How do I talk to my boyfriend about the fact that I think that there may be some developmental issues with his son?
My boyfriend has an 11-year-old son that clearly has some issues socially. At first, I thought that he was just very immature and possibly a little spoiled, but the more I observe and research, I strongly suspect that he may have Asperger's. He exhibits many of the symptoms. He has had some problems in the past with bullying and not fitting in and a change in schools improved the situation, but I hate to see him continue to struggle. He starts middle school this year, and I'm afraid that the teasing will worsen. My boyfriend has acknowledged that he is a little immature, but says that that's just the way he is, and he doesn't want to make his son feel like something is wrong with him. How can I encourage him to get his son evaluated without him becoming defensive? I don't even know how to bring up the fact that I have concerns without it sounding like I'm criticizing his son.
Chances are that you are not the only one who may have concerns with your boyfriend's son. Perhaps you could ask him about this child's school success and if a meeting with teachers may be warranted. Maybe frame it in that you want to ensure that he is safe and find ways to help him fit in more. School teams are often equipped to help parents when their children have delays or are experiencing difficulties.
This is a very difficult topic to address and the spectrum of Asperger's is quite large. Has the school ever addressed anything similar to this topic with him?
I guess the best way is to be honest and gentle with your words. When I have to address a difficult topic with parents at conferences, I always want them to understand how much I care about their child but that I have to be honest so that their child has the best chance to be successful. We can't ever say that we think their child has ADHD or Asperger's, but we can share our concerns, and then form a plan together. The plan may involve seeing their family doc or meeting with the school pshycologist.
If he feels your love for him and his son, he may hurt for his son, but deep down he may also wonder. I will be thinking of you!