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Help! Amongst other things, my 6yr old takes things very literally and is oblivious to sarcasm or play on words - is this normal?

(5 Posts)
SingleMumof1 Sat 20-Aug-11 19:42:22

This may sound sillly but I would love to know if anyone else has the same experience with their 5 or 6yr old.

Just for a bit of background info, my son has just turned 6 (August baby therefore youngest in class and struggles a bit compared with the majority) and when he was in nursery the teachers thought he may be autistic because of social interacting problems, they also suggested he see a speech therapist as in their opinion (not mine) he had problems in that area. Needless to say we had appointments at hospital and were told he was not autistic but had a severe separation anxiety (his dad and I split when he was a baby so it's been us on our own since then). Also no problems at all according to speech therapist.

During year 1 at school his teacher expresed concern with his concentration, ability to follow instructions and general organisation of his belongings. I agreed with some of that but thought he is the youngest in the class and will sort himself out in time.

Anyway, the autism aspect is always in the back of my mind and when he does odd things I cant help wondering if he does have a very mild case of autism as I know the spectrum is huge.

I am getting concerned as he does take things totally literally, has no concept of sarcasm, doesnt understand jokes and will ask the same question sometimes on the same day time and time again but cant remember what ive answered him with. For example this evening he was twiddling my hair but got carried away and pulled it too hard, I told him not to as it hurt. 5 mins later exactly the same thing. 10 mins later same again. He looked genuinely surprised when I pointed out I'd already told him not to do it a couple of times before.

Im torn between it being straightforward 6yr old 'not listening cos Im engrossed in what I'm doing' and 'yes I can hear you but Im choosing to ignore you' or something I need to be concerned about.

Can anyone relate to any of this or am I just worrying for the sake of it?!

I have to say that I also have a summer born 6 year old and he does everything that you have said as well as having motor skills problems. He has been diagnosed with dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder already and is now being assessed for ASD - aspergers end.

If you are concerned then you can ask the school to refer you to the Child Development centre or your GP to refer you to the developmental paediatrician for assessment.

I think that there is always going to be a "just 6 year old behaviour" in all children but for us there is enough to seriously consider that he is on the autistic spectrum.

SingleMumof1 Sun 21-Aug-11 00:04:00

Thanks so much for your reply, I was thinking Aspergers possibly too tho not severe.

I think when he starts Year 2 I will see how he settles initially - it's always been awful in nursery, reception and even last year, crying and clinging to me, having to be pulled away - but I'm hoping this year will be better as he's older now and also has the same teacher as last year.

The other thing is sometimes he's absolutely fine and appears to be totally with it and understands what we've talked about or will make reference to something we've talked about in the past which then makes me question if i'm over reacting. He reads really well, sleeps well, eats well, can ride a bike without stabilisers, loves playing at the park and on the whole appears to be like many other 6 yr olds. Its more to do with communicating, often uses wrong words, or in wrong context and as I said, sarcasm and jokes are lost on him, and after we've watched a programme on tv if I ask him what happened he wont be able to tell me - either because he doesnt know or cant describe/explain properly.

I think I will have a chat with his teacher but part of me is slightly reluctant to as once he's got a label it will stick with him through school.

It is so difficult to know what to do for the best, the general consensus from friends and family is that he's a lovely little boy (which he is), and there is nothing wrong with him, he's just very sensitive and it's his personality but I cant help feeling there is a little more to it than that.

lingle Sun 21-Aug-11 19:14:56

how tricky for you to judge.

did he talk late?

lingle Sun 21-Aug-11 19:16:43

sorry, meant to add that the getting sarcasm thing is faked for a long time before it's real. My teacher friend said they see it genuinely come in year 3. Before that the children are reading the tone of voice/body language instead (but might he find those hard.....?).

For a more authoritative look at language development, take a look at David Crystal's book "listen to your child".

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