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How to respond to ds

6 replies

Misspacorabanne · 31/03/2022 20:44

Hi all,
My DS is just 4 and diagnosed with autism. He struggles so much socially. He's at nursery school but has progressed so much, he still won't speak to other children, but will now play along side them or if they are running about will tag on (will copy them, run and giggle, but doesn't talk or interact in any other way with them) but this is still good progress.
He talks about a certain child at nursery he tells me this little boy is his best friend, but from what I see when I drop of and collect this isn't the case, the little boy doesn't look at my DS or acknowledge him, and when I've asked the teacher they say that no they don't play together.
So I think sadly DS thinks they are friends but the other little boy may not think of DS in the same way. How do you guys deal with this?
My DS did a drawing at home today and told me it's for his best friend (the little boy at nursery) it's a drawing of the two if them. Smile
We like to encourage DS to interact, say hello or wave, but I'm not sure what to do with the drawing, do we give it to the child at nursery, or not? A big part of me things, give it to him, he drew it for him, but I'm unsure of how it'll come across to the little boy and his family.
Also my little boy does a lot or repetitive behaviour so I know if we give him the drawing, he will be wanting to make more for him. Its sweet behaviour but I'm worried of how it'll come across as I don't think they play together really.
I haven't spoken to the parents of the little boy at all, so they don't know he has asd.
Anybody experienced similar?
Sorry this is still all so new to us, and I'm not sure how to handle it.
Thanks.

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Misspacorabanne · 31/03/2022 21:02

Bump anyone Smile

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Greensleeves · 31/03/2022 21:07

Having had a child who was quite similar at that stage (he'll be 20 this year) I would advise you to follow your child's lead, for now. Let him interact with this other child as he wants to, make him pictures etc, and as long as he is happy believing that they are friends, let him be. His awareness will change as he gets older - he will, eventually, become aware of his differences - and at that point you can be a bit more interventionist with strategies to help him relate to others, and also support him emotionally if he struggles.

In the meantime, you can do a lot of background stuff to support the development of social skills - it's never too early to start doing social stories and modelling appropriate behaviour etc - but beware of actively teaching him how to mask his autism, as this will add pressure to conform in ways that he may not be able to (and if he is able to, it will cost him).

Lots and lots of praise, building up his self-esteem, focusing on the things he excels at and what you love about him etc . There are going to be tough times, and he'll need resilience and self-worth to get through them.

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Misspacorabanne · 31/03/2022 21:18

Thank you @Greensleeves that's really helpful.
I haven't tried any social stories yet, the diagnosis is very recent and I feel a bit out of my depth with it all if I'm honest.
Yes we try to encourage social skills, but as you say I don't want to encourage him to mask, so I guess model appropriate social skills and encourage social skills but don't push it too much?

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Awumminnscotland · 01/04/2022 15:19

Hi Op, your child sounds very similar to ours at that age. She used to tell me she played with all these bigger boys at nursery(in Scotland so kids are older) but nursery said she didn't. What I realised is she was watching these kids very carefully for social information and dynamics. She'd copy them and play things out at home, sort of practicing her skills. She forgot these kids v quickly when they went onto school.
She did seem to want to join in but didn't know how and found it all very stressful although the teachers couldn't tell. She just played by herself but made it look as if she was joining in.
The other thing she did was have was a very prominent imaginary friend that she used to insert into conversations randomly. He still comes and goes.
I don't think I'd give the picture to the child. Did he ask for this to happen? I'd encourage him to keep drawing the kids at nursery but use them to chat alot about what a friend is and what a friend does. We look at alot of books about this. My daughter likes being given factual information about relationships that she will absorb and parrot back. She's now at school and gets some social skills help but I think the biggest help is from us the parents. Just slowly plodding away at the info and helping them join in where they're comfortable.
My daughter now goes to 4 different activities but couldn't have done it at 4. She also needed me to stay with her at them for ages until she was happy for me to leave.
She's not got any friends yet but she is liked at school and is very happy.
I feel she will get there in her own time. She is 6 and a half.
Hope this gives a bit of help or insight.

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Awumminnscotland · 01/04/2022 15:26

Sorry should have said, she was diagnosed with aspergers at 5.

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Misspacorabanne · 01/04/2022 15:43

@Awumminnscotland thank you for the reply. That's so helpful.
Ds is diagnosed, although still very recently, he's 4. That's a great idea about using the pictures to talk about the other children in his class.
I didn't really want to give the drawing to the other little boy as I don't think they are really friends, but he is asking to give it to him, so not sure what to say there!
Its good to hear that your dd is happy at school and is liked by the other children. Sounds like she's doing great! Smile

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