Should I be worried?(14 Posts)
I'm very worried about my DS, aged 15. I'm not sure if he's very shy or has anxiety issues etc but he barely speaks to me or DH. He won't speak to other people, I have to answer on his behalf. He is just generally withdrawn. He says he has friends at school but doesn't socialise outside of school at all.
Just a bit of background. I split from his father when he was little. I remarried 8 years ago and have 2 young children also.
He doesn't have a very good relationship with his dad but does see him.
Just some examples of his behaviour:
The other day he locked himself in the bathroom but wouldn't call me for help (I would have heard). Instead he just stayed in there until a significant amount of time had passed and I realised he'd been in there for ages and checked on him!
He doesn't address me or DH by name. He won't call our names etc
I don't know if I should get him some counselling or if he'll just grow out of it. I'm worried about him having to go to college or getting a job etc.
What should I do?
I don't understand about he bathroom - what was wrong with him, why did he need to call out for you?
What do school say? Is he quiet and shy at school? If so was he always quiet at school?
He was locked in the bathroom and couldn't get out.
His teachers say he is very quiet and needs to participate more.
It's more than shyness though, he won't speak or make eye contact with anyone. Not even me. He won't say he's thirsty or hungry for example. He'd go without unless I asked him. It's strange.
But presumably he's always been like this, and it's not a recent thing?
He does sound very anxious.
Does he ever go out by himself where needs to speak? Could he order food at McDonalds by himself, or would that be too much for him?
Yes he has been like this for a while. Not when he was little, more as he was growing up.
He will go to the shop for me for milk etc but he doesn't really have to speak then, just pay. Not sure he would order in McDonald's though.
Tbh, you should speak to his GP. Would the school back you up?
I was thinking the same BirthdayBetty. I'll give them a call next week.
Yes I think the school would agree. They always say he's very bright but too quiet and doesn't contribute in lessons.
I have a dd on the autistic spectrum (aspergers) and although younger than your ds, he shares many similarities to her. In particular avoidance of eye contact, not contributing in lessons, being socially withdrawn etc. She is also academically bright, but has major anxiety issues, fixations, and while she was quite passive as a younger child, she has become more challenging the older she gets. I've found her diagnosis helpful as now I feel that I can understand her behaviour and help her.
Thank you for sharing, that's really helpful. I will definitely seek some help.
Aspergers was my first thought too - sometimes it's particularly noticeable when they're this age as the whole teenage unsociable/awkward thing combines with their communication difficulties.
My younger DC (17) has aspergers - slight but officially diagnosed by a team at an autism centre - and he is usually described as being too quiet in class. He wouldn't think to ask for anything either. Once when we were visiting relatives when he was 15 I went on at him to tell the relatives about a funny thing that had happened to him on a school trip. I didn't 'give in' to him asking me to tell the story so he reluctantly started but gave up after a few hesitant painful attempts.
He went into a music audition without a warm-up as he didn't think to ask where to go and was heard by the wrong person. He stood back while his confident friend registered before him even though his audition was after DS's and he needed all his time.
His infant teachers commented that he never approached them.
I probably have aspergers too - sometimes I get so flustered I can hardly string a sentence together or just can't think what to say at all despite being generally chatty. Eventually I learnt to say ' Oh for goodness sake I'm so flustered I can hardly speak -fake laugh' or 'I'll try that again'.
My DS has benefitted hugely from his involvement in music - is there something your DS would enjoy like that?
Does he have any siblings? I ask because DS' older sister is really helpful with telling him what to say/do/wear!
Bizarrely facebook seems to be useful - he reluctantly joined after the school trip. I'm a fb friend of his and saw that he didn't bother to reply to birthday wishes. I told him to post ' Thanks for the birthday wishes - I had a great day.'!
His aspergers cousin was very withdrawn until she went to university where she has absolutely blossomed. I think it takes the right environment and practice sometimes
Sorry I don't have a link but there's an American man who offers advice to the parents of aspergers. I follow him on fb - he refers to 'Defense Mode' and how to help young people with ASD come out of it.
Danny Reade - 'Asperger Experts' . Sorry I don't know how to link
Thanks for all the info, the more I think about it and read up, the more I think it is Aspergers.
I will have a look at that on fb, thanks.
Be very clear when you go to the GP that there is a problem here, at school and at home. Ask for a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Heath (CAHMS) and when you final get that appointment be very clear what you think is going on with your DS, and how they can help him. (On our first round they asked me, "How can we help you?" I answered "You can't! On subsequent visits I noticed the same initial question, so have a more sensible answer than me!)
It took me years of me sticking my DS in front of psychologists and saying "What do you think?" before I said "I need a diagnosis. Either of Aspergers, or something else." By then I'd learned not to say DS was fine in school but not at home (which meant home was the problem) or to say he was fine at home but not at school (to which the GP would say school needed to sort the problem out).
Good luck. I hope you can find some help for your DS. Even if he doesn't get a diagnosis if you find something that seems to fit, go with it, and there is probably a book which can help you.
Thank you, you've all been really helpful. I'm going to call my GP tomorrow.
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