October 17, 2011 at 10:00 am
by Irina Gonzalez
Smart ways to help your tweens & teens navigate the real world by Rosalind Wiseman
Q: I’m worried about my 15-year-old, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and just started high school. He is bright and high functioning but has trouble socially and is very small for his age.
A: I totally get your concern. Navigating the complex world of high school social dynamics is hard enough, but kids with Asperger’s have even more difficulty reading others’ social cues. On top of that, they can be so concrete-thinking and honest that they may not pick up on people making fun of them. All this makes them especially vulnerable to being mocked or bullied. On the positive side, a lot of Asperger’s students I know want friends—they’re just not as concerned about fitting in or keeping up with the latest trends. So it’s crucial that your son learn three things: social skills, like not interrupting or constantly sharing stories about himself; communication tools, so he can speak to others about his Asperger’s (being honest and direct works well for my students); and strategic plan development, in case someone is cruel (this will help him reach out to teachers or counselors at school).
Read more Ask Rosalind.
– ROSALIND WISEMAN
Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes inspired the hit movie Mean Girls. For more info, go to rosalindwiseman.com.