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My DS12 asked me if he was autistic today

(9 Posts)
talllikejerryhall Thu 11-May-17 20:51:19

He's been told there's 'something wrong with him' by nasty kids in the past, and he is different from other kids.

Really sweet, a bit awkward in terms of understanding personal boundaries (very touchy / feely, sometimes overwhelmingly so, I just think he loves physical contact), his speech is always the clearest and he repeats incorrect verbal formations until the cows come home. Literally spent last two years starting every sentence with 'Even...', and has only just stopped doing this, though it sometimes sneaks in.

We had him assessed by educational psychologist when he was in Y3 as he was struggling to get to grips with maths and english, and she diagnosed 'specific speech impairment', which explains the language processing issues.

His handwriting is terrible, but he works reasonably well when he's typing on word processor, and while his grades aren't amazing, he's keeping up with the average, albeit with huge input from us during homework.

He still struggles socially, not picking up people's cues, but he is generally liked as he is really sweet, and the older years especiaally seem to make a fuss of him.

He ran his finger over a sharp blade and cut himself at hockey, and a dad who was watching asked him if he had autism. The dad in question has an autistic son. He came home and asked me what autism was, and whether he might have it, and I told him that we'd had him assessed and no one had ever suggested he did.

Then this aft, he came in and asked again, after misjudging a situation where a group of boys were goofing around - he thought they were play-fighting and joined in!

I explained about physical boundaries and he nodded, but I can never tell if he's even in control of his impulses. I don't know if he is a tiny bit on the spectrum, what that means, what support I could be giving him,
or whether he's just a sweet, other-worldly, quite immature child for his age?

ineedamoreadultieradult Thu 11-May-17 20:53:57

Would it be worth trying to get another assessment (no idea how easy this is, I imagine not very) its a long time since he was in yr3.

talllikejerryhall Thu 11-May-17 21:31:28

I know that sensible but I'm also worried about making him thinking he might have autism in case he doesn't? I just wondered if what I described struck any chords with anyone...

Goldmandra Thu 11-May-17 21:58:32

What you have described is a child who

Has difficulties understanding personal space
Has delayed speech
Developed unusual patterns of speech
Misses social cues
Gets on better with older children
Is impulsive
Is not great at assessing danger

These are all things I have seen often in children with autism.

My 12 year old DD1 knew she had autism for six months before CAMHS diagnosed her. She recognised herself in pupils in the autism base at her high school. It didn't cross her mind to tell anyone.

Why don't you find out more about autism with your DS and then ask him if he thinks he has it? You could then decide together whether to ask for an assessment.

If he doesn't have it, he won't recognise it in himself and the matter will be put to bed.

FrayedHem Thu 11-May-17 22:18:34

Not much to Goldmandra's excellent post above. Not all Ed Psych's are trained/qualified to diagnose ASD so I would explore what is available in your area. Where I am assessment is done through the children's development centre (needing a GP referral to access it); in other's it's via the children's mental health service.

It sounds like you understand and support him well at home already. I wouldn't underestimate the sense of relief a diagnosis can bring the child for themselves. DS1 was dx when he was 3, but at 11 it has really helped him understand why he struggles with things his peers seem to manage effortlessly. If he did get a diagnosis, it won't make him any less sweet and other worldy.

Goldmandra Thu 11-May-17 22:24:01

I wouldn't underestimate the sense of relief a diagnosis can bring the child for themselves.

I couldn't agree more. DD1 was relieved to know that she was part of a group rather than just some oddball who was missing loads of the communication that was going on around her. Understanding her difficulties did wonders for her self-esteem, eventually.

Frayed is right. A diagnosis would stop him being a sweet, other-worldly, quite immature child for his age. It might just help him be a happier one with higher self-esteem.

talllikejerryhall Fri 12-May-17 13:51:34

Thank you all for your replies...

I am reading Tony Harwood PDF on autism in young people, and while some things jump out at me, others really don't, so I am wondering if he has elements of Asperger's but too mild to diagnose (which is apparently a thing, according to TH).

Also, I am leery of diagnoses as he was falsely diagnosed as severely dyslexic when he was seven, when he's not at all!

Human error is a variable we have to factor in, and I want to be able to help my son if he is in fact autistic, but don't want him falsely labelled if he isn't - hope this makes sense.

Kleinzeit Fri 12-May-17 15:32:36

I read Tony Attwood's book before DS was assessed and very little jumped out at me at the time. But after we'd gone through the assessments it was a whole other story. The developmental paediatritian, clinical psychologist and SALT methodically worked their way through revealing just how deeply my DS couldn't do the things that he couldn't do. What I could see was only the tip of an iceberg.

In my area an educational psychologist would not be asked to diagnose an autism-spectrum condition in isolation and in my DS's case the ed psych was not involved at all until after he was diagnosed. There should be a multi-disciplinary assessment using several different specialists to identify all the different issues and rule out the alternatives.

And I agree with Goldmandra, your DS is old enough to have some input into this. If he wants to find out then that could be good for him in itself.

user1471134011 Sun 14-May-17 09:25:50

agree with Goldmandra and Kleinzeit. I'm an ed psych. I'm trained to diagnose using a particular tool, however, it is far far more useful to have a thorough multi disciplinary assessment.

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