‘Since our son turned 15 I cannot think of a single person he has socialised with’

Tell me about it: Up until two years, he was a fun-loving, gregarious boy with lots of friends – now he has completely isolated himself and has started to fail in school

Being different in secondary school is a huge challenge and exclusion is one of our biggest fears – your son may feel at a fundamental level that his survival relies on no one discovering who he really is. Photograph: iStock

Being different in secondary school is a huge challenge and exclusion is one of our biggest fears – your son may feel at a fundamental level that his survival relies on no one discovering who he really is. Photograph: iStock

Question: I am married with three children. We have two grown-up daughters, who have left home and are now making a life of their own, and a 17-year-old son who we are both really worried about.

As a child and a young teenager he was boisterous, gregarious and generally great fun to be around. Up until two years ago he had lots of friends, both male and female, but since he turned 15 I cannot think of a single person that he has socialised with. I know he does communicate with some people on social media, but he hasn’t gone to a party or an event or met up with anyone in years.

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