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School gate strategies

(7 Posts)
roundwindow Sat 12-Sep-09 21:00:00

Hi all,

DS1 is currently being assessed, has definite developmental delay, social communication difficulties, receptive language delay. In all liklihood he's ASD but we haven't had a formal DX yet. Meanwhile he's going into y1 at school and is going to repeat his reception year as they have mixed year groups at his school.

School have been great, he's been on SA+ so we've had termly reviews etc. plus he did a couple of afternoons a week back at his old nursery last year. He really struggled last year but so far this year things have been much better, he's going in a lot more happily anyway.

But now it's me who's struggling! I posted a thread on here a while back about how isolated I feel as a parent, how I used to be one of those sociable mums when he was a toddler but gradually all social activities have had to be phased out due to his behaviours becoming ever more difficult to manage in company (attacking other children, refusing to allow me to speak to other adults, etc.)

And the school gate is a strange one. Over the past year I've started to get to know people a bit, but nobody well enough to properly talk to, just sort of idle chit chat about the weather, what we're doing on holidays etc. And obviously there are no playdate invitations I just keep trying to be be friendly, smiley, etc. and it's OK but as I say it hasn't yet led to any proper friendships developing. Meanwhile DS's more 'quirky' behaviours become ever more visible as he gets older and bigger (eg. going to what parties we have been invited to and him refusing to join in any of the games, having meltdowns about the 'wrong' drink, etc.; or running straight out of the school gate and lying on the pavement to look down the drain grin) and I'm consumed with anxiety about how people must be perceiving this and what judgements are being made about how crap a parent I must be. And yet I don't know anyone well enough to talk openly about what's bothering me (which is my usual method for coping with anxiety grin.

I just wonder how you get to know people better, and would it make things easier or harder to be open about his difficulties? Part of me feels like this is my main opportunity for interaction at the moment and if I'm not open nobody else will be. But the other part of me feels hugely protective of my DS and not wanting to share such personal information with people who I don't know well enough to trust that they'll be compassionate and open-minded about it.

Sorry, long and self-indulgent post, but I just wondered what experiences you all have of the school gate and how you've handled 'sharing' or not about your DCs' dx. I'm all churned up about this and it's odd, I've never had any problems making friends before but something about this situation is making me feel so anxious and misplaced sad Don't think it helps that we're currently living quite far away from family and old friends.

meerkatsandkookaburras Sat 12-Sep-09 21:35:22

my ds is only almost 4 and at preschool but i found similar problems although he has a diagnosis which i guess makes it easier in a way, he was diagnosed with autism at age 2, i find carrying his pecs book obviously so they can all see it shows something is wrong/different without being too specific and without having to say anything!

anonandlikeit Sat 12-Sep-09 21:35:56

Its hard to develop a thick skin, but honestly I bet the vast majority don't notice your ds's behaviours.
They are probabily too busy with their own tired whingy kids at school pick up time.

TBH I am friendly & will chat to anyone at the school gates but ahve never been bothered about developing friendships further than that. We live in a very small town & my ds goes to a small village school & I'm not a local, so i guess i've always stood out grin although i suppose, When ds1 (nt) started school it was very obvious that all the other parens were all
interbred life long friends & it was only when he was able to start asking to ahve friends over that we I actually got to know a few of the other parents.

DS2 is at the same school & the only parents i have develped a proper friendship with are the parents of the other sn kids at the school.... we just seemed to get chatting in the playground.

Do you ahve any friends locally?

anonandlikeit Sat 12-Sep-09 21:37:36

Does the school have a school association that you could join, it can be a good way of meeting the other parents.

roundwindow Sat 12-Sep-09 21:49:27

Thanks for the replies. Tried the PTA but it became too stressful because their meetings are always during school time and I always had DS2 (2) with me who'd whinge and cry and run around all the way through and I felt like it was too disruptive for them. Will deffo be trying again once he's in nursery next year though. Have a couple of friends locally (who I got to know when DS1 was still a baby) but their DCs are going to different schools and since playdates became so problematic have become a bit more distant.

I'll keep on plugging away. I think I just may need to resign myself to the fact that this isn't one of the socially high points of my life. But that's OK. Nothing lasts forever, innit.

Oh, and have been advised to attend EarlyBird Plus course by Paed, so hopefully will finally meet other parents facing similar issues through that.

debs40 Sun 13-Sep-09 00:03:03


I sympathise because DS1 is also undergoing ASD assessment and can be very difficult on school pick ups and drop offs. He also won't let me speak to people - he gets really worked up about not letting crowds of people get in front of us on the way out of the gate and can scream if I delay him by answering people's hellos!!

I try and focus on the fact that these times are stressful for him so he has to be the priority but I also have started to explain to him that i MUST respond to people who speak to me as it will seem rude not to. I tell him I won't stop and chat more than I have to but I won't be rude to people for him.

It is isolating but the other thing I do is see the friends I have made outside school. So, I will meet for a coffee with DS2 and other friends who have little ones on my day off. We can catch up then

HTH You're not alone!

Phoenix4725 Sun 13-Sep-09 07:29:48

,I second the isolating feeling if it was not for a couple of mums who knew from preschool and are not judgey pants would be stood on my own .

Also noticed ones that seemed ok at preschool now that ds is at school they are defintley less chatty as npw obvious ds is differnt

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