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I think my friend has a child with Asperger's syndrome - what do I do?

(11 Posts)
Carla Thu 29-May-03 19:17:23

A friend of mine has been regularly coming to our house for about a year. She's the same age as my youngest child bar three months. In that year, she won't let her mum use the toilet without her, won't play with my two children (4 and 3), won't be without her wellie boots, won't be without her coat, and won't play with my children (although her mother does tirelessly). We went to her mother's 40th party on Monday and she was much better there. My sister was a nursery teacher and now is a childminder who looks after a girl who's 8 and has only just been diagnosted with Asperger's. I find it incredible that she's slipped through the net for so long and wonder if my friend's child might suffer the same lack of interest. What should I do? She suffered many miscarriages before this child and I'd hate to mention any possibility about my misgivings.

Carla Thu 29-May-03 19:27:49

Ooooh - someone help me!

WideWebWitch Thu 29-May-03 19:33:18

Alright, alright, Carla, give us a chance! I wouldn't mention it if I were you, just because a) you could be very wrong b) if there is something different about her child she may well have an inkling already but it is up to her to decide when/if to approach a professional for possible diagnosis and c) you run the risk of being shot for being the messenger - i.e even if you are right she may not thank you for it. Someone who has a special needs child may say differently though, I don't have any experience, this is just my advice based on what I think I'd do in the your situation. Jimjams, Maryz, are you there? Carla, other people's advice may well be different but that's my 2ps worth.

Carla Thu 29-May-03 19:39:19

Thanks, WWW, that's just what I thought. Just didn't know if I was in that situation if I'd want someone to tell me that, but I probably wouldn't.

WideWebWitch Thu 29-May-03 19:40:16

Actually I've just remembered, I do have a small experience - a friend's son seemed to have several kinds of delay - his social skills were non existent, speech very delayed, no eye contact and lots of other little things that worried me. I didn't bring it up for all the reasons I've mentioned below although had his mum asked for my opinion it would have been a different matter and I would have told her. I definitely wasn't the only one to notice it in this particular child either.

mears Thu 29-May-03 19:43:02

Carla - I wouldn't say anything at the moment because really you probably only have a limited amount of knowledge and might cause your friend upset. My sister actually thought my ds no.3 had Aspergers and sent me literature on it that she had found for me. Although there certainly were some traits recognisable in my son's behaviour, he did not have Aspergers. It was a phase he was going through as a 4 year old. He is now 12. I did get concerned for a while but was able to put it in perspective. I didn't fall out with my sister, but she did cause unnecessary concern.
If your friend has concerns regarding her child's development then that is perhaps a different issue. I would encourage her to speak to a professional but I wouldn't suggest a diagnosis.

tamum Thu 29-May-03 19:46:44

Well, I would wait and see what jimjams says, but it sounds to me as though she is far too young to be making any kind of diagnosis like that, even for a professional. My ds was considerably more Asperger's-like than that at 3 and I am just relieved I was too ignorant to realise. He is not remotely on the autistic spectrum now, so my ignorance saved me a lot of unnecessary heartache. Leave well alone, I should.

tamum Thu 29-May-03 19:47:46

Snap, Mears

Carla Thu 29-May-03 19:55:08

WWW, Mears and Tatum - thanks so much. WWWn - how did your friend's son fair in the end?

Jimjams Thu 29-May-03 21:24:14

Be very careful! I have an autistic son and usually Mum's are the first to know. I have a friend at the moment with (I think valid) concerns about her son's development. She has asked me for advice. What I have not done is tell her what I think it might be a)because I could be wrong b) I could be right but he might not be diagnosed for years anyway and to give parents that type of worry is not fair. What I have done is tell her where to go for further help- but only after she asked.

The average age for diagnosis for Aspergers is about 9. And remember lots of children have AS type characteristcs- especially at age 3.

I do remember one "friend" dropped hints when ds1 was 2ish- and I did not thank her for it. I was talking to another friend and my Mum about my concerns at the time but I didn't want to get into a conversation with this other person about it.

Incidentally the friend I waas discussing it with (from about 18 months) initally said she thought there was nothing wrong (becuase she didn't). When ds1 reached the stage when it was clear that something was up (at around 2 and a half) she did tell me that she now thought I was right, and I always valued her honesty as a lot of people (DH, my mum) still couldn't see it.

maryz Thu 29-May-03 21:28:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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