Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Very mild high functioning Aspergers -(52 Posts)
My Ds is 12 and for the last four years has gone from a very sociable kid with lots of friends to a very sociable kid with no friends. A couple of years ago there was evidence of kids excluding him at school so I finally chatted to school and to the parents about it. School said he always seems really happy with lots of friends and they had no idea there was a problem. His friends mums said, very honestly, that He was doing certain things and the kids just simply didn't like him any more and they couldn't force their kids to spend time with him. Cue to go on the Internet and start researching! He has been top of his class for four years in a very selective school and is possibly gifted in maths. I have spoken to the senco coordinator who said he would never get statemented as its not obvious enough, I don't care about statement or not I just want it to be recognised so we can help him. Main problem is one way conversations about a particular subject and him not realising the signs that others are not interested so they just avoid him. He asks a lot of questions, mainly rhetorical, to fill conversations, but rarely two way conversations. Lots of other annoying habits like shouting out in class, not stopping when someone has told him to stop. Anyone here in same situation who can give advice on tactics? We have started going to the school counsellor and talked about facial expressions to look out for (Ds is mortified and doesn't know why we are there) but he is well aware that kids at school don't like him and he desperately wants to change that!
Have you had an official diagnosis? It might be best to go down that route first.
It's so hard on them with the friendship issues.
Not yet, as senco coordinator keeps dissuading me, but head teacher has said I should so I have set the wheels in motion. - tbh I would just like to speak to an expert in the field.
I wouldn't listen to the senco and if you want a diagnosis then go for that.
It should get him extra support, time in exams if needed etc.
I ended up getting a diagnosis privately as its so difficult in my local area to get help with this.
Is your GP supportive?
In the meantime, do they have social groups/clubs at school that your ds can go to?
Keeping busy helps my dd as its not so obvious that you don't have friends in break time then.
He likes to play American football at break and sometimes he plays other times he says they didn't let him play (when actually they may say get another person to balance the team then you can play) but he just hears it literally. Don't think his listening skills are great! He does go off and finds someone else to play with, football for example. I haven't spoken to the gp yet - as started off down the school route. We are working in his listening - reading between the lines is tricky for him. Am sure that is a huge part of the problem
High functioning means "normal or above normal IQ" and if he has Aspergers that is part of the criteria. I really don't think if his social communication difficulties are impacting all his friendships that this is "mild".
I can't imagine WHY your SENCO doesn't want him assessed but that really ISN'T a school decision. Would you listen to her if he was miserable because he had eczema and she didn't think he should see a Dr.
Statements are NOT really anything to do with diagnosis.
From what you're describing its his social communication which is the biggest problem right now, I would be asking for a speech and language assessment in the first instance. Is he showing indications of other aspects of autism? Can he express his emotions? Does he have restricted or repetitive interests? How is he with spontaneity? Does he have problems doing homework? Any signs of anxiety? Any motor skills problems? Sensory difficulties? What about his self-care and independence skills?
Social communication is definitely the biggest problem that my dd has and she is highly intelligent.
I would give anything for her to be able to have and maintain friendships.
Out of interest polter why would you recommend asking for speech and language assessment if verbal communication is there but it's a matter of interpretation etc?
That's not meant in a confrontational way, I am still only six years in to diagnosis and am quite new to it all. I have teen dd with high functioning ASD and co morbid issues.
SALT assessment encompasses pragmatic language, and social understanding.
Thanks Zzzz and would that be done prior to getting a referral for ASD? I have a friend going through the process (NHS) with her dd and she has not been offered this. Maybe it comes within the assessment package at the same time?
They will do a salt assessment (or should) within the process, but you can self refer in most areas (# from the GP)
Sorry Number from your GPs receptionist, you don't need to see the GP
Tough I would say SALT as a priority because that's where the OP is seeing all the problems. From my reading of the OP she's not describing the breadth of difficulties you'd see with autism, but clearly there are significant social communication difficulties. It's often the area that's missed or dismissed in secondary school age children, particularly those who seem superficially very articulate, and often the most vital area of need.
Thanks, I didn't realise that SALT encompassed understanding of language as much as whether verbal/non etc.
Sorry to hijack op, hopefully it helped a bit though too
Sorry to seem picky OP but I really dont believe there is such a thing as "mild" aspergers! To meet the diagnostic criteria a person needs to be significantly affected by the condition.
It does sound as though your Ds has some difficulties that would warrent further investigation and if he does get a diagnosis try to stop thinking of it as a "mild" condition, it isnt!
Fwiw, I agree that it would be an idea to start with a SALT assessment but request other assessments at the same time because there will be a long wait! You can always cancel appointments if you change your mind.
Regarding the "mild" asperger's description, I think it's quite tricky to describe dc who have some features of AS but haven't (yet) been seen by either school or health care staff as having sufficient difficulties to warrant an assessment. "Possible mild aspergers" is a description sometimes fed back to us as parents.
I get that running and I heard it alot during the 3.5 yrs of assessments that Dd3 had before her dx but I still stand by what I said! There is nothing mild about living with aspergers or hfa! I would be asying any anyone who said it now "If the symptoms are mild then why would a parent be seeking a dx?"
Is it an independent school OP? DD attended one for yrs 7 and 8 and before admission, the Head (who also taught) stated that if we were going for a statement he would not accept her on those grounds, because he's wasted 2 years of his time supporting 2 other pupils to get a statement (endless meetings miles away, and endless reports) only for the LEA to turn round and say they would not fund those kids at his school because they considered they could meet the 2 pupils' needs in LEA schools.
That may explain your SENCO's reluctance to move. It could also be that they simply don't want to implement any necessary adjustments for your son, some schools like identical treatment for every pupil, or they could be concerned about the cost if they are forced to.
<grump>Ineed the whole 'mild' thing drives me round the bend too, I've never heard any professional who is qualified to dx Asperger's or HFA use that derogatory description, but it seems to be very common on MN. Both terms delineate significant impairment and there's nothing mild about the effect it has on someone's daily living.</grump>
Sorry Ive been a bit quiet - only now have time to read all the posts. Thanks for all your comments. Its certainly an interesting subject. Ineedmorepatience - you are correct, if it was very mild i wouldn't be looking into it, I guess that when I look at full blown Aspergers, he is certainly not there, he only has traits. So to give it a name, I have called it Mild. Aspergers is a step down from Autism - maybe we need to find a name which is a step down from Aspergers. Blankmind, yes it is an independent school. I had not thought about meetings etc they would be involved in. TBH I just want teachers and kids to be aware of it, rather than get an actual statement, as if you know a child has those traits you would possibly teach them in a different manner. The school is quite supportive, and we are meeting with the school counsellor to discuss situations / give him tools to work with to improve relationships.
Poltergoose, - he is super independent, but does show signs of all of the questions you ask - but any 12 year old boy could also feel the same, so hard to tell if it is because of possible Aspergers, or just because he has a lot of homework and sometimes gets anxious about it! He was a very late talker (which I attributed at the time to him being left handed (so right brain dominant, a different discussion!) I thought when he was little that he was allergic/affected to E numbers as he would seriously get over excitable and go a bit doolaley, definitely due to sensory overload. He only reads books on facts / hates fiction (Mr Gum, Captain Underpants etc he liked though). Motor skills wise, he is absolutely terrible on racquets sports, but when he was 9 he spent a day learning how to do the rubiks cube,(via algorithms) and then three months learning to do it in under 12 seconds, so he must be ok on that front. Writing not great, but possibly again left handedness to blame. He has little sense of personal space. Last year I looked into Dabrowkis theory of five over excitabilities, and there is a lot of boxes we can tick in his theory - but am sure there is possible overlap there with Aspergers anyway. He did some school maths olympiad and got a silver medal which I think puts him in the top 1% of population in his age group. Ideally I would like to hear from anyone whose children are in the same boat and what, if anything, helped them.
Aspergers isn't a 'step down' from autism, as has been mentioned above it's autism without learning disability and without any 'clinically significant language delay by three age of 3'. It can be severely debilitating.
I still think a SALT assessment would be the most helpful thing you could do.
My understanding was aspergers was autism without language delay/disorder and autism was with an associated language delay at preschool age. I didn't know either implied learning disability.
What was the difficulty with talking?
The only diagnostic criteria which includes anything relating to IQ/cognitive ability/learning disability is Aspergers, which is just a sub-type of autism. And, of course, people with autism are spread across the whole spectrum of IQ/cognitive ability. So there's people with severe learning disabilities whose autism may be quite mild, and people with high IQ who may be severely autistic. So many variables to interact!
Yes, I was really surprised when dd was diagnosed as being severely autistic because I thought that wouldn't be the case with such a high IQ. I agree that aspergers is in no way a 'step down' from autism.
OP I wonder if your DC would be classed as having some sub clinical signs of ASD? Meaning that he has some elements but not enough to diagnose as Autism.
It would be worth your while reading up on autism and the various types. It is a common misconception that Apergers Syndrome is the mild form of autism. Whether he has sub clinical signs or Aspergers Syndrome, you will have to become your own expert.
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