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#271341 - 05/11/15 11:40 PM Tonight
ateacch Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 04/23/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Wisconsin
I just needed a place to express my feelings. Tonight was 6th grade DARE graduation. Took my son to participate. They know what has been going on and they make him go to top of bleachers in the middle so he can't get out or move if he needed to. Lasted over an hour.
Then sadness set in as I watched all of the kids who have these tight bonds and my son just sat and I don't think talked to anyone. He has missed out on so much over the past 3 years.
I just hope that someone at the MS will take the time to see and notice what I did tonight. He just doesn't have the confidence to put himself out there right now.
Any advice on what to do to help him?

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#271344 - 05/12/15 09:10 AM Re: Tonight [Re: ateacch]
EHP Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 07/29/14
Posts: 8
This breaks my heart, and I can't say my son's middle school experience was very different some of the time. I don't think the boys understand what is going on, and it is hard to maintain friendships. Absences really interfere with school social life since so much of it involves which table you are sitting at during lunch, and who your partners are for science class. You can lose those places if you are out for even a week. If you stop playing soccer, it is hard to maintain friendships with the soccer kids. One thing that got my son through those years was music. He continued with that when all the sports were not possible, and that provided an outlet, a community, and a sense of accomplishment. He had a private lesson so the demand wasn't too high, but it was an area of strength and competence. I would try to find something not dependent on physical ability to keep your son involved with an activity.

Middle school is pretty tough socially at the best of times, and I think appearances are deceiving. Some kids who look very well connected feel isolated, and those who appear alone are content. Our family tried very hard to keep my son going during the worst times, planning around his health and giving him opportunities and experiences. It almost sounds cliche, but we took him to see a band he liked, or planned a trip to the city and went to a museum. We brought along cousins and he has siblings, so he was social, just not with his school friends as much. I hate to admit this because I dislike video games, but xbox live was a good way for my son to connect when he was out of school, and he played some games and chatted with friends when he wouldn't have been up for much else. When his health improved, he switched schools and it all worked out.

The last thing we did was find lots of funny things to watch together. There is an endless amount of humor on You Tube, or even a TV series to watch together on Netflix. He would come home from middle school just drained and that helped him to relax, and think about something else. I am smiling just thinking about it. He was probably a bit older, and found a lot of this himself, but honestly laughter helped and we found ways to laugh through a lot of the more depressing experiences (mri, lab, doctors visits, etc...).

I have learned that each phase will eventually pass, and the most important part is getting your son healthy, making sure he feels supported, and not letting the illness define him. We had to be very strong for him, including pushing him forward when I would have loved to protect him. We would act as if things were fine, hoping that they would be. You will probably have a better year in middle school in 7th grade, after this adjustment and with more information on all sides.

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#271362 - 05/13/15 01:17 PM Re: Tonight [Re: ateacch]
Ericsmom Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 235
Loc: Ventura County, CA
Middle school is/was horrible even for the best of us. If you ask anyone if they would like to go back and relive their middle school days, everyone I know would answer with a resounding NO!!!

I don't know anything about your son's personality, but aside from his AS, is he naturally a quiet kid? If so, it probably makes it tougher for him to catch up socially after each absence. Is his AS under control at all or are there other treatments still available that he has not tried? I know that even after we got my son's AS under control in elementary school, he found he had to get up at least 1/2 hour early in the morning to stretch and get moving. It is a habit that he has carried through and still does today at age 19. He has also found that yoga and exercise make him more flexible and relieve his pain. It is hard to get a middle school aged kid to try things like this but maybe if you took a yoga class with him it would help. Look for school activities that might help him come out of his shell and those that may not aggravate his AS. Schools often have speech or debate teams, music programs, theater, computer or robot clubs....... Try to find out what interests him and try to get him involved. The more other kids see him involved in activities, the more they will go out of their way to talk to him. I have 4 kids and I know how hard it is to watch them be unhappy. You want to do anything you can to make them happy! We always tried to have the house where kids would want to hang out. It gave us a chance to have our kids around and to get to know other kids. We always kept extra food on hand, let the kids have sleep-overs frequently, gave them supervised privacy so they could watch movies togetherand laugh, and tried to take friends with us to different activities. Is there some activity that your son really enjoys that you could plan a day around and invite a friend or 2? Something like a baseball game, a museum, paintball????

The main thing is to try to get your son's disease under control so that he doesn't have to miss school. Be sure that your Dr. is up to date on current treatments and if one approach isn't helping your son, insist on trying other remedies.

Best wishes!!!! Jennifer

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