Just so hurt. Am I blind?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Waking, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Waking

    Waking New Member

    Brand new here. I apologize for length.
    DS3 is 13. He always has been an introverted old soul, solemn, serious, rarely exhibits joy in the tradional sense, prefers to be alone AND is courteous, respectful, straight A, rule follower. Teachers love him, never a complaint. They have said, "he is very litteral, black and white. He is not defiant or oppositional."

    HOWEVER, his behavior is still "different" from his peers. He doesnt seek out or care about acceptance, doesn't care if others like him, and truly truly is not faking this we believe. He is not angry or depressed acting. He doesnt want or hope for a friend but will be quietly social with kids he feels are kind. He has no close friendships. He has no patience for drama. He is Socially awkward at times. He is and always been just "fine" as long as people leave him to himself and he is not being teased or bullied. (Those things have been very isolated incidents.)
    Yes. As a mom, I have wished for a friend or connection for him. He doesn't really care. He will ALWAYS do what is expected of him when asked. He is a pretty great kid. Which is why Im all the way to 13 with him and no "issues" until now.

    Yesterday, his new coach called and was downright cruel I felt.
    He said DS3 was "sat" because when he went around asking for a "goal" for each child, my son answered in a way he felt was socially unacceptable. (I assume nerves and not knowing terminology) The team laughed at him. So the next time a goal was asked for, DS3 clammed up as not to be laughed at again and said, he "didnt have a goal."

    DS3 told me, he was laughed at last time. (Socially awkward answer) but he still had the same goal, but didnt know how to word it. So he said.."I don't have a goal." So I tell coach this. Coach said "he is not participating and being disobedient in not providing an anawer."

    Coach told me, "you are just making excuses for him. You gotta see him for who he is!" He told me DS3 doesnt understand his position in the game. husband suggests that maybe find a different way to explain it? "You guys arent holding him accountable."
    I ask DS3 and he said.."no, I honestly dont understand his instructions and I made mistakes. I dont WANT to make mistakes but its hard to ask for another explanation. Kids will laugh." I share this with coach...Again coach told me we were "covering" for him and letting him manipulate us.
    husband explained his personality a bit- Bc coach said, he is often by himself, not trying to make friends (but loves sport and is decent). We explained, ask him, he is generally ok as long as kids arent making fun. He isnt mean or disrespecting anyone. He participates 100% effort.

    Coach said "This isn't normal. He isnt going to play until he starts acting normal and is a part of the team." Then he said that he has worked with kids on the spectrum before, and our son is willfully manipulating situations and if we dont see his manipulations as parents "you and your husband are blind."
    I was shocked. And crying. And quiet.

    This coach is a school counselor by trade.
    Are husband and I are blind??? We arent denying that he is different or that he isnt a bit socially awkward. But never has there been a complaint from multiple teachers and coaches in 13 years.

    Coach has issues with my husband as husband is in a position of power here and treading lightly. So, this may be an issue. However, is there anything to be concerned bout qith my DS3 who is generally content to be alone or in a parallel play situation at 13?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The coach is an idiot. Its not you or your son. Unfortunately counselors who work at schools tend not to be the best and brightest of counselors. My experiences with them were that they were clueless. I took my son to private professionals.

    I am assuming your son is on the autism spectrum and is very normal for a spectrum kid. Reminds me a lot of my spectrum son who is 25 and doing great and still not a social person. So what? He is happy with himself. Autistics tend to be happy loners.

    If this were me, my son would never play for tnis icky man again. There are other teams and other sports and my son would not be subjected to that sort of ignorant abuse from a coach who knows zilch about kids on the spectrum.

    I am sorry for your son going through this. He sounds like a great kid. He is just acting like a high functioning autistic child and there is no shame in that. I assume he has this diagnoses as tje coach mentioned spectrum kids...it does not serm that he understands them AT ALL.
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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  3. LookingForPeace

    LookingForPeace New Member

    It does sound like your son is on the spectrum. If he is content with his peer relationships then there is nothing to worry about.

    In my opinion, the coach is trying to get rid of him. Your son is only 13 and goals are challenging even for adults. The coach should have reprimanded the kids for laughing at him and assisted your son with rephrasing his goal.

    How are you not holding him accountable? He's showing up to practice, dressed and ready to go. The rest is up to the coach. I agree with you, the coach should try explaining things a different way.
  4. Waking

    Waking New Member

    Thank you for your response. Actually my son has not been diagnosed with anything because nobody has ever had a complaint about him. academically he was ready for kindergarten before kindergarten. Socially he was not ready in my opinion so I held him back a year. So he is in 7th grade right now but a year older than his peers. I thought he just didn't know how to talk to people and needed sometime to mature socially. Used to joke, we thought he didn't know how to talk to people period after watching him grow, we discovered that he really just doesn't care for people. The coach made the comment about the Spectrum because he was telling me that he works with kids on the Spectrum and my kid is not on the Spectrum he is willfully misbehaving and not following directions. That was his inference. He basically just told us we were blind if we did not see we had a naughty kid.
  5. Waking

    Waking New Member

    Thank you. He does seem to be content as long as people aren't picking on him. If people make fun or pick on him or if those kids are misbehaving it kind of drives him nuts but not to the point where he misbehaves himself. So what I'm getting is my son is most likely high functioning and this so-called school counselor coach has no idea how badly he just offended us.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    i disagree with your coach. All spectrum kids are different. Social awkwardness and problems communicating are very significant Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) issues. They present as unusual. Some do well in school and dont misbehave.

    My son is kind and caring and probably more social than your son...your son may be high functioning enough to figure things out without help, but if it were my kid I would take him to a neuro psychologist (a paychologist with extra training in the brain) to get him assessed. It is up to you. My son did really well with interventions. He is still "different" but not in a bad way. He definitely is fine without a bunch of friends and really shuns large groups of people. They are all different. I dont think of autism as a bad thing. Most autistics I have met are lovebugs! :) They tend to improve with age, but are still a bit different. There are different levels of autism. Some need more assistance than others. I am in the better to be safe than sorry camp.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  7. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Waking, your kid sounds like ... me. I was diagnosed Aspergers in my 30s (now rolled in with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)). I didn’t have a friend until my junior year of high school. I WAS bullied and teased a lot, so if your son has avoided that and engages in mostly fine interactions with peers, in my book he’s doing great.

    I have a grandson that fits this profile, too. He’s smart and curious and pleasant and eager to please and just not very people oriented. As far as I’m concerned he’s perfect. He has a lot to add to the world with his unique gifts. If some coach treated him this way I would be furious!

    It really doesn’t matter whether he has a diagnosis or not. This coach sounds incredibly insensitive and unempathetic for a counselor. Even if you kid does not have a diagnosis, it’s not hard to recognize that when a sensitive, mostly obedient kid suddenly balks at something there is something more going on than simple defiance. I think you are right to push back and defend your kid.

    On a side note, it might be worth exploring a diagnosis, or exploring the idea of testing with him, and see how he feels about it. Carefully - you don’t want to suggest that you think there is something wrong with him if he’s doing mostly ok - but I can tell you it was a HUGE relief when I was diagnosed. It explained so much about my life and helped me see myself as ‘different’ rather than ‘broken’. And he may find that he could use some services - or at least a little more understanding - when he gets to high school.

    On another note, it took me a while to get here, but I really like myself and where I am in life now. (Well, except for the problems that brought me here.) I have a great (also quiet and introverted) partner and a small group of friends who get me and make me happy. I’m a homebody, and work from home, and I’m sure my life doesn’t look very exciting from the outside, but it works for me!

    It sounds like you’ve already given your son a great foundation for self acceptance. Keep it up! Keep advocating for your kid!
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This coach is a bully. He is bullying your child and bullying you. He had no right whatsoever to speak to you that way. He had no right to speak about your son as he did. None. I would complain in writing to the school board.

    I agree with the others. I would keep my son away from this monster.

    This is way beyond offending you. This is abuse. Who is this person to define "who he is?" This is not in the job description of a teacher or counselor or coach. These are the sentiments of an authoritarian personality with no business near a child or in a school.
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  9. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    That guy is awful. A coach is supposed to be a role model. Allowing kids to bully another over their personal goal is wrong. Talking to you the way he did is wrong.
    The guy is a jerk and has some sort of complex and is ignorant.
    Please take these concerns to the school board so that future children don't have to endure his bullying.
    Even with my limited knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (I have a family member ((K))with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) she is a pharmacist) I thought you son was already diagnosed. He sounds just like K at that age. Actually she is 30 and still pretty much like that about friends. She has 1 she is close to but would rather hang out with her dog and when she comes here she hangs with the cats. They love her :).
    SWOT named the type of therapist you need. Don't fear a diagnosis. There are many tools to help when you figure out what is going on.

    Good luck!
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  10. Waking

    Waking New Member

    Thank you all so much. I cant tell you how eye opening this has been and it explains so so much. I do not fear a diagnosis. I have good people I can talk to. I will do that.

    I'm remembering back to the reasons I held him back from Kindergarten (I thought socially he wasnt ready-now the result is that he is much more intelligent than his classmates), to 3rd grade when I changed schools for him.

    In third grade he was one of the smartest and most well-behaved boys. I have never gotten a complaint until his "idiot" teacher kept telling him to "ignore the bully" his class who was picking on him. She wasn't having a problem with my son, she was having a problem with his REACTIONS to being bullied! When the bully would pick on my son(poke him, kick his chair, pull his hair) my son would tell on him. The teacher kept telling him, "just ignore him." So my son tried his best to ignore him until the bully became so annoying to him that he would stand up turn around and yell in the middle of class, "knock it off!"
    So the teacher would call us in to complain that his Outburst would disrupt learning for others. We argued, while thinking she was STUPID... "stop the bullying and you stop the disruption." These idiots actually could not figure that out. Problem had never been with my son. He was not randomly having outbursts. And his outbursts were anything that anyone would have done. Loudly telling the person to knock it off!

    After months of them not attending to moving them away from each other, or stopping bully behavior we told them they were not dealing with the real problem. We pulled him out of that school and THEN they admitted to us that we were easier people to deal with the bullies parents. And that is why they couldn't stop the bullying . We were disgusted with the school and the principal.

    I put him in a new school and explained to the teacher his "personality." (Because we didnt know anything about autism, aspbergers, etc) And this new 4th grade teacher at this new school absolutely understood him. She loved, protected, cared for and nurtured him. His 5th grade teacher was much the same and still connects with me via facebook because she loved him so much. Nobody mentioned the spectrum. Again he has never been diagnosed. Now hes in middle school and gets all A's and rave reviews.
    He functions just fine as long as people "get him" and don't mess with him. And even if they do mess with him his reactions are what I would call absolutely normal for somebody that is irritated.
    This coach is somebody that we knew was a guidance counselor. My husband is technically his supervisor in this sporting Association. So we don't have anything to do with this man academically, because he is not at my son's school. This is a city sport.
    My son is on this man's team because we figured this man would probably get him because he deals with all types of kids. And honestly we've known this man for quite a few years and we have never had an issue. He's always been friendly and there's been a good camaraderie. This is why his words affected me so badly.
    As a counselor, he told me that he works with all kinds of kids on the Spectrum and he did not think my son fell there, he just thought my kid was being willfully disobedient.
    And when we told him we disagreed he told us we were blind.
    Actually spent much of yesterday talking to people, making phone calls to doctors and friends who have children on the Spectrum. I've been sent many interesting articles that sounds like my son and some that don't because of course not all behaviors apply.

    Last night I had a long talk with this coach / counselor. I'd given myself 24 hours to calm down and with the help I got here and it's some of my local friends who know more, I explained to him how as a counselor I expected more empathy and understanding from him. I was disappointed in his behavior and that we are investigating where my son might fall on the Spectrum. He had no business telling me otherwise. I felt empowered after that conversation. I did get an apology and he did say that he was wrong and he was angry at my son because when my son told him he did not have a goal, my son had kind of a weird smile on his face. I explained to him that if he investigated more about this type of behavior inappropriate emotional responses are common. I suggested he might want to learn more as it would probably benefit his profession. In the end I did get the apology I was speaking and I did get a promise to be more mindful of his words and his actions. He actually said to me almost in tears, that he "had no idea." I did tell him that I realize he had no idea but we also have no formal diagnosis to give to him brforehand, but we DID explain our sons personality to him, and I am alarmed that he as a counselor didnt "get that."
    I told him I've been dealing with this Behavior since before my son went into kindergarten.

    And here is the interesting thing... I deal with this behavior in my husband as well. I talked at length with my husband and we both really have a strong feeling that my husband is on the Spectrum as well. He and my DS3 are so alike. Many people disagree with my husband because his social skills lack and when he it's across his ideas he seems very dictatorial I had to explain to him over the last 18 years that I am constantly reminding him not to try to sound like he is in charge so much he has great ideas he needs to find a better way to present them. A lot of people think he's a know-it-all. Truth is he has a ton of knowledge and he loves to share it, it just doesn't come across in a polite manner. He also does not have any close friends and is fine with it. Find it very very difficult to make small talk at all and usually just stands there awkwardly and has a real tough time with eye contact.

    ...I have so much to learn.
    Thank you for helping me.
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  11. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Waking, I am so glad to hear you were able to talk to the coach and that it went well! It sounds like you were able to advocate for your son while still preserving your (and your son's) relationship with this man. That's huge! I'm so happy for you and DS3!

    I so relate to your son. And my grandson went through an almost IDENTICAL bullying situation last year, where he got in trouble for finally calling out the bully's behavior instead of the bully getting in trouble for bullying him. I think for all the anti-bullying campaigns and zero-tolerance policies out there, a lot of teachers and school administrators just don't want to have to deal with the problem, and they'll take the easy way out. If it seems easier to get the victim to shut up than get the bully to stop (and it usually is), that's the approach they'll take. Especially when it's this kind of borderline behavior that COULD be spun as teasing/harmless in a different scenario, but is actually deeply hostile and disturbing when it is 1) relentless, and 2) aimed at someone who is outside, rather than inside, the social "in" group.

    Oh, lord, I did this, until I finally learned better control of my face. My guess is it's not an inappropriate EMOTIONAL reaction, it's an inability to get his face to match his emotions or the situation appropriately. He probably was feeling deep discomfort, not amusement of any kind. I know my face would contort in weird ways when I was under extreme stress that others might interpret as a "weird little smile". It was NOT a smile. It's the muscles in the face under so much tension they are pulling my lips back in weird ways. And the fact that facial expression awareness (or recognition) is not my strong suit. It's more like an uncontrolled-laughing-at-a-funeral kind of reaction. I had a lot of involuntary facial expressions when I was younger, which were often accompanied by my muttering to myself. Because I was deeply in my own weird little world and not aware of how I was presenting to the outside. This did not earn me friends in school. It's something I've largely learned to control.

    I got in trouble for other things, too:
    • Not making eye contact: It's not that I'm trying to disrespect you, it's that looking in your eyes puts me into sensory overload. I cannot both look into your eyes AND pay attention to what you're saying. You're going to have to pick one.
    • Staring: No, I'm not staring at you...I'm lost in my own little world and I wasn't even aware that you were in front of my eyeballs (until you started yelling at me for staring at you). I'm probably on sensory overload and have zoned out as a form of self-protection.
    • Not responding: I'm not ignoring you on purpose. I can't process what you're saying. I shut down. Sorry. Try it again, maybe softer, or in a different, less overstimulating environment.

    His coach, if he does indeed work with kids on the spectrum, should have some awareness of these kinds of differences.

    I think kids who are high-functioning cognitively and have relatively minor symptoms are often really misunderstood. It is really easy to recognize that a non-verbal or minimally verbal autistic kid needs extra help and supports. Or one with frequent outbursts and inappropriate behaviors. But when you're almost-but-not-quite-normal, or perform well on academic tasks, there is an attitude that you must be doing these things on purpose. That you should be able to help it.

    And I do think that those of us on the spectrum have a responsibility to try to meet the world halfway. It can't be "I have Aspergers, therefore I can get away with being a jerk/flouting social norms with no repercussions!" But ideally, people will learn to recognize, respect and accommodate harmless differences, too, whether they come with a formal diagnosis or not.

    Good for you for advocating for your kid and educating this coach.

    Your son (and husband) might also enjoy the website Wrong Planet. It is written by and for people on the spectrum of all ages.
  12. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    We have an art teacher at our school who is just like that coach. Your son simply hadn't decided what his goal would be and needed more time to decide. It might be good for him to improve his social skills. There are seminars for this, but they are very expensive.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Our sons school district paid for the social skills, occupational therapy and physical therapy. If your son gets a diagnosis, and I think he is probably on the spectrum, you get a school IEP and the school has to pay for everything that helps him. FAPE says so

    Crayola, I understand you teach gifted kids. It is a whole different ball game if a child has a disability, such as autism, even if the child is intelligent. We never paid a dime and our son really benefitted from all the interventions. All these services happened in school. But....you need a diagnosis to get help. I suggest a neuro psychologist who is private....i do not trust schools to throughly diagnose our kids, especially those who may fall through the cracks because they are not behavior problems. Schools have an agenda....they dont want to spend money on our kids. I never put my kid's diagnoses into the hands of any school person. We went to the table with an advocate and results from good but private professionals. Thats another thing. Dont go to meetings about your kid alone. Bring a free advocate. Call the Dept. Of Public Education and they will give you the name of yours. We all have one but school districts dont let us know about them.

    I credit my sons school and amazing teachers and aide with his great adult life. Just love them all!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  14. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    He may not even be on the spectrum. I think he's more mature and highly intelligent, years beyond his peers. It doesn't sirpsurp me that he said he didn't know what his goal was yet. He was smart enough to take time and think it through before he decided the answer to that question. He didn't want to set his goal too high or too low because he isn't sure what he's capable of in this sport.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think he is Aspergers. It is always good to evaluate. He is a lot like an Aspie. So better to be safe than sorry.

    Autism is a developmental delay. The kids have social problems and are not mature. In fact socially they lag behind. Which makes sense here. And most are never social but they do improve, especially with help, and can live amazing lives. Many do not think about the future much, especially when younger. And they have trouble speaking what they feel. Autism does not mean you are not smart. Aspies are brilliant, smart, average and believe average, like all people. They all do have social and communication issues which can deeply impair them so they get help to learn how to do better.

    Crayola, you may not have had much experience with autism. But bet you are a great teacher! You are very thoughtful and understanding.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It's like the fox guarding the henhouse. The school psychologists work for the school district and do their bidding. Unless the student is considered a problem by the school personnel, there is no incentive to diagnose and recommend services because this will be an expense and a hassle to the school district. If a student is generally meek and/or passive or quiet, in my experience, the school could care less about their needs. Cynical, yes. True, yes.
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  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    You are correct, Copa. I had to fight for services for my son because he was a well behaved child.
  18. Waking

    Waking New Member

    Might I ask, what kind of services are offered to a high-functioning well-behaved child? As his mother looking at him the only thing I could possibly think that might be useful are social skills. What can I do at home in the interim? Yesterday we talked about how important it is to make eye contact with people and I sent him to school today with a goal of possibly trying to look someone in the eye and say thank you or give a genuine compliment. He said that would feel awkward, but he said also that he would try.

    As far as my husband goes I've noticed things like this since we met were married:
    When at a restaurant if wait staff stops by the table to ask how our meal is, my husband completely does not respond to them. It is as if they are invisible. I have often told him that he appears rude. He said but I just put a bite of food in my mouth, and I said then you should at least look at the person and nod and smile. I know that he's not trying to be rude, but it is rude.

    When my son has a goal to work on he will work on it until he Masters it . So regarding him not wanting to State his goal, he told me that it's because his goal didn't change from the last time. And the last time the coach chastised him and the team laughed. So when the coach asked again for a goal, my son actually thought, I have the same goal because I have not mastered it but if I say this again I'm going to get the same reaction.

    I don't know if there will be an official diagnosis or not, this is all so new to me
  19. Waking

    Waking New Member

    That is why I never considered him to be on the spectrum, because I have a highly gifted older son, and this particular son seems to be following in his tracks I just figured that he was way more mature than his peers or more more intelligent in general. But with that, I knew he was different.
  20. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    The two things are not mutually exclusive! I operated 2-3 grade levels ahead of my peers academically, but lagged behind socially quite a bit. I generally got along with kind adults much better than with kids my own age because I had more adult interests. But that didn't mean I wasn't seriously immature in other critical ways.

    And remember that with spectrum disorders, by definition, there aren't any hard edges. It's a continuous spectrum of traits of varying kinds and degrees that bleed smoothly into the realm of quirky-but-normal. He could have some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-like traits without qualifying for a full diagnosis. And some of these things definitely run in families. My youngest, E, has a lot of Aspie-like traits that she shares with me, but was not anywhere near as full blown as I was.

    You coaching on social skills like eye contact sounds perfect. He may or may not need or qualify for help from the school. Even if he does not, testing may help him understand himself better. For me, it was about learning who I am and making conscious decisions on what things I wanted to work on (like looking people in the eye or managing small talk), what things I needed to find accommodations for, what things I was going to give myself permission to just avoid (like big box stores), and what aspects of my quirky self I am just fine with as I am, thank you very much.