Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Should I try to correct ASD "symptoms"
with DS (4)?
Apologies first of all if I get all the terminology wrong, please be gentle as I'm certainly not aiming to offend. We had a meeting with Ds's reception teacher today and she thinks he needs to be assessed by the Educational Psychologist because he is exhibiting some symptoms (if that's the correct word, apologies if not) of ASD. For example, he finds it hard to make new friends, he sometimes walks on tiptoes, he sometimes uses a baby voice rather than his normal voice.
We were aware of all these things, but hadn't put them all together to add up to potential ASD, so this has come as a bit of a shock.
He is being assessed by the Ed Psych sometime in the next few weeks, and we'll take it from there. Meantime I am trying to read up and educate myself and work out what, if anything, i should be doing to support him.
I'd already taken him to a consultant podiatrist about the tiptoe walking, and he's been referred to a physio and given exercises. Their explanation was that he'd suddenly grown a lot and his muscles hadn't caught up with his bones. Likewise, the baby voice talking was picked up by school last parents' evening, so these are not new things.
However, (sorry for the length of this), I'm now wondering how to deal with these things. Till today I've been reminding him not to walk on tiptoes, and asking him not to speak in a baby voice when either of these things happens. When I remind him, he switches back to normal walking or speaking straight away, which has led me not to be too concerned about these behaviours - I thought they were just bad habits or a phase.
But now he's being assessed for ASD, I'm less sure what to do. Do I let him get on with tiptoeing and the baby voice, or do I ask him not to? I don't want to stress him out by highlighting the behaviours if he somehow feels he needs to do these things. On the other hand, he always stops as soon as I mention it without any problem, so maybe me asking him to stop these would highlight if they are a habit or something more serious.
Sorry for the length of this - it's all just happened today and I'm in a bit of a mess to be honest. I work with a lot of students with ASD who have a terribly hard time in various ways, and it's breaking my heart that DS may have these challenges ahead of him. Any advice much appreciated.
Thanks, PolterGoose, that's really reassuring. He's seen the physio already and he wasn't concerned at all about the toe walking. Said he was within the normal range and would grow out of it, but gave us some exercises to do.
The diary is a great idea, thanks, I hadn't thought of that. I'll take a look at your FactFiles link as well
It's a huge leap from "tip toe walking and baby voice" to ASD
Are you sure that's ALL the teacher has seen because that seems very unusual.
As polt as said the EdPsych can't dx (in the UK only a Dr can do that and for a neurological developmental disorder that's usually a developmental peadiatrician with input from many professionals).
You say you work with lots of students with ASD have YOU noticed any similarities?
I don't think the possibility of ASD makes much difference to whether you work on the annoying voice and tiptoe walking.
If you think these particular things are going to be problematic behaviours for him, if they aren't serving some important function, and you think they're modifiable, then work on them. If they're not problems, not amenable to change, or they're very useful to him, leave them alone.
The main difficulty with 'changing' ASD behaviours is that some dc can be left with almost nothing that other people aren't trying to change. Which obviously isn't good for a child's mental health. Being left to negotiate adulthood with hundreds of irritating childhood habits that were never addressed because 'that's just the ASD' tends not to be good either.
Thanks Maria, that's useful advice re working on behaviours. zzzzz, no, I hadn't noticed any aspects of his personality that made me think he might be on the spectrum, nor had DH or my MIL who has spent her career first as a Special Needs teacher in a special school (including lots of autistic children) and later as a Disability Support assessor working with adults. I wouldn't be surprised if DS were dyspraxic as he is quite clumsy (as was I as a child), but I would be surprised if he had ASD.
I'll wait and see what the EP says and then see if she suggests taking it further. Apparently, according to playground gossip, lots of boys in Reception are being assessed because it's a boy-heavy class (22 vs 6 girls) and they've bought extra EP time and need to use it. Turns out lots of people are being assessed for various things, and all the parents are a bit baffled.
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