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To ask if your child or children have ASD

(231 Posts)
Mumzoo Sat 16-Feb-19 11:32:22

Just something I notice on every thread on mumsnet, people mention their "child with ASD". It seems so utterly common on here that it makes me wonder if there are any families out there who still have no children with ASD at all. I have one with (not yet diagnosed but quite evident) ASD and one neurotypical. Growing up I didn't know any children with ASD until a boy joined our secondary school and we were all made aware of this by our teachers in a bid to accept him despite his "odd behaviour". That was one child in a school of 1200 pupils. Now there are one or two in every class. It's quite shocking.

NotMyUsualTopBilling Sat 16-Feb-19 11:40:59

I knew 4 children with Autism when I was growing up (in the 90's), it wasn't something we openly discussed so I wasn't fully aware of it.

I think it's more prevalent now because we understand that it's a spectrum and people are affected in different ways that might not have been picked up on before.

Outwardly my son is completely "normal", he has no learning difficulties or developmental issues but he struggles massively with emotional regulation, understanding and social awareness. He has Autism but in the past he'd probably just have been a "naughty kid".

Bobbycat121 Sat 16-Feb-19 11:42:43

I agree with you. My daughter has autism and now I know so many people who have a child with autism. I personally think they are just more quick to diagnose now.

Mumzoo Sat 16-Feb-19 11:56:47

Well I agree, some behaviours that were considered "difficult" or "naughty" in the past may be now attributed to ASD. But what about more obvious behaviours, and severe autism? Hand flapping, tics, severe anxiety, lack of speech, inability to make eye contact, still in nappies at secondary school age etc. Surely if kids had these issues back then it would have been obvious.

NorthEndGal Sat 16-Feb-19 12:00:49

My son, now grown, has ASD, as did one of my brother's, my mum, her 2 brothers and my grandfather. There is a pretty long line of it in our family

whinetime89 Sat 16-Feb-19 12:01:46

I have one child with ADHD and HF autism and two neurotypical children. I vividly remember having a child who looking back clearly has LF autism. I think it is talked about more and given a name VS being a child who " is naughty " etc

Sirzy Sat 16-Feb-19 12:05:19

The amount of adults who are seeking diagnosis as an adult (normally adults who are very troubled in various ways) shows that thankfully we have much more awareness now (still not enough) so hopefully young people can be supported in a way many haven’t been in the past

GruciusMalfoy Sat 16-Feb-19 12:09:11

Yes, my child is autistic. My mother says, looking back, my brother probably is too. I mentioned his traits and what my mother was told at the time, and the paediateician we saw agreed that he could be too. Bro mentioned it himself and says he wouldn't be surprised.

Understanding of ASD is getting better. I look back at certain classmates and wonder.

Mumzoo Sat 16-Feb-19 12:20:21

One of my siblings thinks she has autism, but her childhood (and to an extent her adult) behaviour stemmed from trauma. There seems to be an overlap between ASD and attachment disorder traits.

Punxsutawney Sat 16-Feb-19 12:23:04

My youngest Ds who is a teenager is currently being assessed for ASD. I was under the impression that it wasn't particularly easy to get a referral or diagnosis these days. I have always suspected that he had ASD but did not pursue a diagnosis until it became apparent that he was really starting to struggle. In hindsight that was a mistake, I should have looked into getting him assessed a long time ago.

None of my close friends have a child with ASD or developmental issues. Although that does make our situation feel like a lonely place to be.

vickibee Sat 16-Feb-19 12:27:13

My Ds has asd high functioning, as I have researched it more I believe. I also have many traits . My son has difficulty socially has no friends and struggles in mainstream school. He has an ehcp

NotMyUsualTopBilling Sat 16-Feb-19 12:31:04

We had a school for children with disabilities nearby so we didn't mix I suppose, the children I knew were siblings of friends or family friends and they were all evidently Autistic.

@Punxsutawney I could've written your post! We've also long suspected known that DS was Autistic and although we've had referrals from nursery and school he wasn't officially diagnosed until October aged 12. I didn't push hard enough when he was younger because he seemed to manage fine and I didn't want to label him which has probably made things worse but we can only focus on the future.

It really isn't a quick and easy process if there aren't obvious physical and/or developmental signs.

gamerchick Sat 16-Feb-19 12:33:18

Hand flapping, tics, severe anxiety, lack of speech, inability to make eye contact, still in nappies at secondary school age etc. Surely if kids had these issues back then it would have been obvious.

Those children were hidden away in institutions. It's not a new thing, we're just getting more awareness and understanding out there. This is why it boils my piss when some judgy cunt watching your child have a meltdown and you tell them they're autistic and they mutter to their companion that 'there wasn't any of this autism stuff in my day. Nothing a good smack won't sort' hmm while they rubberneck.

There are a vast number of adults seeking diagnosis now who would have struggled with school but because of the school classroom set up they went largely undetected and just labelled naughty or thick.

Stevienickssleeves Sat 16-Feb-19 12:37:53

I have an ASD child and i suspect I am HF autistic too. I did well at primary school and really struggled at high school but because I masked so heavily noone would have suspected, I was always just 'a bit weird'. Teachers are better at spotting it now.

Tinyteatime Sat 16-Feb-19 12:39:39

I’ve often wondered about the prevalence of people On MN with children with asd. It seems every other poster has a child with it but I thought it was still pretty rare, like 1% of the population? I wondered if parents with children with asd were just more likely to seek support from an online forum. I’ve only known one family IRL whose child is diagnosed and I’ve met another mum recently with a preschooler who hasn’t been diagnosed but most certainly will be.

EwItsAHooman Sat 16-Feb-19 12:43:48

It is not easy to get a diagnosis and they are not quick to hand then out "these days".

There have always been autistic people but 20/30/40/50+ years ago it would only have been a narrow spectrum of cases that would be diagnosed as autism and as ASD often comes with other co-morbidities that may be more obvious then that's going to be the diagnosis and any ASD symptoms attributed to that due to lack of understanding - e.g., epilepsy and the ASD symptoms are instead seen as damage caused by the seizures. Children with low function would have been diagnosed as subnormal or "the r-word" and placed in residential schools or institutions. Children with high function enough to more or less cope (although not necessarily cope well) would have been written off as naughty, inattentive, over-emotional, etc and shunted off into the bottom sets/remedial classes/school for naughty children.

The reasons there seem to be more children with ASD now are complex. Very simplistically though, they are more visible. Specialist provision is harder to get so more children with additional needs are in mainstream schools. Recognition and diagnosis has become more refined. Support groups and campaign groups are working for more integration, e.g., autism friendly sessions at attractions, shopping centres, etc so there is more awareness now.

Mumzoo Sat 16-Feb-19 12:47:56

Those children were hidden away in institutions.

Where were/are they and are they now empty? I know there were some..but surely not enough to cope with the numbers of people being diagnosed these days.
I know a family whose severely brain damaged daughter was cared for at home because there were no local institutions to take her. She was non-verbal, non-mobile.

EwItsAHooman Sat 16-Feb-19 12:54:48

I’ve often wondered about the prevalence of people On MN with children with asd. It seems every other poster has a child with it

It can be very isolating parenting a child with additional needs. People don't understand, they think it's down to naughtiness, poor parenting, nothing a good smack won't fix, etc plus they don't quite know what to say to you or how to talk to you so there's sometimes an awkwardness there.

It's not too bad when they're little and they're all chewing things, getting into toddler-style mischief, having tantrums, being adorably weird like preschoolers are. However when they get older and the other children mature, the gaps become obvious and your child is still doing things that are no longer cute or funny now they're 8yo instead of 2yo. DS used to get lots of party invites back when whole class parties were a thing, lots of play dates when they were the age where you had a different school friend round each week, but as they got older and seperated off into friendship groups they dried up. He's 10yo now and has been invited to a birthday party or round to anyone's house in nearly four years. In the yard at school he follows the other kids around while they run away from him whenever they realise he's nearby. Some of the girls let him join their games now and then but only until he becomes annoying.

No one wants to play with the weird kid and, by extension, no one wants to chat with the weird kid's mother.

So many of us go online where we can talk to people who know what it's like, either anonymously on MN or not so anonymously on platforms like FB, then it's a little bit less isolating.

gamerchick Sat 16-Feb-19 12:54:53

Why don't you do some research of your own OP rather than have it handed to you on a plate? Your undertone of wide eyed disbelief doesn't really motivate.

EllenJanesthickerknickers Sat 16-Feb-19 12:59:05

Tinyteatime I certainly joined MN looking for support. The SN pages were and are brilliant. I don’t have that many RL acquaintances with DC with ASD, so MN is a lifesaver. I stayed because I feel at home here. My DS2 is now 19.

There are definitely more parents with DC with ASD on MN that in the average population. That shouldn’t really be surprising. It does mean that for those on here without DC with SN, they tend to call out ‘professionally offended’ more often than they should. sad

differentnameforthis Sat 16-Feb-19 13:00:33

I have one ASD girl, and one NT girl.

I agree it is shocking, it is shocking that I know 3 families who were all told their girls weren't autistic for various reasons, and then a further assessment found they were. My daughter was one. Not autistic because she made eye contact. That was a child psychologist.

It was obvious in the past!!! They were misdiagnosed with childhood psychosis, or childhood schizophrenia and locked in institutions. Or they went to specialist schools, were as now, it is pretty much all mainstream.

My mum used to work in an institution. Many of the ladies she looked after I now recognize as having asd markers. Mostly at the severe end of the scale.

And more children being dx with asd does not take away from anyone else being diagnosed. In actual fact in my experience those with "more obvious" signs are taken more seriously. I cannot tell you how hard I am fighting my daughter's school to recognize her anxiety and struggles because she is "high fucking functioning" and because she masks!! They don't see the struggles I have getting her dressed (severe sensory issues with clothing), to eat, to sleep etc. They just see the little girl getting on with her work, not bothering anyone, therefore she isn't effected by it.

My dd's psychologist has informally dx my dh with asd. He's 50. I can see traits in his dad and his mum. In fact, his mum has quite pronounced sensory issues.

SerendipityReally Sat 16-Feb-19 13:00:50

There's a theory that school and society in general was easier to navigate for autistic people in previous years. Desks facing the front, listening to the teacher, rather than tables and group work and projects, simple rules on how to address people and "only speak when spoken to".

I'm not saying that is the whole story and I'm sure diagnosis is wider now. But I still regular talk about DS's needs to people who've never looked after an autistic child before, so out IRL it's maybe not as widespread as it seems to us parents who live and breathe it.

EwItsAHooman Sat 16-Feb-19 13:01:23

Where were/are they and are they now empty? I know there were some..but surely not enough to cope with the numbers of people being diagnosed these days.

As already explained, not as many people were diagnosed back then because we didn't have the level of understanding that we do now and the diagnostic criteria were very narrow so people would be diagnosed with other things instead. Not all children would be institutionalised, some would be cared for at home but you wouldn't see them because they'd be at home all of the time. Others would be in hospitals or psychiatric facilities. Life with a disabled child is hard now but it was even harder then.

The institutions closed due to lack of funding alongside better knowledge on how to improve outcomes for children with SN, and a change in attitudes towards isolation vs integration.

Why is it our job to educate you? Is your Google broken? That's the other thing that fucks me off. People seem to expect that it is our job to teach everyone and their mother about disability.

differentnameforthis Sat 16-Feb-19 13:05:12

"high functioning" is in quotes because it is a bullshit label that doesn't help anyone and it's unhelpful.

twinkletoedelephant Sat 16-Feb-19 13:05:43

I have 3 children with asd... I followed a Google search for somthing specific and it lead me to the sn board. I then never left.

I do think there us a lot more children rd with asd although at my children mainstream school..... there is a lot of patents who insist their child has 'traits' and that explains there bad behaviour not the letting them play 18 computer games & watch YouTube till 3am

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