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Snakes Make Good Pets

Posted Jan 04 2010 12:00am

I’ve always known that my son, Corey, lacks social skills. He joined my family when he was twelve years old, and I am sure that his traumatic earlier life as well as his Aspergers contributes to that lack. But it seems to be getting worse. Is that possible or typical for a person who is diagnosed with Aspergers?

Corey is now 17 years old. Although he comes home and talks about his friends at school, I know from other children there that he really doesn’t have any friends. I’m not sure he realizes that often the other students are making fun of him even as they pretend to be his friend for some bullying purpose or another.

No one ever telephones him. He never calls anyone. He is never invited to a party or other outings. Other kids don’t wave or say goodbye as he gets off the school bus each afternoon.

Even around the house and the family he seems to be withdrawing more and more the older he gets.

I’ve fought my school district to provide social skills training – they continue to refuse. I’ve sent Corey to a social skills support group, but after a few visits he doesn’t want to go anymore. If I make him, he will refuse to participate. My older son continues to model appropriate social skills, and goes out of his way to help Corey, but all Corey will do is copy everything Chip does – not because he ‘gets’ the social aspect but because he thinks it makes him ‘cool’ to be like Chip.

I’ve gotten Corey to volunteer during the summer so that he can be around other kids and other adults. He attends the deafblind support group meetings we have at our house and at other locations. But still I see no progress.

Sure, Corey will speak in a group of new people as if he is an expert on a particular subject. He even does so with such an air of confidence that it is almost believable until you realize that the subject on which he is speaking has not even been mentioned by the group he is around.

For example, a group of his high school peers might be talking about the latest movie they all saw. Corey will speak up loudly that snakes make good pets, and will go on to list the reasons why. You can see his peers glance back and forth at each other and soon move away from him.

So, is it typical that the lack of social skills becomes more obvious as a child gets older, or are the lack of skills even getting worse? This is a scary considering that in just over a year, Corey should be moving into the job market. How is he going to be able to get and hold down a job?

He can’t stay home forever, and I feel so bad that I don’t seem to be helping him.
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