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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

On the fence about social skills group. Loooong.. sorry

Posted by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM
  • 25 Replies

I brought Sam to this social skills office the other day.
First I spoke with the coordinator for about 30 minnutes, then she spoke with Sam for about 15, then me again for about 10.
Sam does struggle with social interaction. He is unsure of himself, dislikes reciprocal interaction. He will talk to you for HOURS on end about Star Wars, VIdeo Games, Books he has read, ,movies he has seen, the dead squirrel on the side of the road..... He will have an interactive conversation regarding things "removed" from him. He will NOT really discuss personal stuff.. or ask personal questions.
Like the coordinator told him she had 11 pets... 11. He never asked her what kind? or anything personal.

 
I KNOW its a deficit, but after her interview she made some comments I didnt like. She told me he hid under the desk.. which I totally believe, its where he goes to retreat when feeling overwhelmed. Then she told me he climbed on a table and was defiant.. to which I have a REALLY hard time believing since he is physically weak and is NOT a risk taker... he is not defiant like that in any way... but only like if you're telling him to do something he is scared or nervous about, he gets defiant that way in his refusal to do what you want in protection of himself.... but why would she lie?  but even 2 of my GF's agreed it didnt sound like Sam....
So the interview was to try to figure out what group to put him in, but she said after the interview that he is SO socially impaired and resistant that he cant go into a group... that he needs 1:1 assistance first for 4-5 sessions before she would feel he was ready for a group.

Now, my son has 7 friends. He plays with them 1:1. I schedule playdates for 2 days a week. He does have trouble after school (since the demand of school is SO high..) that Friday afternoon and an occassional Tuesday or weekends he plays. He swims one late afternoon a week, he has OT directly afterschool 1 day for 40 minutes. That is good balance for him between responsiblity for him... balanced against fun...

He recently had a Halloween party with ALL 7 and did good... he was "done" playing at the 1:50 minute mark.. but, the party was 2 hours.. so, he didnt get upset, he just went and found a quiet place to read.... said goodbye to his friends, thanked them for coming.. went to a playdate this AM for 2h15m, no issues...

I was NOT 100% sold on the social skills group thinking it MAY be more of a schedule demand then he can handle, but I do feel he needs some help... but her VIEW of him and her Opinion of him was SOO yucky that I dont know.. IM not feeling like I want to give her money... its 106. per session, each week for 16 weeks.. plus its 200 for the private 1:1 for 4-5 weeks. This is ALL out of pocket...
Im just unsure if I want to proceed since I dont think her view of him is right, I dont particularly like her (cause of what she said) but I fear IM not supporting him like he needs in this area.. (but then he is doing good with friends...)  

I also read this/ watched this webinar that talks about how its really important to get thru the sensory peice of the puzzle before you try to get thru other peices... so perhaps this social skill thing is too early.. Sam has SUCH sensory issues, perhaps THAT should be the focus?

I dont know... Does anyone have a road map for how to navigate through ALL this to help him?

by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM
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Replies (1-10):
darbyakeep45
by Darby on Nov. 5, 2013 at 4:37 PM

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

 

He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.


 

darbyakeep45
by Darby on Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:06 PM
1 mom liked this

Okay.  If you aren't sure about her and her assessment of him, I wouldn't do it.  I've come across people in my son's life who don't agree with me about his abilities, skills, diagnoses even.  I won't fight others who should be helping my son.  I need people who are on our side who can be part of our team.  Hugs!

Quoting SamMom912:


He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.




lady_katie
by Silver Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:29 PM
1 mom liked this

I am sure that I wouldn't have asked her about her 11 pets either, and that's not because I don't know that I'm "supposed to", it's because I probably wouldn't have processed that she even mentioned it until it was too late to say anything. By the time it registered, she would already be talking about something else, and then I would be missing what she was saying in THAT moment because I would be thinking about her pets. Afterwards, I would get in the car, and echo back chunks of the conversation to myself repeatedly, just to get it through my head, and by the time I got home, I *might* have an appropriate response ready for her. 

Of course, I could go on and on about a special interest. That's because that's already been processed. It's been processed over and over and over lol...I love processing those :P 

Now, I'll be the first to admitt that I had my head in the sand when I was a kid and everyone around me was just absorbing all of these social norms, so of course I am having to go back and learn them, so that I can have them to use when I'm able to function in a social situation. But...I guess the point that I'm trying to make here, is that, learning social skills is NOT the key to my being able to function socially. The key is reducing overload. 

I do that by (ideally) socializing in a place that I am familiar with, so that I do not have as much visual information to process (it's already processed). Socializing in a place that is quiet, because I cannot filter background noise at all (and I therefore cannot even hear what the person is saying). It also helps if I do not have anything going on before hand, because I find that I will still be processing that stuff while I'm trying to listen to the person talk. It's hard to respond when I'm not listening! 

If I can eliminate all of this 'extra' processing, then I might have a chance of actually remembering to apply some of the social skills that I have learned, for a period of time. That would really depend on how overwhelming the actual person that I am talking to is. Generally, the more different a person is from me, the more I am overwhelmed by them, and the worse I do at using social skills.

I think you should focus on setting him up for successful interactions and teaching him how to do the same for himself. If that involves managing/avoiding sensory issues, then yes, I would focus on that. I don't see any reason why you can't teach him a few social skills while you're at it, but I don't think that social skills training is the answer that you are looking for. Especially at that price!! 



SamMom912
by Gold Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:42 PM

As usual, your insightful, personal input is greatly appreciated. It definestly gives me something to process...;) 

to be honest, Im NT (although, I have been questioning that, lol) I too dont know if I would have asked. MAYBE the 11 would have sparked my interest, so I may have asked, but I was always taught NOT to pry, that people share what they want, dont ask personal questions, its rude, disrespectful, UNLESS youre friends. As NT I dont do well at parties, or in loud social groups, I cant filter either... And have difficulty organizing my thoughts in situations that demand lots of filtering, or when I have too much to handle.. (Walking into a house at holiday time filled with ornaments, tree, whole family, everyone saying hello, I have a food dish to contribute, gifts to hand out, coat to take off..) ugh, I like internally freeze, and just head for quiet... So I can take off coat, put dish down, get "settled" visually process.. Then go back in to say hello and give hugs... 

Quoting lady_katie:

I am sure that I wouldn't have asked her about her 11 pets either, and that's not because I don't know that I'm "supposed to", it's because I probably wouldn't have processed that she even mentioned it until it was too late to say anything. By the time it registered, she would already be talking about something else, and then I would be missing what she was saying in THAT moment because I would be thinking about her pets. Afterwards, I would get in the car, and echo back chunks of the conversation to myself repeatedly, just to get it through my head, and by the time I got home, I *might* have an appropriate response ready for her. 

Of course, I could go on and on about a special interest. That's because that's already been processed. It's been processed over and over and over lol...I love processing those :P 

Now, I'll be the first to admitt that I had my head in the sand when I was a kid and everyone around me was just absorbing all of these social norms, so of course I am having to go back and learn them, so that I can have them to use when I'm able to function in a social situation. But...I guess the point that I'm trying to make here, is that, learning social skills is NOT the key to my being able to function socially. The key is reducing overload. 

I do that by (ideally) socializing in a place that I am familiar with, so that I do not have as much visual information to process (it's already processed). Socializing in a place that is quiet, because I cannot filter background noise at all (and I therefore cannot even hear what the person is saying). It also helps if I do not have anything going on before hand, because I find that I will still be processing that stuff while I'm trying to listen to the person talk. It's hard to respond when I'm not listening! 

If I can eliminate all of this 'extra' processing, then I might have a chance of actually remembering to apply some of the social skills that I have learned, for a period of time. That would really depend on how overwhelming the actual person that I am talking to is. Generally, the more different a person is from me, the more I am overwhelmed by them, and the worse I do at using social skills.

I think you should focus on setting him up for successful interactions and teaching him how to do the same for himself. If that involves managing/avoiding sensory issues, then yes, I would focus on that. I don't see any reason why you can't teach him a few social skills while you're at it, but I don't think that social skills training is the answer that you are looking for. Especially at that price!! 





ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

I agree with Darby. Does he need help with social skills? Sure. Does it have to come from this place you visited today. NO. I'd ask his OT if she knows of any other groups ..... also if she knows of anyone doing sensory groups, that way he's getting more work on his sensory stuff while working on socializing.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

Okay.  If you aren't sure about her and her assessment of him, I wouldn't do it.  I've come across people in my son's life who don't agree with me about his abilities, skills, diagnoses even.  I won't fight others who should be helping my son.  I need people who are on our side who can be part of our team.  Hugs!

Quoting SamMom912:


He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.






HippoCat
by Hadley on Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM
1 mom liked this

I wouldn't do it. It sounds like you don't trust her or her evaluation if him enough to have him do it. As parents of Autustic children we really take great care choosing the therapies and schools, etc. for our children. I don't think choosing a social group should be any different. Something isn't "clicking" the right way with this one for you. I would listen to it. It doesn't mean he can't do a social group, but maybe this isn't the right one. 

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM


This was the first one Ive really found. Have heard about 3... But nothing good. In 30 mile radus, this was one that sounded promsing. 

The OT nor psychologist have been helpful re the group... 

We have a sensory gym we go to.. But they pair your kid with a trainer for thenhour and run thru the sensory gym. Www.weezeeworld.com. Its a pretty cool place, but not really a social outlet. 

Quoting ineedcoffeemom:

I agree with Darby. Does he need help with social skills? Sure. Does it have to come from this place you visited today. NO. I'd ask his OT if she knows of any other groups ..... also if she knows of anyone doing sensory groups, that way he's getting more work on his sensory stuff while working on socializing.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

Okay.  If you aren't sure about her and her assessment of him, I wouldn't do it.  I've come across people in my son's life who don't agree with me about his abilities, skills, diagnoses even.  I won't fight others who should be helping my son.  I need people who are on our side who can be part of our team.  Hugs!

Quoting SamMom912:


He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.








ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Nov. 5, 2013 at 6:17 PM

That stinks. My daughter's OT is the therapist I really like and who seems to help us the most of her therapists. If they were more helpful I'd ask them if they could look into setting up a group. Ours was going to, but no other parents seemed to have the time to put their kids into the group, so it fell through :(


Quoting SamMom912:


This was the first one Ive really found. Have heard about 3... But nothing good. In 30 mile radus, this was one that sounded promsing. 

The OT nor psychologist have been helpful re the group... 

We have a sensory gym we go to.. But they pair your kid with a trainer for thenhour and run thru the sensory gym. Www.weezeeworld.com. Its a pretty cool place, but not really a social outlet. 

Quoting ineedcoffeemom:

I agree with Darby. Does he need help with social skills? Sure. Does it have to come from this place you visited today. NO. I'd ask his OT if she knows of any other groups ..... also if she knows of anyone doing sensory groups, that way he's getting more work on his sensory stuff while working on socializing.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

Okay.  If you aren't sure about her and her assessment of him, I wouldn't do it.  I've come across people in my son's life who don't agree with me about his abilities, skills, diagnoses even.  I won't fight others who should be helping my son.  I need people who are on our side who can be part of our team.  Hugs!

Quoting SamMom912:


He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.










wildchild.com
by Janine on Nov. 5, 2013 at 6:47 PM
Quoting darbyakeep45:

Okay.  If you aren't sure about her and her assessment of him, I wouldn't do it.  I've come across people in my son's life who don't agree with me about his abilities, skills, diagnoses even.  I won't fight others who should be helping my son.  I need people who are on our side who can be part of our team.  Hugs!

Quoting SamMom912:


He just turned 7 in September. He is in 2nd grade.


Quoting darbyakeep45:

That is tough mama.  You are a great mom who is doing SO much to help your son! Remind me how old he is.






I agree with Darby.
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