Yr 1 - Educational Psych Assessment - Possible Asperger's - Advice/Reassaurance welcomed!(4 Posts)
My son is an only child, aged 5 [6 in Feb]. Both nursery and reception were difficult times but now in Year 1 everything has come to a head.
He loves to learn, he can do his reading, writing, is fascinated by engineering and 'how things work', will happily spend ages with a screwdriver and his toys trying to figure out what goes where.
But at school, unless he is taught at a seperate table, with the TA sitting with him, they report that he is really hard to manage, although they also say he is on track with the curriculum.
He loves people, but struggles terribly. He likes to play with others but can very quickly overwhelm them and then get frustrated when they want to do something different.
He has also only ever had someone come to play once, and it was not very successful as he appeared completely overwhelmed by someone touching his things and 'messing things up'. He has been on two playdates at a close friends house but on the second occasion he asked to leave after half an hour.
He is really social on his own terms - he goes to after-school club 4 times a week, goes to swimming classes, karate, boy's brigade and church school and has close companions at each place, but if I offer to have any over or meet up with them outside of that specific setting he quickly changes the subject and just says that he prefers to do something else.
At home, everything just runs around his activites and routines as I guess I have just become used to it. I will give him plenty of notice if anything has to change
They have put him in a social skills group at school and have requested my consent for an educational psychologist assessment, which I have agreed to, as I want the best for him, but his father [we have been seperated for two years] is quite angry about it and feels he is being labelled for no reason.
I would love to hear from others with experience in this area.
your son sounds exactly like mine was, though he is now almost 20.
when my son was dx he was 7, and some, particularly within the school couldnt understand why i wanted to "label" him - my answer to that is its not a label - its an explanation for their differences and a way of accessing help and understanding.
my son was so like yours - they do learn and develop socially - remember its a developmental condition. They tend to function socially lower than their chronological age. My son kept up fine at school, but struggled socially in a similar way to how you describe your son does.
i would recommend getting hold of a copy of Aspergers Syndrome - a guide for parents and professionals by Tony Atwood - i would have sent you mine but it got borrowed long ago and not returned!
just to give you some insight - school was difficult for my son, but the older he got the easier it got and he successfully went through college and is now at university. He conducts much of his social life online but he is happy that way, and after spending years with psychologists telling me to socialise him (he is very sociable - very happy) he does what he likes anyway! He is going to uni next year to live away from home - he isnt your conventional teen but thats fine - he doesnt drink or smoke or swear, and he is much nicer than most teens, he is just a little immature for his years. Of course some social rules have to be learnt - and social skills classes helped my son but what helps most is just coaching and guiding them - and making them feel ok about being different. Thats where the diagnosis comes in i think - it helps them to feel ok and keep their self esteem up.
pm me if you want to chat.
I am Support for Learning Teacher in a main stream high school with a unit for children with Aspergers, and have seen first hand pupils with a diagnosis and those that haven't yet been assessed. Those pupils who know they are on the Autistic spectrum and have a 'label' have an understanding of why they are different from other people. They can appreciate why they do things the way they do and why they find socialising more challenging. I think it's reassuring for children to get that diagnosis and obviously the correct support within school.
Hope this helps, Estelle
Thanks CP & Estelle,
I do think the term 'explanation' fits much better with what I'm looking for than 'label', thanks CP for helping me put that into words.
We were at Legoland this weekend and I saw a child wearing a "I'm not naughty - I've got autism" t-shirt, my friend who was with us was shocked, but as I stood there trying to calm down my son who was having a meltdown because another child was changing "his" lego picture on the board in the buffet restaurant, trying to reassure him that things he built at home would be safe until he wanted to change them, but things that he built outside the house were only there for a short time, I thought to myself - who am I kidding? I would love to be able to get the parents on the tables around us who are tutting and staring because he tried to push the other child away to understand.
Also, for him to be able to learn the way he needs to, even if it is slightly separate to others, if that is what is required, can only be a good thing for him.
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