She’s a Social Bumblefly

Aspergers
When you have Aspergers making friends is not as easy as it sounds.   My daughter is a social bumblefly. Yes I meant to say bumblefly!   She wants to be social, LOVES having friends.  But as soon as they sense just a tad bit of weirdness or difference they head for the hills.   When she talks about her reptile obsession to much, if she gets too in your face because she doesn’t understand personal space or that your hands are not for grabbing.  She’s 8.5 and I worry every day that she will never have that ONE amazing friend to hang with.   I dont expect her to have an army of friends just that one friend that accepts her completely as she is.

Lets face it, do any of us really have a friend that accepts us with all our faults and still loves us?  I do, ONE.  My husband.  He see’s me at my worst and still accepts me and loves me unconditionally.   I’m lucky, but what will happen with my little Bean?  I can’t protect her from the mean people all her life.   Yet it physically pains me to see her struggle.  And that is not an over exaggeration.   And sometimes when I feel pain, I get angry and explode.  Angry that people are mean, angry that people dont understand, angry that there has to be some social pyramid for everyone.  Why can’t we all just learn to be accepting of those that are different.  Not tolerant, I hate that word!!  Tolerant to me means to put up with.  I dont want anyone to “put up” with me or my daughter.  But to be accepting that there will be days that are different..harder than others.  Difference isn’t a bad thing, its just different.

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0 thoughts on “She’s a Social Bumblefly

  • August 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm
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    “I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. Your daughter’s peers don’t owe her anything and if she makes them uncomfortable, then they have every right to not want to spend time with her. Aspergers or not, I’m not going to be eager to spend time with someone who violates my personal space and that doesn’t make me an intolerant person…”

    Right on!

    Likewise, when she’s older and guys approach her in ways that make her uncomfortable, she has every right to reject them instead of letting them have their ways with her lest she be accused of “not understanding” “nice guys” who for she knows might “mean no harm” no matter how much they sound and act just like other guys who do mean harm.

    Speaking of life on a city bus, see this blog post and comments thread on having the right to reject people who don’t respect your personal space on public transit:

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced

    “…Did I say “cast aside”? No. If someone is in my personal space all the time I’m not going to like it, Autism or not. That doesn’t mean I’m going to treat them like crap (I will be friendly and cordial), but I’m also not obligated to be best friends with everybody, either…”

    Exactly!

    “…You’re just overly sympathetic because it’s your kid — but I’m sure you have standards when you deal with other people, too…”

    I’m also sure you have standards when you teach your daughter how to deal with other people!  If some guy pins your daughter to the wall against her will (like described in the comments http://autismgadfly.blogspot.com/2010/07/neurodiversitys-interesting-take-on.html ), would you want your daughter to be thinking “Mom said it’s OK for me to push him away…!” and fight back or be thinking “Mom said I have to accept this, maybe he’s a social bumblefly too…” and just lay back and think of autism?

    “…Let the other kid get upset with your daughter for grabbing their hands. That way she’ll learn the cue from that “friend” that grabbing her hands is not ok. A child yelling “STOP THAT” at another child is not necessarily offensive. When a kid has been taught to walk away instead of yell, well that is a cue your daughter needs to learn…”

    “…I have to admit, i have cut a lot of people out of my life because i was just unable to handle certain traits or behaviors from them. we may view some actions as more acceptable where as others less acceptable.

    “for example, i had to stop seeing a friend of mine because she would NOT stop swearing and using sexual language in front of my son. this is a behavior that i can NOT in good conscience allow in my own. i did speak to her about it and would constantly remind her not to speak in such a way, but she wasn’t able to kick the habit.

    “Now i know this doesn’t compare to your daughter. more so just that i can understand that we are not obligated to be treated in away that makes us uncomfortable. so in THAT sense i can understand what the other commenter was saying…”

    More great points!

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  • August 14, 2010 at 12:19 am
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    Elementary school kids are very judgmental. And, at least in my experience, they remain that way until they are at least sophmores in high school. So you shouldn’t worry too much about your daughter being alone forever, she WILL find someone.

    That being said, because daughter has the will to be social, it sounds like she could benefit from some pragmatics therapy. It will allow her to learn the rules of social interaction in a much more concrete, effective manner than the typical “life experience” routine. Also, sometimes pragmatics therapists will run social skills groups. That’s a place where your daughter could meet some kids who are struggling with similar issues, allowing her to make friends.It worked wonders for me:)

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  • August 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm
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    My best friend in middle school was autistic (I am not) and it was not that strange, really. She just expressed herself differently, but she was still expressing the same things that the rest of us do. Sometimes she would carry on forever on one subject and not notice that people around her were bored of hearing about it. She just wanted the feeling of someone listening to her, just like the rest of us. Maybe I cared about my parents’ issues when I wanted someone to listen and she cared about all the different ways to do one math problem. She listened to me. I listened to her. It was good for both of us. 

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  • August 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm
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    I really wouldn’t think it’s an issue of the kids liking/disliking her but more so just a comfort level type thing.  even though the other comment that @lifeonacitybusem4@xanga – said may have come across a little harsh, i DO see where they’re coming from.

    I have to admit, i have cut a lot of people out of my life because i was just unable to handle certain traits or behaviors from them.  we may view some actions as more acceptable where as others less acceptable.

    for example, i had to stop seeing a friend of mine because she would NOT stop swearing and using sexual language in front of my son.  this is a behavior that i can NOT in good conscience allow in my own.  i did speak to her about it and would constantly remind her not to speak in such a way, but she wasn’t able to kick the habit.

    Now i know this doesn’t compare to your daughter. more so just that i can understand that we are not obligated to be treated in away that makes us uncomfortable. so in THAT sense i can understand what the other commenter was saying.

    With your daughter, she is obviously not doing any of this with the intent of making her friends uncomfortable.

    perhaps you can enroll her in more activities so she gets more social interaction and thus more “practice” on what is socially acceptable behavior.

    if your daughter has a friend that she’s comfortable enough to speak to about her social skills, she can let her friend know right out that she doesn’t easily pick up on social cues so they could develop their own “secret language” to help each other understand each other better.

    perhaps if your daughter is getting in the friends personal space the friend can simply say “bumblebee” and the girls can giggle about it and it’s something your daughter will know exactly what it means. when her friend says “bumblebee” it means that she accidentally was in her personal space and needs to take a step back.  i have no idea if this would be helpful or not as i really don’t know much on the topic.

    from my understanding it’s basically that she doesn’t pick up on social cues right? so perhaps it’ll be easier for your daughter if she had very clear cues to watch for and knew exactly what they mean.

    i’m not sure if there are any groups or activities she could get involved with that could help her learn social cues and social interaction, perhaps with other children like her as well?

    Reply
  • August 12, 2010 at 11:08 am
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    It’s just a matter of finding the right people to be friends with. Its also a matter of letting things be what they are. Let the kids figure things out with each other and intervene only when it is obvious that one is causing harm to the other… annoyance is not harm. Let the other kid get upset with your daughter for grabbing their hands. That way she’ll learn the cue from that “friend” that grabbing her hands is not ok. A child yelling “STOP THAT” at another child is not necessarily offensive. When a kid has been taught to walk away instead of yell, well that is a cue your daughter needs to learn. Not every person has the same cues. Unfortunately, we Aspies like and want hard fast rules… and people do not follow hard fast rules… people are dynamic, not static. The quicker an Aspie can grasp that, the better and easier life will be.

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  • August 12, 2010 at 8:34 am
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    I am in a similar boat and I think it requires us moms to have a thick skin (which is hard to do when dealing with the love(s) of your life).  We live in a small town where people have never moved away and breaking in is hard but with persistence and faith I continue being the bigger (and happier) person and helping/hoping my son will find his niche.  It stinks and would be easier if everyone could learn to live in harmony…..it is also hard to accept that that is probably just a pipe dream.  Keep on keepin’ on Momma!  

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  • August 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm
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    @JenT – Being accepting is one thing, liking and wanting to be friends with is a completely different one. 

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  • August 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm
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    @JenT – 

    Did I say “cast aside”?  No.  If someone is in my personal space all the time I’m not going to like it, Autism or not.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to treat them like crap (I will be friendly and cordial), but I’m also not obligated to be best friends with everybody, either.  We all have our personality defects, and the way to make friends is to find people who like or accept those defects.  You’re just overly sympathetic because it’s your kid — but I’m sure you have standards when you deal with other people, too.

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  • August 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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    Your daughter seems to have the ability and the desire to make friends. Sure, it will be difficult for her in the beginning and even more difficult for you to watch. But, that is how we learn, and the best way for her to make friends of her own is by being the social “bumblefly” she is! I blog about communication wellness at http://www.myspeechtherapycenter.com. Feel free to visit our site for free parent resources!

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  • August 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm
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    I completely understand your issues.  I am a mother of four and my oldest son has asperger’s.  You can read my blog at http://diannaagain.wordpress.com/. It’s called Kickin’ Asperger’s Let me make a suggestion that has helped my son with personal space issues.  Buy a hoola hoop.  Use some strong cord and attach the hoop to you where it creates a halo around you.  Put it on and explain to your daughter that the space inside the hoola hoop is your space and she isn’t supposed to come into that space unless she is giving you a hug, a kiss, or telling you a secret.  Take the hoola hoop on and off and where it around for varying lenghts of time.  Having a concrete visual example of where that personal space is – can be very helpful for someone on the spectrum. 

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  • August 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm
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    @lifeonacitybusem4@xanga – Wow, I don’t agree with that at all. It is our job as parents to raise our kids to be accepting and to understand when a child has differences. I hate to think that there are parents out there telling their kids to ignore/cast aside my daughter just b/c she has autism and isn’t *exactly* like them. I really don’t know what else to say…just…wow. 

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  • August 11, 2010 at 1:29 am
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    I wish I knew the answer. I usually have at least one really good friend but have never quite worked out what to do or say (or not do or not say) that make one fit in. Its all right people making optimistic statements, but the reality is, if you’re different then a lot of people might accept you for a work mate but they really aren’t going to hang with you at the mall. Yes you can be trained, but that’s not you, and in my experience, ‘you’ always breaks through. 

    The only thing I can suggest, from my own experience, is to find an environment where some of her obsessions are an asset – a reptile club, for instance. If you have a local zoo, they will know of them.
    Funny thing is that what is unacceptable for friendship doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to romantic relationships, so that’s a good thing.

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  • August 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm
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    That is something that can be eventually corrected. Even me has problems of not looking at people when talking but I’m now better in this regard. Being different isn’t going to make one isolated if one has sufficient social skills, that can be trained. Me myself is an example.

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  • August 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm
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    I think you’re looking at this the wrong way.  Your daughter’s peers don’t owe her anything and if she makes them uncomfortable, then they have every right to not want to spend time with her. Aspergers or not, I’m not going to be eager to spend time with someone who violates my personal space and that doesn’t make me an intolerant person.  She just needs people who doesn’t view her personality flaws as flaws.  It’s a problem everyone has to deal with to some extent. 

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  • August 10, 2010 at 11:27 am
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    I agree, different is not bad. I’m different to other people and at school I got shunned for it. But I found some amazing friends still. Because there are always people who will accept your differences. I’m sure your daughter will make amazing friends too 🙂

    Reply

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