dealing w/ lack of invites to social events due to asperges

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my3kids
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20 May 2013, 12:06 pm

I was just wondering how others out there deal with explaining to their high functioning highly intelligent asperger children that they are rarely invited to friends houses because of his inability to control his "rude" mouth and loud outbursts when things don't go his way. Our 10 year old son makes friends very easily because he is outgoing and very creative, however, kids tire of him quickly because he is bossy , loud and rude and has meltdowns when the friends don't follow the rules of the game they are playing. (he is a real stickler for rules) I think many parents also see what a handful he is and don't typically encourage their children to set up playdates or play with him. He calls friends all the time but most never call back. (He has 1 best friend who also has apergers but sadly he is not as high functioning so as much as my son loves playing with him he longs for platydates with other children as well.
the hardest part is my other 2 children (boy and girl) are very well liked and gets called all the time for playdates and birthday party invites. It is heartbreaking.



redrobin62
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20 May 2013, 12:52 pm

I'm not a parent but I know what it's like to live a life of abject loneliness. I feel bad for your kid because he could very well be heading that way. And it's really no fun. Loneliness can lead to all sorts of problems like drug abuse, alcoholism, homelessness and suicide. I've tried very hard my whole life to try to be normal, to try and say the normal things and just try to be like normal people. I've tried. I've tried. I've tried. Every so often, though, I slip up and some weirdness flows right out of me. There's no pill for awkwardness so, unfortunately, people get the drift and just leave me alone.

I think what would've helped me is if I belonged to some kind of autism center where social skills were taught and, hopefully, ingrained in me so normal people wouldn't shun me. As it is, everyone who knows me becomes my judge after a while. They're always telling me how I should live my life. Very difficult.



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20 May 2013, 1:32 pm

this is really, really hard. My 13 year old has this problem and there is no easy answer. We have a little glimmer of hope though...

We joined a meetup group, comprised of folks who are different. The group revolves around the show, My Little Pony, Frendship is Magic. Surprisingly, there is a whole subg culture around followers of this show. There are very few small children, it's mostly young adults. We went to a meetup this last Saturday, and this was probably the first time DS fit right in, perfectly.

He was SO happy!

I guess what I'm trying to say, is look for a place where is is a part of, just how he is. Not somewhere where he's tolerated with his differences, but somewhere he's not different at all. This group was probably about 50% aspie, but what was awesone is it wasn't about being aspie, rather about a special interest. BTW - the age disparity didn't matter. I don't know that I'd leave him alone with the group, but it was fine with me sitting to the side under a tree, while the meetup took place.

We had to drive an hour each way, but it was worth it.



DW_a_mom
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20 May 2013, 1:37 pm

First question: is your son aware he isn't being invited, and does he care?

If he hasn't brought it up, I would not point it out to him.

When he does bring it up, I would recommend starting with questions that will eventually lead HIM to see how his behavior contributes to it. In my experience, AS kids don't do well with being told that a connection exists. Instead, they need to be lead through all the pieces seeing how A leads to B, B leads to C, and so on, until they reach the conclusion for themselves.

The kinds of questions to ask start with, "are you friends with X?" "Why do you choose to invite some people and not others to your parties?" etc., and move on from there.

My son was very social, too, and always made friends easily. We ran into the same issues you have, although he was fortunate enough to have one very patient and very popular friend who always included him anyway. Interactions with that friend worked well as social autopsies to help him see what was going on in other interactions.

But it might also help you to look down the road a bit. Here are some things that will happen if they have not already: the other kids are going to start having parties that your son probably doesn't even want to attend, if they have not already. At your son's age, even though my son was getting some invites (not as many as other kids, but some), he didn't enjoy going. He didn't like the noise and he didn't share interest in the activities. He started to CHOOSE not to go, and also started to show his disinterest when the kids talked about their planning. Eventually those that had been happy to invite him, stopped including him, and because of the open discussions all along, my son was pretty well aware of the reasons, and was not upset by it.

As a high school student, my son chooses to socialize with 4 kids. Total. That's it. He doesn't invite anyone else to anything, and no one else invites him. Those kids don't usually have parties, so he doesn't attend parties much.

But I see him at school functions, and I know other parents: lots of kids are friendly with him, and at this point in time, I believe his level of social life is what he has chosen.

Obviously, you want to make sure that your son has the ability to function well enough to make his own choices and not have them made for him, so you continue to work on all those issues you mentioned: the meltdowns, the rigidity, etc. But I wouldn't connect it to parties. I'd connect it to more immediate goals and desires, and simply to being able to function peacefully in this world.

Anyway. JHMO.


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DW_a_mom
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20 May 2013, 1:41 pm

Kailuamom wrote:
this is really, really hard. My 13 year old has this problem and there is no easy answer. We have a little glimmer of hope though...

We joined a meetup group, comprised of folks who are different. The group revolves around the show, My Little Pony, Frendship is Magic. Surprisingly, there is a whole subg culture around followers of this show. There are very few small children, it's mostly young adults. We went to a meetup this last Saturday, and this was probably the first time DS fit right in, perfectly.

He was SO happy!

I guess what I'm trying to say, is look for a place where is is a part of, just how he is. Not somewhere where he's tolerated with his differences, but somewhere he's not different at all. This group was probably about 50% aspie, but what was awesone is it wasn't about being aspie, rather about a special interest. BTW - the age disparity didn't matter. I don't know that I'd leave him alone with the group, but it was fine with me sitting to the side under a tree, while the meetup took place.

We had to drive an hour each way, but it was worth it.


Where we live, there is a game store that holds weekly Magic tournaments. My son and his friends go regularly. That sort of thing is an excellent touch base for kids who don't share the common sports/dating interests of other middle school and high school students.

Boy Scouts has been super for my son, as well.

So glad you've found a group your son enjoys and feels good being a part of!


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ablomov
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20 May 2013, 1:50 pm

problem with me was ultra quiet prob scared of other kids. no social 'presence' as if invisible .. lots going on in my head but no role model re how to interact.

Sry its sort of at an opposite to yr probelm .. yes, loneliness cld be seen as my predicament tho I will never admit to it, certainly isolation, yes.

Postscript ...Yes, I see from comments below that DO what he is interested in, wow i got little of that, starved of museums, bookshops, libraries ....all that I craved. It was like living in a vacuum hence turning to myself and creating my own world with the materials around me. I was moved to the most bizarre dead backwater by idiot patents. luckily I have talent and many ppl say i'm a 'genius' ... but they have no real concept of the word.

And I too realise the crippling effects of school that only got worse ! !



Last edited by ablomov on 21 May 2013, 2:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

thewhitrbbit
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20 May 2013, 3:47 pm

It sounds like your son does actively want to socialize, so I don't think we need to worry so much about if that's what he wants because he does seem to want it.

I would def second the ideas bout a social skills group and learn some hings.

Kids with AS often need direct feedback as well, with examples. One thing I've seen a lot of people struggle with is being told things like "Your behavior is not acceptable." Ok? What about it?

An NT person might figure that out, an AS person needs to be told.

"When you did -insert bad behavior- that was unacceptable because -reason why-."



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20 May 2013, 3:58 pm

The problem is:
We don't fit in.

Your son doesn't fit in.

the solution is clear.
1. go places he does fit in
or
2. fit in.

regardless of the 'morality' of these options, that is the way ALL the world is even animals.
you've identified some 'fit issues'
a few more that might spark some insights can be found under Socialization Toolsets list that we're working on at Stabilizing Autism (which is mostly about/for adults, though he will be one soon enough)

Bossy likely connected to 'real stickler for rules'. Option Tolerance is probably a helpful learning area.
Loud is a feedback area related to ambient sound and/or being ignored as social errors feedback from the friends.
Rude can be misunderstanding how to act, but it can also be an over reaction response to what I refer to as 'hostile bonding' (which is like normal bonding without getting too touchy-feely about it, such as towel snapping or sarcasm). Meaning that the 'friends' are actually trying to be more friendly and inclusive, without being all sappy about it all the time.
Probably because they really do like him to a degree.

So cold reality says you can either send him to a "special party" and really stigmatize him.
Or try to give him tools to fit himself in.

"Be yourself " is the most unhappy of all options, especially since nobody really knows what that means, except that it's usually a cop-out response given to the advice seeker.


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1401b
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20 May 2013, 4:04 pm

Kailuamom wrote:
the group revolves around the show, My Little Pony, Frendship is Magic.


   BTW, I'm not suggesting that MLP-FiM is a "special party". LOL if you only knew...


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Kailuamom
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20 May 2013, 4:34 pm

1401b wrote:
Kailuamom wrote:
the group revolves around the show, My Little Pony, Frendship is Magic.


   BTW, I'm not suggesting that MLP-FiM is a "special party". LOL if you only knew...


I don't get it?



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20 May 2013, 5:06 pm

I think 140lb is suggesting that social groups set up for special needs kids are a bad idea, and that MLP is more mainstream than that.

I tend to disagree: while I don't limit my own son to friends who are on the spectrum (obviously) I think the group he's in has a lot of value - first of all, when he complains about the other kids' behavior it gives us an example that's not him to talk about. I think limiting your child to ONLY groups for special needs kids is probably a bad idea, but I think there is a time and a place for them.

However, interest-related groups are terrific. It never occurred to me to look for an MLP group (has your son seen the documentary, Kailuamom? DS is skeptical of it.)



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20 May 2013, 5:28 pm

Funny you ask momsparky, I just bought the documentary this afternoon so DS and I can show DH. DH is a little freaked out by MLP and thinks that it will be pedophiles at the gatherings. I told him that it would be a pretty stupid place for a pedophile to go since the average age is probably 20...
He gets to take DS to the next outing as I have plans that day. At first he said no, but I helped him see the error of his ways...

The meetup was definitly not a special needs group, rather a special interest group, filled with people of the quirky kind. DS fit right in and was no more or less socially awkward than anyone. It was especailly awesome for him as there was no "therapist" teaching them how to be... Everyone just hung out.

BTW - My son cares deeply about not having friends and being included. When he was younger he had lots of friends and he really feels the isolation. I'm really hoping that this is the start of something really nice.



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20 May 2013, 5:42 pm

I want to clarify something, so my examples and suggestions make more sense.

My son DOES want friends.

He does NOT enjoy parties.

For many kids, friendships are based in attending large, loud social gatherings together. Yet those situations agitate my son. They bring out the worst in him and he does not enjoy them. For years, he tried to pretend to enjoy them because he wanted friends. And for years he was drawn to them because that was where the other kids were. But eventually he figured out that he did not actually like the gatherings, and learned to make friends with kids who weren't drawn to them, either.

If you listen to adult Aspies on this forum, you won't find many who enjoy parties. They want friends and social contact, but they want it on their terms, ie not in large noisy gatherings. When I look back on my experience with my son, who was always a social child, I think that learning he was happier in smaller groups was a step of self-discovery for my son. We evolved into that understanding, that he could have friends in ways that were more positive for him, and did not actually enjoy all the activities he found himself drawn to or wanting to be included in. He knows himself now, and the kids around him know what he likes, too. With all that self-discovery the other issues faded away too. No tantrums or meltdowns, no need to be bossy or in control. Those behaviors often are symptoms of a child not comfortable in the situation (although there can be other reasons they get distressed). As he learns to avoid situations that are not comfortable, the behaviors dissipate.

I don't think I'm speaking well today, but my point is really about what is the chicken and what is the egg. It won't work to say control your behavior and then you'll be invited more, in my opinion. What will work is figuring out what social situations work for him and allow him to thrive, and which social situations are better avoided, at least in the short term. I can't imagine that attending a bunch of parties is really what he wants; even for social Apsies, the noise and excitement and unpredictable behavior of the other children is over-stimulating. What he wants is to feel he has friends, and to have friends he has to find children who enjoy the same situations he is most comfortable in.

When my son was 10 I was still actively involved in setting up his play dates. I would invited the kids directly, when I saw them when I picked up my son, with his approval of course, and work out something that would be fun for all. There was one boy at school whose family was poor and he was so eager to just get out and about and DO things, and he soaked up all the experiences my son and I picked and invited him to. The boys bonded over those shared experiences. Shakespeare, ice skating, museums. We've got a lot of happy memories from all of that. The child moved away but my son learned a lot about socializing on those outings with me supervising and helping. My son was also friends with a very popular child that he'd gotten to know through a carpool I had set up. You, as the parent, take control. Once they hit middle school you lose that luxury, but in elementary you can still make it happen for your child, if you want to.


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my3kids
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21 May 2013, 6:21 am

thewhitrbbit wrote:
It sounds like your son does actively want to socialize, so I don't think we need to worry so much about if that's what he wants because he does seem to want it.

I would def second the ideas bout a social skills group and learn some hings.

Kids with AS often need direct feedback as well, with examples. One thing I've seen a lot of people struggle with is being told things like "Your behavior is not acceptable." Ok? What about it?

An NT person might figure that out, an AS person needs to be told.

"When you did -insert bad behavior- that was unacceptable because -reason why-."




yes, he actively wants to socialize. He does belong to a social skills group, but the problem is, he hates the social skills group. 1 kid hovers over him, there are more girls then boys in it and none of the kids go to his school/church/ sports leagues. He wants nothing to do with this group. (our psychologist still insists he go to it to learn correct social behaviors).
You a straight on when you say as asperger person needs to be told exactly what the bad behavior was so they can make the connection, the struggle is ,even if he is aware after the fact or even before the fact, in the heat of the intense moment of frustration, it does not matter with him whether he understands he still loses control and will have a meltdown.

:arrow: With regards to some of the other questions from posters: yes he very much wants to be included and invited to birthday parties with his friends. He calls them himself, so yes, he is aware that most don't call him back. Some of the kids who are a bit quirky themselves ask for playdates with him themselves, but then I will call the parents to set up the playdates and most don't call me back either. If the child asks in front of the parent, the parents will say sure, we will set it up, but it never happens, and then I will see tags of tags of pics of these kids all hanging out together. (I don't show these Facebook pics to my son, I don't want him to feel bad, but It really upsets me at how these parents are so inconsiderate, many of these kids understand my son is a bit different and do want to play with him anyway, but I feel a lot of the parents keep their kids away from him beacuse his is different.



thewhitrbbit
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21 May 2013, 9:34 am

Ask a silly question but...

Have you tried addressing the kid who hovers over him?



my3kids
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21 May 2013, 12:37 pm

I dont actually get to speak with any of the kids in the social skills group, this is at a therapists office, so all of the interactions are confidential,so to speak. I have asked the Dr. about this, he says that when that child hovers he uses it as a learning moment for my son. He trys to teach him how to appropriately respond to those who invade his space.(calmly and politely, instead of yelling and flipping out)

I think the real issue is that these social skills groups are filled with children who are in different ways, "different". My son's biggest challenge is he does not realize that he himself is "different" just like these other kids in the group. He thinks he is just like everyone else. he doesn't want to be around these kids with issues, he wants to be around regular kids, like his brother and the kids he plays with at school/sports.

at what age (if ever) do high functioning/ High IQ aspi kids realize that they have behaviors that differ from other kids?