Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Weird Kid

More discussion last night with L about how school is going. Academically, he is powering on. Socially- not so much. His one friend has been absent for the past 2 days, so L chooses to be alone during recess and lunch times. This makes me a bit sad, but in the past I have told myself it's OK because he is happy that way, which kind of helps me feel better.

But it seems now that his desire to be alone if his friend is not there is causing problems. It's not that he couldn't go and hang around with other kids in his class. He'd be welcome to. He's been invited to. But he doesn't want to. They don't do things he wants to be involved in, so he prefers to be alone. This applies to everyone- even teachers. He told me that when he is by himself in the playground, people come up to him and try to talk to him. He thinks it's because they are being nice and checking up on him, but he says he finds it "creepy". He doesn't want people to come up and ask him if he's OK, or if he wants to join them, or even to just sit near him and say 'hi' when they do. He doesn't want to talk to them at all, even to say 'hi' back, because he doesn't know them, he doesn't understand what they want from him, and he just wants to be alone. His words. Some people have even placed a hand on his arm or shoulder as part of their greeting and he really *hates* that. So I asked him what he does if people approach him. He told me he usually doesn't answer them, and that he just walks away without looking at them.

E was listening to this conversation between L and myself. When L left the room she told me that she thinks if he does that too often he will become known as "the weird" kid and he will be picked on and harassed because kids will find it funny to see his unusual reaction. Which is exactly what I was worrying about as I was listening to him talk. She said some of her friends have already told her they think he is a bit strange.

Again, the difficulty of coaching him through this is that I am not there to see what these interactions look like, so I am not able to interpret the intentions of these "creepy" people and help him learn to interpret them appropriately for himself. I am so out of my depth.

I also worry about what is going to happen when L's one friend gets tired of playing the same things, and talking about the same things over and over again? I know that it is starting to happen. L says sometimes his friend wants to go and play with other people, and L doesn't want to join  them. Which is normal, and right. But sad for L, and for me. How long do we have before L is alone in the playground all the time? How do I help him gain confidence to be around people who have different interests to him, when he can already articulate that he knows people think he is "strange" (his words)?

The last thing I want is for my son to become known as "the weird kid". I talked about being weird in my post "The weirder the better", and I still believe there is nothing wrong with being unique or "strange" or  "weird", but right now this is causing my boy problems and anxiety. What should I do? If you have experience getting your own ASD teen boy through this stage, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. That's tough, I don't know your child but your post made me feel sad for you both! Michelle, I don't normally make suggestions for therapy, it's a personal journey and all that!
    Have you looking into RDI (Relationship Development Intervention)? My son is more severely challenged, however, it has made the world of difference in our family life. I also have friends who have children with Aspergers and again RDI has been hugely beneficial. Sorry, sounds like a hard sell but I promise it isn't!! Take care. Di

    1. Thanks Di. I'll do some googling and ask our psychologist if she knows about it when we go to see her. I think she'll have some suggestions too, and we are due a visit. :-) I appreciate your comment. Thanks for introducing yourself in my Guest Book too. Michelle

  2. Hi Michelle.....Have you spoken to the school about this? My son was watched from a distance in the playground by teachers on duty and if there was an issue then it could be dealt quickly.... We had ASPECT come into my sons high school and explain why my son was behaving differently and this worked really well for us. My sits in the playground and have little problems with other children annoying him, although will walk by and say Hi to him and now he responds with Hi back....My son has found his place but until now to find it, he is year 9....

  3. Great feedback- thanks Annette. I'll keep ASPECT in mind as a resources if we need it. I was thinking of asking for him to be observed, and now that you've said it was helpful, I definitely will! Michelle


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