new here - son with Aspergers?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2006
new here - son with Aspergers?
7
Sat, 04-26-2008 - 7:06pm

Hello;) My name is Ashley and I suspect that my son will soon be diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 7.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2007
Thu, 05-08-2008 - 11:41pm

I read your email and had to respond! First of all, I have moments like that with my son too - when he tells me no one will play with him, and it breaks my heart! The friends that accept my ds and he really enjoys are also quirky. I have found them thru his public school speech program (speech pathologist had them teamed up) and I found a private Speech Therapist that has a social skills group for 8-9 year old boys. These kids were HARD for me to find because the school won't give you names of kids that are on IEP's or "quirky". I would look for an Asperger's support group in your community, and call a few Speech Pathologists to look for a social skills group. If you live near a University or Hospital that deals with developmental issues or Autism, many have summer school social skills programs for kids on the spectrum.

Even if your son has good speech he may need pragmatic help and that can qualify him for school speech - even without articulation errors. However, summer is almost here, so I would work on the community groups for friends.

The silver lining is that your son is aware that he is not fitting in - that is hard to swallow as a positive, but I have been told by Drs. that it's good that my son knows it's hard for him (I guess if he were completely unaware it would be bad but he would be less sad for sure!).

I would also tell you son that although he feels lonely, he just hasn't found a kid who is like him - you will work with him to find some kids that are more like him and share his interests.

I hope this helps - I can so relate to your post!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Thu, 05-08-2008 - 5:09am

Hugs and welcome. My son was diagnosed with Asperger's at 7 too, and he's 9 now, so I remember how confusing and heartbreaking it all was. For us the diagnosis was also a relief - it had been a long hard slog to get there, and it was a bit of an 'aha!' moment - but I know it's very tough.


As for the social side, the PPs have given you some good ideas on books. We've never managed particularly well with social stories, and my DS is incredibly intelligent - off the scale on lots of things - and struggles immensely with social and emotional things, so I'll share what's helped us.


A) As many 'structured' social activities as he can handle, and not just around his own interests. Things like cub scouts and drama clubs have been a life saver, because there are clear rules and expectations, and goals and (at least in our area) they are geared up to include kids with special needs. DS currently does basketball club - which he originally hated but now loves - choir singing, drama, cub scouts and in the past has done things like chess and science and book clubs - all of which bring 'brainy', slightly quirky kids together with a common purpose and structured activities.


B) Avoid 'unstructured' play - eg plan his birthday parties and playdates around a specific activity - zoo trip, picnic, pot painting, cinema trip. If your son has a particular friend - or a child who you think might make a good friend for him - talk to his or her parents about inviting them over for a tea/playdate, and *tell* the parents about the Asperger's, and what it means (eg like needing some structure and help with playdates, help with explanations around transitions and changes to routine). If you make the activities fun then the kids will want to come again.


C) Believe me, in time, and with help, it will get easier and better for your son. I didn't believe this at the time, but looking back, the diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to Euan. It meant we had some kind of handle on explaining what he was struggling with, I knew what books to read and what questions to ask, and slowly, over the course of a couple of years, we have found much more effective ways of helping and supporting him at home, and school and in his social life. And he has blossomed, he is a completely different and much happier child for it, and he has a few close friends that he can now even engage with in 'unstructured' play. They think he's a bit wierd - and he is, bless him! - but because we've helped him and them understand the way he works they accept him, and he has much better social skills now - although he still (and I think always will) relates better to adults than other children.


D) Take baby steps, and try to adapt your goals accordingly for your child. I really struggled with this. I'm a pretty gregarious person and I couldn't get my head around how to 'teach' someone to play, and it broke my heart at first that he seemed so isolated and couldn't engage with other kids. But I slowly learned that he hates birthday parties anyway, so not being invited to them is no big deal to him. He hates competitive sports, so not being picked for the soccer team was a relief. I thought he might make friends with other clever, swotty kids, but actually he isn't 'swotty' - that might involve hard work! His best friends are mostly girls and they form secret clubs with complicated rules and gateways to alternative universes...and he has finally learned that he sometimes has to play *their* games and rules and that this doesn't compromise his own perfect vision of the universe...but at the end of the day, he is happy.

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"


Follow my blog on http://mumsnet.com/blogs/kirsteinr/


 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2003
Tue, 04-29-2008 - 1:04am

Hi and welcome!


I'm sorry your heart is breaking for him in terms of friendships.

Molly
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2008
Mon, 04-28-2008 - 3:55pm

Welcome!


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2004
Sun, 04-27-2008 - 11:51am

Hi Ashley, welcome!!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-27-2008 - 10:16am

Welcome.

                                

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Sat, 04-26-2008 - 10:35pm

Welcome to the board!

Even when you are expecting a dx, it can be hard when it finally comes. This is a good place to hang out while you sort thru your worries, sorrow, and questions.

As for social skill help, pediatric social workers and sometimes speech therapists run social skill groups. It may take some calling around to find one. A good way to boot strap yourself is to get in contact with a local Autism support group like ASA or OAR or something like that. They may have lists of providers of services. They may also have a lending library of books.

A search on Amazon.com for social skills will bring up a wealth of reading material. I like to use their consumer reviews to help me sort thru which will best meet my needs. You could use it to make a list to take to the library and see if you can locate them there or thru interlibrary loan. Or if you're a book lover you could buy some of them. A search on Asperger's Syndrome brings up a lot of good books too. I love my copy of Tony Atwood's Asperger's Sydrome book.

Learning how to make up social stories is a valuable skill for teaching social skills to these kids. Carol Gray is a good name in the field. You'll see a lot of social stories books if you do the search on social skills. Often you need a particular story for your need, so being able to construct your own is useful.

Local support groups can be a way to meet other parents dealing with the same dx. You might meet someone with a child the same age or so of your son and that is a potential friendship source.

So there are a few ideas to get started on. Hanging around here is good way to get support and ideas, so I hope you do.

HTH

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson