Tell Me About your Asperger's Kid
To start, I am posting this under a new screen name, to protect my little man while he undergoes a possible Asperger's diagnosis process.
My 8 year old DS is in the process of being assessed by our school district for dyslexia or another learning disability. During the assessment process, the school psychologist noticed some behaviors in him, like a lack of eye contact, and decided to have us fill out an Asperger's scale. She had his teacher fill one out, too. I'm not sure who else was asked to fill one out. The team met yesterday to go over his results, and the school psychologist called me today to set up a meeting to go over the results next week. I've been waiting for several weeks for the Asperger's results, and even longer for the academic results, so I asked her if she could tell me a little bit now. She said that they believe that he does present with Asperger's.
I am a certified teacher (although I stay home now) with a Master's degree in teaching, so I'm a little more aware of Asperger's symptoms than a normal parent would be, although I am in no way an expert.
I know my son is a bit "quirky"-- he's a bit socially awkward, doesn't make friends easily (although he does have one or two good friends), has trouble with eye contact, and talks a lot about his Minecraft video game. Academically: He's had trouble learning to read. He's been in speech therapy since he was 18 months old (first for a lack of words, then for articulation, and now for fluency and grammar). His handwriting is terrible. He reverses letters and numbers and transposes consonant digraphs and s-blends as well as two-digit numbers.
BUT, he has a pretty well-developed sense of humor (he makes jokes all the time, and they are actually funny). He likes a schedule, but does not freak out or stress out if the schedule is changed. His behavior in school is near perfect (they use a color system-- blue, then green, then yellow, then red)-- He is in second grade and has only gotten on green once in kindergarten b/c he forgot to write his name on his paper. He is affectionate with those he knows well. We have not noticed any sort of stemming actions from him.
Anyhow, I'd like to hear from others who have children diagnosed with Asperger's. What is your child like? How severe are the symptoms? Do they interfere with your child's behavior at school? I could be in complete denial, but I think that while DS may have some Asperger's-like tendencies, that they are not pronounced enough to label him with Asperger's. I am probably going to take him to a developmental pediatrician to get a medical opinion about it. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Just curious as to why you feel the need for a new screen name as a protection for your son?
First of all, it's a teensy bit offensive to parents of children with AS when we encounter something that portrays AS as something to hide or be ashamed of-even if it is just a suspicion. That said, I will answer your questions from my experience with my own dd9 who has Asperger's Syndrome.
While there is diagnostic criteria to help diagnosticians identify people with ASD, there is a very large spectrum of presentations. Some kids with AS can be very sociable and outgoing. They can express emotion and have empathy.
To address your comments about your son doing well in school, my experience is when my dd is in a situation where she is safe and comfortable she tends to do well and "blend in" easier. It could be that they are already naturally giving your son some supports to help him in this regard. What my question to you would be is: does he have issues in new or strange situations? Does he have any rigidity with regard to routines (likes to do the same things the same way)? Does he have emotional regulation issues (ie have trouble controlling his emotional responses)? Does he have lower frustration tolerance than same aged peers? These are things that would give a bigger picture.
You might perceive "stimming" as the stereotypical hand flapping or rocking, but there are many ways kids with ASD "stim". Ritualistic movements or rubbing or touching things when they are upset are some that are more difficult to perceive.
At age 8, it would be difficult to think your son has Asperger's and you not have any suspicions or things that lead you to think the school might be right. If that were the case, it would be a very high functioning child or a parent in complete denial. Usually parents see behaviors that are atypical much earlier than 8 years old in my experience. If you question the school's diagnosis, you should seek an independent third party opinion.
The first half of your post very much does sound like Asperger's btw. And if it does turn into a diagnosis, it is not a "bad" thing in any way! Children with AS are many times gifted with amazing talents and abilities and everyone, whether diagnosed with something or not, has their own strengths and weaknesses. ASD is just a particular grouping of these.
I would just like to add that it would be worth your time and the expense (if not covered by insurance), to have your son privately evaluated by professionals of your choice, no matter what the school finds.
I totally understand... We are still waiting on a referral for an eval for my 4yr old. I told my mother about it and now she's buying my magazines and posting stuff on my FB page!!! URGH!!! Not that its the end of the world or something to be ashamed of, but its like you said.. we do not have a diagnosis yet and so why do I need my business spread around. Going to have to close it down if it keeps up. I only use it to keep in contact with distant family and friends that live far away. I think I'm on there 2x a month at best!!! Anyhow... I used to be a pediatric private nurse for special needs children, working inside a 100% special needs schoolsfor years and still provide respite care and after school. So, its mostly annoying that she's doing that as if I have no background experience. The difference? This time around its MY child... I've known since he was a wee baby that he's had sensory processing issues and has been in therapy for a while. He's also had some seizure activity but giving an EEG to an 18mo who was uncooperative didn't work out and the results came back 'negative'. (Doesn't mean there's not, just that he didn't have anything go on while we were there.) Last weekend he had a sleep study done because he had pauses in his breathing a few times an hour. He didn't cooperate too well with that either. We were told at 4am that we could go ahead and leave even though he barely slept. I have a feeling that's going to come back 'negative' as well.
So, long story being short... It's different and sometimes hard to see in our own kids. When we are around them so much we just get used to certain things and see it as 'normal' for that child. When the doctor mentioned having him evaluated, I suddenly started seeing everything and realizing how long he's had certain behaviors, etc. Not that I was blind or a negligent parent, but just because I was paying more attention to the small things.
I have ds10 who is AS - but very high functioning to the point where I consider him 'borderline'. It sounds like your son might fall into this category. I agree with pp that at age 8 it would be unusual for you not to have noticed anything....We had ds evaluated at age 4.
Anyway - Onto life with ds. He is amazing! :) He loves his routine is VERY literal (that part is improving a bit as he is recognizing that the English language is very UN-literal. He does get rigid/upset about changes to his routine (He might tell me he had a HORRIBLE day at school and then proceed to tell me that the bus driver and his teacher were both substitutes). He does not usually have meltdowns over it, but he can retreat and be very contradictary (as in - Let's go for ice cream - NO, I dont' WANT ice cream - I'll wait in the car) when the routine is very upset or other things set him off.
We find that we naturally adjust our routine and parenting to handle his needs, so sometimes it appears that nothing is out of the ordinary. For example, I ALWAYS give warnings of time left for just about EVERYTHING we do (5 more minutes until lights go off....One more ride before we go to lunch...We have to leave in 10 minutes, etc.). This is handled much more easily than just announcing 'we're leaving'. This is the main reason we never have had, nor never will have a 'surprise' WDW trip - it would NOT go over well with DS.
To give an example of liking routine I will tell you this story: My kids wanted a pet. I convinced dh to let me give them a guinea pig for Christmas 2 years ago. I bought one and hid her at my sister's house and we brough her home xmas eve and kept her in the basement. Once all presents were opened we told the kids they had one more present in the basement. When ds saw the cage and the GP - he got pretty upset. He said 'Can we send it back?' and 'Now everything is goign to change'. Now, being his mother and knowing I can't spring things on him - i totally expected this reaction and knew that it would change. Within 2 days he was starting to like the GP and felt bad for wanting to send her back. Within 2 weeks he loved her. That's just my ds.
We do not have the same academic difficulties that you have. DS has a photographic memory and does very well at school behaviorly (TOTAL rule follower - almost to the point to annoy tthe teacher if she tries to bend the rules here or there) and academically.
Socially - He struggles. Seems to do fine in school and interacts with kids...but at home prefers to read his books and play Wii (and talk nonstop about Mario Kart - I have to tell him 'you can tell me about that race for one more minute, then we need to talk about something else'). I know he could do better in this area but he also could do a lot worse. I think that he is just 'on' and out of his comfort zone around kids all day long at school that he just prefers to be a loner at home.
That's about it - the day in the life with my ds. Oh and btw- we do not have him in any type of therapy right now - but have battled with that decision on and off for a year or two.
Hi I also have a 10 yr old son with Aspergers
I've known from very early on that my son had some form of autism as he was starved of oxygen when born ventilated for 10 days 100% and put on a trial drug for immune therapy that was a very strong anti-biotic ( which they now know can cause autism when given in high doses when 1st born)
Anyways at 2 he still didn't move would be happy to lie on the floor for hours without crying or needing any stimulation he didn't walk but would commando crawl,
It didn't make sense at the time but unused to try and sing him nursery songs but he would scream however if my mum sing to him he was fine she has a heavy pitch to her voice unlike me ( and I can sing lol)
However he could say his Abc and pretty much all colours and shapes!
By 3 he was talking non-stop ( and still does to the point of it being over bearing)
He was also starting to flap his hands we used to call it doing aeroplane hands as they would go like propellers, when ever he was nervous/excited etc
He was a really amazing baby and toddler so well behaved never had to ask him twice to do anything!
I had twins when he was 2 & half and I noticed a change in him he was jealous "which was to be expected" but it was more then that he needed 1 on 1 all the time
When he started school he did ok but learned slowly,
His behaviour by the time he was 5/6 was really awful he would have full blown melt downs where he would scream and throw his body in al sorta of bent shapes for hours!
BUT at school he was an angel I only had to get him to walk across the carpark at the school before it would start,
He discovered computer games and this is when are issues really hit hard! He would want to be on them all day long when we 1st gave him a x box he wouldn't eat or go to the to the toilet unless we made him, he would be on it hours and then scream when he had to come off that he had only just gone on it!
He also talked about the game as if it was real??
It got harder as the twins got older...they are all boys and he has quite a dislike to 1 of the twins not sure why.
Anyway's my list could go on but ill try and make it short as I can,
The last 2 years have been hell! He is just getting more aggressive we have been fighting his diagnosis for a while as the school teacher kept telling the doctor how wonderful he is at school and how she does not understand how he. Could be so different and aggressive etc at home!
Well last September he went to middle school where instead of him being in a tiny class of 14 he is in a class of 31,
We decided through advice of a friend not to tell the school our concerns and see if the school picked up on anything......
After 3 months of him being there we was sent a letter explaining they was putting Brandon on a I.E.P ( not sure if you know what that is) but its a individual education plan for children seriously struggling with work, and he will get 1 on 1, th reason they have us was he had ASPERGERS!!
She said the following
1. Severe lack in concentration
2. Never comes prepared for any lessons
3. Very forgetful yet has a photographic memory?
4. Fidgets a lot
5.writing is very bad only sometimes readable
6. Over helpful to the Point it disrupts the class as I the teacher for example sneezes he gets up and gets her a tissue,
7. Over polite to the extreme
8. Never finishes any work or task given.
We actually was so relieved when the teacher told us this as we felt like it was us and we was just the worst parents doing every thing wrong!
We find him to be loving in some cases when he wants to be on his terms but have no idea of jokes or sarcasm.he takes everything very matter of fact so I'd you said you was going to run out in front of a car he would believe you.
He doesn't always get people's feelings when he was 6 I had a miss carriage the boys knew about the baby and for a few months after every time he seen a pregnant lady in the shops he would tell her.... Mummy had a baby in her tummy but its dead now!
He needs to know exactly what time it is and so we try and find away around that as if he needs to know what time we are doing something he goes in and on until its done.
I hope this has helped a little and I wish you luck :)
Our younger dd who's 7 and in the first grade was dx'd with mild autism at 20 mths. She has always had a speech delay, hence the autism dx, vs Aspergers.
She's been in private practice O/T for 3 yrs, due to low tone, motor planning, and multiple other issues. Her O/T has dx'd her with Visual Processing Disorder. This is a wicked learning disorder, affecting reading, writing, spelling and math. Basically anything that can be read as a symbol or code is affected.
I am concerned that your child has been flagged for reading and math.
Our dd is in a mainstream 1st grade class. She is currently at risk for retention. She has 4 different sets of words to learn each week: Fundations, vocab words, word families and sight words.
I think this is too disjointed. At home, I'm trying to teach her word families. These are easy sound it out words. I know our school is trying so hard to not pull her out for SPED services. I appreciate that. But I feel she was left behind months ago, due to her inability to decode words and numbers. So on weekends, I dial it down, and we work to her ability. I have numbers 1-100 in groups of ten on flash cards. We look at a group of 10 together, then I say 3 numbers within that group that I ask her to write down.
We work with words that are easy to sound out. I feel she got left behind on this, and we need to give her a foundation, before all this disjointed memorization. Basically, at home, I want her to "find success" every or most every time.
My son is 9 1/2 years old and saw a developmental pediatrician a year ago and she did not diagnose him with anything but said he had "asperger tendencies". It's funny reading the other kids with aspergers, because it fits my son so well. At my son's last teacher's conference, the first thing the teacher said was "your son is very sociable". I have seen him at school interacting at school with the kids and gets along but would also rather read, play his ipod or watch godzilla or play legos. He is friends with one boy on the block and they play once or twice a week but to be honest, I think he would be just as happy playing with himself. It's funny, he just loves being home with his family and doing "his things". He plays nicely with his twin sister and 3 year old brother. He got a A+ in science and loves social studies, his writing is very poor and he's not a good speller. He is not really coordinated and has a bit of low muscle tone and is not interested in sports (I think mostly because he's not good at them). He will talk to me about his ninjagos and other hero factory figures and at times go on and on about them. He doesn't make good eye contact with strangers either. I think he may be asperger's or just have it slightly but definetely has some of the characteristics of it. He is a funny kid and is super loving and I am proud to be his mom. PS I held my son back when he was in 2nd grade (along with his twin sister) because I thought it would be beneficial since he had some learning issues and his sister was struggling a bit as well. I have never regretted it. Glad I did it. He matured more and doesn't struggle with the school work.
I knew my son was "different" from the day he was born. I know that sounds extreme, but I could sense it. He was my third child so I had comparisons. Maybe if he had been my first it would have taken longer to detect. I can't imagine anyone not noticing by the age of one.
My son has every single trait that are signs of Aspergers. Every last one of them! He wasn't spared anything. I will say that his best years were between approx. 6 and 14 years. Now he is 23 and all but impossible to live with. He does work full time (thank God.) Of all things, he is a tech support person. Apparently, that kind of communication comes much easier to a person with Aspergers. Social communication is practically non existent even though I know he CAN communicate since he did when he was younger.
My son is extremely rude. He will push past people without a thought, but God forbid if someone gets in his space. He will walk away when a person is trying to talk to him without even acknowledging them. He knows the rules of polite society as I made him follow them as a child. Since he doesn't understand why the rules are there, as an adult, he has chosen to ignore them.
I wish I could be more positive, but the best thing you can do is pray your son (and your family) are spared this ugly condition. It's a nightmare. Because Asperger's victims look normal and are of normal or high intelligence, people expect them to act normal. They just don't understand like they would with an obviously impaired person.
Before I get to my DS I will give some quick advice and notes:
Get a copy of Tony Attwood's "the complete guide to Aspergers" (on Amazon for $16) and read it.
Understand the primary characteristic groups (sensory executive function and social) Understand the difference between them and the manifestations that are often created by and environment that discriminates and often abuses them.
Our kids are born exactly how they were intended to be since ASD is a clear multigenerational evolutionary genetic branch of the human family adn have amazing gift that our world cannot do without.
Now for My DS13. It was a battle just to get an educational classification so you are one of the rare parents who was fortunate to run into a school psychologist who has clue. His characteristics were always there, but the manifestations got pronounced in 1st and second grade when the school was trying to make him "neurotypical" We are fortunate to have an accepting and supportive extended family. He has sensory sensitivity and some of the fine and gross motor skills that you reference. Socially he has worked hard to develop the intellectual compensatory skills to take the place of the innate ones that our kids lack. EF wise he is completely a non linear (visual) preference learner and has intellectual abilities in non linear processing that are truly amazing (but has a hard time doing 3 tasks in a row without support tools). school has been a battle of mostly well meaning people who did not have a clue. He is finally in a private school which understand him and he is flourishing and has many abilities well above his peers. While quiet and reserved he is for the most part happy so that is the most important thing (lots of damage in the public school system).
He is truly a gift both to us and the world.
We found out my son has Asbergers about 5 years ago. It was an eye opener, and quite a bit made sense after that. He's now 14, and is pretty high functioning. I do the virtual online school with him at home, and he actually likes it. We had bad issues with other kids before we moved here...so this is actually a good thing.
His grades, not such a good thing. Blowups aren't as bad as they can be, and they come far and few between these days. He's better able to control it, and feels it when others start to get him mad, and knows when to leave the situation.
He's happy sitting and playing his games online, but I keep saying it's gotta come after school!! LOL He's an awesome young man, and is very much liked by my friends. I'm open with them on his condition, so they understand. He's more friendly with kids younger than he is. Like 10 year olds.
We took him to WDW all the time when we lived there, and his only problem that we saw there was he isn't into people touching him. We had bunches of people who bumped him, and he can't handle that, but otherwise, he does fine in the parks.
I love my aspie son, and you know, I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world!! He's my baby, and he knows it!! So it's not the end of the world.
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