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Mother-in-law insisting my son is autistic/has aspergers when he seems fine - HELP

(68 Posts)
Marrsy Thu 11-Oct-12 20:00:28

I have had yet another meeting today with the special needs teacher at school regarding my 5yr old DS. Only reason we went is because yet agin the mother-in-law has been insisting my son has Aspergers (she used to say Autism from 2yr). She talks utter rubbish such as 'he lives in a fantasy world and doesn't understand the real world at all', this is utter BS and the school agree.

My DS has a few behavioural issues such as eating and textures and attention but the school have NO ISSUES whatoever and have known him since age 3. He is now in Year 1.

Husbands mum is an ex-teacher and keeps banging on that she knows what she's talking about and has lots of experience.

I hope you can understand this is very upsetting to hear about my DS and so worrying. I do not believe he is on the spectrum and neither does my husband but she will not let this go. She even said to me when he was 3 that I would have to be carful about what secondary school I picked for him because he would need 'lots of pastoral care' i.e. 'special needs' care.

I'm starting to think she is a bit mad and she is the one with behavioural problems. I am livid she is doing this, and making us look at our son differently.

Advice please??

PandaNot Thu 11-Oct-12 20:02:37

Why would she say this if she didn't have concerns? Genuine question, just wondering, not saying there must be concerns iykwim. What might her motive be?

spicandspan Thu 11-Oct-12 20:03:32

Presumably she knows you have checked all her theories out with the school and they have no comncerns? Sounds a bit poisonous to me! Does she care for DS often?

hazeyjane Thu 11-Oct-12 20:05:11

what are the issues that lead her to believe he may be autistic?

WipsGlitter Thu 11-Oct-12 20:05:22

Why are you meeting with the special needs teacher? Who arranged the appointment ?

DawnOfTheDee Thu 11-Oct-12 20:06:42

Did you request the meetings with the SN teacher? What exactly did they say?

Next time your MIL mentions it i'd just say "Well we've had 2 meeting with the SN teacher and they have no concerns". Repeat ad infinitum. If she keeps mentioning it after that ask your DH to have a quiet (but firm) word with her?

notcitrus Thu 11-Oct-12 20:07:03

Is your MIL on the spectrum herself? I've had a bit of this from an autistic family member, I think trying to relate more to ds, so ended up repeatedly emphasising his very typical social skills and how nursery had no concerns.
But eventually had to be blunt and say he is a perfectly normal slightly geeky child - evidence or stfu!

Marrsy Thu 11-Oct-12 21:18:07

Pandanot - she does have concerns and has been documenting them from age 2. We asked her at that point to not mention it again because it was upsetting and we had spoke to the GP who told us it was too early to diagnose a spectrum disorder. She ignored our request and instead took to making snidey comments. It is very clear she made her mind up at this point (when he was 2) and was itching to be proved right.

Yes, we have concerns (very fussy eater, doesn't like strong smells) but the school have told us on four separate occasions now that they have no concerns about him being on the spectrum. He's a July baby and so is behind compared to his peers, lots of whom are almost a year older. He has GREAT imagination which should be celebrated not seen as a problem - surely? He has odd tantrums -normal in my view but a problem in hers. Everything comes back to her theory. SHe says he doesn't do eye contact but he does with me, his teachers, my DH and his friends (not with her though!).

She is a retired teacher who talks about nothing else but school. I believe she might be trying to validate herself, she constantly mentions what an expert she is. It is worth mentioning she was a special needs teacher but only with 5 year-olds, and this has been going on from her since he was 2.

The school told us today he is a bright little boy with lots of friends and is making developmental progress. This is so weird and frustrating.

She only has him overnight with his little brother maybe twice a year.

I saw the SN teacher because she won't let this go and we need reassurance.

What is going on?

lisad123 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:23:30

Well hate to say but ime most school teachers couldn't spot high functioning autism tbh.

Maybe keep your own diary and see how it compares.

MajesticWhine Thu 11-Oct-12 21:24:58

What would happen if you just humour her and say yes MIL, I think you're probably right. Thank goodness though, the school seem to be able to cope with him. What then? She would then have her validation, so would she then stfu? Or would it just encourage her. She sounds very annoying by the way.

Cezzy Thu 11-Oct-12 21:33:34

It is said that a lot of us display some autistic behaviours but that doesn't mean we are autistic. A 5 year old should have an active imagination and make up games and worlds of their own, if he just sat staring at tv I would be far more worried. My dd2 is fussy and both are funny about some textures of food (yoghurt with bits in especially) but they are growing out of it. Maybe he doesn't make eye contact with mil as she is constantly scrutinising his behaviour which could make him uncomfortable. I'm not an expert but have worked with ASD children. So long as he is keeping up, has friends and us sociable he sounds like a normal little boy. You know him best, trust your instincts.

Pagwatch Thu 11-Oct-12 21:35:10

It is very difficult and very odd tbh.

I have tried really hard but I am struggling to imagine how anyone would determine that a presumably much loved grandson has autism out of ego or boredom.
So perhaps, however ill founded, she fels there are signs. Perhaps it is something she is anxious about and she wants him to get support?

Are there just enough things bothering you for you to be concerned by what she says? Because I have a son with asd and a dd who is nt. if anyone had told me they thought dd had asd I would have laughed because she quite obviously didn't.

It is a very difficult situation for you. Unless you have reason to think she doesn't care about her grandson you must all be very stressed.

Marrsy Thu 11-Oct-12 21:35:33

lisad123 - even special needs teachers iye?

Majesticwhine, she is off the scale annoying

lisad123 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:37:16

Yes something's wink

lisad123 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:37:29


Narrowboat Thu 11-Oct-12 21:43:26

If the school don't see an issue and you don't see an issue then SHE is the issue.

Can you say 'enough with autism talk or we will not see you' and leave if she starts mentioning it?

It sounds v damaging. I think you have to put your foot down an protect your ds.

What does your DH say, does she have a history of doing this?

lisad123 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:47:34

Tbh your can see traits in almost every child. If your not worried I highly doubt there is anything wrong. Parents are rarely wrong

Marrsy Thu 11-Oct-12 21:51:06

My DH had 2 years of therapy - all related to her manipulative ways. She gets very annoyed if things aren't 'just so'.

We told her to stop but she makes barbed comments instead - she's like a dog with a bone. Can't she understand how upsetting it is to hear my son has spectrum issues when it could merely be developmental and just let the boy grow. She told my DH that she 'observes' him when he stays with her - really? How dare she do that!!! She believes this is helpful but it is destructive.

My DH has a built in mother-son response where he believes everything she says is right despite being a grown man. My mother is also livid and disagrees, thinks DS is fine.

Marrsy Thu 11-Oct-12 22:04:43

In response to pagwatch - Yes I believe she has genuine concerns and if you did a checklist he shows a few on the AS BUT, he is developing and improving all the time. My real point is the OTT things she says about him that simply are not the case - these things are hard to hear because they are untrue and just makes me think she has become obsessed. Her behaviour is ruining our time with her, very sad

Narrowboat Thu 11-Oct-12 22:12:46

Hmmm time to move the thread to relationships. DH needs to sort out his mother. She knows it upsets everyone but still does it? Bad karma!

Also even if your ds is autistic, (whicb he isn't) then that's how he is, you won't be able to 'cure' him so what difference does it make to have a label? What does the label do for MIL? What does she get out of it?

I would see these comments as an attack on your family, she is trying to upset and divide you and your DH. Perhaps time to read toxic inlaws?

er1507 Thu 11-Oct-12 22:39:57

I would agree with the other poster in that most teacher apron couldn't spot high functioning autism. My 13yr brother has asperges and he really struggles in mainstream school, which is prob what your mil meant.
a lot of parents with asperges children really have to push and push to be heard.

Like you say your ds is growing and learning all the time and it prob will result in nothing but I would still keep an eye out, the thing is the spectrum is sooooo big and wide you can't really pin point.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Thu 11-Oct-12 22:46:57


1) If there are signs your LO is on the spectrum but no one else has noticed issues I would not worry until they / you do. She seems to be projecting.
2) Her concerns are your not your concerns. Remember that. Limit contact if you need to.
3) Have a stock answer every time she mentions it 'We both know I disagree strongly with you so don't mention this again please'

I would be livid with her.

imperialstateknickers Thu 11-Oct-12 22:48:22

Since my DN was diagnosed with high-functioning ASD I've realised that virtually EVERYONE has one or two symptoms. I think you've summed up the situation very well in your post timed 21.18.

And I think she would score pretty highly for Aspergers if she was assessed herself btw!

lingle Thu 11-Oct-12 22:49:18

May I shoot her?

Because it is completely unacceptable for her to hijack this issue and make it all about her.

which is what she is doing.

this is the kind of thing my mother does, which is why I had to keep all my concerns about my own DS2 secret.

And if she's right, what she's doing is training you to shy away from acknowledging the issue.

Which is why I feel a bit murderous. Sorry. I know you dh loves her.

Focus on the issues that he does have - the eating, the tantrums. Don't avoid resources that happen to have been written with kids with additional needs in mind - those are usually the resources that have the best ideas for all kids!

And good luck not letting this be about her. ever.

lingle Thu 11-Oct-12 22:52:47

may I swear?

I have two borderline kids. It has already occurred to me that one day they may have kids who are also borderline, or over the borderline, and I may notice it before anyone else.

At that point, my firm intent is to enjoy the relationship with the child and keep my fucking mouth shut until my opinion is asked.

I think that's the first time I've said the f word in about 3000 mumsnet posts.

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