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To think that this boy does not have a disability?

(128 Posts)
Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 12:24:56

I don't doubt he would, and did, benefit from special adjustments being made and an individual timetable. But so would most children. It is a shame that "a label", in this case an Asperger's diagnosis is necessary to get that.

I can't help but wonder whether changing schools so often, and allowing him to work on novels all night and sleep all day, has contributed to Alex's social isolation. I really hope that he can come into his own and thrive at Cambridge.

The boy himself seems to agree with me: "I don't think I've got a disability. I like being me." The diagnosis of Asperger's felt, he says, "like a label. I felt like a jam jar."

Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 12:27:00

muddleduck Wed 08-Jul-09 12:30:03

I read this and my impression was that there was a lot more too it than was put in the story. The bit about the mother having to leave the school and take him out seemed weird to me.

EffieGadsby Wed 08-Jul-09 12:37:35

I too thought there was more to this story than the article was telling us, regarding the situation at the schools he attended. He seems like a great kid though, and it's good that things are now working out for him academically.

lou031205 Wed 08-Jul-09 12:40:04


sis Wed 08-Jul-09 12:46:28

yes YABU. Do you know anything about Aspergers or have you based your opinion purely on the contents of the article?

AMumInScotland Wed 08-Jul-09 12:47:37

Do you mean to suggest that he doesn't have Aspergers? Or that having Aspergers shouldn't be counted as a disability?

I don't see that you can disagree with a medical diagnosis on the basis of reading one article about a person.

And I don't think it's for you to decide whether or not it is a disability - even if the boy himself is happy in his own skin, that doesn't mean his condition doesn't limit his choices in life. Many deaf people don't consider it to be a disability - they consider themselves to be part of a unique community. But schools would still treat deafness and a disability when it comes to making adjustments to the school system for that child.

Glitterknickaz Wed 08-Jul-09 12:48:51

and this is why we encounter so much grief when we're out and about with our three autistic kids


JemL Wed 08-Jul-09 12:53:46

A lot of people classed as "disabled" don't identify themselves as a disabled person, and enjoy being who they are. it doesn't make their condition - whether physical, mental, behavioural - less real.

And I don't think it is a case that he simply benefitted from an individual timetable, as most children would - it seems as if he HAD to have that because he literally couldn't cope with a regular timetable - it wasn't simply to enhance his learning experience.

scaredoflove Wed 08-Jul-09 12:55:53


aspergers presents in many different ways and forms and before spouting such shite, should maybe learn a little about the condition

These attitudes are what gave that young man such a hard time at school

would like to say more but will prob get deleted - so I'll just move on I think

madwomanintheattic Wed 08-Jul-09 12:57:06

I suspect that his mother's approach to the new school demanding individualised timetables may have been the cause of the school's lack of interest, rather than anything to do with his sen.

why didn't she get him statemented years ago? would have saved a lot of bother (rofl at the idea of a statement saving bother) he would have had a named school and team responsible for his education? (yes, i know statements for as are like hen's teeth) or are his difficulties not disabling enough to require a statement? in which case don't cry 'prejudice' and demand special treatment... social ieps? school action? school action plus? as outreach teams? learning support staff at the school? (or just a mother instantly withdrawing if s/he doesn't get her own way?)

why didn't she get the original school to deal with the bullying and get him an ed psych and camhs referral to deal with his increasing social exclusion? why didn't the school? in effect it makes it look like she facilitated his difficulties rather than attempting to deal with them - but the article may of course be misleading.

she is quite right about the difficulties of able children with sen though. the old 'twice exceptional' crew in the US at least have made sure people recognise it is a possibility.

what a shame that the new school have been dragged through a tribunal. i feel quite sorry for the poor old c of g. he sounds exhausted. her story sounds as though she has mismanaged every school relationship they have ever set up, so i wouldn't be at all surprised if she had just waltzed in and demanded an individualised programme for her gifted son, forgetting to mention the as until she could cry 'tribunal'.

i sound like a right cow. either that article has done the poor woman no justice at all, or someone should have given her some sound advice about sen years ago.

it's so difficult to do your best for your child, but upping sticks and removing him every time there is an issue isn't a sure-fire guarantee of creating a supportive base to enable him to get the best out of his all-round education (and that would include social skills as well as midnight novel writing lol). what a shame she seems so fixed on his academic genius - plotting his cambridge entrance for years, instead of helping him gain coping skills and life experience.

pagwatch Wed 08-Jul-09 12:57:26

And the sitting up all night and focussing on a novel is classic obsessive behaviour to cope with stress at a time when the mother says "he was a mess"
My son does somethings I would prefer that he did not but when they are attached to his internal method of keeping him calm and feeling secure I have to let it go.


<<pag notes that Aspies now have the curious incident as we ASD types have Rainman_ The one cultural reference point for mainstream to which we are all damed to being eternally assessed against>>

MamaLazarou Wed 08-Jul-09 12:58:45

YAB very U and rather offensive.

chevre Wed 08-Jul-09 13:00:47

interesting article, stupid op though.


LucyMinter Wed 08-Jul-09 13:03:03

OP sorry, you just sound so ignorant.

scaredoflove Wed 08-Jul-09 13:03:57

ok I can't move on

madwoman - do you know how hard it is to get even an assessment for a statement? do you know how many people have to go to tribunal because the LEA refuses to uphold the statement?? Do you know how many people LEA's lie to??/

Even with the best statement in the world, schools and LEA's withold help and support. Finding a school that can support a childs very specific needs is almost impossible, especially when the child has an 'invisible' disability.

I have special needs and so do all my children, one gets adequate help but she is in a wheelchair. No one even noticed one is very dyslexic/adhd - she was labelled high spirited and lazy

Attitudes remain shite

Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 13:05:58

Yes, I do have personal experience of Aspergers

"Do you mean to suggest that he doesn't have Aspergers? Or that having Aspergers shouldn't be counted as a disability?

I don't see that you can disagree with a medical diagnosis on the basis of reading one article about a person.

And I don't think it's for you to decide whether or not it is a disability - even if the boy himself is happy in his own skin, that doesn't mean his condition doesn't limit his choices in life."

I think it is a given that everyone has their life choices limited by their own abilities, circumstances and temperament. Not just those with a formal diagnosis. I don't see any reason to doubt that Alex meets the criteria for a diagnosis, but I think it is a shame that it was necessary to have that label for the adjustments to be made.

From reading the article, I don't think he is disabled, though he would probably have benefited from more stability and support in school. I don't mean to suggest that people cannot be disabled because of Asperger's.

By analogy, I have a friend with Cerebal Palsy who does not consider herself disabled. She is clearly affected by it, but it would be absurd to suggest that, because she is not severely impacted and copes well, CP is not a disability. It is just a spectrum disorder and there is a grey area at one end of that spectrum.

Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 13:07:41

"and this is why we encounter so much grief when we're out and about with our three autistic kids"

Why? I would never presume to judge on the basis of observed behaviour. If you chose to give a detailed interview to the Guardian, I might.

Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 13:15:15

I really don't mean to cause offense or upset to parents of children with SN so will leave this thread now to hopefully die.

I do think it is a shame that the treatment of those with borderline SN (with or without diganosis) can't be discussed more openly.

wannaBe Wed 08-Jul-09 13:18:44

so because he says he doesn't think of himself as disabled he isn't? hmm

I don't think of myself as disabled. Many people who know me will tell you that they don't think of me as disabled. But I have a disability.

Yabu. and ignorant.

pagwatch Wed 08-Jul-09 13:19:47


I think had your OP said
" do you think this boy has been helped by having a formal diagnosis or should people with aspergers tendencies be helped to access mainsteam by other means"

it might have had a more positive respond.
Also AIBU is not my first port of call for serious discussion about potentially sensitive issues.

The education boards, other subjects or even a well worded OP in SEN

Upwind Wed 08-Jul-09 13:22:58

Pagwatch, Wannabe

point taken smile

madwomanintheattic Wed 08-Jul-09 13:25:27

scaredoflove - yep.

my point was exactly that though - which is why i commented that a statement would save bother with my tongue firmly in my cheek. wink

a far more efficient way of organising an sen child's education is to deal with the system that is in place, rather than hop around schools looking for a way to circumvent the system though.

my point was that a child with a disability needs a parent who engages with that system that is in place. and that means fighting for a statement if the child needs one, not hopping around schools at will and eventually taking a school to tribunal on discrimination grounds. if he is disabled enough to require a statement then blardy well take the lea to tribunal on those grounds. and do it years ago, not at last gasp to uni entrance.

i don't think the article is balanced at all, and i think it presents the mother in a poor light (i would prefer an accurate account of any lea battles to be documented ie an attempt to get a statement which sets out his sen, some discussion on the inability of the first school to appropriately deal with the apparently repeated bullying and isolation etc etc etc.)

if i was going to bother to give the grauniad an interview, i'd want it to look like i'd worked my socks off for my kid for the last ten years and been turned down by the lea at every step of the way, not that i'd hopped around and then taken the latest school to tribunal because i'd left it too late to do anything else.

and i'm not saying that's what she did - she might well have had an almighty battle for years with the lea, but that article makes it sound like she just didn't understand the system, which just makes it really galling for anyone who has fought the lea over statementing etc.

it's a shame, because your average punter will read it and think 'how appalling', whereas i read it and think 'i wish someone had told her years ago to fight for a statement'.

madwomanintheattic Wed 08-Jul-09 13:27:51

<oops sorry> got distracted and didn't realise it was offficially over. grin

katiestar Wed 08-Jul-09 13:30:35

There is aboy at DDs playgroup who is alway hurting the other children ,jumping on them when they are lying down breaking their toys.But everyonne at playgroup understand he has Aspergers and makes allowances.Last week ent to pick DD up and can only see her face looking very tense sitting on the mat.When I went in I saw this kid tugging at her bag while DD holds onto it for dear life.Next to him the worker is talking to him in a calm voice trying to persuade him to let go.I march up to said child and say lodly and firmly ' right X we need that bag now because we are going home' and he lets go of it in an instant.
Now how come he does what a slightly cross stranger says but not those who he knows he can wrap round his little finger.If he has a 'special need' he surely can either control his behaviour or he can't.
I do believe some kids do have Aspergers but I think a hell of a lot more are naughty children and it is a cop out for weak ,ambarassed parents and staff who can't control them.

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