Hi, one of our 11yo Son’s Autism traits is severe anxiety about meeting people he knows out of their usual context, for example, school friends out of school. It has got to the point that we struggle to get him to leave the house and he’d rather stay in his bedroom all day. If anyone has experience of something similar, what strategies have you used to help as we’re struggling to know how to help him? Thanks!
I'll be honest with you - by the time I was at your son's age, I was pretty much the same. I found other kids indifferent to me at best, hostile to me at worst. I used to spend hours alone in my room reading, writing stories, playing games. My parents tried to get me to go to a youth club when I was older, and I went a couple of times. But I didn't like it. Too many other kids all getting along with one another and ignoring me - playing games that I didn't want to play.
I'm sorry... but all the help I needed was to be left alone.
I should probably elaborate, our Son has no problems with the people at school; he gets on well with most people there. It’s the seeing people out of their usual context that he cannot deal with. Another example would be if we are at the shops and we bump into a family friend, he’s fine if he sees them out our house, or theirs, but the shop isn’t the place he expects to see them.
What are his interests? Can you find any clubs or societies that cover those within a reasonable distance of where you are? I guess the thing is to try and help him find reasons why he wants to go out.
I still hate meeting people out of context. It makes me really anxious if I bump into someone from work outside of work. I'm not sure there's an awful lot you can do about that.
Its very common with autism that school is school and home is home.
Does he have any interests? Would he join any kind of club or activity to make friends that aren't school friends?
I didn't go out very much at that age apart from for school and my special interest.
I'd suggest getting him into the Cadets or Scouts - lots of well-controlled social activities and learing lots of skills - including getting on with others.
The kids all tend to be 'nice kids' to be going there in the first place and there's no bullying allowed - everything is well supervised.
They are very welcoming and accepting of kids with difficulties and disabilites.
There's also lots of predicatable routines so it's a low-stress environment for auties. They also welcome parent-helpers if you want to help him integrate into the group.
He sounds pretty normal for an autistic. Things could be much worse. Be grateful that he stays in his bedroom.
I have this with my daughter. If her friend comes around when we have other people here she goes to her room.
She finds it hard to accept that we see different people about. Some days are better than others. I think the key is not giving up or shying away from these situations. Im going to teach mine confidence skills and social skills through roleplay once she's up and about more.
Are there any interests that could get him out. Or maybe long walks in the country side a few miles away so you don't meet people you know. This sometimes makes my daughter calmer.