Autism without meltdowns?

(5 Posts)
ListsWonderfulLists Thu 18-Feb-21 17:32:45

My 9 year old DS was diagnosed with ADHD and dyspraxia a couple of years ago. At that time he fell just under the threshold for further investigation for autism and the dr wrote that he had some autistic traits.

Over the last year I've thought more and more that he probably is on the autistic spectrum. He's started stimming a lot when he's excited (tapping his chest rapidly). He has very intense interests and he lives in his own world a lot of the time, the gap between him and his peers seems to be widening in terms of social skills.

But I spoke to the GP today to see if we could get referred back to the paediatrician who diagnosed him before and the GP was very nice but seemed unsure whether the referral would be accepted as we don't actually have any "problems" at the moment. He's never had what you'd consider a typical meltdown. When he's anxious he cries quite a lot and has occasionally struggled to stop. That seems to be his reaction so he never lashes out, if he's upset or worried or angry he just cries, bless him. But cuddles sort that out. There's no problems at home or at school with behaviour. He forgets instructions quite a bit but that's his ADHD and dyspraxia.

In general he's quite an easy child to parent so I feel like a bit of a fraud? But when I see him out with other children his age I really do see the difference. He's quirky as hell so he'll just start crawling around like a creature quite a lot and he often comes out with stuff like, "I'd really like my own stasis chamber!" Many of the children at his school think he's weird and he'll say himself that he's weird but that he likes being weird! But I am terrified about secondary school and what's going to happen there. I'm a teacher and have seen quite a few children fall apart when they get to secondary and/or hit puberty.

His school agree with me so I'm sure they will help in writing to the dr but I wanted to ask if anyone else had a child like him and if they got a diagnosis.

OP’s posts: |
sanam2019 Sat 20-Feb-21 20:29:30

meltdowns should not be a requirement. I have a very "easy" and happy ASD child as well, there is a list of diagnostic criteria and only some of them need to be present, it certainly sounds like you have a good reason to explore autism.

Lolly2803 Sat 20-Feb-21 20:52:43

I have twins with ASD and they are complete opposites. They are 3yrs 8 months. My DS is apparently very close to the neurotypical line. He doesn’t have meltdowns, doesn’t have stims, is verbal although his speech is disordered you’d have to really pay attention to see it. But he’s on the spectrum and does have a few things he struggles with. It’s a spectrum and just like any “normal” kids are different so are autistic kids. So if the right people are doing the assessments they’ll get it right. And fro what you’ve described I’m sure you’ll get a diagnosis x

CristalCarrington Fri 19-Mar-21 22:25:51

I was diagnosed with autism as an adult. I don’t think I ever had a meltdown as a child - although I did have crying fits when I would get really worked up if I felt I’d been criticised (at home in my room, not in public)

I actually didn’t struggle that much as a primary aged child though, in a small school, the struggles really started at the same time as secondary, it would have helped me to know myself if I’d had a diagnosis back then.

LightTripper Tue 23-Mar-21 10:11:03

DD was diagnosed at 4 and I don't think she's ever had a meltdown. Maybe when she was a toddler but I couldn't really distinguish anything she did from what I'd see other toddlers doing. If anything she was generally less dramatic: she'd tend to zone out rather than melt down if things got too much. She was generally a pretty placid toddler. If another child stole her toy, or she couldn't work something, she'd just move on and play with something else (which her assessors identified was part of her autism: not being able to communicate her wants/needs).

Please don't feel like a fraud. DD doesn't have many obvious "problems" either. But I can see that we might well hit some later, because of the things she does differently or finds hard, so I'm glad we have the diagnosis "under our belt" rather than having to go through 18+ months of fighting for a Dx before she can get any help if she does have problems later. She's not any less autistic because we've managed to find settings where she does well. If she manages to get through her whole school life without any very specific/onerous support needs, I'll feel lucky, grateful and proud (of her and all the people who have supported her in small ways so that she didn't need that very intense intervention), not fraudulent. The diagnosis will have been a good use of everyone's resources, because it allowed her to learn and grow successfully with minimal support. However, I'm also very aware that things can change very quickly, and I'm hopeful that having the Dx will at least help us more quickly figure out ways to help if she does struggle later.

I suspect I'm autistic too and I definitely remember crying so much that I struggled to stop, having those huge gasping little "hark backs" to earlier crying hours later. Even when I started work I'd have to go to the loos for a cry a couple of times a day (not for specific reasons: just overwhelm I think and it helped me process it). Obviously I don't know if that's an autistic "thing" but it seems to chime with some of the PP. I can only think of a couple of times in my adult life that I've had what could possibly be described as a "meltdown" - and I really don't know whether that's outside the range of normal experience (everyone probably has some moments of very high pressure in their life when they just lose it a bit? Although I learned through DD's diagnosis process that lots of things I considered "normal" others do not!)

You (and possibly he) might like the "autistic not weird" website. It's run by Chris Bonnello, who is a former teacher who went through various assessments as a child but came out with a diagnosis of "slightly odd personality" (before the days when very verbal children were really Dx'd) - but then went on to be diagnosed autistic as an adult. He has some great articles on his site for parents and kids.

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