9YO can't make friends. — The Bump
Special Needs

9YO can't make friends.

My 9 YO has ADHD, but it's well managed for the most part. He is also in gifted classes once a week, as well as speech 2x weekly for a half hour.
In gifted class, and speech, he does really well and seems to get along with the kids.

In his regular class, he says no one wants to play with him, and often cries. There is a group of girls in particular who make fun of him because he cries sometimes when he can't process. 

He does have some friends who do not go to his school, but does not get to see them often. 
He often spends recess reading or playing alone.
I have spoken to his teacher, and she says that the other kids are generally not interested because his hobbies are far more advanced than his.

Any tips or suggestions? I am tired of crying (Which, I fully admit are likely pregnancy related hormones) but I am especially tired of him saying it.

D14 4 lyfe!

Re: 9YO can't make friends.

  • -auntie- said:
    LMAO at that cat.

    How did you get this dx- via the school district or privately? Did the person(s) who did the dx R/O ASD? 

      It was done privately. The school did standard testing on him, where they decided he would benefit from gifted services, but the ADHD testing was done though a psychologist and psychiatrist.
    They have assured me many times he does not have ASD, his SLT and BT also agree.

    Why is he getting speech services 2 x weekly in school- that's the most speech DS ever got as a student and he's on spectrum. It's a lot, especially in the context of his social issues.
      Honestly, they should have released him 2 years ago but he thrives in the setting so they've been letting him continue but I think this is the last year we will be able to do it.

    What do you think the difference between his being included by his GATE and SLT peers and being bullied by the mean girls in the classroom? Do you think it's a function of structure? Better adult supervision? Small class size? 
      I honestly, 100% believe it's the smaller class size. He is not really disruptive, and can often be trusted to do his work without constant supervision.

    I'll be honest, having survived the intermediate grades, I can tell you a boy who cries routinely enough to be stigmatized by it would draw all kinds of negative attention. Most typical kids are past tears in 2nd grade at the latest. It sounds almost like he's caught in a cycle of kids being wary of him because of his off-putting behavior which causes more odd and off-putting behavior. 
      Generally, the crying is because he is frustrated. When he was on Concerta, his moods went up and down but since switching to Vyvance, and the smoother delivery of it, his teacher says it's stopped, but I think it may be too late for this year.

    Two things that can sometimes help are a behavior regulation program like The Alert Program that would help him be more proactive around his level of emotional arousal and short cicuit the tears before they start.The other piece would be a social skills program like Michelle Garcia Winner's "Thinking About You, Thinking About Me" which teaches kids to understand that much of how peers think about and treat them is the result of the behaviors they display. The MGW program was life changing for DS.

      Will look into this.

    At this age, most kids are still building relationships along the lines of geographical desirability. How does he have these other friends? Are they from scouts or sports? Would it be useful to step up your support of these relationships by making plans to see these other kids?
        They are kids of my friends, and while we try to get together often, it's har sometimes because of scheduling issues. We did attempt Scouts but the troop we tried was very.. straight lined but I am not opposed to trying again, though I don't know if theyre going to be open to new members right now.
    He is in Taekwondo but we're currently taking a break for 3 months due to the holidays and a baby coming next week.

    The recess thing is tough. Is part of why he's alone because he doesn't enjoy the sorts of activities other kids enjoy on the playground at this age? Could he have blown them off because he doesn't get to pick the sort of games they play? What about his classmates from SLT and GATE; are they not available to play with him or do they gravitate toward other kids who share their interests when the other kids are available to play?
      It's a combination of things. He says their games are stupid, his closest friend wants to play Tic Tac Toe, which is a "baby" game, etc. I've tried to get him to ask to join in to what they're doing and he says "No, I don't ant to, they will say no/lie/cheat"
    The speech kids dont have recess with him, but they all get along and play games well together in class.

    I have spoken to his teacher, and she says that the other kids are generally not interested because his hobbies are far more advanced than his.

    I think your teacher is wrong. This has a real flavor of ASD to it. I know a lot of well developing kids with passionate interests about certain subjects, but they are all able to compromise on activities in order to get along with peers. They may love classical music or Greek mythology, but they can happily play tag, kickball or Minecraft if it means they get to play with peers. It's different than my DS, who at 9 didn't "like" other kids enough to go along to get along. TBH, he'd rather live in his head where he could indulge his interests. So what is his "advanced" hobby? 
      I honestly think it's more of he may be introvert and prefer playing alone. He tells us that he does not care if he has to play alone or read, and in fact has invented several single player games for himself. If I take him to a park, he has no trouble playing with new kids and immediately finding someone to play with, though.

    Any tips or suggestions? I am tired of crying (Which, I fully admit are likely pregnancy related hormones) but I am especially tired of him saying it.

    I spent most of 4th grade crying and I didn't have a pregnancy to blame it on. It was hard. The other kids had matured socially and emtionally into these sophisticated creatures with a complex social order and emerging hardwired grouup-think that made them wary of an outlier who didn't behave as expected.

    If he hasn't been privately evaluated, it might be time to pull the trigger on that. I'd absolutely want them to R/O ASD because many of the behaviors and issues you describe a consistant with a higher functioning form of ASD. Be sure the eval includes an observation in school and on the playground so they can get a feel for how your DS does in an unstructured setting with peers. 

      HIs current dx was from 1st grade so perhaps it may be time to have another done that includes the things going on now. 
    We did a lot of social work with DS around this age. One of the things we did was talk about friends- what they are and what our responsibilities are for tending relationships. It was enlightening- DS, like many with his dx, thought of friends in that era as a kind of sophisticated animatronic toy to do his bidding. One that could be ignored when he was tired of them or wanted to do something else. 
      Thanks. I've spoken with his behavioral therapist at length and she seems to think he just likes being alone but that we should keep an eye on it. To me, it just feels like a bigger issue than it may actually be.

    D14 4 lyfe!
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