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Autistic or "slow"?

(30 Posts)
onthepier Sat 06-Sep-08 13:00:10

My son who is 5, has recently been diagnosed with autism. We've been successful in obtaining a statement for his schooling, + this is really helping with the 1 to 1 help he gets.

Basically though, he's a bright, lively child, always on the go although has some speech clarity issues

My parents + SIL who have never really come to terms with the diagnosis, (don't think they understand autism!), often make comments like, "Are you sure the diagnosis is right, it could be that he's just a bit slow!"

I'd almost rather my son was known as autistic than "slow"! Anybody else agree, or am I in the minority?

electra Sat 06-Sep-08 13:05:47

Message withdrawn

misscutandstick Sat 06-Sep-08 13:08:07

OMG! i absolutely agree!!!

i nearly 'brained' my not-quite-PC FIL when he suggested that DS5 was 'slow' angry.

My son has medical difficulties (as do all with ASD's) they are not 'slow'!!! GGGGRRRR angry angry angry


PS although my mother says that everyone was either "forward" or "backwards" in her days as a mother with small children (in the days with no PC!) they were either last January, or a week next Tuesday grin !!!

PPS PC - politically correct

daisy5678 Sat 06-Sep-08 13:10:32

Totally agree!

I actually find that J's brightness causes the opposite problem: my family have found it hard to accept the dx because 'he's so cleverl'. They have the low-functioning image of autism in their minds and he doesn't fit that. They totally understood the ADHD dx because the 'symptoms' are so obvious externally, but autism is indeed so complex that they find it hard to reconcile his intelligence at e.g. using the computer better than most adults with his inability to do basic things like say hello or cross the road without obsessively pressing buttons, doorbells etc. grin

Buckets Sat 06-Sep-08 13:23:14

Here you go. smile

onthepier Sat 06-Sep-08 13:44:30

Thank you for your posts, and your link was very helpful, Buckets. Some of those comments have certainly been said to me by family in the past, for instance, "Send him over to us, we'll sort him out for you!" hmm

It does show that that age group do have problems understanding the condition, and need advice themselves.

TinySocks Sat 06-Sep-08 17:18:13

Not sure what to make of your comment:
"I'd almost rather my son was known as autistic than "slow"! "

It has upset me a bit to be honest and I don't usually get upset by things. My son has GDD. Would you like me to say that I'd rather he be a bit "slow" than autistic?

daisy5678 Sat 06-Sep-08 17:41:43

TS, I think OTP is objecting to the word and the lack of understanding from the parents. I don't think she's saying anything else.

onthepier Sat 06-Sep-08 17:44:55

Sorry TinySocks, didn't mean to cause any offence. I just meant that after taking a long time to come to terms with the autism diagnosis, we do realise that the learning delays our son has are due to him being autistic.

I don't like hearing him described as "slow", as it implies that he's not capable of learning, not quick on the uptake.
He is actually a bright little boy.

What is GDD if you don't mind me asking? It's not a term I've heard before.

Tclanger Sat 06-Sep-08 17:59:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TinySocks Sat 06-Sep-08 18:03:59

GDD means global developmental delay. My DS is capable of learning, but not quick on the uptake.
Your comment really hit me hard.

amber32002 Sat 06-Sep-08 18:34:23

I read it as onthepier saying that she objected to the word 'slow' because it's such a rude way to describe anyone, no matter what their IQ? It's like "retard" or "cripple" or any of the other terms that cause general offence?

paranoid2 Sat 06-Sep-08 18:35:24

TBH your comment upset me also and have thought about it during the day. My Ds probably has ADHD althugh at this stage nobody seems to know how much of his problems academically are related to this and how much to underlying learning difficulties or language procssing problems. Like Tiny Sock's Ds my Ds is capable of learning,quick on the uptake sometimes but not others. I'm not bothered by the unpc ness of various terms but I find it somewhat uncomfortable (and I'm not 100% sure why, maybe because I received a letter this morning from the paed describing my Ds as having been assessed by the EP as having learning diffs) to hear someone express a desire to have a child with one type of special need over another

paranoid2 Sat 06-Sep-08 18:43:40

should have said "preference" rather than "desire". I dont agree that the OP's intention was purely an objection to the word "slow" . It came across to me in her initial post and later one that she would rather her child be classified as "autistic" rather than as having intellectual learning difficulties. I dont think there is anything wrong with feeling like that but i think its a tad insensitive to voice opinions like that when people on this board have children with varied problems

Tclanger Sat 06-Sep-08 18:52:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mercy Sat 06-Sep-08 18:53:41

Agree with you amber.

I think many people (myself included) know so little about the wide range of SN/SEN that 'new' diagnoses are misunderstood.

I used to work on the admin side of children with SN, over 20 years ago now; austism was was recognised then but generally speaking only the more severely affected children.

TotalChaos Sat 06-Sep-08 19:50:50

I agree that it's frustrating when ?well-meaning friends and relatives don't get your child's issues and spout well meaning advice. However I do see the other side, as indicated by TinySocks and Paranoid, that being glad about how your child isn't "slow" could be a little hurtful to those who have kids with learning difficulties. I strongly believe that all our kids, whether they struggle with conventional learning or not, have their own interests/talents/brightness (sorry if that sounds cringey).

ouryve Sat 06-Sep-08 23:48:02

I'd rather that no child was labelled as "slow." It's a rather derogatory way to refer to a person with cognitive difficulties, so you're definitely not in the minority.

Vian Sun 07-Sep-08 10:19:09

My little boy has AS. There are times when he seems really "slow" and times when he appears to be "super bright". It is such a gray area.

cyberseraphim Sun 07-Sep-08 13:08:13

I sometimes refer to DS1 as 'developmentally delayed' or that his language is 'delayed' - but I suppose I am being optimistic in that I am characterising ASD as a form of delay whereas actually there is no guarantee that his speech will ever develop to the full level required to interact 'normally'. Still what's wrong with optimism as long it does not become delusional ?

BriocheDoree Sun 07-Sep-08 14:36:49

I tend not to get offended by the "slow" comments when they come from well meaning people of an older generation. I don't think they mean to offend (in most cases) and, let's face it, most of us didn't know about all this stuff before we had kids with it, did we! In French, I have to say that DD has "un retard de developpement" or that she's "handicappé" because that's how they say it here. Heaven knows what they think of her sometimes because she doesn't speak a word of French, so I can people might think she's a bit "thick". It's like Vian says, sometimes she seems "slower" or less mature than her peers, although fundamentally I think she's very bright. I guess more important is seeing how people react to your child and are able to deal with them. If people take time to be with DD and to try and communicate with her, I'm not offended by un-PC comments. If they dismiss her out of hand, I am.

misscutandstick Sun 07-Sep-08 20:55:14

I just object to the term "slow" - it really doesnt matter who is on the receiving end... i just dont like it.

I read the OP as the same, wording on here can be very difficult and the meaning/tone/emotion doesnt always come across as was meant, when it was/is typed. Im sure that the original poster didnt mean any offense - and she was probably still reeling from the comment in the first place.

onthepier Sun 07-Sep-08 21:18:16

Quite right, I didn't mean any offence at all, I feel for people whose children have any sort of diagnosis, whether it's autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc. As parents of special needs children, we're all in the same boat.

ChopsTheDuck Tue 09-Sep-08 10:47:04

I feel exactly the same, onthepier. My ds1 was labelled as 'slow' in his preschool reports and I deeply resented it. He isn't slow, he is top of his class for maths and very able. He was diagnosed after leaving the school as having dyspraxia and HMS.
I don't think it's about wanting a label or sn for a child, it's about wanting recognition of their particular issues and relevabt support.

trikid Tue 09-Sep-08 15:43:04

Last weekend I meet a little autistic girl and wonder what you think of the following. We went to a friends wedding and stayed with some family members of the groom in a hotel for the weekend. The little girl, just turned 4, in my eyes was just a lovely little girl, very excited about the wedding, the lakes, the lovely gardens, all the people around her, running around. She spoke very well and the only "different" thing to me was that she didn't "listen" to her parents/grandparents when they called her or told her to do this or not do that. They just keept saying "she is slightly autistic". well to me I didn't find that too different, more like "normal" for a little 4-year old.
So when she then went "sliding/surfing" on my little girls favourite book and the parents sitting there watching I just had to say something. I didn's say more than: Please don't step on the book little DD really likes it. When the little autistic girl didn't want to step off but used the book as a surfboard I lifted her off the book and said again. "Please don't do that, you are going to break the book". The atmosphere went a bit odd and the grandmother said, "oh, there is no reasoning with her she is slightly autistic".
I might be really stupid, but are you not allowed to show an autistic child the difference between right and wrong. Can you not "discipline" with words? I just felt I had to protect DD's book and was a bit anooyed with the parents of the other girl for not telling her off or saying something like: this book does not belong to you,please don't step on it, lets read the story of the little fairy.
Was my first experience with an autistic child but I feel really silly and embarassed.

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