If it wasn’t for those kids, there would’ve been no one there

My son, despite his social problems, has always had this small group of friends.  They all may be outcasts in their own right, but having grown up with them since Kindergarten, they always seem to understand him.  I didn’t realize the barriers my son had socially until we transferred him schools for third grade.  My son is friendly, sometimes overly so he doesn’t understand boundaries and thinks everyone should get a hug.  So, when his birthday came along that year, which is in April so it was towards the end of the year.  I sent out his invitations to his classmates but also invited those few boys that have always stuck by him.  When the party day came around, we waited, he kept looking at the door, and if it wasn’t for those kids, the ones who have always stood by him, no one would’ve been there.  He struggles at making friends with children his age who don’t know him, he just isn’t able to connect with them.  It comes down to the fact that children who are on the spectrum, who struggle socially at school, can live very isolated lives.  This can lead to increase in depression and anxiety.

My son has several, if not most, of his friends falling on the spectrum and I’m grateful for those kids.  I’m also grateful for the kids who can see past his quirks, who can accept him for who he is and be his friend. But looking at these children who at times have no one at their birthday parties, that don’t get invited to other parties (my son doesn’t get invitations outside of his group of friends).  I can see how children these days suffer from anxiety and depression, even those not on the spectrum.  The average onset age of anxiety is eleven, my son’s onset age was eight. [2] Twenty-five percent of children between 13-18 suffer from anxiety.  A study was done to determine if there was a link between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts.  It found in those with a history of suicide attempts, over 70% had an anxiety disorder. [1]

I do everything I can, taking him to psychologist and psychiatrist appointments, making a point to talk to him about telling me if things get to be too much.  I like to think we have a healthy relationship, that he’s able to tell me everything.  But this is a fear always sitting in the back of my mind and it’s something school systems need to be addressing.  Twenty-five percent of kids suffer from anxiety and if over 70% of suicide attempts have a link to anxiety, this is not a small problem.

 

References

 

  1. Bernstein, J. (2016, January 23). The Rising Epidemic of Anxiety in Children and Teens. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201601/the-rising-epidemic-anxiety-in-children-and-teens
  2. Nepon, J., Belik, S., Bolton, J., & Sareen, J. (2010, September). The Relationship Between Anxiety Disorders and Suicide Attempts: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2940247/

1 comment

  1. Camila Francisca

    Hello, Thank you for sharing. I really appreciated your post because I think that what you are talking about is very important and that something does need to change in our education system in regards to the social context of school. Schools are very interesting in how they throw a huge group of developing souls into an environment for the purpose of learning math, science, english, etc but aside from clubs and sports and the monthly assemblies there really is no focus on helping children learn how to treat one another. Its expected that empathy, compassion, kindness, etc is taught at home but often that is not the case. Parents i’m sure try to instill these things in their children but the context of home and school is very different. Growing up I also had a core group of friends who always stuck by me and I know how wonderful that must be for your son, but not every kid is lucky enough to create bonds like that. I work currently as a behavioral therapist with children on the spectrum and I see them struggling to make friends some of them being bullied which makes me feel so angry and helpless. I cant go to their school and find these bully kids who pic on children with autism and beat them up or teach them to have a heart. I cant even imagine how their parents must feel. There needs to be a class in school where children are taught to be kind to one another, take care of one another and be decent human beings. Sure not all the kids will pass the class but I think it would make a difference in the grander scheme of things…

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