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How to tell my friend her son has autism?

(77 Posts)
PinkLady1989 Mon 22-May-17 04:19:41

I'm a SENCO specialist working with children pre-school age.
My friend has 2 sons and is constantly worrying about them and there behaviour. She's moved them across the country and they've been to 3 schools already. They're 5 and 8.
I know from my training that her sons are on the autistic spectrum. She won't tell me the whole story but she's about to change there schools again because she doesn't like the way they teach her sons but I think there's more to it than that.
how do I tell her that her son's have autism? I think other proffessionals have tried to tell her gently and she's had a fit and I don't think she's told me the whole story. the younger one came home this week with a black-eye from one of the other boys and when I asked why he had been hit she didn't tell me everything and I could tell there was a bigger reason.
I'm stuck because she won't listen to me or anyone else and just keeps holding them back and not letting them get proffessional help but at the same time the next option is to tell the authorities and I obviously don't want to do that to my friend. in my place of work this would count as a type of abuse but I don't want to say that to her.
has anyone else had a similar problem or knows what to do?

thx Pinkk

BandeauSally Mon 22-May-17 04:30:03

You asked why her son had been hit? As in what did he do to deserve it??

SofiaAmes Mon 22-May-17 04:51:51

Can't you just ask her outright if she's had her boys assessed for autism or Aspergers? I know you are a specialist, but it's less confrontational to ask if she's had them assessed than to tell her that that's what they have.
It's also possible that they are not on the spectrum. My ds has some characteristics of children on the spectrum and got bullied a lot because of them, but is not on the spectrum.

ITooHaveBeenThere Mon 22-May-17 04:56:50

As a SENCo, you should know that you can't diagnose autism just from the limited info you have about this child.

You can suspect.
You can encourage her to speak with her GP.

But you cannot diagnose. So you can't tell her that her son has autism because you just don't know that.

As a SENCo, you would also understand your safeguarding responsibilities and that if you genuinely feel this child is at risk of serious harm by his parent's action/inaction, then you have a responsibility to report whether that person is a friend of yours or not.

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 22-May-17 04:57:18

If this weren't a friend, you would definitely have told the authorities already. I really don't think you should be trying to convince her. I think you should tell the relevant authorities and then be her support to help her get through any investigation. Everyone else appears to be failing the children and as a person with knowledge of the situation, you have the opportunity to do the right thing. If you tell her that her children are autusitic and she doesn't listen, then you tell the authorities, she may well assume you shopped her to the authorities. In which case she will shut down, cut you off and blame you and have no one to help her through this. So I would be cruel to be kind and speak to someone.

Hairydontcare Mon 22-May-17 05:04:15

"The Authorities"??? WTF? You've said repeatedly that she isn't telling you the whole story. She doesn't have to. She may or may not be in denial. The schools may or may not have spoken to her about the kids but either way she isn't telling you, and you know what, it isn't your bloody business.

As a senco (yeah, right!hmm) you would know that you can't diagnose, AND what a long journey diagnosis is.

So keep your beak and your sock puppet, out.

Out2pasture Mon 22-May-17 05:07:30

You don't. She's your friend and you try to support her through challenging times, unless she asks for your opinion. I suppose you could ask her if she's considered learning difficulties as a reason for school challenges. But I suspect if you push the point you may loose the friendship for a while if not forever.

nooka Mon 22-May-17 05:15:42

What on earth are you talking about? You seriously think the OP who has received probably a few days of training is a) in a position to diagnose autism, something that takes an assessment by a multi disciplinary team of professionals and b) can 'shop' her friend for what? Having a child who has been hit at school? Worrying about her children? Not listening to someone who appears to be seriously over stepping professional boundaries?

OP how is your friend abusing her children? The only worrying thing is if she has been refusing referrals and moving area instead of engaging but you've not said anything that suggests that.

HeyCat Mon 22-May-17 05:15:48

You do not know they have autism, as you have not carried out an assessment, and it does not sound like you are qualified to do so.

You suspect it, because you see similarities between their behaviour and some of the children you work with.

So tell her politely and calmly that you've noticed some similarities and ask whether she's considered an assessment.

Explain the benefits of a diagnosis in terms of better school support.

If she won't listen or see her doctor then you have a safeguarding duty to report.

And asking why a child was hit is very poor phrasing - it implies he did something to deserve it. It would have been better to ask what happened in a more open-ended way if you want her to open up to you.

Hairydontcare Mon 22-May-17 05:21:02

"f she won't listen or see her doctor then you have a safeguarding duty to report."

That's not true.

Choosing not to get a child assessed and potentially diagnosed for a non medical condition is not a safeguarding issue, it is a personal choice that is hers to make.

Jesus this thread! angry

SofiaAmes Mon 22-May-17 05:30:26

And just because she's had to move them from one school to the next, doesn't mean that she is doing something wrong or that the kids have or don't have autism or have or have not been diagnosed. My dd went to 4 different schools in 5 years because I was searching for one that could educate her to her full potential. She is highly gifted with some learning differences and it takes a very very skilled educator to manage that. So far, I have found a few random teachers at each school, but nowhere near a consolidated effort. I did have a few suggestions of ADHD when dd was in elementary school and very quickly reminded the teachers that dd had no problem sitting still and focusing for her interesting teachers and that that probably meant that she wasn't ADHD.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 22-May-17 05:31:29

You do not know they have autism, as you have not carried out an assessment, and it does not sound like you are qualified to do so.

^ this.

user1491572121 Mon 22-May-17 05:45:41

I just told my friend...came out with it. I agonised for ages but it was so glaring that I had to. She was completely oblivious. Not everyone knows the signs. I'm not a specialist but I knew.

I was correct. Following assesment he was DXd age 3.

The HV missed it completely somehow at his 2 year check...he had signs which were unmistakable.

She was very upset when I told her what I thought...but she'd also been very, very worried about him but hiding it. She was in denial basically...she knew there might be something happening with him but she didn't know enough about autism to suspect that.

In the end she was glad as his DX meant support was in place for when he began school.

QuirkyGoose Mon 22-May-17 06:02:05

I had my DS's SENCO and classroom teacher say that my son had aspergers. Spent nearly £1k on psychologists as I was so worried and felt so guilty that I had missed something. DS doesn't have aspergers or any other form of social communication disorder. I'm still told I'm in denial by the SENCO! Butt out.

ITooHaveBeenThere Mon 22-May-17 06:07:36

I just wanted to clarify...

I'm not suggesting that the OP should report her friend for safeguarding concerns, just that she, as a SENCo, would know that were she to have genuine safeguarding concerns, being friends with the parent should not have any bearing on whether she reported or not.

Not understanding this. Along with some other things in the post make me suspect that something isn't quite right here.

A SENCo would also know that they were not in a position to offer a diagnosis like this.

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Mon 22-May-17 06:07:58

You're a SENCO not a psychiatrist.

Hairydontcare Mon 22-May-17 06:08:37

I've reported this thread.

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Mon 22-May-17 06:10:19

Probably another fake thread?

ITooHaveBeenThere Mon 22-May-17 06:12:02

And SENCos don't get training in diagnosing neurological, or any other, conditions.

They 'co-ordinate' (as the name suggests) to ensure that children's needs are met in a provision and that all external agencies are involved appropriately, etc.

it is possible when you work with a number of people who have different conditions to recognise some of the traits of these, to suspect, and to point in the right direction. But, as other people have pointed out, it's not possible to diagnose.

ITooHaveBeenThere Mon 22-May-17 06:12:54

I've reported this thread.

As have I.

Hmmmwhyisthat Mon 22-May-17 06:12:56

Another one telling you to mind your own business OP, and you cannot 'diagnose' your friends children, based on a few snippets of information. You even say yourself that you work with pre-school age children and hers are 5 and 8.

Also, do SENCOs not need to be able to spell?!

Hairydontcare Mon 22-May-17 10:46:36

Why is this still here?!

Februaryjones Mon 22-May-17 10:53:02

If a SENCO who couldn't spell simple words told me my child had autism I would be seeking a second opinion!

Hairydontcare Mon 22-May-17 11:10:16

I want to know who The Authorities are that tell you whether it's ok to be autistic or not. I wonder do they issue a certificate?

shivermytimbers Mon 22-May-17 11:15:27

No offence meant but being a SENCO doesn't make you qualified to diagnose anything and the fact that you believe it does suggests that you don't quite understand the limitations of your training. If you suspect that a child is being abuses, you clearly have a duty to report it, but other than that, you need to back off from armchair diagnosis duties

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