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DS1 and DS2 with ASD? Advice needed please!

(4 Posts)
bedelia Sat 01-Nov-14 14:50:42

I'm really concerned that my two sons (aged 18 and 3) may show signs of ASD. I've always known they're both a little "different", though recent events have made me do some research to address certain issues and I really need advice on how to proceed.

DS1 struggled all the way through school. Around age 6-7 he has many assessments for ASD, dyslexia, dysbraxia, etc. Though he scored in some areas, I was told he didn't score highly enough in any one particular area to qualify for SEN. Luckily he had wonderful support at primary, and his special needs teacher offered to work with him voluntarily. By secondary school, he got a statement for help with maths and english. After school he's attended college (again, with extra help). Unfortunately, things haven't been good for him recently. He's been diagnosed with depression and social anxiety and is currently having counselling. ASD hasn't been mentioned since early primary school, though he has a great many "quirks" which I'd attributed to his personality as consultants seemed to have ruled everything else out.

DS2 started nursery in September, just before his 3rd birthday. I wasn't worried at first, he has his quirks and is a little tasmanian devil though he seemed to settle well. After a few weeks his key worker (the nursery manager) suggested we have a meeting to discuss his progress and explained that she has concerns about his development.

At nursery, DS2 does not talk. This came as a big shock: at home, he's a little chatterbox! No language delays, a wide vocabulary, uses long sentences... If anything I'd have said he was bright for his age! He prefers to play alone; fixates on objects (previously cars, now coins/keys) which he wants to hold all the time and becomes very distressed when we suggest he puts them down. At home, he prefers to play with me or his siblings rather than alone, and I knew about the quirks with his "favourite things" but hadn't seen this as a problem.

We monitored things for a few more weeks, during which time he began with odd tantrums both at home and nursery, particularly when being coaxed away from whatever he's enjoying. We agreed on referrals to "Speech and language" and "Social and behavioural" services which should take around 8 weeks as he'll probably need help integrating when he starts FS1 after Christmas (when class size will increase from 12 to 39!).

DS2's key worker has not mentioned ASD (or any other "cause" for his behaviour) at all, and I refrained from googling for ages as I was concerned that self-diagnosis might lead me down the wrong path. A few times, his key worker has mentioned that he HAS maintained eye contact during his episodes, which struck me as odd as I didn't know what this meant. So eventually I researched online and began to realise several symptoms of ASD (possibly aspergers?) in both of my sons.

DS2 has several quirks which haven't been mentioned at nursery yet. His aunt commented on his "odd way of talking"; he has a fear of particular noises (hoover, hand-dryers, loud car engines) and hates the sensation of certain textures on his skin. He hates change, both in routine and in surroundings (moving furniture around, for example). He hates to have anything sticky on his hands, and has absolutely no fear of danger (runs out into the road, for example). I'm always on edge about him hurting himself, but when he does fall over he rarely ever cries.

I'm not scared that my boys are "different" or may have ASD traits, but am very concerned about getting help for them both.

DS1's depression has me very worried. If he does have undiagnosed issues, I'm sure it will help for these to be acknowledged in order to tailor his recovery.

With DS2, I'm really anxious that he should have the support he needs ASAP, before he starts school.

I also have a daughter (aged 9). She's very bright and no concerns have been raised about her development in any way. The school she attends (to which DS2's nursery is attached) is not a great one and has limited resources. We live in what might be called a "socially deprived" area, so a large percentage of the pupils receive free school meals and class sizes are larger than average. Long story short, we don't have a choice about where we live and which school my children attend, but I'm concerned that their needs may not be met as fully as could be in a better equipped school.

If DS2 does have ASD or other needs, I really want to make sure he has support. Is ASD something which could be diagnosed through the educational referrals? Should I raise concerns with DS's GP or health visitor in addition to nursery to request tests or further referrals?

DS1 has appointments with his counsellor and doctor next week. I haven't specifically told DS that I wonder about ASD and am considering either telling him (so he can bring it up himself) or going with him if he says it's ok.

Apologies for the long post. I'd really appreciate any advice on how to proceed with both of my sons to ensure they both get the help they need.

Tambaboy Sat 01-Nov-14 19:43:56

Hi Bedella, this board is very quiet. I recommend you repost in Special Needs: children.

heather1 Sat 01-Nov-14 19:50:46

Bed ella. My ds1 9, has aspergers traits, currently being assessed but he is so boarder line I'm sure noting will come of assessment. Anyho, I discovered that, when he was at nursery he wasn't talking.
I asked him why at the time and I remember clearly he said 'they no know me Mummy'. I explained the staff did know him, liked him very much and would love it if he talked to them. After that he was much better. It was difficult to understand him because he had language difficulties but at least he was talking.

bedelia Sat 01-Nov-14 19:52:21

Thanks Tambaboy, I'll do that =)

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