Hello @Mamma3 , Not sure if this is your first time to the parents' forum, but I wanted to welcome you along and before I address what's going on with your son, I wanted to reassure you that you are doing a great job, your son sounds connected to you and you've had 14 years of relationship and experience there, even if you currently feel out of your depth. While professional help has it's role, the love and support of family and friends is beyond measure. The other thing is that it seems many parents of teens are having trouble getting their kids to see a professional psychologist, and my way around that is to skill myself up or o to appointments myself. I also wanted to check whether your son was on the NDIS and having any occupational therapy because that is our mainstay. Just to let you know about us...We have a 16 year old son just starting Year 12 who is somewhat on the spectrum and a 14 year old daughter. Our daughter is in Year 9 and it's never been a good year but I'm sure covid isn't helping. So many activities have been cancelled and i know my daughter and peers are looking for excitement and are risk taking etc each in different ways. However, it's a few chats we had with our son which I think are most relevant to you. After NSW was coming out of lockdown and he was faced with going back to school, his anxiety levels were through the roof and he couldn't calm his mind and get to sleep. He sat with us and just talked it out for quite awhile and he even brought up issues around our dog dying 3 years ago. In a sense it was cathartic that all these issues came out, but I also feel that the stress of covid was like a germ activating a wound. I also got wind of issues among his friends at one point where a girl "cheated" on one of his mates and she was ostracised and his mates wouldn't go anywhere near her. There's that real pack mentality. I was concerned and raised it with the school in a separate conversation, as I was concerned for her welfare. I just read your message again and picked up on the distant thing, and our 14 year old daughter was like that for a few months too and does tend to live in her room on her phone connecting with friends and we're not of great interest. My connection with our daughter has improved a lot recently. I had to drive her to a few things and we talk in the car. She loves spending money and we did a bit of shopping and I took her out for churros and bought her a new dress. It did feel a bit like I was trying to buy a friend but I didn't really care too much at the time. She was talking to me and it was like being in the Spring sunshine again. I think with these kids it's about snatching a few minutes with them here and there and building on that. I also think working on your son's self-esteem would be a good idea too. You haven't mentioned whether he has something he's good at and enjoys but it's important to have that foundational self-esteem and even getting to that point can be very difficult for many teenagers. I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in my mid-20s which resulted from a difficult birth and wasn't terribly symptomatic at school but enough to be teased, not good at sport and feel different and awkward. That was hard at times but I ended up finding a great group of friends out of school and belonging there. That reminds me of the importance of having multiple groups of friends and community connections so that if one group blows up as it will, they have somewhere else to turn and it's not the end of the world. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Birdwings
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