My son started Middle School this year and was pretty popular in the elementary setting. He had plenty of friends to invite to his 11th birthday party. This year things are different; although still known by everyone, he really doesn't have anyone to call his real friend, by this I mean noone he would call to come over outside of school. Kids seem to be creating their own groups @ this age and he's not really included in any of these. On top of all this, the boy who he has considered his best friend for about 5 yrs. seems to be busy or doesn't return his phone calls. I know kids at this age are not trying to hurtful they just want to have a good time but my son is starting to notice noone wants to hang out with him. It is so hard on him and he is such a kind person. I have told him that sometimes you have to put yourself out there and jump in a join a group and he tries. I think even though these kids have known each other since Kindergarten they see the wheelchair and that's it. It's getting harder each day to put him on that bus knowing what he is up against; life is hard enough at 12 but then throw a obvious disability out there and look out. I just had a tough morning and was looking for somewhere to vent I guess. There is a program called"rap" in our area for disabled children to get out & socialize w/out their families but in the past a lot of these programs have kids with mental disabilities which is great but my son is intimidated with that and I've yet find a group with kids on his level. I hope this is just a phase and things will improve for him. This is a difficult time.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Colleen

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Hi Colleen: I really think things will be different for him in High School. Middle school is such a crummy trying time for kids. HS kids seem more responsive and caring where as MS is all about ME!!!! My son is only 10, but I can tell you I take things so personally. I have to really work at this and not allow it to give me a bad day. Liam takes things so much better than I and so much better than I realize he does. In the beginning I think a lot of his anxieties came from me - so I totally backed off and things improved - with regards to schooling. No one knows your son better than you do - so hang in there. You are a great parent and person!!!
Does you son have any interests outside of school? Can he join a club at school perhaps? I;m sure you have been through it all. Is your son walking at school or "wheeling?"
Noreen

Colleen said:
Hi Noreen,
Well, my son is 13 now and he is in 7th grade and I wish I could say things have gotten better socially, but unfortunately they haven't. Last winter I did host a boys nite, as one parent had suggested here on this site, and we had 5 boys over and they all had a great time. My son was thrilled and I was even happier than him, I think. Then just recently for his birthday he called a few friends to go out that wknd to an arcade and to eat to celebrate, either noone answered or the kids were busy(some couldn't even call to let him know after he had left a message, now that's frustrating)! He did find one friend to come, thank goodness. I see him becoming isolated and it really bothers me. His brother is 16 and is driving now and I have asked him to include his brother when he goes out w/friends once in awhile. He has done this and it is great even thought they are not in his grade at school, at least he gets out without Mom or Dad around. I hope things change in high school. It doesn't help that he's shy and is very conscious of himself, his self esteem is very low and we are constantly trying to improve this. He hates to even look at himself, it's just terrible some days. We go shopping and to the movies and out to eat. Those are some things he really enjoys. I just take it one day at a time, I think that is all that we can do.
I hope things are going well for you and your family during this holiday season.
Colleen
Hi Noreen,

Thanks for the response. You are absolutely right about the boys handling things alot better than we realize. Westin has been in an electric chair for about 3 1/2 yrs. now. Things are going pretty well now and we had a great Christmas. Thanks for your encouragement.
Happy New Year!
Colleen

irishgirl said:
Hi Colleen: I really think things will be different for him in High School. Middle school is such a crummy trying time for kids. HS kids seem more responsive and caring where as MS is all about ME!!!! My son is only 10, but I can tell you I take things so personally. I have to really work at this and not allow it to give me a bad day. Liam takes things so much better than I and so much better than I realize he does. In the beginning I think a lot of his anxieties came from me - so I totally backed off and things improved - with regards to schooling. No one knows your son better than you do - so hang in there. You are a great parent and person!!!
Does you son have any interests outside of school? Can he join a club at school perhaps? I;m sure you have been through it all. Is your son walking at school or "wheeling?"
Noreen

Colleen said:
Hi Noreen,
Well, my son is 13 now and he is in 7th grade and I wish I could say things have gotten better socially, but unfortunately they haven't. Last winter I did host a boys nite, as one parent had suggested here on this site, and we had 5 boys over and they all had a great time. My son was thrilled and I was even happier than him, I think. Then just recently for his birthday he called a few friends to go out that wknd to an arcade and to eat to celebrate, either noone answered or the kids were busy(some couldn't even call to let him know after he had left a message, now that's frustrating)! He did find one friend to come, thank goodness. I see him becoming isolated and it really bothers me. His brother is 16 and is driving now and I have asked him to include his brother when he goes out w/friends once in awhile. He has done this and it is great even thought they are not in his grade at school, at least he gets out without Mom or Dad around. I hope things change in high school. It doesn't help that he's shy and is very conscious of himself, his self esteem is very low and we are constantly trying to improve this. He hates to even look at himself, it's just terrible some days. We go shopping and to the movies and out to eat. Those are some things he really enjoys. I just take it one day at a time, I think that is all that we can do.
I hope things are going well for you and your family during this holiday season.
Colleen
Isolation seems to be rampant with this disease. We parents have to walk a fine line of being pushy and letting our sons be independent and choose to be in their own little world. I believe it is vital to get any child, dmd or not, into SOMETHING, be it band, Math Club, or Scouts. My son became an Eagle Scout! And don't forget MDA Camp--they find guys just like themselves and learn they are not alone with this. And, you will meet other dmd parents if you encourage your son to keep up with the friendships he makes at camp. I know dmd guys who prefer to be home-schooled and seldom leave their homes. My son is 29 and able to work full-time as a software development engineer---but this comes with a price. Work is tiring and lots of sleep is needed, so life becomes work, eat, sleep. Week-ends are downtime, except for church. He used to be in a very active singles group at church, but, things change and people leave and groups fall apart. We are presently looking for a new church that has opportunities for him. He is now in an adult Christian group that meets sporadically, but they always make sure they do lots of things my son can participate in. (he is not too skilled at mountain climbing!) My son went to public school all the way with the same aide who knew how to stand away, yet be there too.His childhood friends stopped coming over when they could work, drive, or date. He called them a lot-then less--then not at all. But fortunately WE went away to University where there are clubs or groups for every interest. A Bible study met in our on-campus apartment once a week. We went to church. We had "international" dinners with the exchange students. There are also friends on-line to keep in touch with. My son moderates an MDA chat, and apparently there are social games like Farmville to keep you busy. I always wished we had a large, involved family, but we don't, I am really rambling on here, but the point is that our boys have different personalities and it is up to us parents to nudge them in a direction they want to go--even if they don't think they want to at first. Life with our boys is different than we would have desired for them, but if we help them develop resiliency and a forgiving spirit, life will be okay if not wonderful.
Dear Ann,
Thanks for you comments, very helpful.
Happy New Year
Colleen

Ann Avery said:
Isolation seems to be rampant with this disease. We parents have to walk a fine line of being pushy and letting our sons be independent and choose to be in their own little world. I believe it is vital to get any child, dmd or not, into SOMETHING, be it band, Math Club, or Scouts. My son became an Eagle Scout! And don't forget MDA Camp--they find guys just like themselves and learn they are not alone with this. And, you will meet other dmd parents if you encourage your son to keep up with the friendships he makes at camp. I know dmd guys who prefer to be home-schooled and seldom leave their homes. My son is 29 and able to work full-time as a software development engineer---but this comes with a price. Work is tiring and lots of sleep is needed, so life becomes work, eat, sleep. Week-ends are downtime, except for church. He used to be in a very active singles group at church, but, things change and people leave and groups fall apart. We are presently looking for a new church that has opportunities for him. He is now in an adult Christian group that meets sporadically, but they always make sure they do lots of things my son can participate in. (he is not too skilled at mountain climbing!) My son went to public school all the way with the same aide who knew how to stand away, yet be there too.His childhood friends stopped coming over when they could work, drive, or date. He called them a lot-then less--then not at all. But fortunately WE went away to University where there are clubs or groups for every interest. A Bible study met in our on-campus apartment once a week. We went to church. We had "international" dinners with the exchange students. There are also friends on-line to keep in touch with. My son moderates an MDA chat, and apparently there are social games like Farmville to keep you busy. I always wished we had a large, involved family, but we don't, I am really rambling on here, but the point is that our boys have different personalities and it is up to us parents to nudge them in a direction they want to go--even if they don't think they want to at first. Life with our boys is different than we would have desired for them, but if we help them develop resiliency and a forgiving spirit, life will be okay if not wonderful.
My son has suggested to find more friends from summer camp with disabilties. My son at 16 feels that those kids are not really friends because friends shouldn't care about other friends' appearances. He is a freshman in high school and has found a few friends at school. There is also D A S A / Disabled Athlete Sports Association in quite a few states and they play power soccer and there is a perfect time to make more friends. Friends that can relate to our sons' struggles in school. We live in Missouri and I wish you lived around here because we could always bring my two kids and meet at like bowling alleys, skating rinks, and even parks where they could meet and have a good time. Maybe you already know of a couple boys or girls in chairs that might meet at places like that and just have a good time.

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