seven, I feel ds is too young yet, but am thinking about it for next year. I think drama is something he could be quite good at (he loves writing scripts and can read with lots of expression) and it might help him with real-life interaction.

Plumbuddle Wed 22-Oct-08 11:40:54

Hi, my son is now 10 and we are awaiting some sort of ASD diagnosis. I'd say look at what the child likes to do then find a group to match that. There is a club for every interest out there. A favourite is cookery as they can focus on the activity and the ratio of staff:child is of necessity high. To stop adults being insensitive (which is the main issue) you could look at activities where you too can participate. For example our son really enjoys Woodcraft Folk, which is a freer and more funky version of cubs/brownies for both sexes, and parents are encouraged to be involved. Then you can quietly fade out after a while. There is also music. Drumming can be great fun. As another contributor said, the crucial thing is to vet and prep the teacher. Annoyingly it's hard for the child to get any complaints out about these people if they are unpleasant, until it's too late, so all depends on your assessing the teacher's personality/style in advance. keep on trying for activities because these are so important for the child to have fun in groups/develop self-esteem and for you to get a break.

allytjd Wed 22-Oct-08 12:00:29

Wargaming is popular in our house, many hours are spent in our house painting tiny figures, building sets, looking at catalogues and reading rule books, not to mention lining up rows of figures. DS2 is seven and he enjoys it(although he doesn't have the patience yet for full games). You do need an interested adult, in our case DH, but it is what got DH through highschool as he met his lifelong friends through playing dungeons and dragons etc.(and they are not all terminally nerdy!). We tried beavers and Tie Kwon Do, the first was too noisy (shouty lady in charge) and the second too regimented to cope with DS2's occassional randomness. I think 10 is about the right age to start clubs from my experience. I wish we had the Woodcraft folk up here.

amber32002 Wed 22-Oct-08 13:41:52

My thoughts:

Beavers (runs about, doesn't engage or just hides): Not surprised. So would I. Massive social interaction - eye contact, lots of people speaking (we can't pick out just one voice), no clue who's who, no clue what to say or do unless it's really clear and structured. I'd want to hide in the cupboard and not come out.

The swimming club:

Disgraceful behaviour by them. But me and swimming is really, really difficult. The water is SO cold and it 'hurts', the echoes are like gunfire, the swimming costume digs in, people bump into me which is painful, and I'm not co-ordinated enough to swim anyway, but I do a very good bit of sinking. All of that after 10 years of lessons, in which I hated every single one.

Horse riding - try Riding for the Disabled. They can normally put a plan in place to make it very quick and quiet, which is probably what he needs? I love horses, but I have to work at my own pace, not be shouted at by instructor or made to do something too scary.

Otherwise, as the others say, find a hobby he likes. Don't worry about socialising stuff - just let him pick something that's right for him. We socialise differently anyway, playing next to someone, not often with them, and often love being online (like here) rather than face to face.

Ever thought of getting a dog, if the family circumstances allow it? Dog training classes are something he might like doing with the dog, and it's a great way to teach a child about respect and care and to meet other people in the park?

PS, watch out for any doctor that tells you it's "mild" autism. I know what they're trying to say, but Asperger syndrome etc isn't 'mild' if you have it, it just seems different from most lower-functioning autism because we learn to disguise the problems better. The problems are still there.

HelensMelons Wed 22-Oct-08 20:40:09

Thank you all so much for your suggestions - this is something that I have found quite frustrating and I really feel that there are definitely a number of ideas that I can take attempt!

Allytjd, particularly liked your honesty about 'mild' puts things into perspective.

The suggestion of a dog is something that has come up a lot. DS2 is very keen and also seems to be very confident around dogs -so it's a definite - but possibly in the New Year. It's me who's a bit scared!!!

I've haven't put a thread up before, so am chuffed to bits to have such help. Thanks

amber32002 Wed 22-Oct-08 21:11:09

With dogs, you'd have to have really good training and help, and choose a gentle breed that is very good with children, from a really reputable breeder. Not cheap, not easy, needs lots of planning. But it's worth it, I think.

There are Dogs for the Disabled who supply dogs for families with autistic children, but not sure how many they have available at any one time. My dogs have been a lifesaver for me in a social situation, as I can concentrate on them rather than scary eye contact etc, and people can discuss the dogs which means there's always something to talk about. Plus smaller dog is very caring and has actually taught herself to warn me when I need to do something (no, really! She tells me when it's time to wake son up, or when my boiled egg is done!)

HelensMelons Wed 22-Oct-08 21:48:06

Thanks, Amber

I am at the very early planning stage of getting a dog. Both DS1 and DS2 want a dog, DD3 is scared as is dad; however, my neighbour has a dog that they all like and she has promised to let DS2 give him a bath, take him for a walk, etc. I think it's a really good idea.

DS2 will also be starting swimming at some point with the Special Needs Swim, which I hope he finds less intimidating and more fun!

He quite likes football but I don't expect him to manage well in a big group - it would be too much.

I would need prompting on when to do a bit of cleaning!

Got lots to think about!

Kazann Wed 22-Oct-08 22:24:47

Its all about finding the right group with a person that runs it that has some patience and understanding. I agree with mabanana that it is best to be up front about your DS problems so they know what to expect, you may have to try several things before you find something he really enjoys.
My DD does ballet and tap and it took along time and a few different groups to find the right one for her and she has just been put in for her ballet exam which is something i never thought she would be able to do she also does gymnastics and this is her thing she is in her element loves it and has recently been picked to train with the squad i can't leave her on her own at any of these places in case she has a funny five minutes, my advice to you is try lots of different things hope you find something your DS really enjoys good luck

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