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    #238017 - 04/29/17 10:04 AM Social Exclusion
    cammom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    I went on a field trip with DS10's class recently, and was sad to see that DS wasn't mixing with the other kids. Most were ignoring him, actively avoiding him, or rolling eyes/ walking away when he was trying to join in. No one sat next to him on the bus and he stated that when he was sitting in the back, some of the other boys took his souvenir from the field trip and broke it. Apparently, during another class trip, a few of the other boys took his items and wouldn't give them back.
    DS has ADHD and some social language impairments + he's gifted and has the different interests and academic achievements. All of this is serving to make him seem odd to other kids. The social skills are a big issue because I know DS doesn't read cues well- he doesn't know when things aren't funny or what topics might interest typical ten year old boys. Not blaming him for the bullying obviously, but I do understand why most kids might be turned off by him.

    We need some help- at the very least, I need some ideas of how to talk with DS. I was treated similarly at his age--my responses are not as encouraging because I think it is very hard to change or stop social exclusion. I tend to tell him to ignore it, and tell the teacher when it crosses the line to taking or breaking his things. It also becomes a big tangle of his word against the word of other children, and DS doesn't articulate well. He's not quick with comebacks and makes it worse by "overtalking" or saying something to bring on further derision.

    Teachers will eventually decide that the excluded child is the problem because quite honestly, they can't force other kids to like or include that child. I went to the school previously and little is done.

    Thoughts on what to say or how to deal? His self esteem is suffering and it's obvious that he is trying to avoid other kids because he feels rejected.


    Edited by cammom (04/29/17 10:09 AM)

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    #238018 - 04/29/17 10:21 AM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: cammom]
    howdy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/13
    Posts: 279
    I am very sorry for the situation your son is in. It is tough on parents too.

    Is it possible for your son to get involved with extracurricular activities or clubs? In those types of situations, the kids often have an obvious similar interest to build upon. Scouts or 4H, science clubs, sports, etc. These can all be places where your son can try to build friendships and social skills. Sometimes, club friendships will carry over to school, but even if they do not, he might find a place he feels at home.

    One place where we often saw like minded children was at the library. If you see a possibility where your son seems to be having fun talking to another child, maybe go find the parent and see if the kids can meet up again at the same place.

    As far as the school bullying situations, you may need to step in and help him. Model how to respectfully bring these to the attention to the teachers. I agree that sometimes, teachers do blame the excluded child, but you might get lucky enough to find a teacher who sees through that and can help.

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    #238019 - 04/29/17 10:36 AM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: cammom]
    Merlin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/28/16
    Posts: 70
    Loc: In a galaxy far, far away...
    What grade is your son in? I feel like elementary kids usually are nicer but middle school can be awful for any child, including those with no social issues. You may want to consider eventually homeschooling when he gets to middle school. Middle school is notorious for bullying, as everyone tries to be part of a clique, an in or out crowd. Also, is your child taking everything in stride or is he becoming more depressed? If the environment is toxic, you may consider taking him to social groups with other like minded peers.

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    #238021 - 04/29/17 10:50 AM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: cammom]
    cammom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    Thanks- we have done social skills group, and I think it helped. We may go back next year prior to middle school. DS does have a therapist that he sees individually for social skills and executive functioning. She observes DS in the classroom and may have some insights.
    I am feeling discouraged because DS is having an amazing year of growth in the academic sense. His strengths are shining through and he is learning better executive functions to accommodate his challenges. I was hoping that socially, the kids were also coming to accept him.
    Social exclusion/bullying is hard because it's extremely difficult to prove--sometimes the popular kids have so many helpers/supporters. In our case, DS says he can't stand up to anyone because he is immediately verbally attacked by three or four of their friends. It's a pretty common dynamic.
    Again, there were a few instances where I noticed DS not reading social cues- when to stop a behavior, when someone doesn't want to talk with him, etc.

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    #238025 - 04/29/17 05:30 PM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: cammom]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4902
    You've got my empathy, too. Others have shared great tips, I will just add that when thinking of this...
    Originally Posted By: cammom
    In our case, DS says he can't stand up to anyone because he is immediately verbally attacked by three or four of their friends. It's a pretty common dynamic.
    ... you'd want to be sure that your child has a good grasp of where the line is drawn between standing up to someone, and saying something inappropriate which may cause him to be seen as a bully/instigator/aggressor, and/or may escalate the situation. For example, making a personal attack or insult can be seen as verbal abuse (ad hominem attack).

    You may already be familiar with books which direct teach social cues and friendship... here is a brief roundup:
    - direct teaching of non-verbal cues
    - direct teaching of friendship
    - direct teaching of perspective taking
    - link to an article on the Davidson Database, Tips For Parents: Gifted Children's Friendships
    - post with roundup of articles on friendship

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    #238040 - 05/01/17 09:39 AM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: indigo]
    cammom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    You've got my empathy, too. Others have shared great tips, I will just add that when thinking of this...
    Originally Posted By: cammom
    In our case, DS says he can't stand up to anyone because he is immediately verbally attacked by three or four of their friends. It's a pretty common dynamic.
    ... you'd want to be sure that your child has a good grasp of where the line is drawn between standing up to someone, and saying something inappropriate which may cause him to be seen as a bully/instigator/aggressor, and/or may escalate the situation. For example, making a personal attack or insult can be seen as verbal abuse (ad hominem attack).

    You may already be familiar with books which direct teach social cues and friendship... here is a brief roundup:
    - direct teaching of non-verbal cues
    - direct teaching of friendship
    - direct teaching of perspective taking
    - link to an article on the Davidson Database, Tips For Parents: Gifted Children's Friendships
    - post with roundup of articles on friendship


    Thanks indigo. I will check out the resources. Yes, I agree-- when kids have impairments in social pragmatics it's a major concern that they respond appropriately to stressful, social situations.

    I watched DS a bit during the field trip and what I noticed primarily, is that he wasn't picking up social cues. His behavior, at one point, was outright annoying because he wasn't taking hints to stop what he was doing. I also noticed that he did that "thing" where he walked up to other boys, stood too close, and began his conversation without context or forethought about whether the boys would be interested in the topic.

    As for responding with bullying, I didn't notice it-- what I saw was DS isolating himself when he felt socially rejected.

    I could however, completely see DS inadvertently escalating a situation. He had another boy say something deliberately unkind and try to pass it off as a joke to the other kids. DS decided to take that moment to let the boy know (in front of the group) all of the mean things he had done in the past. Uncool for a few reasons.

    I talked candidly with DS and we agreed that "comebacks" are not his strength (social language impairments!), and lecturing other kids on their behavior is going to make things a lot worse. We agreed that ignoring, moving away from someone, giving a wth "look," or in escalating situations, talking to the teacher is the way to go.

    I also told him that if others are getting involved in disputes and causing him to feel ganged up on or bullied, it's absolutely fine to say "mind your own business."

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    #238041 - 05/01/17 09:49 AM Re: Social Exclusion [Re: cammom]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    My DS10 does a lot of similar behaviors when he is with agemates. I found the book 100 Social Rules for Kids. It is *just right*. Doesn't assume kids automatically know any social rules but the tone isn't insulting or condescending. It specifically addresses speaking and listening, taking turns, how to know if your listener is interested, and "body don'ts" like standing too close.

    I have my son read aloud from the book when we're in the car and we role play conversations. Always ends up being a fun time.

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