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Mattsmum
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22 Mar 2010, 5:30 pm

My 6 yr old aspie son went to a 'drama' birthday party yesterday. All his classmates went in a little room to learn The Wizard of Oz which they would act out at the end for the parents (cute). My son refused to participate and demanded to leave the room (no surprises there). He was really uncomfortable and hated being in the room (the kids were in a circle pretending to be a tornado. Matthew was having none of it). However, he didn't want to leave the party venue itself - he sat with us in the lobby but rejoined the children later for food. In a way, I felt quite sad for him because I wished he could enjoy the party like the other children. At the end of the party, when the other children were performing the play to the parents, my son decided he would go back in the room. He didn't join in the play but sat with his friend (also autistic) and played their own 'Super Mario' game, totally uninterested in the other kids, totally unaware that they were talking over the acting but having a great time with each other!! When we thanked the parents as we left, my son said to the hosting Dad "thank you for inviting me". Then, to my horror he said "that was the worst party I have ever been to"! !! ! :oops:



Tracker
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22 Mar 2010, 6:37 pm

Poor kid, tis a bummer that he had to attend.

At least he found somebody to play with.



Brennan
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22 Mar 2010, 7:44 pm

Sounds like it is time to teach your son that he can't always say what he is thinking. This is a very hard skill for aspies to learn, but he can learn what is appropriate to say and what isn't appropriate to say in certain social situations.

Still, I got to agree with him, for him, it sounds like a very unenjoyable experience.



Mattsmum
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23 Mar 2010, 2:13 am

Tracker, I see where you're coming from. M wants to go to parties and enjoys being with his friends. We tend to 'give things a go' and if he doesn't enjoy it then we leave or sit it out for a bit. Just think this one was too much for him but you never know with M, he might have loved it.

Brennan, yes you're right, M needs to understand he can't always say what he's thinking out loud. We explained at the time that it was rude to tell someone you didn't enjoy their party as it might hurt their feelings.

In school assembly last week they started the music to a hymn and M shouted out 'Oh no, not this one again, we always sing this one'. Luckily the teachers / parents laughed :lol:



pragmaticmom
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23 Mar 2010, 10:27 am

I can SO relate to the embarrassing comments....my son has done this so many times, I can't even count anymore!! We have been really working on it, but we definitely have a ways to go!

I also think birthday parties for my son and some other kids with autism can be tough just from the sensory point of view. My son has done the same thing as you describe at several parties, which is withdraw slightly from the group, but be very adamant that we not actually just leave and go home. I remember thinking the last time that it seemed like he wasn't having fun so why would he want to stay? Sounds like your son was able to find some fun anyhow, which is great!



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23 Mar 2010, 11:06 am

Hi Mattsmum----I know just how you feel. My son loves birthday parties because he loves cake and ice cream. He really has to be prompted to interact with the other kids. So, doing something as abstract as acting out scenes from a movie, would be way too much for him!! !

I do agree with you on the approach of taking him anyway though. I do the same thing----I figure it is good practice for him on his social skills. But, I have learned to just gently encourage and not push.

We had a similar experience the other day. We took our 5 year old son to a Spring Fling. What did they have for the kids? Inflatable bouncy things--which he would not go on; pony rides for the kids--when we walked up to them he thought they smelled bad, so he would not go near them. He would not pet the lambs or the goat. So we ended up hanging out inside the clubhouse while he ran around and looked at the ceiling fan and sang songs out loud. LOL! After a while I just decided to leave, and he didn't want to, but I thought to myself, "we can do this at home"

Anyway, we just have to keep on trying!! I can't really say that I blame him for not wanting to pet a smelly lamb or goat or pony!LOL! I guess he gets it from me!



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23 Mar 2010, 1:21 pm

The modern world of bigger and better is actually worse and worse for our kids. Really, for most kids. I learned that lesson a few years ago, and pulled the plug on the fancy parties. As have most of my kids friends. AS or NT. Eventually parents get tired of always having at least one child lose it from the overwhelming experience of it all.

Maybe you can start the trend a little early. Parties that are limited to 4 kids and involve a whole lot less of everything. The kids go home saying it was the best party they've ever been to. NT kids, too. Amazing.

We're doing hiking parties with my son, and my daughter wants a spa day for her 10th birthday.


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Mattsmum
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23 Mar 2010, 2:20 pm

You are on my wavelength DW. I think this year will be the last of the whole class parties. Next year we will do something with 3 of his friends.

Pragmatic Mom, your son sounds very similar to mine 8)

Angelbear, I like your story about the Spring Fling. Sounds similar to many of our days out!

We took Matthew to see Jack & The Beanstalk at Christmas, expecting us to have to leave the theatre after 10 minutes, but he absolutely LOVED it despite the crazy costumes, lights, noise etc. He sat and watched the show for 2 hours! Yet we have taken him to the cinema twice and had to leave both times after a few minutes, he HATED it.

I feel we should offer our children the same experiences as their peers, but not force them to join in or make them feel bad for not wanting to. Sometimes though it is difficult if we are going somewhere, it is a shame if Matthew wants to leave and our other son (NT) wants to stay. My husband and I often separate and go with one child each but its a shame we can't always do things together as a family.



sbombard15
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23 Mar 2010, 4:06 pm

I was diagnosed at 3 years old. When I was 5 my mom dropped me off at a friends birthday party. At the time she wasent sure if it was a good idea or not but she wanted to give it a try. When my mom came to pick me up she learned that the whole time I was there I sat underneath a table and wouldt talk to anyone. One of the fathers at the party sat with me the entire time. I am 18 years old now and have never been to another birthday party since.


If he is like me he is not cut out for stuff like that. I couldt handle that much chaos and thats why my mom never brought me to anything like that again. Just dont force him into those kinds of situations.



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23 Mar 2010, 4:09 pm

Mattsmum wrote:
We took Matthew to see Jack & The Beanstalk at Christmas, expecting us to have to leave the theatre after 10 minutes, but he absolutely LOVED it despite the crazy costumes, lights, noise etc. He sat and watched the show for 2 hours! Yet we have taken him to the cinema twice and had to leave both times after a few minutes, he HATED it.


Live theatre is easier for my son than movies, too. A couple of things: scenes don't change as fast, the sound might not be amp'd up as much, and it clearly is people acting.


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Mattsmum
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23 Mar 2010, 4:21 pm

Sbombard15 - thanks for sharing that. I would never leave my son at a party alone. Even if I'm not in the room, I'm hovering nearby and ask the parent to come and grab me if M doesn't seem to be enjoying it or joining in. Also, Matthew is a bright kid and he is able to tell me or a grown up if he doesn't like something. He is never forced to join in.

Out of interest, are you pleased you never went to another party again, or do you wish you could have enjoyed going to them?

DW - interesting perspective. I would have thought that as both theatre and cinema are prime for 'sensory overload' that he would dislike both. Maybe I'm overassuming and it could just be that he found the movies boring (that is a word he is using a lot at the moment).



MichelleRM78
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23 Mar 2010, 4:24 pm

On the forcing issue-- maybe forcing is a strong word, but I would be cautious about not encouraging a child to join in. Unfortunately, working in groups and doing things that aren't pleasant are things that will need to be done forever. Your son is only 6, but I would still encourage the interaction.



Mattsmum
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23 Mar 2010, 5:21 pm

Michelle I would encourage him to join but on this occasion I knew there was no way he would participate and that's fair enough.

I remember when I was a little girl my mum took me a to a ballet lesson. All the other girls were pretending to be trees blowing in the breeze, waving their arms around and acting all airy-fairy. I sat on the floor and refused to do it even though the teacher and my mum tried to encourage me. I thought it was idiotic, fake and humiliating!! My mum was annoyed at me, took me home and I never went to a dance class again. I'm 38 and I still have that memory so I that's why I would never force M to do something he hated.



MichelleRM78
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23 Mar 2010, 6:06 pm

Mattsmum wrote:
Michelle I would encourage him to join but on this occasion I knew there was no way he would participate and that's fair enough.

I remember when I was a little girl my mum took me a to a ballet lesson. All the other girls were pretending to be trees blowing in the breeze, waving their arms around and acting all airy-fairy. I sat on the floor and refused to do it even though the teacher and my mum tried to encourage me. I thought it was idiotic, fake and humiliating!! My mum was annoyed at me, took me home and I never went to a dance class again. I'm 38 and I still have that memory so I that's why I would never force M to do something he hated.


Not this young, no. But eventually, it will have to happen.



sbombard15
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23 Mar 2010, 8:28 pm

Mattsmum wrote:
Sbombard15 - thanks for sharing that. I would never leave my son at a party alone. Even if I'm not in the room, I'm hovering nearby and ask the parent to come and grab me if M doesn't seem to be enjoying it or joining in. Also, Matthew is a bright kid and he is able to tell me or a grown up if he doesn't like something. He is never forced to join in.

Out of interest, are you pleased you never went to another party again, or do you wish you could have enjoyed going to them?

DW - interesting perspective. I would have thought that as both theatre and cinema are prime for 'sensory overload' that he would dislike both. Maybe I'm overassuming and it could just be that he found the movies boring (that is a word he is using a lot at the moment).


I dont really remember the event because I was so young, but I clearly remember not going to any parties. Did I wish I would have gone to more and enjoyed them,yes. Would I have liked them if I went, no. Of course a piece on me longs to have had a "normal" childhood but what I went through made me who I am so I am not really upset about anything in my life. You have to understand though that my mom did allow me to go to parties. If I wanted to go she let me. But I never wanted to go because I was so different from the other kids and a loner at the parties that I didt want to go. Eventually kids just stopped inviting me and it wasn't even an issue. It wasn't until high school that I started to hang out with other people outside of school and could be somewhat normal in a group. Somepeople may say that parties and stuff like that is imparitive for us to become socialable but that is not true. One day a year will not do anything. It is in school that I learned the do's and dont's of social interaction. With great help from my mother of course. :D



Mattsmum
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24 Mar 2010, 5:33 am

Cheers. Its interesting that you say it wasn't even an issue not to be invited. We think our chidren will be upset not to be invited because that's how WE would feel. I guess if you are happy in your own company then you may not be really bothered.