Advice required please

I'm very aware that all children are unique, but I wanted to share my experience with my own Aspergers son - he was in school throughout his education but friendships were never all that important to him. At primary school his teacher was concerned that he didn't play with the other children, he was always on his own at playtime. His very sensible headteacher pointed out that my son was quite happy with the situation. It wasn't that he was trying to 'join in' and being rejected, he was just happier playing alone. As parents we understandably want to help our children develop the social skills they will need in adulthood, and that we believe they need in order to be happy, but sometimes I think there's a danger of characterising their lack of friendships as a problem when to them it actually isn't an issue of concern; it's so important to be child-led on this. In my own experience, school didn't help my son to develop social skills, in fact it left him with a dislike of other people and anxiety at even the most minor social situation. Although in high school he did have one or two friends, he showed very little desire to see them outside of school. At the time his Aspergers was undiagnosed (he was assessed in primary school, but in those days, in Lancashire, I don't think most people had even heard of Aspergers). Perhaps if he'd had more of the right sort of support things would have been different - looking back with the wisdom of hindsight I can see that school was just too much for him, too loud, too bright, too chaotic, too many people...He's now 19 and for the first time he does show some interest in building relationships outside our immediate family, and I think it will be much easier for him when he can do it on his own terms and at his own pace :) Understanding more about Aspergers, why he feels 'different'(and why other people perceive him in that way) has helped enormously.
 
I'm very aware that all children are unique, but I wanted to share my experience with my own Aspergers son - he was in school throughout his education but friendships were never all that important to him. At primary school his teacher was concerned that he didn't play with the other children, he was always on his own at playtime. His very sensible headteacher pointed out that my son was quite happy with the situation. It wasn't that he was trying to 'join in' and being rejected, he was just happier playing alone. As parents we understandably want to help our children develop the social skills they will need in adulthood, and that we believe they need in order to be happy, but sometimes I think there's a danger of characterising their lack of friendships as a problem when to them it actually isn't an issue of concern; it's so important to be child-led on this. In my own experience, school didn't help my son to develop social skills, in fact it left him with a dislike of other people and anxiety at even the most minor social situation. Although in high school he did have one or two friends, he showed very little desire to see them outside of school. At the time his Aspergers was undiagnosed (he was assessed in primary school, but in those days, in Lancashire, I don't think most people had even heard of Aspergers). Perhaps if he'd had more of the right sort of support things would have been different - looking back with the wisdom of hindsight I can see that school was just too much for him, too loud, too bright, too chaotic, too many people...He's now 19 and for the first time he does show some interest in building relationships outside our immediate family, and I think it will be much easier for him when he can do it on his own terms and at his own pace :) Understanding more about Aspergers, why he feels 'different'(and why other people perceive him in that way) has helped enormously.
I couldn't agree more, Lizzie. My son's autistic and has only recently started engaging with anyone other than me for more than a few minutes every now and again (he's almost 11). He finds 'playing' with other children very demanding and prefers the company of adults, if he has to put up with company, but he's perfectly happy on his own doing his own thing. It's taken me a long time to accept him as him, instead of trying to get him to be less autistic - sounds silly, I know. At this stage I think school would still be too much for him, just in terms of coping, without even thinking about academic pressures. It's nice that your lad is starting to seek out friendships now and I think understanding the condition better is key for all involved.
 
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