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Could DS 17 be on the spectrum?

(10 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Wed 23-Nov-16 19:55:46

Hi all

I'm not looking to jump on any bandwagon 'hoping' that this is the case at all (far from it) however, can I explain some stuff about my son and see what you think? I'm trying to determine in my own mind if he's just withdrawn and depressed or just being a bugger, or if it's something more.

I'll start with something recent. DS is 17. He only really enjoys playing Xbox and does no other social activities, never goes to friends houses or vice versa. The only time I hear animated speaking is when he's talking thru his Xbox gaming with his mates. So that could just be normal or it could be one of the traits of preferring own company.

He is a July baby so already quite behind his peers. Recently I've required him (because he should be able to do it at this age) to catch the train to go meet his dad for contact. Because I work F/T and because if I got stuck in traffic he could miss his train I said to him whilst it's light (this was a couple of months ago) take the bus a few times then if ever it gets past 5.20pm you'll be able to say right I'd better get the bus mum's not going to be back in time. I even created a map so he'd know exactly the route and where to get off. Well come the first night I wanted him to do this I made sure that I didn't get home in time because I just had a feeling there were going to be problems. Lo and behold when I arrived home a good 40 mins after his 2nd train would already have departed, there he is, 'hiding' in the bathroom with me conversing through the door - why didn't you take the bus? I didn't want to. Why? Just didn't want to. When he finally came out I had a long conversation - he just was not having it. And not in a babying way but I could see that there was something about it that perturbed him (so not being a snowflake but something else as I think if I'd gone on about it he would actually have cried). Cut to the last few Mondays and he's been cutting college (not telling me of course) and weirdly this coincides with classes that start 1pm and don't finish until 4.30pm - and they have to get to that campus by bus!! I actually think that's why he's cutting class. Does that ring bells with anyone? Is he just being a berk or could it genuinely be distressing him? He puts f all effort into college and I'm seeing his tutor next Thursday to discuss it all because frankly if he's going to piss about and not put the effort in he'd be better flipping burgers at McDonalds than going to college to do courses that he clearly can't be bothered to put the effort in with. This is an ongoing pattern since GCSE years - not working hard, not revising hard, not even trying his best - just scraping by with results that are several grades lower than he's very much capable of achieving. So a lot of lying and not engaging and forget communicating with his teachers - about anything. If he finds a situation he can't deal with he just goes head in the sand/avoid.[Much like his dad]

Cutting back to when he was a baby. We were really really close. When my DD came along I had a shock moment. I was taking her upstairs for a nap and she snaked her arm round the back of my neck - DS had NEVER done anything like that and it wasn't until she did it that I realised he never had! There was love aplenty but he's really really undemonstrative. I actually don't really try and hug him now - he doesn't respond. His dad hugs him and he kinda half responds but he's very stiff throughout.

He's always been a singular child - he was incredibly sensitive to loud noises and fairly sensitive. Now he's deadpan most of the time, if I didn't speak to him he'd leave and re-enter the house without saying goodbye, he has no social life other than through Xbox, he won't do ANYTHING else at all, when he talks to me he's often monotone and only animated of voice when he's on Xbox. I would say it's all me but his dad mentioned that he's often highly uncommunicative with him too. To be honest I often feel like he hates me but that could just be me. I just have so little to do with him - he's literally in his bedroom apart from when he comes down to eat and that's about all I see him. I offer to watch a film with him and so on but he's never interested.

Whilst he avoids socialising day to day if he's with family he's ok - he played guitar for us all last Boxing Day at my brothers. He doesn't do anything like avoiding eye contact or anything like that.

But it's this bus thing - I just cannot decide what that's all about because to be a snowflake who doesn't feel he should have to set foot on a bus is one thing, having some kind of bus phobia is another thing altogether!

Can any suggest any good checklists or anything or what should I be asking his tutor at college next Thursday?

Any help or advice gratefully received and I know this is in mental health so I'm not sure if this is the right spot as I know it's a genetically inherited neurological condition but I wasn't sure where else to put it.

marriednotdead Wed 23-Nov-16 20:35:15

It's a hard one and you really have my sympathy flowers

Something you said in your first paragraph struck a chord with me- I have previously said my DS (19) is being 50% autistic, 50% twat, and I'm never being sure quite which I'm getting at any given time!

My DS is as you described a lot of the time, especially avoiding things that he feels uncomfortable about doing. Pushing makes him dig his heels in further and escalates the problem. Just when I think he's being really rude and stroppy, he has dissolved into tears in my arms and tells me he finds life so confusing sad

We didn't get a diagnosis until he was almost 12 and the term- no longer in regular use- is PDD-NOS, a 'milder' form of autism. He's largely refused to engage with HCPs/SENCOs over the years as he has always felt that his diagnosis made people treat him as 'dumb'. However now, the cracks are showing as he is autistic enough to have problems in social situations, jobhunting etc, but as he was never statemented and got good GCSE grades, he finds that being treated normally doesn't work either.

Affection is on his terms, he hugs me occasionally and I have learnt not to initiate it but of course welcome and appreciate it when it happens.

I'm not sure if that helps or not... I'd be looking at checklists for both depression and autism if I'm honest.

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Wed 23-Nov-16 21:36:00

Pollyanna your DS sounds very similar to mine - he was always a very serious child. He rarely hugged me as a little one and never does now - he only ever hugged my mum (who he adored) once - she was so taken aback she didn't quite know what to do!! I first wondered if it was my parenting, but the other DCs have always been very affectionate and cuddly, so it's all the more noticeable that DS1 isn't.

He is also very stiff, undemonstrative and has very rigid ideas, gets very anxious in situations that are unfamiliar, but will then be absolutely fine with others. He has obsessions that will be all consuming for a year or two until he moves onto a new one. He seems to have no grasp of other people's feelings, causing no end of arguments.

My friend has a DS with autism and she has often said she wonders if my DS is on the spectrum. Pretty sure his dad is too. DS is not interested in getting a diagnosis but accepts that he is 'socially awkward' and different from other people.

Married Something you said in your first paragraph struck a chord with me- I have previously said my DS (19) is being 50% autistic, 50% twat, and I'm never being sure quite which I'm getting at any given time! I love this!! But then I feel bad when I think about it, because I treat him as if he's NT but I'm pretty sure he isn't. If he had a diagnosis I think I'd be able to deal with him more effectively, but I'm dealing with him in twat mode rather than autism mode sad

OP I tend to think that as it's a spectrum, we're all on there somewhere, so it's not a matter of it being black or white. I guess treating him as if he does have some autistic traits might help to make both your lives run more smoothly. I have found that I have to tell DS plans well in advance many times to make sure he knows what's happening, as he doesn't deal with spontaneity unless it's his idea, when of course we all have to jump on board!

I think it might be worth talking to him about it and finding out where he stands on talking to his tutor about it?

marriednotdead Wed 23-Nov-16 21:54:30

Feedme- the diagnosis doesn't make it any easier when he's being a twat, trust me! The only thing it does is confirm that I'd be wasting time yelling at him for being lazy, stubborn, rude etc because he won't take it on board.

On the odd occasion when he's gone too far and left me feeling like a shit failure of a parent, he's apologised, sometimes the next day but it means the world because I know he doesn't really 'get' it. He's had to think hard about what the right response should be because it doesn't come naturally.

Spontaneity- hell no! We have a family gathering this weekend and he's had 2 months notice grin

Pollyanna9 Wed 23-Nov-16 22:08:48

It's interesting because it's my birthday on the weekend - DD has it covered but it will be a non event. I suppose without knowing if he is it not I'm being hesitant about knowing what I can and can't push on, you know?

With the bus thing I really gave huge support re where to get it etc, even offered to ride the bus with him but no dice so planning ahead had little effect on that one!

He said the bus picks up from the beauty campus on the way home and he doesn't like the smells. He does get migraines too - his dad finds strong smells difficult to handle too. Wonder what combination of issues has made the train doable but the bus untenable.

Thank you for all your replies it's really helpful.

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Wed 23-Nov-16 23:05:04

Hmm the overstimulation from smells does fit doesn't it. So frustrating when you feel like you have given him the tools to deal with a situation and he's still avoiding it.

Just read about PDD NOS and that sounds like mine and probably yours too Pollyanna. Just reread the part about your daughter's arm snaking round your shoulder and it made me well up. That realisation that this is 'normal' and you hadn't noticed it missing sad

Married, my ds has actually said to me that it's not worth trying to teach him anything with consequences because he just won't learn, he'll just resent me. At least he's self aware!

marriednotdead Thu 24-Nov-16 12:44:57

Feedme- and right there is a demonstration of my 50/50 theory! grin

Pollyanna- birthdays and Mother's Day are a minefield. One year he took to buying large chocolate bars and writing on them instead of giving a card. Logically/environmentally it's genius, and he didn't understand why there were some objections.
He didn't even get out of bed to wish me HMD last year and DD bollocked him. This year I got a card and flowers, because she had repeatedly made clear what was expected.

The sensory issues are often hardest to figure but yes, mine also has an issue with certain smells and textures. Clothing is principally chosen by feel and colour so if it's not black, white, grey or red then it's likely to be rejected unless it's underwear and the fabric feels nice.

marriednotdead Thu 24-Nov-16 12:47:02

Sorry, posted too soon.

Happy birthday for this weekend. And remember, that however he does or doesn't acknowledge it, he absolutely loves you anyway smile

Pollyanna9 Fri 25-Nov-16 21:01:24

Wow FeedMe - your son's realisation is amazing - if not slightly annoying I imagine!!!!

I will look at PDD NOS.

What doesn't fit too is that although he's very quiet on the whole he's quite the deep thinker and he understands what's going on in relationships and how people are - who their real selves are. So he seems to have that awareness so I'm not sure if that fits.

Oh jeez Married - the clothes, the bloody CLOTHES! He has NO dress sense - he looks a flipping state! He may just be a particularly smelly child that has a phobia of hot soapy water but he WILL NOT stick to a regular bodily cleaning routine. If I harrass him every single evening, he'll do it (although even then, he'll pretend he's done it sometimes and I know full well he hasn't!). Is this deviousness part of it or just him being a nightmare teen?! He has no problems with types of clothes other than a total and overt problem with wearing anything that fits in with what all the other kids wear! And he has obsessions with articles of clothing that literally could get him beaten up - like a Russian Army winter cap, pocket watches on chains - I honestly think if I'd bought it for him at Sixth Form where he had to wear business attire he'd have preferred a pinstriple 3 piece with bow tie and pocket watch (and I am literally not kidding)!

Yes, my DD just cannot understand him.

I wonder if his dad has it as he has bought me absolutely shite presents in the past (before I divorced him) and he has a bit of his heart/soul missing where there should be a piece to care about people - he literally isn't capable of it when it comes to the crunch... just pondering.

Hey ho. Got the meeting with college next week which I think I'll do without DS there and chat things through with the tutor, see what his take is.

Pollyanna9 Fri 25-Nov-16 21:05:50

Also, weirdly and slightly randomly, if I'm going to watch something comedic (especially if it's quite clever or satirical comedy) he's my go to viewing buddy because he gets it, anything like that, he totally gets it. Whereas DD it has to almost be overt slapstick before she can find any amusement in it!!!!

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