Could my DC have aspergers?

(38 Posts)
GoggotsandNanas Wed 15-May-13 11:43:18

I know it is weird to post here rather than seeking professional help, but I was never worried about her before- its her speech that worries me now , because other people can't (my family) can't understand her, and now I'm starting to view other behaviours differently- such as her fixations.

She is just over 3 and a half and tries to speak in really long sentences when she is excited by seeing someone. There will be a lot of garbled together words about what she'd recently been doing, emotional words, references to children's programmes, etc in the one 'sentence' - and the person will look flummoxed.

Another thing is her being quite particular about the way she likes certain things to be - for example being upset if people sit in the wrong chairs or use each-other's mobile phones, and other things like needing a particular cup or a particular spoon or wanting to put her clothes on in a particular order- but these fixations aren't constant and change over time.

She can start crying and shouting rather than asking properly for things sometimes (particularly when tired/hungry/etc). She has tantrums, but I've never really thought they were that bad, she just wants her way - I am able usually to get her to calm down and explain what she wants.

She is very sociable and excited about people, she can be quite dramatic and theatrical, but can be quite bossy with her friends and controlling about exactly how things should be set out (she gets annoyed if I move anything I tidy up, for example if I pick up a toy from the middle of the floor, when I walk back past it will be placed back in the same spot). She is incredibly affectionate with people - and I wonder if this is a sign, because she is even like this when people are awkward and uptight- she doesn't read the signals and gives them a hug.

She has advanced motor skills like colouring and writing letters very neatly, she started walking very early too. She can get very absorbed in drawing to the point where she won't hear me if I try to get her attention (TBF I am like this when I concentrate too).

She prefers to work things out rather than being taught- although is getting better now, so she doesn't do that thing of copying the correct word to get it right, which would help to improve her speech. Is this another sign?

Her nursery haven't said anything about it, they just tell me when they notice improvements in speech, which would suggest they are concerned she is slow.

Any thought appreciated

Thanks

Tiggles Wed 15-May-13 12:58:26

It is very hard to make a qualified judgement over the net, as many behaviours exhibited by children with AS are shown by NT children too, they just differ in scale, or how often they occur. But I am happy to say how the above behaviours do/don't fit with my 2 elder DSs. DS1 has Aspergers, DS2 had high functioning autism. (You may find you get more responses on the special needs: children section of the board).

DS1 (AS) spoke very early - before he was one, and could speak in long sentences by 18months. He would happily listen to and regurgitate complex topics by age 2 e.g how food is digested in the body. He wouldn't get confused by word order etc but even now at 10 struggles with verbs that don't follow the usual pattern eg he says writ rather than wrote. DS2 was non-verbal until just before his 3rd birthday, now at 6 he still struggles with he/she but in the main is ok.

Using same plate/sitting same chair etc - constant for both DS1 and 2, even now. DS1 would have a panic attack if something changed, DS2 would throw a tantrum. e.g. at age 4 we couldn't take DS1 to McDonalds 'on a whim' as he couldn't cope with sitting in a different seat there, or a change to what he was expecting in the day, and he would panic about what he might eat from the menu.

Tantrums: Worse in DS2, but he would kick doors off hinges when having a melt down at age 2. Can take an hour or two for either of them to calm down (literally). Not just in terms of getting own way, but often because there was unexpected change, or they feel they have made the wrong decision (very bad at choice).

People: DS1 at that age watched people but didn't interact particularly. If someone spoke to him and he had his back to them he would reply but not turn around for an entire conversation. No eye contact. DS2 is the other way he happily runs up to strangers and hugs them, even when people are shrinking away from him. No eye contact.

Motor skills: both are poor, and verging towards dyspraxia, although not bad enough to have a diagnosis, they have both been through occupational therapy courses to help with both fine and gross motor skills.

Working things out: Hard to say, but at that age DS1 would regurgitate lots of info, but didn't really work anything out per se. DS2 - not good enough language to tell.

Both had very strong obsessions, I can name you every obsession they have had so they last a long time.

If you are concerned it could be worth talking to your GP. You could ask the nursery what they think, but despite both my boys being way at the top of the diagnostic scales (ie not borderline at all in diagnosis) the school still ask me if I am sure the diagnoses are correct as they aren't how they would expect a child with autism to act (ie both above average academically).

brainonastick Wed 15-May-13 13:04:25

I would talk to the nursery if you're concerned.

Tbh I had some thoughts along these lines with my eldest, but as they've got older they've become less fixated and more sociable (still feel that the empathy is more learned than innate though, as it seems to be with the youngest). So it could just be a normal age stage thing. I think I read somewhere that a lot of the asd traits are normal for pre-schoolers, it's just that those with asd don't move on, and those without do.

jojane Wed 15-May-13 13:27:13

Ds1 is being assessed for possible aspergers.
He was a very early walker (9.5 months) but a very late talker (2.5)
He HATED singing until very recently, as a toddler if anyone sang he would scream and bang his head on the floor.
He used to lineup toys all the time but not really play with them, it's only really struck me recently as I watch ds2 plastic toys and remember that ds1 never played like that.
Was obsessed with Thomas tank engine until very recently (is 6 now)
Fine motor skills are very poor and has never wanted to paint and draw etc. I think dd brings home more pictures and writing in a week than in a year from ds1!
Socially finds it hard to play with other children and would rather have a conversation with an adult or older child, at 3 would run out the room if anyone came round and said hello. Even FIL who came round all the time, likewise he doesn't like being given presents he hasnt been prepared in advance for, he will justnsaynno thanks and give it back to them.
If a day is planned ie go to supermarket, bank and then park he would throw a paddy if we decided to go to park first even though it was something fun, plates and things yes a certain one was always favoured (but a different one everyday!) BUT dd and ds2 are like that too so thinkits just a young child thing to some extent, I think it's when they reach primary age and still insisting on certain plates etc that it becomes more than just normal behaviour.
Ds1 is very intelligent, reads like and adult, absorbs Info like a sponge and reads books so much they fall apart.
Ds1 was also very late with toilet training, ie started reception in nappies. Is in year 1 now and rarely wets at school but still has accidents at home.

GoggotsandNanas Wed 15-May-13 13:35:17

Thank you both.

LittleMissGreen that is really interesting how both your DCs are so different, and the AS manifests in different areas. You make it really clear it is difficult to assess.

brainonastick did you seek further help when you had similar thoughts, or did you wait and see?

Part of me feels hesitant to seek help in case she is diagnosed as AS. I really enjoy her quirks and active imagination -its one of the pleasures of parenthood for me. I'd might really lose the enjoyment of her fixations if I started viewing them as part a condition that might cause her difficultly or distress as she gets older... Then I feel guilty that by not getting her assessed I am being negligent because there are things I should be doing right now to give her all the tools she needs to get the most out of life.

GoggotsandNanas Wed 15-May-13 13:44:34

Thanks jojane out of interest, is DS1 being assessed because of concerns you have, or did someone else recommend? BTW the singing, with DD I am only allowed a very narrow repertoire of songs, and only allowed to sing on request - any sudden impromptu bursts of song from me don't go down too well smile

jojane Wed 15-May-13 14:21:15

We had concerns (mainly due to the toileting problems) but playschool/gp never seemed overly concerned and were of the opinion he would grow out of it. It was only once he started school that we felt we were taken seriously and the school was brilliant at getting things set in motion and referrals pushed through. It was again mainly due to the toileting problems but everything else was picked up on as aspergers can sometimes mean late toilet training. We see a specialist every 6 months and school do a learning plan. He had some speech therapy as well which the schoo, arranged. I can't stews enou how brilliant the school was, within the first term of him starting school he had started speech therapy, had ed pysch in to assess him, been referred to specialist peadratrician and had lots and lots of support at school.

Tiggles Wed 15-May-13 15:09:16

smile Your DD will only get a diagnosis if her 'quirks' are impacting upon her daily life, otherwise you may get told she has AS traits, but not AS. As your DD has language issues it would certainly be worth getting on a waiting list for speech and language. I still appreciate my DSs quirks, although the times when they drive me potty I do now have a 'reason' to ignore them, rather than feeling like a bad parent.
It wasn't until DS1 started school that I even realised there was an issue. Before that it didn't matter that it took an hour to walk a hundred yards as we looked at every stick, stone, number on gates for example. I didn't realise that all children didn't recite full scripts of films, word perfectly, whilst lining up their character figures. But when he got to school and threw a tantrum going in, and coming out again, wouldn't come out from his hiding place under the table etc I knew there was a problem.

brainonastick Wed 15-May-13 16:33:41

I waited, as lots of the behaviour could be explained by her just being bright and sensitive, and still very young.

A child is only ever going to get diagnosed if she is AS, and in that case the earlier the support the better, so dont let that put you off chatting to the nursery if you are concerned. From what I understand it's a long diagnostic process anyway, its not ever going to be rushed.

GoggotsandNanas Thu 16-May-13 17:40:13

Thanks everyone

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 16-May-13 19:49:39

Goggots you might want to post on the special needs children board, lots of us have children with autism spectrum conditions. Have you heard of echolalia? Sounds like your dd might be doing that in her long rambling speeches.

Just to clarify, one of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers (as opposed to Autism) is that speech development is 'normal'. In theory a child with speech delay or disorder shouldn't get an Aspergers diagnosis.

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 16-May-13 19:53:38

one of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers (as opposed to Autism)

That's not very clear, Aspergers is obviously an autism spectrum condition but diagnoses tend to be either Aspergers or Autism, where Autism is often qualified eg high functioning autism or autism with xxxx traits etc.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-May-13 23:30:47

Hello OP

I am not a professional but wanted to tell you about my ds2.

he is 18 now and last year was finally diagnosed with Aspergers after suffering an awful time throughout his school years. I asked for help, banged on tables, did everything i could think of. They were always calling me into school and telling me he was naughty. They punished him constantly and now I feel so awful and guilty that we didn't go private.
If you think for one minute your dc just isn't quite right, thats the only way i could describe my ds2, sort of out of kilter a little odd. Please don't stop until you have your answers.
Just for the record, he didn't say single words at all and we were all worried about his speech, we saw SALT who told us he was a bit delayed. He started talking complete sentences both in context and then out of context about 3 years old. It seems like a similarity.
I wish you Good Luck.

ChazDingle Sat 18-May-13 07:48:49

my DS has just turned 3 and he is being looked at (imformally at the minute) for aspergers. Theres a thread running on gifted and talented board called 'what was your gifted child like when they were 2-3' that has some really useful comments from peoples whose kids have AS. Not sure how to link but it will be easy to find as that board doesn't move very fast so will be near the top

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 07:57:54

Poltergoose - I believe this has changed recently and is all now classed as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Not a good thing in my opinion, or that of my AS daughter who views it as another reason that people will see those with AS as being unable to cope with life, because they hear autism and think that total withdrawal is the norm. Labels have a lot of power

PolterGoose Argentina Sat 18-May-13 08:32:28

MumnGran it's only the DSM that is changing and not all diagnosticians use it. I expect the Aspergers dx will stay either as it is or as a kind of 'ASD with Asperger features' type of thing.

I wish my ds's dx had been ASD rather than Aspergers because too many people seem to see Aspergers as some form of 'Autism-lite' or mild autism, which it isn't.

tabulahrasa Sat 18-May-13 08:38:48

'Part of me feels hesitant to seek help in case she is diagnosed as AS. I really enjoy her quirks and active imagination -its one of the pleasures of parenthood for me. I'd might really lose the enjoyment of her fixations if I started viewing them as part a condition that might cause her difficultly or distress as she gets older...'

You won't lose that, honestly - my DS has AS and it's so intertwined with his personality that I don't think of it like that at all, he just is who he is and that includes enjoying the good things about him at the same time as hating the things that cause him difficulty.

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 09:06:46

I am lucky to have a DD who chased down her own AS diagnosis as an adult (Aspergers wasn't even on the diagnostic register when she was at school!), and turned all of her obsessive impulses towards finding out all she could, and now helping out wherever she can with mothers who have AS children, or those who are struggling with diagnostic routes. She has also been involved with the Cambs research.

Her view, and in her own words, is that an early diagnosis of functioning AS can be as damaging as no diagnosis, because once a child is diagnosed .... everyone starts to make allowances and bend normal rules for the child. She views this as counter-productive, and believes her own ability to "function up" is rooted in growing up with clear boundaries that were as much in place for her as for other children in the family. She learned acceptable social behaviour because it was an absolute requirement....and AS do best with clear set rules to work with.

Since diagnosis, she and I have explored many many areas of her functioning ....including how she thinks, and how she can apply that thinking to change her behaviours to be a closer fit for societal expectation.

It has been an amazing journey, and I would not change her - or the way her AS has mapped out - for the world smile. She has always "marched to a different drummer".

PolterGoose Argentina Sat 18-May-13 09:31:33

MumnGran Seriously? She thinks early dx is wrong? That goes against pretty much everyone else's view that early dx and early intervention is key to improving outcomes. Do have a look at the special needs children's board for some insight into parenting children with Aspergers because it sounds very different to your experience.

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 11:52:01

I can only feedback what my DD tells me.She is my sole wisdom on the subject, because she is the one who sees it from the "inside looking out", and as she is in her 30's and highly articulate, I trust what she tells me. Perhaps I should ask her to come on here, as I hate routing thoughts as a third party ....but she will never be a mum (by her own choice - luckily she has a partner who agrees).

I think there are two issues at stake with early diagnosis and parents focus on school where I expect the learning outcomes may indeed be better if extra support is in place for learning issues. My DD tends not to focus on that area because she experienced issues with bullying at (mainstream) school, but never with learning. She was very bright, annoyed by teachers repeating the same ground, as she "got it" the first time .... so she sat at the back and read the textbooks to occupy herself. She only had 2 meltdowns in the school environment, and aced every exam she ever took. But I absolutely accept that this is not the common experience.

Her view about early diagnosis is rooted in how Aspie (her preferred term, not mine) children grow up to function in a non-Aspie world. She firmly believes that as soon as parents (and teachers?) have a diagnosis they suspend the rules they would normally apply to raising healthy happy polite individuals.
As an example I have personally witnessed: "Say thank you, Dean" .... silence from child, who moves to walk away....... Mum says "sorry about that, Dean has AS and doesn't like to socialise".
Having a child with no diagnosis, my response to the same behaviour would be (and was!!) to insist that the child stops moving away, and says thank you. Because I had no diagnosis for my DD, I made no allowances.

Now for years, I felt very guilty about failing as a parent because patently she did have all the usual AS traits, and I thought I just hadn't parented her well enough. Diagnosis changed that .....but to this day my DD tells everyone who asks, that she learned to "function up" only because she was raised with normal expectation .....applied to her exactly as applied to sibling/cousins etc.

If someone had told me that my DD had AS when she was 5, I would have heaved a sigh of relief that I had an answer, that the behavioural issues weren't my fault .......and handled her differently ever after. I suspect just about every parent of a child with ASD does the same. Its a normal response.
Whether it is good for the childs long term ability to cope in a non-aspie world ...... I only have my daughters input for guidance.

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 12:03:10

Damn ... I hit the post message before I had chance to change this ....sorry! I have actually just written to ask my DD if she would respond re ED.
If she is happy to, I will post her answer.
For me ...getting the view from an informed, intelligent adult with AS offers real insight

PolterGoose Argentina Sat 18-May-13 12:52:50

I'm really glad that your dd has done so well, it is extremely helpful for those of us with children with Aspergers to hear positive outcomes. I think most of us who parent Aspie children do have high expectations and do not use this as an excuse for poor behaviour and lack of manners, that is a little insulting. Based on what you say, your dd sounds considerably more compliant than many of the children I know who have Aspergers and it is very common for girls to present significantly differently to boys, which is why getting an Aspergers dx for a girl can be bloody hard. I think it also makes a difference when there are co-morbid conditions, which is very common.

I'm not trying to diminish your or your dd's experience, but in most cases for most children without a dx they will fail, because these children do require extra support and adapted environments and different parenting techniques etc to cope in an NT world. Without a dx my ds would have continued to be seen as naughty, violent, difficult and the product of bad parenting, with a dx he is (mostly) seen as an anxious, vulnerable child who needs support (and whose parents are doing pretty well according to the professionals). My ds wanted to kill himself at 6 because life was so hard for him. That is my Asperger experience.

MumnGran Sat 18-May-13 17:31:19

Poltergoose - I am sorry if my post presented as being in some way critical. It was certainly not my intent. I believe everyones' experience of having an AS child is different ..... as are the numerous levels at which a child may be affected. I always present my DD's spin because, for me, her eloquence about her own condition gave me such an amazing insight ....and I reiterate that the previous post is her own view. Do I agree with it? Yes, because in my limited experience I have seen the behaviour demonstrated. Does that mean it applies broadscale? - of course not. Which is why the comment is that early diagnosis can be as damaging as late.

We are lucky - the outcome for my DD has been mostly good, but it certainly was no picnic to raise her, and I still deal with her hiccups on a frequent basis. She was assessed as being far lower on the scale than any one would have expected. Still, I hope it does offer hope to other parents. The late teenage years were hellish, but there is life on the other side ....and many aspies are doing as my DD does, living productive lives with jobs and partners, and genuinely happy.

I remember the early years vividly, and send you every possible good wish. It is a long haul, but there is never a day when it isn't worth it smile

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-May-13 18:47:17

MumnGran.

I see where you are coming from with your example of please and thank you, and I agree to a certain extent because we had a very late diagnosis with ds2. I was always as strict with him as I have been with the others and just thought he was hard work at times. However, I know if we had a diagnosis my ds2 would not have been bullied (by teachers) and I would have fought his corner. When I think my poor ds 2 life must have been horrible. Punished at school, bullied by teachers and his family agreeing with teachers that he was naughty.
Diagnosis really needs to be early to help the dc, but certainly allowances for different behaviour should fit the mould of acceptability of society. Otherwise we end up with dc who are socially unacceptable.

fluffymindy Sat 18-May-13 19:09:53

Op, can I suggest you see a private Ed. Psychologist. My DD who is now 9 did not walk until she was 2.5 and talk until she was 4. She certainly does not have Aspergers but she probably is ASD. We are now in the process of moving her out of the state system and into the Steiner system as she needs something slower and more holistic with much smaller class sizes.

I have been banging on about something being a bit off with her since she was a tiny baby, she had a lack of connectedness iykwim. Sometimes she seem oblique to the world, dreamy and not engaged. She has little obsessions about things, the internet would be fatal for her I feel.... just my opinion. She has only a little social awareness, is very friendly and chatty with people but would not have the ability to remove herself from a threatening situation for instance.

Although I flagged this up early on we have had very little help - her issues are subtle and she has no behavioural issues at all - not even tantrums when smaller - this works against her of course because she is as good as gold at school and does not present a problem...... I am reticent to have her 'diagnosed' formally and that is why we had a report done privately to find out what she was good at and what she struggled with - it has helped us immensely to understand how she sees things and the best thing is we can choose whoo we reveal the information to, she does not enter into situations with a label on her and a set of expectations - for instance, most of the study on ASD is about boys (because there are more I guess) but actually ASD manifests itself in girls very differently and often more subtly.

If you do it privately then you can have control over it that is what I am saying and you can take advice from someone independent who can help without having a financial axe to grind or advising you in the context of what they know they have facilities wise or funding wise. It is seriously the best money we have ever spent - it turns out she is dyspraxic, had a major attention deficit and an auditory processing problem. She also has a normal IQ and a normal vocab but cannot access it readily because her short term memory is that of someone under 3 years old!

My feeling here is you are her Mother and you know best just be careful about getting her labelled and limiting people's expectations of her in the future.

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