i'm worried about my 12 yo Son, is this normal?

(20 Posts)
pdb Tue 18-Jun-13 12:41:03

I've been worried about him for years and approached this with various schools and the doctors and never seem to get anywhere, my concerns always get brushed off as if i'm a bit crazy, however I feel if he does have a behaviour problem or condition then to just let this carry on would be irresponsible of me. Over the years there have been lots of issues but right now my main ones are;

He doesnt care about anything, e.g not bothered if something breaks or gets lost as 'you can buy another one' (we have a low income and he only has a few pounds in his money box so he knows this isnt the case, if something like the TV got broke then we just wouldnt have one until we had saved up for one)

Continually forgetting to do something, e.g I have reminded him everyday for 59 days to hand in a permission slip at school so he can go on a (fun) trip.

He is never thirsty, he can go the whole day, and frequently does, with only one drink in the evening. This effects his mood, makes him tired and grumpy. He just 'forgets' to drink, I mean we have everything on offer, water, milk, various squashes, juice, coke, lemonade etc so its not that he doesnt like the drinks he just forgets. I cannot understand how he can miss the cues eg at lunchtime when his friends have a drink how does he forget to take his out of his bag?

He never want to leave the house, he just makes any trip unbearable by being so grumpy, i'm talking about stuff like fetching a bag of chips, visiting a castle, going on holiday not clothes shopping or the like which I would understand.

He has no clue about what is going on, ever.

e.g last year we kept telling him where we were going on holiday, the week before he helped pack his bag across several days, the night before we all went to bed super early so we could get up early to leave. then the morning of the holiday he threw a complete fit saying how he didnt know we were going on holiday, and why hadn't anyone told him?

The year before that he awoke one morning and demanded to have his birthday presents, absolutely convinced it was his birthday, there was still another two weeks to go!

Right now he's in year 7 at high school, a very good school, and he's a very bright boy, however we are still bumbling through homework, he's never really sure what the homework is or when it has to be in despite writing notes in his homework planner.

He struggles to know who people are, eg at a family members house the other week, some more family turned up to visit and he asked me who they were, I told him and he denied having ever met any of them. Ok so we only see them maybe 2 or 3 times a year but still he had no recollection whatsoever of them even existing.

He finds it hard to work out family relationships, e.g that his great aunts and uncles are the children of his great grandparents or even that they are brother and sister to each other. I go through this with him often but he can't remember who is related to who and in what way.

Living with him, everyday, every single day, is just getting harder. We are a nice family unit, a mom, a dad, he's the eldest son, we have two younger siblings, we all get on very well and are loving and supportive. No matter what we try and do to support him nothing improves. He has no logic in his thought processes, very strange social skills and seems to be on another planet a lot of the the time.

Once we had the other two kids the differences showed up right away, I mean my 12yo could not use a swing or ride a bike or swim until he was 11, he still struggles to open packets of crisps or a can of pop. My 2 year old already makes his own breakfast (weetabix with milk) and my 4 year old swims and swings etc no problem. The little ones have a great understanding of what is happening at the weekend or where we are going on holiday etc

When i've tried to sort issues out at school they always tell me there is nothing wrong with him, for reading and writing and the like he's top of the class, even his maths is ok except for mental arithmatic which he can't do to save his life and he can't work out money at all.

Please tell me is this just his personality and normal or do I need help?

nostress Tue 18-Jun-13 13:03:04

Hi,
It certainly sounds like he has short term memory issues. My son has dyspraxia and some of the things you describe sound very similar. Sometimes with bright kids they are able to hide the problems they are having.

I can go years without having any letters home from school and he has missed trips because he has forgotten to hand in the slip. He does homework then forgets to take it with him or even get it out of his bag.

He also get lost easily, could it be your son doesn't want to go out for fear of getting lost? Last year he went on a school trip and on return he didn't recognise his suitcase which meant he and a teacher spent ages in the baggage hall because he was adamant that the last case on the carousel wasn't his!

I'd persist with school and GP. It may not be dyspraxia but it does sound like he is having some issues.

pdb Tue 18-Jun-13 13:10:25

Thankyou for the reply. I have got to the point where I feel I need help but I just don't know where to turn. I know the GP thinks i'm a crackpot, she also says she doen't like to put 'labels' on children . I must say I havent approached the secondary school yet, its such a large organisation, I don't know who to speak to first, I thought maybe his tutor?

My son has also lost many things, just totally not recognising his own clothes on school hoildays and then because he is so embarrased he doesnt want me to get them from lost property afterwards. E.g I will say what happened to your blue trousers when I unpack and he will tell me he didn't know he had any blue ones and the teacher had asked everyone who they belonged to.

Also he frequently gets in trouble for not doing his homework while its been left at home.

Actually I think it's me having issues he seems perfectly content lol.

pdb Tue 18-Jun-13 13:18:31

I just looked at a symptom list, I know he can identify with a lot of that, things like not liking the feel of certain fabrics, hating loud noises and yet being really loud himself.

Also I went for a walk with him on Saturday for the first time in ages and I realsised he is still doing this thing where he can't walk the same as everyone else, he seems to spill all over the pavement, waving arms all around and turning round and around. He's not even aware he's doing it.

nostress Tue 18-Jun-13 13:26:51

I would ring the school and ask to speak to the SENCO (special educational needs coordinator), they will definitely have one. Talk to her/him about your concerns, maybe make a list of specifics. She might suggest getting an Ed Psyc or Occupational therapist to make an assessment. Good luck!

pdb Tue 18-Jun-13 13:32:01

Thankyou. I will follow your advice. I will check the website to see who that is. I guess if I could at least get an assesment and it's all nothing then it will put my mind at rest. Because I feel i'm failing him right now by just doing nothing. Really, thankyou!

nostress Tue 18-Jun-13 13:38:58

No worries!

I must admit my first thought was Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) of which dyspraxia is the main symptom too. I have a 12 yr old DS with DCD as well and there are quite a few alarm bells ringing. Not everything is the same but enough to make me think it is a possibility.

Have a look at this book if you get the chance. It talks about how the condition is so much more than being a bit clumsy and having poor motor skills. It affects relationships, working memory and the ability to plan and organise yourself amongst other things. It might make something click for you and also provide some help with dealing with the GP and SENCO. Having a clear idea of what you think might be wrong might help them take you seriously. I would be asking the GP for an occupational therapy referral I think and then take it from there.

Just reading about you going for a walk. Does your DS do what mine does and either walk behind or in front of you? My DS can't walk with you unless you physically link arms with him and make him walk with you and even then, loosen your hold slightly (I'm not restraining him, just walking arm in arm) and he is off in one direction or another like a shot. You need eyes in the back of your head to keep track of him and try and have a conversation. grin

MaryKatharine Tue 18-Jun-13 13:58:50

I think you need to push for a referral ASAP!
I think lots of his symptoms sound like dyspraxia or possibly Aspergers. Many, many children with aspergers are also dyspraxia or display dyspraxia tendencies. Lots of the symptoms overlap and nobody on here can diagnose which is why you need to see a paed.

Please don't be alarmed by what I've just written. I wouldn't normally suggest it but the tone of your post suggests that you know something is different and that your main concern is getting to the bottom of it. It may be none of the above but something is going on. The holiday and birthday things are absolutely not typical of a 12yr old even if the sulkiness and disinterest can be attributed to his age. Good luck

MaryKatharine Tue 18-Jun-13 14:01:27

Yes, DCD, does fit a lot of what you have said. I would second speaking to the SenCo but as well as that you need to see your GP and ask for a referral to see a paediatrician as the quicker you get in the system the better.

MaryKatharine Tue 18-Jun-13 14:02:12

Sorry, dyspraxic tendencies. Bloody auto correct

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 18-Jun-13 14:05:47

If your GP hasn't listened to your fears you might be better seeing a locum next time they're away. When it's a pfb it's easy to doubt our judgment but when you compare DC1 to siblings it's sometimes very clear they are wired differently. Your DS1 may have developed techniques or coping mechanisms to get through life hence being resistant or stubborn about being challenged. He may well be aware others, including younger siblings find things easier. I am glad you are listening to your instinct. Btw around the same age did his dad display similar traits?

MaryKatharine Tue 18-Jun-13 14:19:06

Yes, I agree. Please go and see another GP. Not only is your son displaying many characteristics of being dyspraxic, he also has some sensory issues too. These often go hand in hand with both dyspraxia and aspergers as there are lots of overlaps.
You need to make a list and speak to another GP. Why on earth would your GP think that you'd want to label your child any more than she would? You have two other children. You know there's a problem.

My youngest is just 2yrs and I knew very early on that he was delayed. The main reason for this was that I'd experienced normal development with his older 3 sibling. Don't be fobbed off. Get onto the school too. If you can get them on side that will help your cause.

pdb Wed 19-Jun-13 09:52:35

Goodness, thankyou for all of these replies, well I must say you've all given me the confidence to pursue this!

The idea about seeing a locum is a good idea too.

I don't think there is any family history of any problems, except for myself, I got diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder a couple of years ago at the hearing department of the hospital, although I don't think they were really sure what my problem was. All I know is I had problems since I was a kid but because everytime I had a hearing test it came back 'excellent' I wasn't really believed that I had hearing difficulties. Of course now I know I have listening difficuties lol!

With walking he walks ahead always, like a puppy off a lead, bounding about arms waving, and almost falling off the kerb at times. I was just shocked as I thought he would have grown out of it by now. I remember now I kept him in a pushchair until his first day of school aged 5, with embarrasment I realised none of the other kids needed one, so I stopped using mine, I was petrified about getting him from the school to the car in case he ran off though as he was so unpredictible. Both my other kids stopped using theirs at two with no problems.

Anyway the suggestion of linking arms is no good, he won't allow any physical contact, never has since he was a toddler. I never got to cuddle him or kiss him like my other two. We have finally got to the point now where if asked by his dad if he loves me he can say yes (after a pause) but thats the extent of any affection :-(

One thing I forgot to mention is the incessant talking about a subject, for example we sit and watch a film together then afterwards he tells me in complete and utter detail about the film, what happened in each scene, what the background looked like, the sound effects, the lighting, he goes on and on. I will repeatedly say I just watched it with you, you don't need to tell me (he is in no way discussing or wanting a two way conversation) he will just carry on and carry on I will say I'm not listening and look away but he just carries on for maybe 15 minutes.

The worst is video games. I bought him one the other day with the understanding that he would never talk to me about it, i'm not being mean, he plays online with all his school buddies, they have headsets to talk to each other whilst playing the game. But still i've endured hours of dialogue about what move he made, what happened next. I honestly don't know how he even remembers let alone notices these things.

Going on holiday one year, a three hour journey, the radio was broken, and he would not shut up about Star Wars (now I love star wars) it was awful, he just would not stop, I had to get out at the services halfway to have a break.

The worst part for me is that with my APD once i'm tuned into what he's saying it renders me useless to complete any task like cooking the tea as I can't concentrate and I have to beg him to stop talking. It's awful, we are such a bad match conversationally.

I do really apprecaite all the advice here and I realise nobody here can give me a diagnosis, so I shall summon up the courage and try again to get help.

Lancelottie Wed 19-Jun-13 10:00:48

How is he with friendships (you say he has school buddies)?

pdb Wed 19-Jun-13 10:12:27

He has friends, I don't think they are very good friends to him sometimes, but I guess at 12 friendships are very up and down. What makes me laugh is all the drama, he has a real lack of understanding about other people and why they behave the way they do. He is useless at making arrangements to meet up too. I have noticed he is frequently excluded from birthday parties or outings. He will be really cross that his 'best' friends will have invited people they hardly know instead of him. It always puzzles me too. He's a good friendly kid, not a bully.

Quangle Wed 19-Jun-13 10:30:58

Hi PDB, sorry about all your worries. My Dsis was worried about DNephew who had some of the same issues. The school/GP couldn't see a problem. In the end, with the school's help they got a thorough assessment done by - well, I'm not quite sure who it was but someone like an educational psychologist. She spent the whole day with DNephew and did loads of studies and tests and was able to pinpoint the precise issues - which in his case are primarily short term memory. It's been very helpful for the whole family - no obvious "cure" but really helps everyone to understand what's going on and that he's not being difficult deliberately. Agree with all the other posts that you are right to push for more assessment - you are being brushed off here.

cory Wed 19-Jun-13 17:55:07

The grumpiness and don't-care-if-it-gets-broken attitude sound like somebody desperately trying to cover up that they themselves suspect they are not normal. This is what I was like for much of my childhood and my problems were far smaller than your ds' by the sounds of it. Ds is the same and school have just suggested testing him for dyspraxia.

IME grumpiness is often to do with anxiety. My DS is generally a happy chap but if he doesn't know what is happening he definitely gets very negative and if you can't give him some sort of answer, and the answer he expects he will go on and on about it. Drama queen is the phrase that springs to mind!

Do you know, I would write down all your concerns pretty much as you have done here, you could almost copy it and give that to a GP to read. I can't see if it is written out like this thread, they can be anything but sympathetic. I personally think it is harder to get your point across just by talking. Everything can seem little bit petty or insignificant and the listener might only focus on the one thing and then dismiss the rest. I think writing helps to avoid that.

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