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BOTD 2/26/17 "The Reader" An 18Smacked Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
The Reader
An 18Smacked Good Boy Production


Your 7 year-old son, Donny, is sitting outside by the pool doing his favorite activity in the entire world; reading. You or your wife take him twice a week to the local library and there, he gets a dozen books to read, which he finishes before it is time to return them. (The books he gets are real full-length books, and not Dr. Seuss type books, by any means, BTW. The books he reads are 7th and 8th grade level books.) The problem is, reading is practically all the boy does. He excels in school and gets stellar grades academically as well as in conduct. His reading ability, and vocabulary puts him in the upper quartile, normalized for his age. He is taking French and Spanish classes, because he is in the first reading group. He knew the alphabet when he was 2 years and 2 months and was reading a couple of months later; self-taught.

He is polite and gets along best with adults. So, what's the problem, you ask…. Take a look at the picture, please.

Note the pale skin. This is the first time that Donny has gone outside for more than 5 minutes, excepting walking to and from school. Basically, all he does is go to school, the library and read. He has virtually no friends and while he has not had problems making friends, he does not care to do so. Given his own choices, he would like just to read all day long.

You do not envision his being on the varsity football or soccer team, but you'd like your son to have some interest in having a bit of a social life. Yet, the only time he will go outside is if you virtually kick him outside. If you do not let him take a book or more with him, he virtually throws a temper tantrum. When you arrange a play date for him with kids in the neighborhood, he acts like he speaks a foreign language and doesn't understand the overtures and gestures to involve him in any activities that the other kids make to him. He does not complain about being lonely, but his only friends are his books.

He is not complaining about his situation, but you know it is not good. You fear he will be picked on mercilessly by the other kids, if not for being "a nerd," for having no friends who will stick up for him. You signed him up for a basketball and soccer team at the YMCA and all he basically did was stand around on the sidelines. He knows all the rules of the games; you patiently explained all that to him and even took him to some of the pro games. Now he knows the rules even better than you. But, he just has zero interest in participating.


DONNY - 7
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You know the dangers of isolation that he will face, and you want to help him avoid that. But, what, if anything, can you do to help him have some friendships?


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Hmmm . . . scratch

Am I overreacting here?  It seems that perhaps I am borrowing trouble.  scratch

It would appear I have been taking the wrong approach to socializing the boy.  I need to look for book groups, science clubs, academic camps, etc.  It seems Donny simply needs to find people/kids with more of his kind of personality and interests.

I am going to simply monitor the situation but I think I will look in to some juvenile book clubs and academic camps.

And, oh, since he is sort of pale, I need to make sure he is slathered with sunscreen when I am able to coax him outdoors.


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AFinch

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Sherrif
I agree with DMK. Rather than pushing Donny to participate in activities in which he has no interest, we need to find him "some of his own kind".

The slogan for BroadwayCon is "There's a place for us" (it's also the beginning of the climactic song from West Side Story). But there is--for everyone.

Growing up, most of my friends weren't from my year of school, but a couple of years ahead, at least until high school. It sounds like Donny might fit in better with a somewhat older crowd than other 2nd graders. If his favorite thing is books, a book group, or D&D for kids--that could segue into music or theater, also with other kids who like the same thing. Everyone doesn't HAVE to be a ballplayer.

As to sun--I agree with David again. While parents may think kids look better with a "healthy tan", dermatologists would disagree.

Jack

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Admin
Excuse me a second - I need a consultation.

"Hey, Kier - with this kind of behavior, do you think I should have him checked to see if he rates on the autism spectrum?"

Either way that goes, I don't see anything wrong with his behavior.

Instead of signing the kid up for sports in which he's not interested, I think I'll try a different approach.

1) I'm going to set up goals for him to do outdoors, where he can earn points for extra library visits or to buy books of his own.

2) I'm going to get him to read a bunch of dog and boy books, then buy a dog which he can walk.

Or maybe I'll even add - 3) get him to read some old Boys Adventure Books about Scouting (he should enjoy the Mad Scientist Club), then see if he's interested in trying Cub Scouts.

And while I'm normally against this, we may need to consider moving him up a grade or two, so he can interact with kids more on his level.


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jackson1


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I immediately though of the possibility of autism as well.

There are plenty of other activities than sports.

Find out what type of books he likes to read and go from there.

If it's science fiction, maybe get involved in rocketry or some other science-related activity.

StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
Stevie is too frightened to comment...

Adric

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Cowboy
"... You signed him up for a basketball and soccer team at the YMCA and all he basically did was stand around on the sidelines. ..."

Mistake.  No more signing him up for competitive sports in which he is not interested.  He can do just fine without any team sports, ever.  He might possibly be able to get interested in individual athletic activities like swimming, but if that isn't working either I won't push it.

Maybe he would learn to play chess and enjoy a chess club.  That sounds more appropriate given what I know about him.  Basically like most of the others I agree with DMK.  The key is to find a social opportunity that fits his personality.

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ivor

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Marshall
The world is made up of people with different interests - we aren't all a herd of sheep. If that is what makes him happy then just accept it and try and get him to mix with kids who have similar interests, not force him into something that has no appeal

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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Book club - yes
Chess club - yes, yes
Dog - yes, yes, yes!
Musical
Sports clubs - no - since it's clear he has no interest. However, if he's so keen on learning the rules, maybe in a little while he might like to take up officiating in a sport.

squarecutter

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Sherrif
I would worry about this only if Donny is not getting the excercise his little body needs or find normal interractions at school difficult. Sport may not be histhing. So be it. Consult his teachers about that. I think book club would be good. Its often easier to talk to people about what interests YOU if you know others will be receptive and he could gain confidence and maybe be more sociable this way.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
About these kids who might tease him . . .

I wonder what happens in 25 years when Donald Bransom, MD, PhD, performs a life-saving surgery on one of them.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Pi Beta wrote:Book club - yes
Chess club - yes, yes
Dog - yes, yes, yes!
Musical
Sports clubs - no - since it's clear he has no interest. However, if he's so keen on learning the rules, maybe in a little while he might like to take up officiating in a sport.

This was me to a tee, as a kid. I was not athletic due to an improperly diagnosed congenital condition that had my shoulders partially dislocating when throwing a ball. My parents' solution was to send me to sports camps, and spend weekends with cousins who were heavily into sports activities. Needless to say, it did not work at all.

In H.S. I unwittingly developed my own solution. I was the Sport Editor and Photographer or the H.S. Newspaper. Suddenly, instead of picking on me, all the jocks wanted to protect me from anyone who was giving me a hard time. (Of course, they were hoping for a mention or picture in the newspaper.) But, no one ever gave me a hard time again.

As a Junior, the County Newspaper Photographer called me up and said he had seen my work on the school paper, and asked if I would like to take pictures for them on weekend- a job that paid extremely well, and even gave me photo credits as well as a chance to sell the pictures I took. It was a wonderful position to have. Once, a drowning occurred in a State Park lake, and I got an exclusive at the scene, and made a small fortune in just a few  days. All my money went to my college funds.

I was also involved in a service club in H.S., and held a position as Editor of the newspaper for the  New England District of the Club. (A sort of junior Kiwanis Club, called Key Club.) I had an opportunity to go all over New England as a Sr. in school, making speeches to other high schools as well as Kiwanis Clubs. And, I won First Place in an international competition of the District newspapers; to this day, I still have the 2 1/2 foot (76 cm) tall trophy I received. A wonderful experience- all as a result of not being athletic!

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