Social Skills + Screaming

It doesn’t seem like social skills and screaming go together right?  Well, they don’t.

I’ve been trying to teach that concept to the Roc and haven’t had much luck.  I’ve scheduled play dates to teach him the concept of sharing, taking turns, playing games and how to make and keep a friend but it’s not sinking in.  I don’t know if it’s me, or him, or the both of us but I’ve been pretty frustrated during these recent play dates.  I feel like a failure that I can’t teach my kid to play with other kids without screaming when something doesn’t go exactly as he wants it to. Things that are instinctive for other kids my kid just doesn’t get.

So imagine my excitement when I heard about a place that runs social skills groups!  Yes!  Someone else can give this a try and maybe it will stick!  A few weeks ago the Roc and I visited the facility where the Roc played in a big pirate ship ball pit, swung on the swing and did some puzzles while I talked to the therapist.  She came across as very knowledgeable about Autism and the Roc seemed to like her.  So even though I cringed when I saw the price, I signed him up anyway.

The Roc had his first Social Skills Group this morning.  It was 1.5 hours long and I stayed in the waiting room the whole time (I brought something to occupy myself) in case they needed me.  I was the only parent to stay!  I was hoping to make some new Autism Mommy friends–you can never have too many of those right?!  Oh well.

So far there are only two other children in the group and two adults leading it.  They start in a “sensory room” where there is a big ball pit, trampoline, swing, basketball hoop and a bunch of puzzels and toys.  Then they have circle time where they must introduce themselves and talk to their neighbors.  Later they do a craft project, play some games, have a snack and participate in some directed free play.  I could hear the Roc talking a lot, talking about what the other kids were doing, which we call his “running commentary,” and talking about what he was doing.  I heard him squealing when they played in the tunnels and I was happy that he seemed to be having a good time, for the most part.

I also heard him scream a few times.  He gets so easily frustrated and has some personal space issues.  I’ve been working on getting him to use his words instead of screaming and so far he’s not listening to me, probably because he can’t hear me over his own screams.  He has an ear splitting, wanna rip out your hair, stick a fork in your eye scream.  I HATE it when he screams in public, or when we have the windows open and my neighbors are outside like yesterday.  My stomach clenches and I feel like a terrible parent (I also want to scream back at him–is that normal?)  So, I cringed this morning in the waiting room when I heard his terrible screech…and then I remembered the money I forked over (actually, it was my credit card) and smiled.  Let someone else deal with it for 1.5 hours.  I think this social skills group is going to be really good for him.  I really hope they can get through to him about using words instead of screams.  And the concept of an inside voice.

I think I’ll bring my headphones next week.


5 thoughts on “Social Skills + Screaming

  1. Oh, man, a lot of this sounds familiar. Charlotte used to do the running commentary a lot. She still does it on occasion, but it’s not predominant anymore.

    I really think that as the Roc’s language develops, the screaming will decrease. It’s good that you are working on it with him, but in large part I think it’s something that will just take some time. If you REALLY want to speed things along – give him a little brother or sister. 😉

    Charlotte is going to do a social skills group this summer. It’s for 2 hours once a week for 6 weeks. Really looking forward to it! I am excited to see how she does.

  2. I really want to get Hannah into a social skills group too. You are so lucky that there is one near you. I’m having trouble finding one that is for high functioning kids.

  3. I agree about the margarita!! I am glad you found a something like this for him. I bet it will be great for him! You are such a good Mommy!! He is so lucky to have you:)

  4. That’s a long session, so if its going so well already, its only going to get better! Once he gets used to the routine, he’ll probably love this. Just remember, “typical” kids don’t share well this young either.

    If you trust this place, maybe you should go do something special nearby for yourself during that time. Leave your cell phone number and get a manicure or pedicure, or a cup of coffee, or just relax near a scenic place.

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