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Diagnosing for HFA/Aspergers(4 Posts)
Hello, I need a bit of advice really.
My son is 19 and a fresher at Oxford studying history. Since he was young, we've suspected he might have High functioning autism or Aspergers. We were once even told by someone in a cafe when he was 6 that we really should get him tested (she was a teacher trained in that sort of thing). My sister is a doctor with some training in psychiatry and is convinced that he is autistic.
Whilst he's not the "poster boy type" for an autistic person, he has always shown some traits.
He finds it difficult to make friendships that last, or if he does have friendships, they tend to be with people who seem to be on the spectrum too.
Occasionally he can be considered rude, when he really doesn't want to be. He functions perfectly well but just seems a bit "awkward" all the time.
He rather to work alone than in teams etc.
He has always been very obsessed with history, and into stamp collecting. He would get various hobbies and become obsessed with them.
He is quite sensitive to noise, and always hated things like the hoover.
Not sure if related, but has found language learning very difficult.
However, his verbal and general English skills are very very good.
He phoned me this evening, and the conversation got on to the subject somehow, and he was saying he actually thinks he might have aspergers. He was wondering if there is any way to get tested, and is there really much point. What could be done differently for him by the university.
We also used to wonder if he was dyspraxic too..
He has atrocious handwriting, always has, however much effort has gone into teaching.
Absolutely horrific at coordination, catching a ball? No chance. Awful at most sports like football and would always miss the ball right in front of him.
If you tell him "on the left", he has to stop and think which is left and right.
Cannot ride a bicycle.
Hi there neurotypical, my DS is an 18 year old first year History student at St Andrews, he would have been in with a good shot at Oxford but we're in Scotland and he wanted to be near home and do a four year degree as he was only 17 when he started (just telling this to show the similarities). He has a DX of HFA which he got when he was 11 because we thought it would be useful for high school (which it was).
I think a diagnosis would be useful for your son but more so that he had insight into himself and self acceptance rather than to help with uni work. (unless there's a specific issue he's having)
DS approached the disability officer and applied for disabled students allowance before starting but this was because he has a physical disability (caused by a clumsy cycling accident!) to his hand and arm that renders his handwriting even more illegible than it used to be, to be fair it was eventually quite neat but enormous and slow. He was therefore given note taking software and is also given some extra time and uses IT in exams.
I don't think DS tells people but he also does not hide it IYSWIM, to be honest it's probably so common among students in that type of dept (not to mention staff!) that your DS would not really stand out much.
He could possibly approach both his GP and the disabled students officer, about getting a DX, the university might have funds available to do this, I think this varies a lot between establishments. Private DX might be quicker.
There is major overlap between Dyspraxia and ASD, I think for some people it's a close call as to which side of the line between the diagnostic criteria they fall.
There a recent thread about best uni fpr Aspergers/HFA which has various experiences on it.
I have ASD and went to Oxford where I found my people.
I coped very well with Oxford which is well set up for those on the spectrum - the tutorial system was much easier for me to manage than coursework and lectures. I made lots of friends who were just as awkward as me. It was great.
It might be worth looking towards a dx for the future though. After all that time focusing on my own pet topic at whatever time of day I fancied working, I didn't cope terribly well with the workplace when released into the wild. It was at that stage I had a bit of a crisis and was diagnosed.
I'm not sure I'd have wanted to go through the diagnosis process while at Oxford. It's long, and heavily deficit driven, and really he probably doesn't want to be spending hours dwelling on his deficits just at the time of his life when AS is the most beneficial it ever will be!
If he wants a non-clinical assessment, just for his own peace of mind, and which he can use as a springboard to a clinical diagnosis if he wants in the future, try Action for Aspergers.