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Losing friends(14 Posts)
Hello, I am still pretty new to the SN world. My son is non verbal and has suspected severe verbal dyspraxia. He is 3.
I have felt since the 'diagnosis' (it's not formal yet) I am drifting further from my friends, as they just don't understand his problems, don't ever ask for more information about it, nor do they appreciate the depth of worry and upset it causes.
I assumed it's just because my friends must just be dick heads, and I'm better off just ditching them. But talking to another mum in a similar situation to me she very early on told me 'oh I've completely lost all my friends' for similar reasons.
Is this just a really common thing? I can't understand it at all, if my friend had a SN child I like to think I'd try to be as compassionate and understanding as possible??
I have experienced similar sadly. Have had lost interest in my DS from family members too . But on the other hand I have found new friends whose children have similar issues to mine. It really helps to have someone to chat to about things they can understand. Online forums like these can help a lot too. Also any support groups nearby you can be a good place to meet people in a similar situation.
It's not the child's dx that affects friendships and family relationships, it's that they cannot relate to any child not following the same patterns as theirs and cannot understand or don't want to be bothered to understand any differences.
They see you parenting differently - because that's what your child needs - and don't (want to) understand therefore it puts them on the back foot when parenting their own children in your company.
e.g. They "know" that consequences work because a child learns good behaviour that way. You don't do that therefore they feel uncomfortable explaining to their kids they have to have consequences but your child doesn't.
I found that I had very little in common with most of the Mums at primary school.
I think I've been lucky in that I haven't lost friends but, like BlankTimes, I don't have much in common with most of the mums at primary school although some have been lovely. I do find that lots of people don't really understand or are reluctant to talk about it.
I think this van be quite normal, the best advice i was given was "find your people" theres quite a few special needs groups in my town and i have berm very luck to have become good friends with a lovely bunch of ladies whose children's have similar disabillities ro my son .
I have one friend who has an autistic child, different presentation to mine. and another who understands.
I rarely make new friends. people I am friendly with, but not many real friends. people can just not relate to single parenting with two autistic (1 not proven yet) children.
I do think it's hard for them to know what to say, and I can see why people don't raise the subject.
I worry that if the shoe were on the other foot, I'd be the one not knowing what to say so I don't brand the lot of them as dicks.
However I definitely feel there's a communication gap with some people, and increasingly as DS gets older, it's hard to maintain school gate friendships when your child isn't in that place of doing playdates, soft play trips etc like the others.
My DD isn't in mainstream..we opted to home ed her which has huge benefits but also downfalls for me (maybe not given what pp's have said!) in that I am getting quite isolated.. We've moved house since DD was born so lost those 'baby days' friends who may or may not have hung around into this not-so-cute stage.. Now I get people visibly step back when they meet her (she's developmentally about 5 years behind her actual age and non verbal) and I think people see me as the poor mum with the difficult child and don't even consider me friend material, hence I have none
Yes, my family a fairly uninterested too. It is....awful.
Sorry to hear others have had this too 🙁
I agree with a pp that maybe they just don't know what to say, and possibly it's difficult for them to raise the subject.
I've had a bit of a change of mind set though since my post. I just don't talk about my son as much any more And I don't bring his SN up at all to them really. I don't meet up with them with my DC, just see them in the evening for a girls night. It's actually quite refreshing to think 'these are just my friends when I need to blow off steam' and I rely on other people when I need emotional support - like DH and the specialists involved in his care.
What blanktimes said. Life patterns are strong.
Having moved to a new area, I haven't yet made any friends good enough for girly chats yet and possibly never will.. I do miss my old friends from before children that, no doubt, I could have turned to for a girly night out not necessarily for support!! My hope is that I can find a SN group locally and find friends who 'get it'.. The mums I have met locally with NT children are lovely but definitely keep their distance which in an incredibly sad way, I'm beginning to accept as normal now. Family are absolute crap!!!
It gets easier - my daughter has verbal dyspraxia among her issues and was essentially pretty much incomprehensible at age 3 (you'd get the odd very unclear 2 word phrases). By the time she started school she was at about 50% intelligible speech on a good day if you were tuned into how she spoke and by the end of Reception year she was at about 95% speech intelligibility... which might give you a bit of hope for the future.
She's in year 1 now and her speech is still immature, and the grammatical structure's a bit wonky but she is a right bloody chatterbox. I've found that as her speech has come on, and as people have got more tuned in to how she talks - the isolation aspect's reduced somewhat. We still have a few issues with parents who go on about how cute she is and part of that is her speech sounding like that of a younger child - but there's not those pitying looks and desperate glances at you to try to interpret what the child is trying to tell them and then changes of subject and sidling away going on anymore.
There's still an element of the parents of children with SN banding together a bit - which can get slightly isolating at times as it tends to be Autism that is much more prevalent (or diagnosed or just spoken about) - but I've done lots of things like the PTA and I'm a school governor so barriers have been broken down that way and now most people just accept me and DD2 for who we are.
As she's got better communicating her personality has really emerged and won people over as well - she really is an incredibly kind, funny, quick witted little girl who's charmed the pants of people with how "weaselly-hunt" (resillient) she is. We have one clique on the playground who don't want their kids mixing with a usually dishevelled child who speaks funnily - but they're pretty non-discriminatory in how bitchy they are to anyone on the playground who's not part of their gang!
I choose intentionally to be very open about the nature of DD2's diagnosis and that's drawn a few parents to us as well who have kids with communication problems, or "standard" dyspraxia, or sensory processing issues (we got the full whammy of verbal and standard dyspraxia).
I'd say it's probably taken until this year for things to start to click in terms of play dates and parental friendships though - it's been a bit of a grim slog until then!
Ginpink, you are sensible to talk about other things with friends and save talking about your DS to your DH and the specialists. It is important to have a chance to take this kind of break as well. I have come to a similar conclusion...
For a long time, I felt very hurt and disappointed at how little kindness or understanding we got from other parents at my DD's mainstream school. She was there for 4 years (she moved to a special school in September) and I realise they often felt uncomfortable about a) saying the wrong thing and b) the whole idea of autism (her diagnosis). To be honest, they did sometimes say what felt like the wrong thing...like underestimating DD in some way or being patronising or going on about what a chatterbox their child was (my DD has a significant speech delay) or not realising how fortunate they are to be free of the worries we face. But I recognise that I am hypersensitive and massively protective of my DD.
I also agree with MinesATreble that I'm not sure how well I would have done if the shoe were on the other foot. Raising a child with SN is such a particular experience that other parents (so often) just don't understand and they are so wrapped up in their own parenting situations as well as work and all their own worries. It's also just easier for them to bond with parents of their children's friends and talk about their typically developing children.
But I was still disappointed that on so many occasions, other parents never responded to my texts and that even parents who 'should' get it, e.g. because they work with SN children, have avoided me or failed to get back to me. What also annoyed me recently was sudden interest in my DD from parents ('how is she getting on at her new school?') when they had never even spoken to me in all the preceding years. They suddenly felt able to approach me in the supermarket and ask about how DD was getting on. I did think 'this is a day late and a dollar short'.
Talking to other parents of children with SN/a disability has been a lifeline here in our local community. Some have even become friends. This Mumsnet forum has been brilliant, too, and it has actually reassured me to see that I am not alone in feeling this disappointment with other parents but we do need to try and get beyond it for our own sanity. And there are some really kind and compassionate people out there! There are even people I know who seem to know just what encouraging words to say about my wonderful DD.
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