Aspie son teased on the bus - would you intervene? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-07-2010, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My second-grade son who has Asperger's is being teased on the bus by a kindergartener. The boy started off by telling my son that he has something wrong with his brain. Then today he told my son that he has "spoogers" which to me seemed like he's trying to say Asperger's. He also told my son that he's going to start a "I want to kill (my son's name) club."

We have not yet told my son that he has Asperger's. He is somewhat mildly affected and does go to regular classes and ride the regular bus. Right now he is very into houses and architecture and tends to try to talk about those things with the other kids.

My son (and we) are also very against those new Silly Bandz, and my son has started a club on the bus called "I hate Silly Bandz," which only one other kid has joined (because of course they all have hundreds of these things).

The boy who teases my son has more than 50 Silly Bandz, so he may have been offended, but I think it's a bit strong to start a kill club. When I was a child we would have simply called it a hate club!

Should I speak to the bus driver or school about this incident or just let it slide?

I am also angry that other people are telling their kids what my son has before my son even knows. I think this boy is too young to even understand what Asperger's is.

I do know his mother, but not very well. I find her rather annoying to begin with.

Thanks for anyone's insight....
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I wonder where or how the kindy child would have picked up the information about AS? even to say that something is "wrong with your brain" seems like a lot for a kindy kid to come up with. Is there someone else instigating this? I'd probably want to dig a little and find out.

FWIW, yes, I would intervene because bullying is bullying, and no one should be subjected to it. Your son has the right to not be harrassed on the bus, and to feel safe.

I will say, though, that creating a club around hating Silly Bands is probably going to draw negative attention and possibly set him up as a target. It's just one of those things that will go a bit against the grain, which is OK, unless it's hugely setting up a social issue that creates distance between your ds and other kids. So, as part of bully-proofing your ds, you may want to think a little about where and when he makes his stands.

BTW, why do you hate Silly Bands?
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:18 AM
 
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I am also angry that other people are telling their kids what my son has before my son even knows.
do these people know your son doesn't know though? It isn't their fault you haven't told him.

I would contact the bus driver first about the "i want to kill club". FWIW I "i hate club" is just as bad as a "i want to kill club", especially since we're talking about a kid in kindergarten. The other 2 things, are they teasing him about them or just commenting about it?
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by taubel View Post
He is somewhat mildly affected and does go regular classes and ride the regular bus.
Why does he ride the regular bus? I question if that is the right placement for a child with Aspergers.

It absolutely wouldn't be right for my DD with Aspergers just because of the sensory issues.

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Should I speak to the bus driver or school about this incident or just let it slide?
I'd notify them in writing and start building a case for the short bus.

Bullying, esp of a special needs child, should never ever be tolerated.

BUT you also need to work with your son on his social skills. Starting an "i hate what you like club" isn't a way to make friends, and it's really kinda rude. He is making himself a target. Check into social skills classes and groups!!!

And if lots of people know his dx, then you need to figure out how you want to tell him because it really is best if he hear it from YOU. My DD is 13 and knows her dx and is totally OK with it.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 06-08-2010, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses so far. The boy's mother knows about my son's diagnosis, so I'm sure she told her son about my son to explain why my son says the strange things that he does...

I just don't think a kindergartener should have that type of information.

And I also think kids with Asperger's should be described as having something "different" about their brain - not something "wrong" with their brain. The mother should not have described the condition this way, in my opinion.

My son does ask strange questions and take strange stands. We are trying to stop him from doing this, but it is not easy!

He is perfectly capable of riding the regular bus. For kindergarten, he did ride the "short" bus, but objected as he got older. He does not want different treatment from other kids.

We would like to tell him about his diagnosis at this point, but there are four other boys with Asperger's in his grade, and they DO NOT know their diagnosis. If we tell my son, his first question will be, "Do any other kids I konw have this?"

My husband just emailed my son's social communications teacher for her advice.

I know teasing will happen, even with typical kids, and I can accept that. But "kill" just seems a little too strong - especially coming from a kindergartener!

Thanks...
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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It sounds like you should have a conversation with the Kindergartener's mother about this.

FWIW, my 7 year old knows his diagnoses. Knowing helps him understand what's going on and why he's different - he has certainly recognized that he has more difficulties than most kids his age. He has friends who seem to be on the spectrum, but either aren't diagnosed or we aren't aware of their diagnosis. We don't share our suspicions about them with our son, but enjoy the fact that some of his closest friends really understand and accept him without question. We have shared with him the names of various famous people with his diagnosis so that he knows he can succeed in life.

Hope that helps...

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Old 06-08-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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Your son needs to know his diagnosis. First, he knows already that he's different. He can tell that by the things that he's interested in that other kids aren't. He can tell that when he reacts differently to things than other kids do. By not explaining to him that his brain is just wired a little differently, you're leaving him to draw his own conclusions. And those conclusions are going to be "something is wrong with me". By explaining to him what Asperger's is, then you can help him see both his strengths and his weaknesses. You can help him develop a whole picture of himself.

Second, it's not your problem that the other parents haven't told their kids. If your son asks, you can say "This isn't usually something we ask other people because it's a personal question."

Third, I'd cut the other mom a little slack. As the mom of a curious child, I can very much see my daughter asking about someone's 'odd' behavior, and my explaining Asperger's. The mom may or may not have used the words 'wrong' when describing your son. It's very possible for a kindergartener to hear "different" and interpret that as "wrong" (see my first point). Maybe his mom did say that his brain was wired 'wrong', but then maybe the school needs to do some education on Asperger's because they've got so many kids with that diagnosis.

Calling the social communication teacher is a good idea. Your son's starting the "I hate silly bandz" club was a move that socially singled him out and could be seen as threatening things that these kids really like. The other child then really escalated the conflict and said things that were completely out of bounds. (But he's only 6, so while it was not OK for him to say what he did, I'd take it a lot less seriously than I would if a 9 or 10 year old said the same thing. 6 year olds are still learning the power of words.)

It's time for the school to step in.

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Old 06-08-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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I saw this on new posts, and am not a SN mom. However, I do think its very important that you talk to both the bus driver, the kindy kids mom, and the school principle. Your son should also be told that "I hate" clubs aren't good to start, but that he is entitled to feel how he wants about silly bandz.

My little brother was bullied on the bus in elementary school, and once the proper people knew about it, it stopped altogether. It's important to stop bullying as soon as possible.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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Can you speak to the boys mother about the "kill" thing? My little brother is the same age and talks like that all the time. My brother is being evaluated for ADHD and my mother is on top of the situation but he has done similar things to other kids that this boy has been doing to your son and the only way my mother could address these issues when they were brought to her attention. Talking about killing isn't abnormal behaviour bit it is unacceptable. He can be mean to other kids but that has a lot to do with hisown issues.

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Old 06-08-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Your son needs to know his diagnosis...

Second, it's not your problem that the other parents haven't told their kids. If your son asks, you can say "This isn't usually something we ask other people because it's a personal question."


If your son asks about others (he might not), the way you handle it will help him understand his options in dealing with his own privacy. It's a chance for him to learn and grow.

You need to take responsibility for everything in this situation that you can, and it starts with being honest with your child. Next, your son needs to take responsibility for everything he can, such as not making fun of things the other kids like.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 06-08-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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I explain to my son about other kids' special needs if they're noticeable enough to him to mention them to me. And I say things like "his brain doesn't work like yours" or "her legs don't work right" just like I say about his own brother "his brain doesn't work right, which is why he can't speak; his ears don't work right which is why we have to use sign" etc. My 5 year old certainly could infer from that "his brain is wrong", I mean, he's FIVE! Now I would never condone him teasing someone about that, when I explain it to him, I make sure to convey that his friend can't help that his brain works differently, and we should help him, not tease him. So if you're going to speak with the mother, that's the approach I'd take. I wouldn't get upset about the other mom telling her son your son's diagnosis (what are the other parents supposed to say? If their kids notice your son is different, they should acknowledge it with an age-appropriate explanation) but I would let her know that her son is teasing.

When you do tell your son about his diagnosis, you can teach him to correct other people's terminology if they try to tease him. In this case, if someone tells him something is "wrong" with his brain, he can be taught to say "my brain is different, but it isn't wrong, I can still do things like walk and talk and do my math homework just like you!" if you think he's able to do something like that. I heard my 5 year old speak up in defense of my 3 year old on a playground once, another kid made a comment about my 3 year old being a "baby" because he couldn't talk well, and my 5 year old said "He's not a baby, he's 3, he just can't talk because his brain doesn't work right. But he can sign, want to learn some sign?"

And I definitely wouldn't hold back telling your son just because other parents haven't told their kids. If your son asks if anyone else also has Aspergers, you can say "I don't know for sure, usually medical stuff is kind of personal. Have you noticed anyone else like you?" and then you guys can talk about how lots of people have little "quirks" even if they don't have a diagnosis (this will help to show him that he's not that "weird" after all) for example, maybe a kid in his class doesn't like to jump rope because of the sound of it scraping the ground, or maybe another kid really likes to play with his glue because he likes the sensory input, or maybe another kid has a lot of trouble not talking out of turn, or maybe another kid is really shy, etc etc. So he can learn to relate to traits that other people have, rather than their diagnosis (or lack of one). My son has lots of Deaf friends, some of them are deaf because of a chromosome issue (like him), some are deaf because of a birth defect, some are deaf because of illness/injury...but it doesn't matter why they're deaf, only that he associates with them ebcause of it. Does that make sense??

Good luck! This is so hard as they get older!!!

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Old 06-10-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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I definitely think you should intervene both by approaching the mother of this child and also teachers/bus driver/whoever supervises the two of them together. That kid's behavior is pretty far out of line...

As far as what the mom told him...so much gets lost in translation with a child that age. What she actually said may be very different from what he understood. Perhaps she really was trying to help her child understand yours and develop some empathy in his interactions with him. Then again, maybe not. Good luck with all of this. So tough...
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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I would say something to the school and the bus driver about the killing thing. I would also say something to the Kindergarten parent.
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