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AIBU to be upset with CAMHS assessment?

(15 Posts)
BourbonChicken Fri 22-Apr-16 13:39:02

15 year old DS took OD of paracetamols last Sunday night. He was assessed by CAMHS in hospital. I mentioned to the assessor in confidence my suspicions that I feel that DS shows many symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome.

We had follow up assessment at CAMHS today and the person carrying this out (same person who saw him in hospital) saw my son and myself together. She just came out with the fact that he possibly has Autism. My son is upset and angry now and obviously worried.

I don't think that she should have dropped this on him without a definite clinical diagnosis having been made. He is now gutted as he knows what Autism is. Surely there was no need to upset him unless we know for sure that he has it?

NotCitrus Fri 22-Apr-16 15:10:49

Sorry you're having to deal with all this.
I think mentioning it as a possibility, rather than "I think you have autism" is OK as it's something to take into account, and many people who have problems are very relieved to find they have ASD or might have it, as it helps explain how they are feeling. If he's OD'd, then he's upset already - anything that might shed light is more likely to help, though he may also be upset if he thinks it should have been spotted sooner (and if there's a long waiting list or he has a referral for ASD assessment refused, he may get more upset).
Best wishes.

mummytime Fri 22-Apr-16 15:53:37

I think it is fine, he is going to have to know pretty soon any way.
Assessment for Autism isn't like a blood test for diabetes or a brain scan, it involves asking and answering a lot of questions.
To be honest my then 9 year old already suspected she was on the spectrum before CAMHS started their assessment process.

What your son is going through is a realisation that he is different, and it might never go away. However you can help him, by showing him it's not that bad.
or look at a pro-aspie site like

Gatehouse77 Fri 22-Apr-16 16:20:19

You know what, we had a CAMHS clinician say the same to us about our son. Further down the -ridiculous- assessment path and a psychiatrist disagreed.

Whilst we accept that DS has some traits of Asperger's we were confident that it was not the underlying cause. He was eventually diagnosis with biological depression which was far more accurate.

But, when the first person (actually it was a different CAMHS team as the hospital was in a different county) said the word autism it sent DS into a downward spiral. We were so angry. I empathise with you.

BourbonChicken Fri 22-Apr-16 16:52:12

Thank you all so much for your replies. It has been really great to hear other's views and experiences.

What was particularly difficult in my DS's assessment was that the CAMH's assessor was referring to his Autism as a statement of fact, as if it had already been diagnosed. She was obviously basing this on the information I had supplied her with in hospital.

I would not have dreamed of telling my son that this was suspected unless a definite diagnosis had been given. He doesn't think that there is anything wrong with him at all. He says he took OD because he feels that me and his Dad expect too much of him in terms of achievement at school. It happened following a row about him not doing his homework. The apparent news that he had autism came as a complete bombshell to him.

The CAMHS assessor has referred DS for counselling. Ironically, I think he may need counselling to get over his interview with her. He had been really cheerful all week after getting out of hospital. Now he feels awful.

Thank you for the website links Mummytime. I will have a good look at those this evening. That is really kind of you.

mummytime Fri 22-Apr-16 17:41:41

Actually when looking I realised its actually getting harder to find the obligatory "famous people with..." who are men with ASD, it seems to be becoming easier to find girls (although it's harder to get them diagnosed).

With CAMHS - is this the person who is going to be dealing with his case, or just someone doing an initial assessment? If they are going to be involved on going, I would contact them and explain how your DS reacted/felt. Google the phone number if you don't have it, and keep phoning until you speak to a person. My local CAHMS don't give you the phone number but it is easily googled, and they seem to forget voice mails but are great to speak to if you get through.

GraysAnalogy Fri 22-Apr-16 17:59:57

I'm not sure, isn't it better that he knows it's a possibility beforehand instead of dropping it upon him later? (if he was diagnosed). Obviously you know your son best, and they should have tread more carefully by the sounds of things.

allowlsthinkalot Fri 22-Apr-16 18:11:38

I'm afraid I think YABU not to have discussed your concerns with your son. And if you didn't want it mentioned to him then you needed to make that clear. However I doubt CAMHS would treat a young person of his age without being open with him as it would undermine his trust in them.

The ASD diagnostic process is long, lots of observations, self assessment questionnaires and detailed questions. You wouldn't have been able to hide it from him until diagnosis was firm I'm afraid and I don't see why you would want to.

I think it comes down to your view of autism - "he doesn't think there's anything wrong with him" - there isn't! At his age you should be able to have a conversation about neuro diversity and ask him whether he thinks he has difficulty is specific areas and whether it might be contributing to his depression.

My son is 8. He was five at diagnosis and I still didn't hide anything from him. We took a " we want to find out more about the things you find more difficult" and "everyone's brain works differently" approach.

allowlsthinkalot Fri 22-Apr-16 18:13:55

But whilst I think you were at fault (it wouldn't have been a bombshell had you been open), they shouldn't have been referring to it as fact, that is poor communication. But had you talked to your son about it, he and you would have been able to correct them with no trauma to him.

BourbonChicken Fri 22-Apr-16 19:46:03

I must admit that it didn't occur to me to share my concerns with my son. There is every possibility that my conclusions that he has got Aspergers are wrong. All the knowledge I have about the condition has been gained from reading on the internet.

Prior to DS's overdose, he wasn't depressed. He has been seemingly fine since being discharged from hospital and resuming normal operations. He just thinks that he only ODd because he was upset that me and his Dad refused to believe that he had done his homework. He doesn't really suffer from the social isolation that causes depression in many suffering from ASD. Despite having seemingly quite poor social skills (shy, poor eye contact, lack of facial expression etc) he has been lucky enough to have a lot of friends at school. People seem to like him even though he is very reserved. I have spoken to school, who have confirmed that he is always with a group of friends at break times. School had apparently not detected any mental health problems.

I came to the conclusion that he may have Aspergers as he has so many of the other indicators eg food issues, sleep issues, sensory issues, severe disorganisation etc. However, I am only a lay person and not really qualified to say for sure.

GraysAnalogy Fri 22-Apr-16 19:56:26

He might think that but it's not necessarily true, people are supposed to be able to deal with things like that without trying to overdose so it certainly suggests somethings going on with his emotions or coping processes. He doesn't have to have the social isolation that causes depression, he doesn't have to have any reason to be depressed sometimes you just are.

I think your DS is of an age where you should be able to discuss these things and to be honest it might be better for him. He's more than likely Gillick Competent. I think the shock that the CAMHS team shared their thoughts with him is because, like you say, it didn't occur for you to do so. But in their eyes they're keeping him informed, they've deemed him old and mature enough to be able to deal with this information. He needs to know and it may help him understand why he feels like he feels if he's kept up to date and given information by the professionals.

I know you probably feel like you need to protect him from that but he's 15 now and needs to be involved with his care.

Just my thoughts anyway

How is he feeling now, what are the next steps? I hope you're all okay, must be a really hard time for you all

GraysAnalogy Fri 22-Apr-16 19:58:18

There's many people on this forum much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to this, people who have been through it all with their children. I think if you go on the main chat page you'll find a better forum tailored and get some good input flowers

BourbonChicken Fri 22-Apr-16 20:17:54

Thank you ever so much for your input. I really do appreciate it and it's given me a lot of food for thought.

You are absolutely right when you say the ODing due to upset after an argument about homework is way outside what you would expect and indicative of poor coping mechanisms at the very least.

The assessor we saw today has referred him on to someone else for counselling, so we won't meet with her again. I am just hoping the counselling starts as soon as possible so we can get to the bottom of what is going on.

I am just hoping that he may get some extra help at school at the end of it all. At the moment, he is doing his GCSEs and is struggling to cope with the academic side due to organisational issues eg turning up to exams without a calculator despite having one in his bag for example.

FaithAscending Fri 22-Apr-16 20:36:45

Just from personal experience - I have ASD. I was only diagnosed recently (I'm 34). It's been a long journey but so enlightening. The key thing I've come to realise - which I think is relevant to your son - is yes, I have autism but I'm still me. I haven't changed. I understand myself, my needs and my limitations better. I get that your son 'knows' what autism is but perception is still often those individuals who cannot communicate so he might be thinking How can that be me? It's worth looking into info on high functioning autism to find things he really identifies with.

Actually I'd say regardless of diagnosis/potential diagnosis (dyspraxia could be another possibility), it's worth considering how he manages his time, how he unwinds (especially if he gets overwhelmed by life) and how he has opportunity to express himself. thanks to you, this week must have been an ordeal for all of you. Well done for supporting him as you are.

BourbonChicken Fri 22-Apr-16 20:54:07

HI Faith. Thank you for the kind words and cyber flowers.Your post is very insightful and illuminating. There seems to be quite an overlap between Aspergers and Dyspraxia from what I can glean from reading. As my son's social skills are rather awkward, I came to the conclusion that Aspergers is probably more likely.

How, he manages his time is obsessive video gaming. He has a number of friends who he does this with, using Skype to communicate with each other. He would stay on his Playstation all day if allowed. I can hear him up there now, howling with laughter with his mates playing Fifa.

Hi Grays,

I meant to say in my previous response that I tried posting in the mental health forum, but there wasn't much traffic.

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