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Year 5 Son - any suggestions?

(13 Posts)
sittingatmydesk Mon 10-Mar-14 12:14:20

I have posted about my DS before, but no one replied. sad

Everyone I know comments that DS is a little bit unusual (usually said in a positive way), and I have spent most of his life either worried about him, or overwhelmed by him. It's not so much that I want a label, but I just want to help him find some coping techniques before he starts secondary.

If I list his "quirky" points, can anyone tell me if I'm missing something obvious?

Very bright (covering level 6/7 work in maths, high level 5 in Literacy), but spelling all over the place;

Likes order and rules - goes to pieces if he or class are told off in error/
Panic attacks and hyperventilates;

Very sensitive hearing - can't stand surround sound, large crowds etc;

Prone to nightmares when younger (several a week);

Very bouncy and energetic, no problems with co-ordination, plays sport and piano;

But, can't tie shoelaces, puts clothes on back to front, handwriting poor;

Loses everything! Drops things, forgets things, can't remember more than one thing at a time - but can remember vast amounts of facts about history etc, and has no problem in lessons. Will constantly lose PE kit, forget to hand homework in;

Very good with peers, popular, charismatic. Very nervous with adults. Speech goes completely if he is nervous, and takes a few weeks to adapt to new teachers.

So, what do you think? School say he is just quirky, but agree that secondary transition will be tricky. He has come on loads at primary, and has many of the above under control most of the time, but it is exhausting.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

LittleMissGreen Mon 10-Mar-14 12:35:33

He sounds a bit like DS1. I don't like the current fad of diagnosing over the internet because it is hard to rate 'intensity' of symptoms. Although some things are very different - DS1 could not be described as popular and charismatic for example. But all the anxiety your DS experiences is the same. Needing things to keep the same, as is the sensitive hearing.
DS1 has Aspergers with which he is a bit hypermobile (struggled until recently with shoelaces, writing etc), and has a few ADD (as in ADHD without the hyperactive part) symptoms but not enough for a full diagnosis. Hence he forgets his homework/PE etc but can remember all his 'special interest' facts on history and DC Marvel superheroes.

DS1 struggled with the change to secondary but his school were (are) great at supporting him. His teachers write down when they take his books in (or remind him to) so he doesn't have a panic attack when he can't find his book to take to school. They ensure he knows his homework etc. Whilst they do this because he has an Aspergers diagnosis, we particularly chose his school for their caring attitude, so it wouldn't surprise me if they had done the same for him without a diagnosis.

The school were very surprised when DS1 got a diagnosis of Aspergers, they just thought he was quirky. But once he had the dx they then realised all the little things they had put down to him 'being DS1' were actually symptoms.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 10-Mar-14 12:51:28

Well the thing about your question is that you are likely to get a different decision depending on who you go to, so for example a psychiatrist will come to a different conclusion to an educational psychologist even though they are looking at the same child.

Looking at your list I'd suggest a couple of things. Firstly, if you haven't already, visit Potential Plus and check out the list of excitabilities that gifted children often display. You may well find these resonate but that won't really help your DS to manage his quirks (at least those that he finds problematic).

Secondly I would be looking into sensory processing disorder - this could easily be leading him to experience the kind of anxiety and panic to which you refer. An OT could help with this - you need to find one that specialises in SPD.

Finally I would suggest a check up with a behavioural optometrist (over and above a regular optician) because a convergence issue could lead to the difficulties with close up work / tasks compared to his competence with sports / piano.

Some of these issues (especially pertaining to rules, fairness and the fears around being told off) could lead you to enquire about whether he is mildly on the autistic spectrum. Again you can check with the National Autistic Website to see how the list for Asperger's fits, but even if some do fit I doubt you would get an NHS diagnosis when he is coping so well (relatively) and is so far ahead academically.

I speak as a parent whose daughter wasn't diagnosed with ASD until secondary school, when the challenges of poor executive functioning skills (extreme disorganisation, getting lost, forgetting day to day things) became much more apparent (as did the social challenges with peers that had not shown up so much in primary school).

Really good luck with supporting your DS flowers

sittingatmydesk Mon 10-Mar-14 12:58:47

Thank you - I agree about the internet diagnosis thing, but I am just clutching for ideas.

So many people have said "Hmm, do you think he has a "touch" of Aspergers?" But in other ways he doesn't seem to tick the right boxes for a DX. He is very good with his peers, sociable and chatty. Very good at picking up people's feelings - too good, as he can pick up a teacher's mood very quickly. Very imaginative etc.

But, he hates people touching him, is rubbish at sensing personal space (he will literally walk into people) etc.

Good to hear what you say about secondary. Our closest school is big and overwhelming, but there are two other which would be better - if he can get a decent grade on the exam (which depends entirely on how many silly errors he makes on the test paper...)

LittleMissGreen Mon 10-Mar-14 14:01:26

Our local hospital has an anxiety department for children within CAMHS. That is where DS1 was first referred to - within minutes they were sure he had ASD and referred him on again. Might be worth seeing if your GP can refer to something similar?

3rdnparty Mon 10-Mar-14 14:10:37

I would ask your gp for a referral to an ot, the laces/personal space/dis organisation as well as the sensory seeking/avoidance could also be dyspraxia-
my son can ride a bike/swim/catch a ball but always leans on me as has poor spatial awareness - and his handwriting is atrocious, slow and did get an Ed psych to assess but although she saw the spikiness (2+ yrs ahead reading 2 year behind writing ) gave next to no help with what to do about apart from voice recognition software the school said was we have carried on with some ot but are going to give up with writing in the main and work on his typing.... am v worried re secondary so starting to look for physically smaller , more caring - although not much choice round here realistically...sad

amazinglondon Mon 10-Mar-14 15:33:19 not have personal experience of what you describe, but I was thinking along lines of dyspraxia too, although it would be unusual to be good at sport.

Seryph Mon 10-Mar-14 15:45:37

Sounds a bit like dyspraxia to be honest. I was eleven before I could consistently us a knife an fork the right way around, similar memory problems. There are things I hear and drive me mad that people sitting in the same room don't notice, I can't stand certain fabrics, etc etc. I am definitely not AS, but dyspraxia shares many symptoms with the spectrum.

Talk to your GP, and get an Educational Psych to look at him if you can. It could be nothing, he could just be quirky. But if not, you might be able to get him a bit of extra help, and if nothing else you will have an answer.

sittingatmydesk Mon 10-Mar-14 16:08:37


Again, he seems to tick some of the boxes, but not others.I hadn't considered dysphraxia before - he does struggle with the fine motor control, but he was rolling at 4 months, sitting at 5 months and walking at 13 months. He was riding a bike at 4 years, and potty trained day and night by 2.6. He plays tennis and football. Not clumsy at all, just can't do laces, get dressed properly, and loses things.

Oh, I don't know. I'm reluctant to take him to the GP because he's ok in himself at the moment. He is handling the panic attacks etc. I don't want to build it up into something that worries him more.

I've got parents evening coming up, so no doubt it will be the main topic of conversation, again! It usually starts "academically, he's doing fine, but..."

HolidayCriminal Mon 10-Mar-14 16:20:50

DS couldn't do laces until 14, no syndromes, he just had a mental block about it.

You said you were after coping techniques; I wonder if he's a good candidate for written lists. Posted on the wall even. Checklisting stuff he needs to do or remember. Or could come up with ?nemonics, like BRAT = bread-rice-apples-tea or whatever, but some word with initials that helps him remember what to do when (basic lifeskill stuff).

sittingatmydesk Mon 10-Mar-14 16:30:29

Lists are good. I'm trying to get as many routines in place as possible - so home from school, shoes in cupboard, check school bag for letters and homework... It's like pulling teeth and very draining. His younger brother does everything automatically.

HolidayCriminal Mon 10-Mar-14 17:51:36

the other thing is maybe to toughen him up a bit to handle chaos. If you can think of something (you'd understand better what works than my guesses). There might be small things you could do to help him feel safe even when things are unpredictable. He's quite sensitive & could maybe learn to put a nice invisible shield between him & the world when things might otherwise be too much (too noisy, too busy, etc)

3rdnparty Mon 10-Mar-14 19:04:28

We have a timetable on the fridge as well as the back of his door, and try to do patterns/lots of repetition and I have learnt to work on my impatience as it does drive me up the wall sometimes...but he,s learnt to swim after all these years so just have to change my mindset ...he can do it, just v slowly and in his own fashion...

You probably won,t have to take him to gp...I got letter from school and took it myself,the length of time it takes here to see an ot is now about a year....was 6 months or find a private one...

I would ask the school their strategies - also is he school action/action plus as this flags them up to the secondary...if not maybe they could do that without any diagnosis.. Esp school action....Some schools will let Ot come in if they can see the benefit...also create a plan for practicing checking his work in tests..

Thinking of strategies, we have done some visualisation work with ds hoping when he gets stressed he can visualise somewhere nice...

Does he like audio CDs? A good relaxation one for older is called rays of calm.

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