Autistic kid wants friends but refuses to compromise...

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SSWaspie
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02 Mar 2014, 9:10 pm

Is our children the same child? You could have written this about my 9 year old son, dead on.

I never put him in sports or anything like that because he wouldn't participate. I actually recently switched his school to a smaller more rural school. He seems to fit in better at this school because the children aren't as "mature" in the sense that they're into the boyfriend/girlfriend thing and that they will be the same kids he goes to school with until grade 9 because the school is so small. That consistency seems to be doing well for him as his behaviours are no longer interfering with his learning.

Your son isn't going to respond as you wish in social situations involving large groups of people doing some sort of task that he finds uninteresting, especially where multiple steps are involved in the task.

Why don't you ask him what he'd like to do instead of telling him what he should be doing?

I'm sure he knows he's different without it being pointed out all the time. It's important for children and humans in general, to be included and important. That socialization with people we care about is what helps us to thrive. This includes the interactions and inclusiveness we feel with our family... Especially our parents.

I know you're trying to help him an do what's best for him but constant failuresnof which you point out will ruin his self confidence. People need to feel like they're doing well, even if they're not.. I would be inclined to think your son may have ADHD as well.

I wonder what would happen if he had a caffeine pill right before going to dance.



Aprilviolets
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02 Mar 2014, 9:26 pm

This sounded like me when I was your son's age only my obsession was cats, the other kids didn't like me talking about cats all the time luckily I grew out of it, your son might grow out of it too it sounds like he understands when you talk to him about it but then when he's with the other kids he forgets and does it again.
It could be because he's out of his comfort zone.

There's a computer company here in Melbourne called "Geeks to you" they fix peoples computers so the word Geek is now a term of endearment.



Waterfalls
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02 Mar 2014, 9:35 pm

KingdomOfRats wrote:
theres good friends out there for everyone who wants them,it will just take him some time to get there.

I hope I'm not too intrusive, but if you're willing to say, KoR, are you able to find friends?



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02 Mar 2014, 9:51 pm

1. Does your son have any other interests besides Batman?
2. Do you know any moms of same age boys, preferably some in his class who you could ask to find out what they're interested in/obsessed with? If there's some particular books or video games or movies, you might hit gold. Then he'd have something to talk about that others would like to talk about too.
3. Is he too old for a play date thing with some boys from his church/temple/soccer team or whatever? You could take them to a movie or a museum. Then they'd have a shared experience to talk about.
4. Does his school have any after school clubs or activities? My elementary school had a few, my middle school had a bunch, and my HS had a ton.
5. I don't know how he is the rest of the time, but could he volunteer with a food bank or something? Ex: at the one I used to volunteer with, younger volunteers would help pack boxes of food for distribution.
6. Is there any chance at all of getting him involved with Scouts?

Immediate thing you could do that would probably help:
Write out a script for him to follow. Something basic he can improvise on. He probably doesn't know what else to say, so defaults to talking about Batman even though he knows that's not going to work.



League_Girl
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02 Mar 2014, 10:13 pm

I wonder if he truly understands or is he just parroting what you tell him? I find just because someone knows what you said and can repeat back what was said or what they have been taught doesn't mean they understand.


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EzraS
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02 Mar 2014, 10:24 pm

Sniglet wrote:
Help! I am at a loss at how to help my 9 year old son (with high-functioning autism, which is pretty much aspergers) make friends. He clearly wants to have more friends but he goes about it in an obnoxious way that always fails. I explain what he is doing is wrong but he can't bring himself to change his behaviour, even though he tells me he understands what I am saying.


I understand about behavior very well and am "famous" for the advice I give on a couple of big teen forums.
But I am unable to put most of it into practice in my own life when it comes to social interaction etc.
Not unwilling, just unable. At least so far.



Sniglet
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02 Mar 2014, 10:47 pm

SSWaspie wrote:
Why don't you ask him what he'd like to do instead of telling him what he should be doing?


It was my son's idea to go to the dance, if anything I had discouraged him from it. I had told him I would only take him if he was going to participate and dance.

Perhaps that was wrong of me. I was also conflicted about whether it was right for me to pull him aside and try and intervene sometimes like I did. I just found it so hard to stand there and watch someone get angry with him. It was certainly rude of him to just get in the way of other kids who were trying to dance.

I am doing my best to try and encourage him to try other social activities rather than going to dances (or the like) which are obviously going to lead to unsuccessful interactions.

What blows my mind is how my son has recently started rejecting other kids who might have similar interests. He was invited to a birthday party of another boy that was held at a comic book store, and everyone was playing a variety of fantasy games and such like. This is exactly the kind of thing my son could get into. However, he just complained about being bored the whole time.

Like I said, it's as if he's decided he wants to try and be friends with "cool" kids. This seems completely futile seeing as how my son has very little in common with them. I wish I could just get him to try reaching out to kids who had similar interests.



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02 Mar 2014, 10:58 pm

I don't think there is any wrong. You are just tryng to find what will work.

Reach out to him where he is. Which isn't easy when he is complaining, but may break that cycle and help him respect himself and the other kids who may not be the most popular but might become friends with him.

I'm curious, do you mind saying how is your son's ability to dance?



Sniglet
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02 Mar 2014, 11:08 pm

Waterfalls wrote:
I'm curious, do you mind saying how is your son's ability to dance?


When he was trying to dance he didn't seem to be particularly worse than most of the other kids. :)

Interestingly, my son really likes a drama camp he goes to in the summer where the kids put on a play every week. They often do choreographed musical numbers at camp that my son seems to do quite well. I find it kind of strange that he can do a pretty good job of getting into different characters for a play, but he can't figure out how to interact well with other kids on a social basis.



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02 Mar 2014, 11:30 pm

Sniglet, was your son aware of failing socially while he was talking to the other kids? He may have thought it went fairly well: he went to a dance and talked about Batman to other kids. In other words, it may have been far more painful for you than it was for him.

Having the right kind of friend may be much more important to him than "having friends", and if that's the case, it may just take a while for him to tumble to the fact that "popular ordinary kids" and "kids who want to talk about _________" are not the same set of kids, and aren't going to be the same set of kids.



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02 Mar 2014, 11:34 pm

As a child I was like your son, OP. I really wanted to be friends with the pretty, popular girls in my class but I would do things like recite the class rules to them and pointed out when they did something wrong. I'd also go on about my interests (which were pretty typical and mainstream) and ask annoying questions. I continued to do this even after I was told that people didn't like it. My mum said that I didn't realize when people were annoyed by questions.

One thing I wanted to say is that I don't think your son understood that he was standing in the way of the kids wanting to dance and that was annoying them. As a kid I just completely missed these non-verbal cues. He said he'd tell a kid to "get lost" if he wasn't interested in what they were talking about but he might not understand non-verbal signals that mean get lost and/or might not be paying attention to them. He knows that the cool kids don't like batman but he doesn't see how annoyed they are with him a when he talks about it and how much they want him to go away.

Another thing is he doesn't get that common interests are necessary for friendship (at-least in his case). Perhaps you should explicitly explain to him that he basically has three options 1) try to get interested in what the cool kids like and talk about those things and not his interests and try to join their group, which still may or may not work 2) continue to happily pursue his interests and join kids who are interested in comic books whether they are geeks or not or 3) continue to pursue his interests alone , have no friends and maybe one day meet a kid that he considers cool enough who also likes comic books. Option 2 seems the healthiest choice to me. If he wants to only pursue his interests and talk about them then he can't befriend the kids who can't stand him talking about batman.



Sniglet
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02 Mar 2014, 11:39 pm

tarantella64 wrote:
Having the right kind of friend may be much more important to him than "having friends"


Maybe this is just a phase he is going through. He has some socially awkward "geek" friends whom he has recently decided he doesn't want to hang out with much anymore. Maybe he is just realizing there is a difference between "cool" kids and other types that didn't really register before and he is now trying to get into the "cool" crowd.

I can only hope this phase will blow over and he will get back to preferring to be with kids he has things in common with.



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03 Mar 2014, 2:20 am

Sniglet wrote:
Interestingly, my son really likes a drama camp he goes to in the summer where the kids put on a play every week. They often do choreographed musical numbers at camp that my son seems to do quite well. I find it kind of strange that he can do a pretty good job of getting into different characters for a play, but he can't figure out how to interact well with other kids on a social basis.


Funny you mention that. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with choreography and all things choreographic. To me. It just make things flow better, Like it was fulfilling some kind of stim. I did drama and theater in school but that was to try to improve my social skills and force myself to get over the fears of being around other people.

You might want to see if your son does have some kind of obsession with choreographic things.



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03 Mar 2014, 6:47 am

Sniglet wrote:
Waterfalls wrote:
I'm curious, do you mind saying how is your son's ability to dance?


When he was trying to dance he didn't seem to be particularly worse than most of the other kids. :)

Interestingly, my son really likes a drama camp he goes to in the summer where the kids put on a play every week. They often do choreographed musical numbers at camp that my son seems to do quite well. I find it kind of strange that he can do a pretty good job of getting into different characters for a play, but he can't figure out how to interact well with other kids on a social basis.

That's great! I think the idea of choreographing may make a huge difference. He likes it, and is able to do it.

So for your child, can you try approaching social interactions as the choreographed performance they are to many of us? It's a lot of work, but the difference I think is for learning the musical numbers, there is no expectation the children will intuitively know what to do. Each step is directly taught. You could plan social interaction with him telling him it is like learning a song, pause here, wave there, say this, say that.

Then, he can follow that script so to speak and feel successful, have something to lean on. It may not work, but I think it could help. And that you can learn so much from what you try that goes wrong that can help you. Please don't be discouraged!



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03 Mar 2014, 7:07 am

I think its simply a matter of gathering experiences. Sooner or later, because of your experiences, you simply see it as a fact, that you either can be for your own, try to fake another personality to please the "normal and cool people" or be yourself and discuss with some rather embarassing nerds the pros and cons of the new "Shield defense rules for paladins, according to the new rule edition 5.91 for Warhamster ^^".

And then it simply depends, what is more important to you and gives you in more oppinion more pros. If its so much more important to be accepted by everyone, then the faking personality stuff will benefit you more. If its more benefitting to you, to please yourself, you will simply learn to give a f**k about what other people think, and enjoy convincing that stupid nerds about your one and only true oppinion about paladin-defense. ^^