Too weird to be typical, too typical to be special needs? *UPDATE* #7 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 04-28-2008, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for ideas to help our ds - mostly socially now. He was diagnosed with SPD at age 5 and has been in weekly OT for 2 years. His OT is about to discharge him because he's now within the range of normal for all his batteries - and I agree. His sensory stuff and fine motor skills have really come together for him. He can button a shirt, swing on the swings. He ran around for half the day on Saturday without shoes or socks on (when he was 3, we couldn't get him to walk from the bathroom to the bedroom without socks on). He actually got brave enough to jump into the pool all by himself yesterday!

But, he's still not typical. He tends toward obsessions -- his current obsession is playing teacher. His absolutely favorite Christmas gift is the school ID and "gotchas" (reward slips) that "Santa" made for him. The only flaw is that "Santa" used a generic ID holder and clip to clip the ID to the lanyard, and his teacher's clip reads "Avery" on the back. Who the heck notices the BRAND NAME of your teacher's ID holder???

He was desperate to buy an Avery brand ID clip until I told him they only sold them in packs of 250 for $65.00, and I was NOT paying $65.00 so he could match his teacher. Then he badgered me to e-mail the company to see if we could buy smaller amounts. They won't, and their salesmen were not open to sending us a 'free' sample! I managed, a couple of weeks ago, to find a package of 50 on Ebay for $6.00 + shipping, which I consider a real steal! So, for his birthday on Wednesday, he'll get a set of Magic Tree House books, a bike (financed by Grandma) and 50 Avery 2930 ID clips. Guess which one is going to be the favorite one?

He's sweet, loving and imaginative. He makes up lesson plans as a teacher. (I'm the pupil.) He grades my homework. He grades his sister's homework much more gently than mine. She'll get "good start to your story" (which are letter-like scribbles"), and I'll get "you need more detail about what happened."

That long winded background was to give you some sense of who he is. He's interested in playing with other kids, and wants more friends. But he really has a very hard time making friends on his own. He does well if another child decides that they want to be HIS friend, but he doesn't know how to go about initiating friendships/activities with other kids. This was brought home at his birthday party yesterday - we invited 7 kids to a pool party at the local rec center, and 5 came (and the two missing kids didn't come for other reasons, they had both really wanted to come).

But watching the other kids playing the pool, they were able to interact easily with each other. 2 of the boys who had never met each other quickly began chasing each other around the pool, squirting each other with water, laughing. Ds was at first oblivious to their game, and then when I suggested he join in (rather than play with me), he was clueless about how to get started.

He's said several times that he wants to have a friend at school (he misses his old best friend who goes to a different school), and that he's lonely/bored. It doesn't help that the neighborhood (and his class) are filled with girls, who aren't really kindred spirits. (His previous obsessions were fire trucks, buses and garbage trucks. He could care less about Hanna Montana!)

I'm in a bit of a quandary as to how to help him. He's not behind enough on any skills to qualify for special ed. But he has a hard time with non-verbals and with entering conversations/playgroups, etc. He's too quirky to be normal, and not obviously different enough to get/need any help.

Sometimes I feel like my worries are petty - his development seems so good (especially when I read other parents who are majorly struggling with medical or developmental issues). If he was happy with who he was, I wouldn't worry. He's funny, creative and I love him to death. But HE senses that he's not "getting" it, and I don't know how to help.

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#2 of 12 Old 04-28-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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I wonder if something like RDI might be helpful to him. Of course if you're not sure of the issues putting that much effort into RDI or something similar may not be the right choice. I was just thinking the stuff he's not picking up on seem sort of spectrumy and just happen to be the things my kiddo is weak in too and that is what we're addressing through RDI. He's made a huge amount of progress in reading body language and non-verbals and using non-verbals himself. I do think it's making a difference with other kids.

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#3 of 12 Old 04-28-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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So, for his birthday on Wednesday, he'll get a set of Magic Tree House books, a bike (financed by Grandma) and 50 Avery 2930 ID clips. Guess which one is going to be the favorite one?
This made me laugh and laugh! He sounds like a truly amazing kid.

I have similar struggles with my dd, who just turned 5. She is generally exactly like you describe: "too weird to be typical, too typical to be special needs." She does have sensory issues, but not off the charts. She may be on the autism spectrum, but that's debatable. The school system recently observed her in class (I wanted to see if she could get OT for her sensory issues) and said they didn't see any need for any services. We're going on our own to get her OT.

Anyway... one thing we MAY be trying this summer is a social skills camp or class. It's basically a group where they get some kids together and teach them how to interact better. I don't have any details, as I'm only beginning to talk to some therapists who run these classes, but it might be something for you to look into as well.

Good luck!

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#4 of 12 Old 05-12-2008, 04:40 AM
 
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I get that one too, have posted elsewhere about my kids being "too cute to be abnormal" and such!

Mostly just hugs mama, but one suggestion that might be helpful--can you set up some playdates with a couple of kids who are either a year or 2 younger (where they might be more at his SS level?) or 2-4 years older (where they might be old enough not to think he's weird and to make an extra effort to get him involved?)...just a thought

-Lara
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#5 of 12 Old 05-12-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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My thought was you could look around, mostly social services type places, and see if you could get him into a "social skills" class of some sort - we did that with my eldest, and it really helped her a lot. Hers was called "Girls Friendship Club" but it was run by a social worker, and they covered all kinds of things, from eye contact to conversation skills, and the kids ran the gamut from "clearly special needs" to "maybe someone's sister", if you know what I mean. My DD loved it.

~*The days are long, but the years are short.*~
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#6 of 12 Old 05-13-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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Mine too. He's gotten less quirky as he's gotten older (his obessions were numbers and Blue Man Group for a long time lol -- loved your ID clip story) but still has difficulty getting started and gets very possessive when he does get a friend. I'm looking into social skills groups for him for the summer.

We had a long period of "he's definitely not typical but he doesn't qualify for anything" and "this is extreme but still could be age appropriate" -- it wasn't until behavior at school became a problem this year in first grade that we made real progress on dx (Tourette's Syndrome, ADHD -- had ODD and SID already). It was so frustrating. It would have been easier if he'd been on the spectrum and could get services - as it was, everyone just said there wasnt' anything they could do and sent us on our way. It was such a relief to get a label that was useful with the school district, and even just socially -- much easier to explain behavior with TS than with "uh, we don't know what is wrong with him, but it isn't our crappy parenting, I promise!"
Hang in there!
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#7 of 12 Old 06-16-2008, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I just need to trust my son to find his own path.

Yes, the avery clips were definitely a hit on his birthday. Yes, we still play school.

But, he also got a bike for his birthday. Much to my shock, he learned to ride his bike in 2 lessons (I'll take full credit for buying him the 2 wheeled scooter last year that helped him learn to balance). So, now he can ride with the other kids his age.

Since he learned to ride his bike, he's spent all of his spare time down the block playing with the other kids. (I love our neighborhood. We've got about 10-14 kids ranging in age from 4 to 14 who spend a lot of time outside playing together.) OK, a lot of time ds is riding his bike around and the other kids are actually playing together, but there are times when he plays with them. And yesterday, 2 different kids came to the door wanting to play! Today we had a group of 4 kids (+ my 2) in the backyard, all of whom were self-invited. Ds spent most of his time just sitting by the sidelines watching them, but I have to remember, that's how he learns. The two boys who were here were a bit older than ds, and we're not really playing an organized game either (unless you call each kid hitting pine cones with a baseball bat 'organized').

He is definitely more of a sheep than I'd like. He was busy hiding all his teacher stuff when the kids were here today, so I feel a bad that he doesn't feel free to really play what he wants. That's where a bit less social awareness might actually be good!

But I need to repeat to myself: He will find his own path, he will find his own path....

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#8 of 12 Old 06-16-2008, 08:43 PM
 
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Your little boy sounds real cool and fun. Thanks for posting!
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#9 of 12 Old 06-16-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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Sounds like a cool neighborhood, and sounds like your ds is doing great! I get so ecstatic when my dd plays with (or even around!) other kids in our neighborhood. I don't know what it feels like to just take it as a matter of course that my child plays with other kids. For us it's still such a big deal.

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#10 of 12 Old 06-16-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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Can you get some social story books from the library to help him on how to start building friendships? That would be my only suggestion. DS is still very much a parallel player but once he is ready to start talking to people besides his teacher and me, I'm planning on using the social story books.

There are some we read already but they are mostly for DD and are more of why you shouldn't throw temper tantrums or lie.
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#11 of 12 Old 06-17-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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What a great update! It sounds like he's easing in to this on his own pace and wowza on learning to ride the bike so quickly!!! That is awesome!
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#12 of 12 Old 06-17-2008, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsune6 View Post
Can you get some social story books from the library to help him on how to start building friendships?
Hmm... that's an idea. He does learn very well through observation and direct instruction. It's a bit of an issue in terms of finding one that's at an appropriate level. He's reading at the 2nd-3rd grade level, so when we read bedtime stories, it's chapter books.

But his sister would love social themes/friendship themes in any book (she already spends hours on the 'phone' pretending to talk to her friends and arranging 'outings' - she sounds like she's 4 going on 14!). Maybe I can them for 'her' and read them at bedtime, and he'll get the info because we all read together.

Or maybe I can make some up. The kids love it when I make stories up. And now that I'm done grading my gazillion papers, maybe I'll have a teensy bit of creative energy left (until I start teaching summer school next week. )

I hope the rest of his summer goes as well as it's started. He's completely exhausted at the end of the day, so I can tell that the physical activity and the interaction is taking it's toll. We had a major meltdown yesterday when he had to choose his bedtime snack. Choosing between ice cream and hot chocolate was just too much.

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