Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
ASD Assessment Result(17 Posts)
Hurrah! The experts and I are in total agreement as to what my ds1's issues are and what his strengths are. And they do want to give him a diagnosis of aspergers syndrome. Now school, parents, paediatrician and psychologist are in total agreement, I guess it's a question of fighting for a statement. I wonder how many years that will take...
Ds1's main issue is with empathy - he understands facial expressions, eg that people are angry or sad, very well, but he just doesn't have a very good understanding of why they feel the way they do... Fantastic imagination, though! I'm sure we can take advantage of that to help him learn why people might react the way they do to him and others around him.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in my wobbles on the way to the appointment!
Phew...good news in a way that they've reached an agreement.
Yup, many of us do learn why people react the way they do, but it takes some time. Excellent resources are available to help us these days - books, games, etc etc. Much easier than learning it the long hard way that the older ones of us had to try.
What helped me was remembering what made me happy or sad, and asking the person questions about why they are happy or sad. "You look sad. Why are you sad?" etc. Then listening for the answer and saying something appropriate. "something appropriate" is the hard bit .
Have a large cuppa. Bet you need one...
Thank you. I really do think that my ds1's unusually high intelligence will help him learn these things and will enable him to make them look and sound reasonably natural - I've seen demonstrations of it in him already, as we talk constantly about why people do the things they do and how they might be feeling. He is certainly now capable of being extremely solicitous of his parents' feelings - and toys and animals and other objects. He just hasn't transferred it very effectively on to most people, yet!!!!! He worries more about the damaged car than the dead people inside it... He has an abnormally empathetic little brother, though, who is helping a lot through his responses to things (and who also taught me when I was being too hard on ds1 by getting very cross with me and telling me off!!!!!). He is also learning to deal with difficulty a lot better these days, rather than just tuning out and switching off. So, the focus now is to find ways of enabling him to transfer this learning from his safe home environment to school, where he is constantly challenged and can't keep up with all the things he is trying to process and understand.
<tangent alert to answer Starlight -
Yup. Oh yes indeed. I would naturally, if given the opportunity, just list out a load of facts, thus brassing off the entirety of mumsnet . So I write all the facts...then remind myself to put the social stuff top and bottom. Sometimes I get that the wrong way round but I hope people don't notice the errors! Besides which, tea helps me therefore it might help other people. Or coffee. Or hot choc. Or a bottle of virtual whisky and a straw, depending on how the day's going...>
Rabbitstew, yes, much truth in what you write. Our ability to learn something and transfer it to Situation 2 is often beyond appalling. Time cures a lot of that, because we learn from experience and inventing new rules e.g. "damaged car = possible injured people = appropriate response is X".
Trouble is (with me) words and emotions happen in two different bits of my brain. Words don't equal emotions. And they don't really cause them either. Apart from fear if I make a mistake with them. But I feel emotions through music, through pictures, through touch. Each person is different so that's just one example. But it's a reason why some of us find words very difficult to use as a tool to understand and convey emotion.
That is exactly my ds! I read him a book, recently, that is about the First World War and has some incredibly emotional points, where best and loyal friends die, etc, and being an overly-emotional type, couldn't stop the tears flooding down my face and my voice cracking up. He was very interested in why my voice sounded so funny and in my explanations as to why what I read was an emotional experience. I felt like I was quoting an A-level English Literature essay out to him!!!!! Yet he can replicate exactly the same feelings in himself if he thinks about his favourite toy being ripped up and acts out with toys all the lessons he's learnt about people (but unfortunately still seeing them as toys with feelings he can understand, because he is making the feelings up for them, rather than seeing them as people).
Luckily, I am, I think, quite good at expressing in words what I think are the reasons for my emotions, so that he can process this information and take it on board!!! And yet he is far from being an emotionless child - he has extremely strong emotions, just not always the ones you would expect, when you would expect them! Less and less these days, though, we are taking each other emotionally by surprise, which has vastly improved our relationship and therefore his progress.
Does this still make sense???
Yup, it does to me anyway
What you're doing should be very helpful for him, teaching him how each situation is similar to something he already knows about. Sometimes it takes us 30-100 different 'similar situations' to make a whole new rule for ourselves. You may need the patience of many saints
Being able to guess broad similarities is not always something we're good at.
(Me, I'm learning the difference between goats and sheep right now. I'm in my 40s and still can't tell them apart, but I can tell you exactly which breed of horse is which from several hundred almost identical looking ones. Who designed this brain? )
But it's such a fantastic and fascinating brain! I get great pleasure out of seeing a whole different perspective on life! He gets the most unusual concepts instantly, as though they are obvious, yet can't understand what most children grew to understand in the first two years of life. I think of him as my arse-about-face child - he'll get there in the end, just completely the wrong way round. He doesn't need to go to school to learn academic concepts, he needs to go to school to learn other people. I think that's pretty cool. Keeps me on my feet, anyway, trying to protect the poor boy as he goes through the confusing learning process in the hope that one day he will be capable of protecting himself.
(ps I think I understand, now, why it gets my back up on "Primary Education" when I am loftily informed that it is not "natural" to learn to read. Maybe for most children. For my ds1, reading and maths came naturally, it was the motor skills, social skills and emotional skills that didn't. You wouldn't know he'd had big motor skills problems now, though, he's caught up so well in that area, and he's catching up well emotionally - doesn't have extreme rages or tears. Just the social skills that need intensive work to "look" normal, even if I know they will never be natural).
You're right - I think for a good number of us we go to school to learn all the things that the others already do naturally!
amberlight - do you think my ds could make a good actor? It's often struck me that, because he has a vivid imagination, normal speech patterns, a photographic memory and an ability to take on other peoples' behaviours as though they are his own, that he would make a fantastic actor! He may not understand why exactly he inspires the emotions he does, but he can certainly do a good impression of feeling them! He's also extremely good looking (though I say so myself.... very neat, delicate features...).
RabbitStew - But it's such a fantastic and fascinating brain! I get great pleasure out of seeing a whole different perspective on life!
I love your attitude. Thanks for putting some things into perspective for me.
What a great thread! You must be so relieved to have everyone agreeing with you, well done
rabbitstew I heard the Temple Grandin 'Ted' talk on youtube, its about 20 minutes long and it was fascinating to hear her describe what could be good career paths and one of the ones she mentioned is that some autistics could make great actors. A great talk to listen to btw.
Very pleased to hear that this hurdle is behind you
Thanks, everyone. . I don't need to feel like a fraud when I look on the special needs board, now, either!
Thanks for telling me about the Temple Grandin 'Ted' talk, too, Eloise73 - I will see if I can find it.
There are good actors on the autism spectrum, yup. Daryl Hannah for example. And my DS is taking drama A level and always has a fairly good part in the well-regarded productions that are opened to the public.
Research suggests that for extreme specialisation and respect in a particular sort of work, a person needs to persist at it and become expert at it for ten years. Persisting at things is something many of us are very very good at. What we often can't do is work out how to make money from that talent!
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