10 year old (Asperger, ADHD) having trouble with friends

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kdeering75
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07 Oct 2008, 11:05 am

My son is 10 (11 in January), grade 5, and DX: Asperger/ADHD. He's medicated for the ADHD and has an IEP in regular class. He's been at this school since grade 4 and we have a few groups of kids who have known each other for years. At this point he doesn't want to play with the "boys" because they swear and say rude things that he isn't comfortable with. The other boys play games he doesn't want to play. I explained sometimes we compromise in order to join a group but that isn't to say one day they won't want to play a different game. The problem here lies that he wants to play with the girls but they aren't nice to him and think b/c they allow him to play with them that gives them the right to treat him the way they want. I've also sat down and the school to help him understand what a friend is....but it isn't helping atm. When he gets upset, he gets physical and yesterday he got pushed and hurt.

Sometimes I wonder why bother sending him to a school where no one "seems" to want to be his friend.

Any ideas to help us out?



DW_a_mom
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07 Oct 2008, 12:14 pm

Wow, this is a difficult one. In a lot of ways, making friends comes down to luck, I think. My son got lucky that a very popular child takes the same after school class he does, we formed a carpool, and the two are fast friends. This other child eases the way for mine.

So, I guess, you may need to find a way to make a little luck.

If you are involved at the school, you will have a chance to identify which children you think would make the best friends for your son. Find out what he thinks of these kids. See if you can arrange some activities or play dates, or offer carpools. Basically, increase the opportunity for the kids to find common ground.

It will never be flawless. I still help my son navigate issues about what to play, when, what to say to his friends, etc. Without the natural instinct there, our kids will always benefit from having a sounding board, and it sounds like you've been covering the essentials well.

Having both a son and a daughter, I have to say, btw, young girls are mean. It's part of the social structure with them, jockeying for position or whatever. I think your son will find it to be a more positive experience if he finds a way to play what the boys want to play. When my son's closest friend decided to do football at lunch, my son decided to call the play by play. Something like that can work very well.


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ster
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07 Oct 2008, 5:35 pm

what about a social skills group or social skills class ?



Smelena
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07 Oct 2008, 7:05 pm

My 10 year old son with Asperger's has difficulties with making friends but has managed to make a few.

Going to Taekwondo has helped with his social skills. Our Taekwondo school is amazing - we have an annual social camp, an annual training camp and an annual trip to a water park. Many of the younger teenagers give out an open invitation to their birthday parties. My son went to Laser Skirmish last weekend for one of the black belt's 13th birthday party and he had a blast.

The instructors and a couple of the black belts know he has Asperger's and they are incredibly supportive.

My 10 year old managed to make friends with another kid in his class this year based on a mutual love of Indiana Jones. They've had a couple of plays at each others houses.

My 10 year old loves chess and goes to chess club at school. He's made a couple of friends at chess.

I find with my son that short visits are best. After a couple of hours he's pretty exhausted. Short and succesful is the aim. I need to be a bit of a 'helicoptor mum' when his friend is over so that if he doesn't know what to do next(common) I can make a couple of suggestions.

My 8 year old son (also has Asperger's) has made friends with a boy this year who's parents tried to get him diagnosed with Asperger's. He didn't get diagnosed, but IQ testing revealed an amazing score. So my Aspie son hangs out with his savant friend and they get on brilliantly! Again, it was luck that this kid moved into our area and was in the same class as my son.

I agree with DW_a_mom .... it's a bit of luck. But also making sure your son gets opportunites.

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07 Oct 2008, 7:28 pm

kdeering75,

I used to play with the girls when I was in years 3-4, then I got sent to another school which didn't have girls (for a few years before it went co-ed).

There's nothing wrong with a boy playing with girls (I didn't turn gay - I'm married with kids :D )

As far as the pushing and playing nice is concerned - did a girl push him? does he know why?

If he's not ready to associate with the other "playground" children, how about having him become a helper. I was a library monitor for years and then after that, I became an AV person (helping in the AV room at lunchtimes). Being involved with those kinds of activities exposed me to like-minded children who became my life-long friends.



kdeering75
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08 Oct 2008, 7:37 am

gbollard wrote:
kdeering75,

I used to play with the girls when I was in years 3-4, then I got sent to another school which didn't have girls (for a few years before it went co-ed).

There's nothing wrong with a boy playing with girls (I didn't turn gay - I'm married with kids :D )

As far as the pushing and playing nice is concerned - did a girl push him? does he know why?

If he's not ready to associate with the other "playground" children, how about having him become a helper. I was a library monitor for years and then after that, I became an AV person (helping in the AV room at lunchtimes). Being involved with those kinds of activities exposed me to like-minded children who became my life-long friends.


I have "NO" problem with him playing with girls as he does with his sister but the girls at the school are just plain mean and they seem to think they are entitled to treat him any way they want. And I don't know anyone who would want to hang out with people that are going to continue to treat you poorly. The girl pushed him because he lashed out when they told him to go away.



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14 Oct 2008, 1:41 pm

I really feel for you. My son is 6 and has no friends as such - he plays with kids who tell him to do this and that which he ends up in trouble for (he also has adhd). It makes me so mad, its so frustrating because although we know kids are kids and say mean things - in a way it is bullying. I cant say anything to help you im afraid, but I know how you feel and its not nice



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14 Oct 2008, 2:10 pm

my son went through this at the same age.....( this was pre-dx for us)... at the time we thought it was just a phase and that he would eventually make friends. we had him in Boy Scouts & he seemed to have friends.....some of the scouts in his troop, however, bullied him & that was the end of that. son totally flipped & ended up going for a psych eval because of this.
don't ever underestimate an aspies ability to feel depressed, lonely, misunderstood. it may not come out the way you or i would show it, but it does come out....it's taken such a long, long time to get son feeling better about himself, and make real friends.
i wish i had answers for you. the only thing i can suggest is to get him involved in some sort of after school/evening activity where he has the potential to make friends who hold the same interests.



kramer1
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15 Oct 2008, 10:11 am

My gf's 10 year old Aspie has no friends. Not a single one. But, he could care less. All he cares about is video games and music. That LITERALLY is it. Do you force these kids to try and have social interactions with others? I'm at a loss with this myself.



DW_a_mom
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15 Oct 2008, 12:45 pm

kramer1 wrote:
My gf's 10 year old Aspie has no friends. Not a single one. But, he could care less. All he cares about is video games and music. That LITERALLY is it. Do you force these kids to try and have social interactions with others? I'm at a loss with this myself.


Most of us here don't force social interaction with our kids. Other parent groups may be different, but that is the more common response here, because of the basic philosophies most of us share, that attracted us to this place.

BUT, we do try to make sure our children learn basic social skills, because it can be difficult to tell when the the choice to be alone is made because the child gets too frustrated trying to make friends, or because the child really enjoys his own company. Once you are comfortable that a child has the basic skills needed to make friends and socialize with others, it is easier to accept that being alone really is his choice, and not a default position. Social skills are on-going process; what skills are needed change over time, so it isn't a send the child to one course and be done with it forever type of thing. It is something that I revisit as a parent on a regular basis, what my son's needs are and how they can be met, as far as social skills go.

My son had lunch bunch once a week at school where they played board games and practiced social skills during lunch hour. He loved it. And he did a group counseling series last year, where they worked on social skills and anger management. He enjoyed that, also. He has friends and wants friends, but he doesn't need many, and he doesn't need to spend as much time with them, I think, as most kids want to. He doesn't have interest in going on sleepovers, and would rather stay home than join a friend at the movies (because of sensory issues he doesn't like movies), for example.

His social skills are not at "normal" level, but it's good to know he can get by, and that he has enough awareness to run things by us as needed. Beyond that, it's his choice.


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15 Oct 2008, 1:51 pm

kramer1- each child is different. you have to know how far you can push your child. my son was more willing to go to a small family function than to go to the corner store....baby steps....fast forward to today & son copes pretty well. he still has moments when he just can't cope with any more human interaction-we respect that & don't force it. it's taken a LONG time to get him to be able to articulate this.



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15 Oct 2008, 4:07 pm

Don't force social interactions - they'll happen naturally when and if needed. Many aspie children at young ages aren't as lonely as they seem though that changes as they get older.

What would be better is to involve him in "half-social things" when he gets older - drama, debating etc. Most people need some degree of social skills for when they join the workforce. Your child can just as easily develop these skills "pretending" to be social as actually being social.



Liz217
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16 Oct 2008, 12:28 pm

I agree with the fact that making friends involves a little luck. My son has a good friend that he invites over to play video games. They have a good time, and this has helped him at school meeting this guy's friends. So now he has a few. He has one friend that he talks to on the phone and I've never heard my son say so much at one time! He talks to this kid for an hour at a time. Teaching him over the phone how to do something on the computer. Even when he was grounded from the computer, this boy wanted to talk, and my son was working through it in his head. Stuff I can barely comprhend. At the beginning of this getting-used-to-Asperger, In 4th grade, he was miserable. The only person who spoke to him was a bully who would tell him to do things like yell out during class, and he'd get in trouble. He felt that it was the closest thing to a friend he had, so he did it.
What I found to be the most helpful is to make sure he feels like he has friends at home. We made sure he really understands that we are a team. It's the 3 of us against whatever is out there. Smelena is right also about being a "helicopter mum" (I like that) when he is with a friend at our house. If he's getting frustrated because he's losing, and I see a blow-up about to happen, I can usually diffuse the situation, and remind him of his manners. Or if his friend is talking about something and a response is required, I try to make sure my son answers.
I really feel for your situation. My heart goes out to your son, but also very much to you. It is the hardest thing I've ever had to do seeing him suffer and not knowing what to do about it. Kids are just SO mean sometimes, and yes, girls more so.



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17 Oct 2008, 10:46 am

Agreed about the girls. I didn't get it when I was that age, because that was when I stopped having any friends to be mean to me if they so chose, but it does seem that girls require permission to belittle and humiliate you as the price of their friendship.


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Emmett
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17 Oct 2008, 11:37 am

As far as school goes, try and help him to find someone to be his guide. What I mean is a friend that he can be a good friend with. Then tell him to try and do the kind of things that his good friend does but tell him not to copy them, just do things like them.

Second, build a life for him outside of school. That way, if things are really bad a school, it's not the end of his life.

Try and find a older friend for him that can understand that he needs pointers and will give them to him. Choose this person carefully, maybe an uncle etc.

He may be able to keep up with younger kids, if so he may learn from them. Pitch it to him as being him helping to take care of the younger kids if that's his nature. Another way of pitching it is to involve a subject that he enjoys but may be immature for his age.

Just some thoughts.



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17 Oct 2008, 2:44 pm

Tell your son to stop talking to those girls. The only way they will respect him is if he cuts off contact with them.

It hurts, but you have to tell him that they are not his friends. It's better that he learns that. If he ignores them, they will actually think better of him.