Advice needed regarding Asperger (long)

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by mrsdisneyfan, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. mrsdisneyfan

    mrsdisneyfan Earning My Ears

    Apr 14, 2005
    I am looking for some advice from anyone who has dealt with Aspergers.

    First, I do not know for sure if my son has it. He has never been tested.

    He is 7 and in 2nd grade. He does great in school and can spell better than me.
    He got his report card 2 weeks ago and it was wonderful. There was a note in with the report card asking for a conference with the teacher. Since the grades were so good I figured the meeting had to be about behavior. Now my son has never met a rule he did not love. He is extremely serious and has NO sense of humor. You cannot kid with him at all.

    My husband and I went to the meeting and his teacher said that he is very distracted and does not always know where the class is at. If she calls on him to read he doesn't know the place and if she asks him a question he isn't paying attention.

    I asked why it is not reflected in his grades and she said because he still tests good and when she tells him where they are at or repeats the question he always gets it right.

    My sister who is a special education teacher has said that she thinks he has Aspergers. I suggested it to the teacher and she said that she did not think so and gave me book to read about it called " Asperger Syndrome & Your Child." The problem is that the more I read the more I think that he does have it and the book was supposed to convince me that I was wrong. Some of the kids in the book have more severe behaviors than my son but still very similar. My sons just does not seem as extreme.

    My sister suggested that I have him evaluated. She wrote the letter for me to send asking for evaluation on disorganization, difficulty focusing, small moter planning difficulties and illegible handwriting.

    I am all ready to send the letter but my husband does not see any reason to do this. His reasoning is if his grades are so good and there is no problem with behavior he doesn't see any reason. He sees the distraction and not paying attention in class as just spring fever and "kids don't like school."

    So after all that, I need advice. Should I press the issue with the husband or
    let it go and see what happens? Am I being paranoid and looking for problems? What difference does it make if he has it or not if he is doing well in school?

    Any advice or suggestions are welcome.

  2. belle&beast

    belle&beast DIS Veteran

    Dec 16, 2005
    I am a speech therapist in the public school preschool setting, and have a family member with Asperger Syndrome. My advice is to go ahead with the evaluation because as time goes on if he truly does have AS, he may need support with social communication and establishing peer relationships even if academics are not a problem. :hug: to you and your family and good luck in whatever you decide.
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. Starr W.

    Starr W. DIS Veteran

    Nov 26, 2006
    I agree with Belle&beast, my eldest DS is 10 and has been diagnosed since 4 with AS. While he has been an A/B student, we have done alot of work with social communications(group sessions) and he now does a OT/social skills group(work on team games) 2x per month.
  5. hookedup

    hookedup <font color=navy>radsmom <font color=blue>(Mom to

    Jul 10, 2002
    My ds is nearly 7 and was diagnosed recently with AS. We knew he had some issues and we have been through a very long process since he started kindergarten - 2 years ago knowing he was having some serious motor delay issues and social difficulties.
    Aspergers has a huge social aspect to it - you mentioned your son was very serious but you said nothing about how he does socially with his peers. Does he have a lot of friends - or even a close best friend or two?
    Have you sat in his class and observed him? Watched him at lunch and on the playground? This will tell you a lot about what is happening in his world.
    Also, you may try to have him evaluated in a private medical situation (private practice) rather than through your school district if that makes you more comfortable to begin with.
    I think getting a few professional opinions is a good idea. This can help you decide what the best course of action would be. He may not test out as AS but other issues maybe discovered and that may help your son to focus in school.
    What ever you decide good luck and remember early intervention makes a huge difference for these kiddos! :)
  6. Goofyluver

    Goofyluver <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=red>Knock

    Oct 31, 2006
    I am also a speech therapist and agree with Belle. Go ahead with the evaluation, if we are not looking at AS, then you can still gain some positive information on how to help him better focus in the classroom, etc. You can get good informatin on learning styles, etc. Hugs to you and your son!!!
  7. mrsdisneyfan

    mrsdisneyfan Earning My Ears

    Apr 14, 2005
    Thanks for the encourgement regarding the evaluation. I am working on my husband to agree. He just does not see the point. I almost wish his grades were bad because then I know he would be ok with the evaluation.

    As to how he is doing socially, he seems comfortable with the kids in his class but I would say he is not very close with any of them. From what I gather he is a little social but not much. He will join in with group activities for gym and recess but not so good at one on one unstructured type play. For example, when the kids get to the playground before school all the boys will put down their backpacks and play tag. Not Dominic, he gets in line behind the backpacks and gets upset that they are left unattended. He loves his Kung Fu class but that is because it is very structured. The kids play tag in the studio before class and it took him weeks to join in.

    Thanks for the support I feel much better about the evaluation now.
  8. Luv Bunnies

    Luv Bunnies DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2006
    My 11 year old son has Asperger's and I also work with special needs preschool kids. I always tell parents if they suspect anything is wrong, it's better to find out sooner than later. The earlier you know what you're dealing with, the more intervention and support you can get for your son.

    I hope your husband comes around and agrees to the testing. You may find out that your son has no particular condition. He may just have a different learning style and you and his teacher can learn strategies to help him.

    Something else I always tell parents is that a label doesn't change who their child is. If you find out he has Asperger's or some other condition, he's still your precious boy. You know that he's capable of getting good grades and having good behavior. None of that will change just because he's received a diagnosis. Good luck!;)
  9. hematite153

    hematite153 <font color=blue>DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Hon

    Oct 22, 2005
    As a special education teacher who has worked with some extremely successful ASD students, I would argue that evaluation while his grades are good is a fabulous bonus.

    It sounds like your son is quite bright. The school system keeps moving at a constant pace. Many children who exhibit minor symptoms early on will experience later difficulties. If evaluation and diagnosis occurs before these difficulties then interventions can be put in place so that his school success continues. (Students who don't get evaluated until after they start failing are at a disadvantage since they then face the hurdle of recovery as well as learning differently from their peers.)

  10. Dis1978

    Dis1978 Mouseketeer

    Feb 23, 2007
    I would agree with early evaluation. I so much wish my son had been diagnosed earlier. He was always just a bit different as a child. Nothing in particular that had me worried. I had thought he was a bit hyperactive but the doctor disagreed.I could tell that the doc thought I was just being overprotective and worrying for no reason. My DS had friends and played with other kids. He had messy writing but did exceptionally well in every academic subject. I was told that he was gifted and that's why he was a bit different.
    To me as his mother I always felt something was not quite right but doctor, health professionals didn't agree. I so much wish I had gone with my instinct but I had never heard of Aspergers then. I would not have thought that he was on the spectrum in a million years. I just didn't know what it was and hoped my fears were wrong.
    The reason I am telling you this is because the doctors misinformed reassurances and our lack of recognition of the very slight signs that were there almost led to disaster. My son was struggling but kept it to himself. Things started to go very wrong for him at school and socially. He became severely depressed and could not cope. Thank goodness we got him the help and support he needed although it was such a battle. We have fought with the school, the doctors, insurance. We are still struggling but we are getting there. I wouldn't wish our experience on anyone and what is so sad is that much of it could have been avoided with proper early intervention.
  11. mdsouth

    mdsouth DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2005
    I could have written the same message as the original poster! Several years ago, one of my DS's teachers suggested he might be on the spectrum and for us to check it out. My DH could not understand why it was needed since he was academically on par with the other students, no discipline problems whatsoever. We decided to hold off then since the school was providing him with speech help and the teachers made accommodations for him without any diagnosis or plan. This has been the case for several years now. He is now finishing 4th grade and the school wants us to pursure a 504 plan. They feel that he will need this in place in order to guarantee some of the accommodations he has already been getting, ones that will be especially helpful as he grows older (extended time on tests and assignments, use of computer to write instead of handwritten assignments, modifications to his schedule, and speech). So we just found out that we will need to get a medical diagnosis for the 504 plan. My DH is FINALLY coming around to the fact that having getting a diagnosis will not greatly affect our son's life. It does not have the same connotations that it did when we were growing up.

    My DS is a rule follower too. He has a few friends but those were ones that I really helped him develop. He will interact with the other kids at school but typically not in unstructured settings. He will just stay on the sidelines and watch or walk around the playground by himself or stay near the teachers. The teachers all tell us what a sweet, wonderful, polite boy he is. Like most of you here, I would love to see him just engage on his own in the free play that kids normally do. As with many Aspies, he does not have the physical abilities, coordination that boys his age do.

    Well, I could go on but I will let others share too. Just hang in there!:grouphug:
  12. hookedup

    hookedup <font color=navy>radsmom <font color=blue>(Mom to

    Jul 10, 2002
    One of the best books I have read and was really helpful is the OASIS GUIDE to Asperger Syndrome by Patricia Romanowski Bashe & Barbara Kirby (founder of the Asperger OASIS web site).
    A friend with an older AS son recommended it to me and I checked it out at the library (because I have already spent a fortune on books that weren't that helpful) and I went and bought it because it was so good. I highly recommend it if you have an AS child or THINK you may have an AS child. :)
  13. brymolmom

    brymolmom DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2005
    We just went through our initial evaluation for Asperger's.

    DS is almost 5 and has been in preschool since Sept. He does very well academically and does pretty well with well known friends (like his sister or cousins that he sees a couple times a week) - in terms of social interaction - but he definitely doesn't do as well socially in his preschool class.

    DH and I went back and forth on it for about a year before we finally decided to act and had him evaluated in a private practice.

    He is generally very well behaved but occasionally acts up if he doesn't get enough time to 'finish' what he is doing, etc.

    Anyway - evaluation results: good and bad. The doc says that he definitely has some Asperger's-like symptoms, but very mild. And the doc says ds did very well interacting and answering questions (although he definitely had eye contact issues during the interview). SO, he didn't give an 'official' diagnosis and kind of gave us a 'wait and see' advice.

    He starts Kindergarten in Sept so I think we will wait to see how he does there...

    Good luck with your decision - it is a tough one.
  14. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2000
    I would recommend evaluation, too. I teach young children in an ESL Pre-K and do part and full time inclusion for children with various disabilities. I have worked with several children with autism. They have ranged from moderate to mild.

    Last year I had a 4 year old Aspie who was one of a handful of students who began reading (well) in Pre-K. He was very bright. I was also able to help him begin to interact in workstations with the other students. (If left to his own devices, he would play alone, but if assigned to work with others, he did well by the end of the year.) We even worked on looking at the speaker. (I work on listening skills with all my students, so he wasn't singled out.) He made such great progress that I recommended that he go to a regular Kindergarten class with minimal support. (A resource teacher will "check" on him twice a month) He will also get speech to continue working on eye contact.

    A couple of years ago, I taught 2nd grade for a year because the mother of an Aspie student asked me to "be his teacher again." He was struggling in many areas. He had done well in Pre-K, but kind of "shut down" in K and 1st. He was having trouble with fitting in. She gave her permission to talk to the class before school started. I just honestly explained what was going on with him. We talked about how he took things literally, sometimes stayed on the same subject, had difficulty with social skills and brainstormed how the class could help him and how he could help the class (by being our parlimentarian.) We also discussed a child who wore glasses and needed to always be in the front of the class. One who had allergies so no-one could wear perfume or bring peanutbutter to school, etc. One child has ADHD and might need to stand up and walk to the back of the room for a minute. Each child in the class discovered that they were "special" in some way and really went out of their way to be considerate of their classmates. No one took advantage of the situation and it was a great year.

    Getting a diagnosis and then informing staff and even the other students (if it is done in the right way) could be a definite advantage.
  15. Kriii

    Kriii DIS Veteran

    Mar 11, 2007
    Another SLP voting for the evaluation - at the very least, you will have the peace of mind knowing one way or the other. If he does turn out to be on the spectrum, you can get started right away with intervention. Your sister wouldn't suggest this if she didn't see something to worry her. Very best of luck to you.
  16. soarin'family

    soarin'family Earning My Ears

    Aug 13, 2005
    I say knowledge is power. If your son was squinting, wouldn't you want to have his vision screened? Our DS was dx with adhd in kindergarten and tourettes in 1st grade, and now Aspergers in 5th grade. Oh how I wish I would have pressed my pediatrician a little more! I would tell him things, and nothing would ever come of it...or it would be attributed to the adhd.
    Now he is having more and more struggles in school--middle school was a huge transition for him...leaving the safe nest of elementary school. I only wish we had been prepared, and forearmed with knowledge! I always knew my son was very atypical. His preschool teachers saw the signs. His kindergarten teacher saw the signs. I saw them. My husband saw them (although he is very much like my son, so there was so initial poo-pooing of the idea!)
    Aspergers is a spectrum. Some kids will be mild, some will be more severe in their manifestations of it. My son got worse this year. A lot worse.

    please get him tested at the very least. It will settle the issue for now. However, I would always suggest going with your mother's intuition. We know when our kids need help.

    Best wishes....from my house to yours!

  17. Poohnatic

    Poohnatic <font color=deeppink>I haven't seen it and it soun

    May 7, 2002
    I am the mom to an 11 year old Aspie and I also recommend testing. If nothing is wrong, then fine. However, if there IS a problem, you'll catch it early. This will help your son in several ways.

    1. Getting needed services
    2. Help his self esteem/prevent depression (a friend had undiagnosed dyslexia until 11th grade and at 43, still has issues from feeling like he was a 'stupid kid')
    3. If he has Asperger's, there are many other things that can factor in with it. Testing and diagnosis can also put educational plans in place to help him be successful.

    My son tested well above grade level, but socially was a pariah. He's been in a Neurologically Impaired classroom and it was the best path for him. He gets individualized lesson plans. This year, his teacher used a college biology text for his spelling words. He had to help HER with pronounciation, lol.

    A few of those other issues my son has are Sensory Integration Dysfunction and ADHD. My son is distracted when there are too many others in the class or by noise. For instance, clapping HURTS his ears. By putting him in the smaller classroom, he has less meltdowns and stays on task much better.

    Your son's teacher may not realize that he's getting distracted by the 20 other noise making students in the class, the feel of his shirt collar, the sound of the clock ticking, the fact that he's already read the whole page, etc etc. Testing is the best way to determine how to help your son do his best.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendations of Patti and Barb's book, and the Oasis site in general. They were a godsend when my son was being tested and was diagnosed.

    :hug: and good luck to your family.

  18. MommyBou

    MommyBou Earning My Ears

    Nov 21, 2004
    I just want to thank everyone who has responded to this thread. It is reassuring to me, as I'm sure it is for the OP.

    I have a preschooler that I'm currently having evaluated. I initially tried to go the route of the school system, but they didn't even attempt to look as ASD. My child was only referred for a speech evaluation, which she is now qualified to receive services for. Because I was getting no where there, I contacted the Pyschological Services office at the university in this area. They began an evaluation weeks ago and have been very thorough. We've had numerous sessions, observations, etc. I was told today that my child is definitely "on the spectrum". A more detailed analysis and recommendation will be available soon.

    Upon deciding to look into further testing, many people couldn't believe my child had a problem. As a mother, I just knew something wasn't right. It really doesn't matter what the diagnosis finally is, just as long as we can figure out how to help her. I'm glad we decided to go ahead with the evaluation.

    So, to the OP, I say definitely go with your gut. My perspective was that we had nothing to lose by atleast "finding out".
  19. Poohnatic

    Poohnatic <font color=deeppink>I haven't seen it and it soun

    May 7, 2002
    MommyBou, I'd hazard a guess that most of the parents who replied on this thread had incredulous family members. "He's so smart", "He can't be autistic, he talks", "why do you want to have him labeled" are just a few of what I heard.

    What drove it home with a couple of 'experts' in my family (the sister who lost custody of her kids-who is the first to give parenting advice) was when Neil qualified for Medicaid. Until then, I was an oversensitive parent. :rolleyes: They finally 'got it'.

    I'm right there with you on following your gut. We kept pressing. My son was DXed ADHD, but we kept telling the doctor 'there's something else going on" and his response was to throw more of the ineffective ADHD meds at him. We found a behavioral pediatrician at Children's in DC and between seeing her and a great Principal at his new elementary school, we got our diagnosis.

    My DH and I still beat ourselves up that we didn't press the issue when he was three and he wasn't reacting in the normal manner to the news that he was getting a brother or sister...

  20. KirstenB

    KirstenB <font color=deeppink>Mom to "the nibbler"<br><font

    Aug 18, 1999

    Mommy Bou :grouphug: Our 21 mth old isn't talking. Her ped was concerned at her 18 mth checkup, so referred us to UVA Children's Hospital for cognitive screening. She has low muscle tone, so one could argue that's causing a speech delay. She does currently receive speech therapy through Early Intervention.

    After 2 1/2 hours at UVA, they've given us a preliminary diagnosis of high functioning autism. She has to go back to meet with a developmental doctor who specializes in education to get more info and nail down a diagnosis. Zoe doesn't talk at all, but will make sounds. She has fabulous eye contact, and frequently smiles. On the flipside, she doesn't understand moods or tones of voice. For instance, if she's rolling off her changing table and I yell "no" she either laughs or has no expression. Same thing if someone is crying. She's pretty flat. She likes to be hugged, but we're still working on getting her to hug, pat or kiss others. She doesn't have any obsessive behaviors. If you call her name, she may respond, or she may just ignore you, like she can't hear you.

    Sorry to hijack this thread. I just wanted to maybe give some insight for toddler/preschool age kids.

    Yeah, I've had people try to convince me she's fine. My answer to that is, I view it the same as my religious faith. I believe in Jesus. If I'm right, when I die I go to heaven. If I'm wrong, I've lost nothing.

    If I accept dd's diagnosis, she will get therapy and help. If I'm wrong, and she's not HFA, worst case scenario is she winds up with enhanced speech and empathy skills. If I don't accept her diagnosis, and do nothing, the downside for her could be really bad.
  21. wvdislover

    wvdislover DIS Veteran

    May 31, 2006
    I, too, am pretty sure my DD9 has mild Asperger's. She already has a list of "disabilities--ADHD, Sensory Integration, etc., so she's already got an IEP at school. Her biggest problem is her social interaction with her peers, or lack thereof, sometimes. She's my lonely little wanderer. If you put her on a playground with a bunch of kids, often, she'll end up wandering around by herself for awhile, then getting on the swing and will just swing for a long time by herself. She is totally clueless when it comes to reading body language or facial expressions. And of course, she's at the age where the other kids see her as "different" or "weird," which they have been known to call her in her face :sad2: I love the idea of the teacher explaining the Asperger's to the class--may be a good idea for the fall. Her teacher she has now has been really good at trying to help the class understand that everyone is just a little different, but girls will be girls, and she's had a lot of trouble with the girls in her class excluding her when the teacher's not around. I've actually considered homeschooling her next year, but I don't think that would actually solve anything, since she needs to learn how to get along socially in the world. The teacher she's been assigned to for next year is said to be very understanding, yet strict, so we're hoping things will go well. I could go on and on, but I know this is getting long. Good luck to everyone and thanks for the great ideas!

Share This Page