Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Thinking about getting DS diagnosed - very worried(12 Posts)
So my DS is 11 and at normal school, doing fine. However he is clearly different from other boys his age and his behaviour has always made me think he could be on the spectrum.
Specificallly he shows little empathy or affection.
Can be very mean to his sisters.
He is OBSESSED with screens which we limit - which causes meltdowns, or he will try to find opportunities for secret screen time (like sneaking down to the kitchen at 2am until I found him at 5:30 having been on the same game).
Cannot deal with things changing or spontaneous events. Gets stressed about new situations.
Can be oversensitive to hot food.
Reads a lot of fact books and has collections about certain animals and games.
We are struggling to connect with him and are concerned he is unhappy and his circle of friends is getting smaller and smaller. I'm not sure if a diagnosis would help him/us or freak him out - and perhaps he isn't anyway.
Sorry to rant but at a bit of a loss.
Well the only way to find out is to ask to be assessed. There is a long waiting list (here 3 years) so you have plenty of time to get your head round things.
What are you hoping for from diagnosis (and what are you thinking the Dx would be)?
Don't get fooled by stereotypes, I've yet to meet or be aware of an autistic child or adult who's not affectionate or empathetic.
I agree with ZZZZZ and PolterGoose, It best to ask for a referral, at least then you will know and will be able to get any help if your son requires it. It has taken me nearly six year from accepting my sons has issues to getting an assessment.
I would start by making notes on the type of behaviour you are worried about as this might help any professional you see. This helped me a lot when I when to my appointments.
Aaah thanks, yes I'm seeing the GP on Friday to get the ball rolling. I have no idea if it's Autism we're looking at or Aspergers.
I guess I'm hoping if there is a diagnosis of one of those we can learn how best to handle him and make sure he's happy.
I am concerned though about putting him through the assessment - whatever the result - as he may feel that we think there is something 'wrong' with him. He is 11 so will definitely understand.
Have others had this experience and how have your DC coped?
If you can afford it, what about a private diagnosis from an educational psychologist? Or try one of the aspergers online screening tests.
If someone is on the borderline, with a lot of autistic traits, then isn't it about seeing what that person struggles with, and what may work out there to help them? A few psychological tests could pick up how much empathy, social skills etc he shows, and strategies to help.
If it's also any help, I have an autistic boy age 3, but also a boy of 13 who like yours is borderline special needs (not autism). We've always been very open that he shows these traits - as diagnosis or not it's really good if someone has an idea of themselves.
I get that it's hard to bring that up, but rather than one long big serious chat, more of a case of communication daily. Such as... 'Come on, you really can't have more screen time than *, do you know why?
Open the dialogue, help them understand. And then say something like 'I know that you find it really difficult to cut down on screen time, more than most other kids your age I would say, that's something that you may need to know about yourself because one day it'll be you and not your parents who need to manage it' - he may say 'why should I manage it' etc but these are all good open dialogues to have. They are, in a way, the most concrete 'diagnoses'.
If you went for other diagnoses, I'd just be open with him, tell him that you think that some things seem harder for him than other kids, much harder. Possibly a little autistic? Possibly not. But the only way to find out is to see someone, and then there may be some help out there that you may find useful. Say it's worth a try! Say there's nothing 'wrong' or 'deficient' - then use an example - say dyslexia - why struggle when you can get tested and perhaps find easier ways?
Aspergers and autism are one and the same thing. The difference is only in the early language acquisition (I.e. Children diagnosed with Aspergers spoke on time or early, children diagnosed with autism spoke late or in a disordered way some gaining language in the end some not, both have the same triad of impairments).
While the Dx may give you pointers on how to support your son, it won't allow you to "handle" the autism out of him. Autistic children become autistic adults and very very few who can communicate are at all interested in being "fixed" any more than most homosexuals are.
Your child will think there is something wrong with being autistic if you do.
Regarding the screens. How much do you limit them? Maybe if you try channeling his obsession into something productive instead of stopping him using them? My ASD DS is also obsessed. He is allowed unlimted access to the PC (he has to share it with his sister so only actually gets 2.5 hours a day after school (less during days when he has activities). He doesn't play video games but he is currently teaching himself coding. I got him into a coding club which helped him get started and now he is trying to create his own apps etc. If your DS is autistic you may find that encouraging his obsessions is better than trying to limit them.
I had the same worries as you but I got DS diagnosed because he is struggling at school and his relationship with DH was at breaking point (DH is also on the spectrum). It has been helpful - I haven't told DS about his diagnosis yet but we are drip feeding at the moment and plan on telling him soon.
Don't be scared of this - your son is who he is. Autism is not a horrible disease, it's just a different way of thinking. Watch some videos on youtube by Temple Grandin who is autistic - she is very inspiring. Also look at Tony Attwoods book on Aspergers and Steve Silbermans Neurotribes.
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