gifted and AS or just gifted (questions)

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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 933
Location: Behind your mineral line

02 Mar 2009, 12:03 am

It sounds to me that your son's anxiety is likely due to his realization that he is different from his friend. Now you may have told him many times that he is different, and he has probably noticed it before now. But up till now it has been things like, 'Im better at math then the other people because I am different'. Noticing that sort of difference really isnt a problem that leads to anxiety or stress. The problems with anxiety, and stress come when you start noticing that other people are better then you at something.

It happens eventually in everybody's life when they find themselves worse at something then somebody else, and feel excluded, or worse because of it. Your son's friend isnt offending nathan, he is simply asking things like 'why are you so slow?' This causes nathan to realize how slow he is, and he feels frustrated because of it. Nathan isnt mad at his friend for asking the question, he is mad at himself for being so slow. Simply put, he is frustrated with himself for being worse at something then his friend.

As for advice: You arent going to able to avoid this issue. As your son grows up he is going to realize more and more just how different he is, and how he struggles where others do not. He will become frustrated at himself. He will think, 'my friend can do it, everybody else can do it, why cant I do it? What is wrong with me that I can do this as well as everybody else? Why do I have to go to therapy when others do not?' etc.

You can try to delay this by changing his friends, school, therapy, etc. But the fact remains that your son will find out he is abnormal eventually, and it will cause him anxiety. Attempting to avoid this issue isnt going to work. Your best course of action is simply to face it head on and help support your son as much as possible. The first, and most important thing you can do is teach your son that everybody is unique, and simply being faster, better, and stronger doesnt mean that other people are better. You love him no matter what his struggles are. Tell him that you dont care about him getting it perfect the first time. If he fails then simply rejoice in the fact that he tried, and congratulate him on giving it his best effort. If you haven't yet told him about asperger's syndrome/autism, now would be an excellent time to do so. He has realized that he is different, and he is looking for an explanation. You dont need to go into the complete neurology of the condition, but telling him that his brain processes things differently then others and that he will have some struggles because of it is a good place to start. You shouldn't tell him that his life will be full of hardships. Simply tell him that his struggles completely normal for people like him, and your are going to do the best you can to work with him and face his challenges together.

The second thing is to get him a good friend who will be there to help cushion the fall. Parental support may be nice, but friendships with peers often offer a level of support that parents cannot. If he has a friend who sticks with him, and encourages him, even when he fails and struggles he wont feel so hurt. Anxiety and self doubt if left alone can quickly change from 'this is hard for me' into a more problematic 'this is impossible, ill never be able to do it, I wish I was as good as everybody else'. Having a friend to encourage him, and hug him, and tell him that it's OK to have struggles is better then any medicine you could give your child. As such I wouldnt worry about the 'bad' influence your son's friend is having on him. Nathan would be going through all this anxiety eventually. It is better to do it now with the support of a friend then to do it later with no friends at all.

As I have said in other posts, elementary, especially early grades, teaches you practically no useful information outside of basic math and reading. Memorizing dates and learning to spell big words, and write well is a rather useless skill when you can look up any information you want on the internet, and use word processors to type and spell check your words for you. What you really need to focus on in the early elementary years isnt his grades or academic performance. It is his anxiety and self-confidence. If you feel that repeating kindergarten will help those things, then by all means do so.

I wish I could give you a magic pill to solve all your problems and your son's problems with anxiety, but I lack that ability. If I knew how to fix anxiety I wouldnt be anxious myself. But I can tell you that learning is a continual process that everybody must go through. Trying to avoid things you fear and worry about wont make you stronger. Where you start, and the challenges you face are not important. The bravery and determination to face your problems head on and work through them as best you can is what is important.

James 1:2
2 My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3 Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4 The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.


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Joined: 3 Feb 2006
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 10,775
Location: Ohio, USA

02 Mar 2009, 12:11 am

Uhh... why does there have to be a fall when you realize you're "abnormal"? Me, I was quite happy to realize I'm abnormal, and I honestly don't see what the heck is so horrible about being bad at some skill or other. "Oh, woe is me, I'm not perfect!"...?! !

No, what's bad is when you tell yourself for ages and ages that you're failing because you're lazy and you haven't got any morals and if you just tried harder you'd do it but you're just an immature little brat...

It's much easier to know that you've got a disability and learn about it and understand it and work around it to use what you're good at. Because a disability's nothing to be ashamed of and it's not your fault. I'm freaking abnormal and I'm proud of it, and whatever jackass tries to pity me is going to get an earful!

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Joined: 25 Oct 2008
Age: 58
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,154

02 Mar 2009, 12:15 am

high anxiety is also probably sensory related. has that been checked out?
i was reading on another thread that someone's child had the option of a time out room where he could go and curl into the bean bag. This is how it is at my son's school also, for the 3 dx'ed AS kids. Nate may well respond really well to little breaks like this, where he can unwind if the going gets tough.

is it possible the school could help out with this?
i know my nephew who is HFA also has this option at daycare and it is very good for him. His stress and anxiety levels are triggered by too much stimuli....So a quiet chill out place - a little safe haven - is essential.
Even as an adult with AS - it is important.

good luck.