My son is 9 and attends mainstream primary school. He copes very well and generally enjoys school. He does at times get overwhelmed and has sensory issues. He sings lots. While this is lovely and he is very good at singing, it has created problems. We have 2 other children and his singing throughout the night has kept them awake during the night and wakes them up early in the morning.
At school he sings at breaktime while wandering around by himself. While this is harmless enough, it started to create unwanted attention from other children, who call him annoying or have mimicked him. I have had several meetings with the school, but they haven't done anything about it, despite saying that the person on playground duty would intervene and distract him, or buddy him up with others. There is a classroom they can access at break time but he doesn't want to go in there. He can't tell me why he does it, as he can't communicate his feelings.
I would like to get to understand why he is doing this, so we can support him if he needs it. Ultimately, our worry is that when he progresses to secondary school, he will become the target of bullies and ridicule at breaktime. It is a constant worry as he is vulnerable and probably wouldn't recognise it as bullying either.
I just wondered if anyone has any similar experience with their children? how can I find out why he is doing it? did you manage to stop the behaviour? how did you manage the behaviour or what did your school do to help?
Thank you - any help would be appreciated.
Sounds like he most definitely has a hidden talent! My son too has an overwhelming need to sing at all sorts of times which can take most people by complete surprise and for others to wonder why.
We have (had to!) embraced this as it is very much part of his way of making sense of the world and finding a way of communicating how he feels/or empathises with others without telling us directly. We suggested our school formed a choir club which has made him feel included and is totally inclusive with all children accessing the club. He feels part of something that has a need for 'practice' and more importantly the other children also felt OK with practicing singing wherever.... even in the loo!
If your school are not so keen on this idea there are many choirs or singing clubs or you could ask the local county 'short breaks' team if they know of any local clubs he could join with children with similar interests/needs.
You might also buy him a small keyboard (with headphones!!!) so that he can create his own music or use the default tunes he will I am sure recognise.
I have attached a link to a young man who, like our little men started young with singing as his voice to the world. Do have a read and see how very amazing he has become, a real star performer as I am sure our little darlings will be too!: http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/severely-autistic-non-verbal-man-stuns-public-remarkable-singing-3789242
Similarly your worries about secondary school could be dealt with in his transition planning to secondary with an insistance for a plan to be put in place for a club for singing. He will I am sure love Music studies at secondary school.
Best wishes xx
As a boy I used to sing and kept doing so until my voice broke. As an outlet for my singing I joined the church choir, (this was in the sixties.) As the other poster suggests it would be a good idea to try and find a choir or singing group.
I now know singing was my of reducing stress and sensory overload. I would suggest you contact the school - and future school when the time comes - to explain that his singing is vital to his well being. Many of us in the autistic community are fiercely opposed to any attempts to regulate or change our coping mechanisms. The following article is typical of our antipathy towards misguided therapies: http://franklludwig.com/aba.html I am not suggesting that you would do anything to harm your child, you sound like a perfect Mum for an autistic child. Not all of us are so lucky. I mention it to forewarn you against anyone who tries to tell you your son should change his behaviour.
Singing may also be a way for you to communicate at an emotional level with your son. This is the rather heart warming account of how the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ron Suskind connected to his little boy through the medium of Disney characters: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/03/how-disney-gave-voice-to-a-boy-with-autism
I wish you and your son all the best, Graham.
My daughter used to sing alot, she is 8 and not formally diagnosed, it was always the same bit of different songs over and over,
She has calmed do with the singing in public not something we tried to change she just noticed other kids didn't do it so she mutters under her breath.
She still repeatedly plays the same song at home while skipping and flicking her hands but it calms her after a day of trying to fit in so we let her
Thank you for the great replies. We have tried to Chanel his singing into a choir but he refuses to join; he only wants to sing pop music, so tricky to find an outlet. I agree it must be sensory related and a coping mechanism.
My worry is secondary school and bullying really, but I am already planning ahead and intending to talk to the SENCOs of specific schools we are interested in. As long as he’s happy and not bullied.