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Norrinn Radd

I need help : My son, diagnosed as suffering from Asperger Syndrome, does not want to go to school.

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In fact, this is not my son, but the son of my girlfriend! But I consider it as such! I will explain in two words the strange situation. I am French living in France. I met the mother of this little boy on the Internet. We love each other and, in a year, I will live with her in England.

Until then, Ben (his name) .. who is almost 13 years old, was very demanding and sometimes difficult. But he went to school .. but since 3 months, No! He stays cloistered at home, bad times in his room only, good times in the house, including the garden.

We met each others for the first time 15 days ago. I spent 10 days with him. And after a short period of hide and seek, it seems he accepted me. He likes to say things very unpleasant, but in fact, if we not pay attention and we make humor, progressively, he is really nice. We watched the Olympics on TV, we played with the guinea pigs, we discuss a lot of things (he said he did not care), but in fact he was very interested.

And then the fourth day, he asked me to get out being disrespectful, and I told him that it was his mother who commanded that I would not leave and only if it was she who asked me! And he was angry violently. And we had a physical fight. But after we had a great discussion and he really spoke to me normally, upset, angry, but so so totally normal!

and then, two days later, two other fights, two long and very interesting discussions respectful. I said a big thank you for being so nice to talk with me, and I have noticed that he was touched by it!

I am impressed by his intelligence. I talked to him like an adult. And he agreed to tell me he had an attitude problem. And I told him that it was not serious, he could learn to live with it .. and I sincerely believe. His disability is present, but at the same time, it seems that a small thing could change things.

Now I'm back in France. And I think of him of course, and he talks about me to his mother, while saying he does not care, of course.

But I'm worried for him and his mom because I think he will not return to school in September. I think he did not need a specialized school, he was the first in his class. he has, in my opinion, large capacities. The only problem is that it must be very hard to push for school .. His mom can not do that. She can be strict for some things that are in her power, but if he has decided can not go to school, she can not physically force. In addition, it is her little boy. Be strict with him physically is so emotionally intense. And she was not the physical strength to it!

I wanted to know your opinion on this? I met the CAMHS staff, very patient and kind, but when these people are there (1 or 2 hours per week) Ben asleep (or pretend) .. and do not want to talk with them. I don't want to say bad things on CAMHS, but i must admit they are useless, not for his mom, but for him.

If I was there, I think we could, she and I, do something. I do not pretend that it would be easy .. not at all. But he is intelligent and honest. By dint of discussion and patient, strict or gentle, knowing that a man and a woman who loves him watching over him, I think he would find the way to school and the outside world.

But for now, my girl friend (and soon my wife) is alone in the daily life. Ben's dad is away. he is probably carrying Asperger's syndrome too, so any relationship is difficult for him. In addition, Ben absolutely does not wants to see him. The only thing that could make Ben's dad is paying a school, even if it is expensive. This gentleman, I do not know, seems capable of great coldness, it is difficult for him to get in empathy. But at least he is aware of his responsibilities and, if asked factual things, he will be there I really think.

Ben can be cold too .. but suddenly, after a "fight", he is so truly like everybody. I must say that, in these moments, Asperger syndrome is dissolved. But only for a time. When the pressure drops, he returned to his room and becomes the little dictator cold he is not. And even adorable, you should always be careful not to upset him. Which is impossible because life is full of contradictions.

For now, he lives in a hyper-protected world: his room, TV, garden with guinea pigs (which he takes great care), and his mother so nice and understanding.

The crucial question, in fact, even if it raises many other questions, is "how, in this situation I discribe, doing the best to make him back to school? "...

Thank you in advance for your answer, if you have one. And sorry if my english is not perfect, I am French:-)





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I think your English is very good.


This is a difficult question you are asking.


Firstly if you only actually met 15 days ago, I would be concerned that you have decided to marry. Particularly when there is a child (any child), being a step-parent can be very very difficult. A child with Asperger's needs reassurance and consistency, and also needs to learn how to make a good relationship by slowly developing friendship and love. It is very hard looking after a child with special needs especially as they get bigger and older. Your girlfriend, understandably, may feel a sense of relief that you are willing to help her look after her son, but this should not make either of you rush into a long term relationship without spending long periods of time together first.


My youngest son stopped going to school some years ago. My husband thought he would be able to make him go to school. My husband took time off from work and tried to get him to go to school, but he was unable to get him to go. It is not that they just do not want to go to school. They are very unhappy and have reasons for not wanting to go to school. Those reasons need to be discovered, and then a plan set up to help the child get an education in whatever way they are able to.


I personally think you should also be very careful about getting yourself in a situation where you have physical contact with the boy as it could be misinterpreted by other people. Even children's own parents get reported to the Police for physical violence.

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Hi Laurent,


I am English, but live in France. My son is also 13 - and threatens not to go to school. But so far, he continues to go. Although he is already panicking about the rentree! He sounds like your girlfriend's son in that he is very intelligent, goes to a normal school, but can get aggressive, usually when he is frustrated. We always feel we are walking on egg shells with him too.


When we spoke to him, we found that the worst things for him were the playground and the canteen. Admittedly, it is not always easy, but between my husband and I we usually pick him up and bring him back for lunch - maybe not so easy in UK, since they don't have such long lunchbreaks as in France. Giving him a good break at lunchtime gives him time to 'destress', then he can face the afternoon again.


We also spoke to the school, and when he is very stressed, he can tell someone (vie scolaire), and is allowed to go somewhere quiet with a book during the recreation time.


Maybe just making a small change like this will make school more bearable for him, and also shows him you are trying to help him.



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Thank you very much Mt Blanc to respond as quickly.

I'm really new to this site and do not really expect an answer so quickly. Thank you very much.

Oh! I have perhaps not been very clear in my explanation. I know the mom for more than 3 years. We met in surprising circumstances, and since then we have seen each other very often, despite the distance.

And I was not a total stranger to Ben. Well, yes, it was the first time that we were in the real presence of the other. And, although his behavior is particular, the first few days, he accepted me. It began with a kind of meeting (already physically) .. through a mattress he wanted to put on the ground floor. Like a reaction of refusal which is shortly becamed a funny game.

And I told him that I was really happy to meet him, even in circumstances so funny (because, well, it is true).

<a name="result_box2"> As I said, during a few days, it was really sweet and even a little special, really ok ! I'm not very proud of myself for these physical confrontations (and it was not violent, fortunately, my movements were controlled). I admit that I was exasperated by his control over his mother. and I can not believe that letting Ben behave dictator is something good. Say yes when the answer is yes, it is good. But to say no when it is unrespectful, that's good too, I think. But he is used to control everything and when suddenly someone says no, it is difficult for him to accept.and in addition, I am the only man he saw long ago, and he had to share his territory with me! .. I understand that this is disturbing for him, of course! ..

Surprisingly, these physical contact, there was full of respect and even, I believe, full of affection, secretly!!! I had the feeling, even if I don't want to be idealistic that Ben needed a concrete presence. He was demanding, always like a sort of test! My physical confrontation was a way for me to say to him, I am here! .. you are right, I am here, and you are wrong, I am here too !! ..

I do not know much about Asperger's. I started reading a lot of things for 3 months, of course, but it's new to me. But I know "a little" life. . and I know that all behaviors are motivated by fear. Some people have recurring behaviors that a gentleman named Hans Asperger observed in the 40s in Austria.

but when fear is understood .. behavior dissolves? .. no? .. this is my opinion .. even if it takes a lifetime to change their usual behavior .. I do not want to be idealistic, but it seems to me that some autistic people are really disabled .. and we can not do anything, just accept how it is. But Asperger is less clear .. It seems to me that the person, even if it is difficult, can actively do something by himself.

A child, if supported, he knows that his parents are there, ready to help .. can accept to face his fears ..

It is not easy for anybody else, anyway .. Asperger's or not. This is my opinion. But I am waiting for other opinions .. to change myself. I'm not entirely certain what I say.

and then, my English is maybe not too bad but .. thank you google translate though :-)





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Merci Diane .. when you say « We always feel we are walking on egg shells « .. I understand perfectly what you say !

Thank you very very much for your reply. It is maybe an idea to manage like that at lunch for Ben, but the situation is different .. his mother is alone at this time (I am obliged to stay in France, at least, one year) .. and she works!

In addition, it seems that Ben avoid school but also almost all about outside. It is a shame. I don't know why really since 3 month.. It was difficult before because of this aggressive or demanding behaviour, sometimes .. but not like that ! ..

since a few weeks, and even more it seems since I was here, he is better .. but stay inside ! I guess the puberty makes the fear stronger and, so .. the reaction stronger too !

But I repeat, as for Mt Blanc, I have the feeling some little details can change so so many things !! .. he is good at school! .. and he is so clever ! .. and after our physical contact, he was so natural ! And suddenly, it was not necessary to « walk on egg shells » …

What a relief for a short time to just talk naturally! and he was full of anger and need to express his anguish, but as anyone with heavy sorrows of the heart.

And just, I want to say thank you to just know his mother and me are not alone to face this sort of situation.. Just that help me .. when you say “We always feel we are walking on egg shells” .. just that make me feel you understand perfectly what I say !!! MERCI !!!

and you live in France ? .. as me I will live in England in one year ? .. so funny !


Have a good day Diane



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