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Is it me, or are the older generation generally dismissive/sceptical of learning disabilities?

(30 Posts)
Shells Mon 22-Sep-08 23:58:50

I've just been pondering this one as I seem to have a larger percentage than normal of older people (by which I guess I mean 60+) who fob me off with 'oh he'll catch up/he'll get there' about DS.

DS has a significant specific language disorder, and frankly may never catch up or 'get better'.

Obviously I know they are trying to be kind/well meaning. But I was wondering if this kind of thing contributed to the lack of diagnosis of ASDs etc. on the past. A kind of lets sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away thing.

Anyone else had this?

FanjolinaJolly Tue 23-Sep-08 00:32:52

I guess it depends on their exposure to LD themselves.My parents have been quite realistic with regard to dd (My mum had a severely LD sister) My in-laws are of the "Oh she'll catch up eventually" school of thought.Sometimes I think people just don't know what to say so they go for the "Fluffy sugar coated" option in a desperate attempt to say something that will not be perceived as upsetting.TBH I prefer the realist approach to my in-laws head in sand one but even when I've gently suggested that dd is never going to conform to the norm they dismiss it out of hand so I've given up TBH.

chipmonkey Tue 23-Sep-08 00:36:19

Ds1 has ADD, ds2 has dypraxia.
My Mum tends to say: "But do you not think you were like that?" about ds1, because my school reports said I was "dreamy" in school. She fails to see that ds1 can not get organised at all without his SNA, she organises him and without her, he would be lost.
MIL says "I wouldn't go telling them they have these things" about ds2's dyspraxia. But I think it's better for ds2 to know he has dyspraxia when he can see that other children can write better than him and that they are better at sports.
My SIL's PHN ( that's an Irish HV!) says that ASD has always been with us but that people did indeed dismiss it with "Ah, he/she is 'not all there' or 'a bit odd' and I think I agree with her. I am certain my sister is autistic but was never properly diagnosed.

WendyWeber Tue 23-Sep-08 00:40:36

I think you're right, Shells.

I get the impression that part of the reason for the huge increase in diagnoses of ASD today is better education about learning problems. Previous generations were much more accepting of what came along (also schools didn't have targets & league tables hmm)

Shells Tue 23-Sep-08 00:44:25

Yes I'm not sure if they were accepting or not. My parents are great, but MIL is hoping and praying that he will 'get better' as I think she's deeply embarrassed by the stigma of a not-normal grandchild. Even though she loves him dearly.

SaintRiven Tue 23-Sep-08 09:29:10

heck, my mum looks at severe CP dd and remarks on her long fingers saying 'she'll be playing the piano soon'. She can't even move her hands.
MIL refuses to believe ds1 has aspergers cos he 'looks normal' but insists on beliveing dd is 'severely retarded' as she puts it cos dd can't speak or move.
Sigh

LeonieD Tue 23-Sep-08 09:29:14

Message withdrawn

cyberseraphim Tue 23-Sep-08 09:39:14

I find it hard to steer an even course between professionals who want to focus on the impairments and problems and family and friends who keep saying 'he will be fine, he's doing so well etc etc' You have to keep saying (1) 'But there is some potential, he has developed, (2) But there are serious developmental problems, he won't grow out of it. I end up not really knowing what I actually think about DS1

cyberseraphim Tue 23-Sep-08 09:42:50

My brother was not diagnosed as a child but he was classed as 'away with the fairies' etc. Many HFA children would have fitted that category whereas many other ASD children were classed as retarded or ineducable . I think it's a double edged sword for high functioning children. My brother could have benefited from ASD specific help but on the other hand being classed as 'normal but odd' allowed him some freedom as he was left to get on with things which suited him.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Sep-08 09:46:31

It's not just you.

My mother is clueless about DD1's dyspraxia. Thinks she's just lazy or stubborn.

My sister even showed her the dossier of all her reports - I scanned all the reports DD1 got from every caregiver and emailed them to my sis, a teacher, for some extra input.

My mother still acts like I'm making it all up - like all these doctors and therapist and ed psychs have nothing better to do but pander to me.

She says I always exaggerate stuff. Then she wonders why I left home nearly 20 years ago and never came back even when I was so skint I went bankrupt and when some arsehole dumped me without knowing a soul in a foreign country.

cory Tue 23-Sep-08 09:58:36

I think it's a combination of less being known when they were young and of well-meaning people just grasping for something nice to say.

My Mum keeps on telling me how well dd is doing in the summer with her joint disorder- and yes, in a way it's kind and comforting; but it sort of makes me feel she doesn't really believe me when I tell her what it's like the rest of the year- when I've got to get a child with chronic pain up at 7 and through a whole school day, with no option of just lazing on the beach. And then I get annoyed because it pushes me into a situation where I have to be the negative one all the time.

Come to think of it, it's probably more the grandmother role than anything else: she was brilliant with her own ds's emotional problems. Probably I'll be the same if I get a disabled grandchild- thinking I'm really helping by getting the parents to look on the bright side wink

siblingrivalry Tue 23-Sep-08 10:00:27

OMG, I could have written loads of these posts! Cyber summed it up for me in her first post -PIL think professionals are making too much of dd1's (possible) ASD. I have stopped volunteering information, cos I am sick of them 'justifying' everything dd does as 'what all kids do'hmm
Yesterday, MIL said again that dd needs to 'toughen up'. Aaargh!

nicky693 Tue 23-Sep-08 10:11:04

My mum thinks C will catch up and that theres nothing wrong. She wont admit that hes different from other children. C has only been diagnosed with moderate learning disabilities at the moment and we are fighting to get a proper diagnoses as now he is getting older the gap between him and his peers is now getting bigger and more noticable.C is 5 years old. I am desperate for help on way to deal with C in a supermarket when he runs off and no road sense. Also his obsession with things put in their right place. My mum just says he will soon learn and catch up and she really does not want him diagnosed and that just because hes the way he is does not mean there is a diagnosis for him!!!! She doesnt realise it would help my husband and I and being able to cope and move on as a family.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Sep-08 10:42:04

where's jimjams? she's had family ask when her severely autistic son is going to get better. and when he makes any progress it's because he's getting better.

like it's all going to go away one day.

saint2shoes Tue 23-Sep-08 10:50:08

my MIL doesn't get it, she says that great nephew is odd, I try to say "he has dyspraxia" but it seems to fall on deaf ears. and she treat dd(cp) as if she is a 5 year old.

kt14 Tue 23-Sep-08 11:43:52

Definitely identify with all of the above, have lost count of times PIL have said, "he'll be fine, he understands everything." Er, no he doesn't, try asking him his name for example..
It's frustrating as in some ways it undermines what you're saying about them, I know ds has language difficulties, to deny them suggests that I am being neurotic and imagining problems which don't exist. Why ever would I wish that on my child?

siblingrivalry Tue 23-Sep-08 12:11:27

Exactly, KT14, I think that some people suspect me wanting dd to have ASD. If she has a good day, MIL will say 'Oh,so she's learning to get on with it then.'

I just picked up dd2 from pre-school, which is attached to dd1's school. I was a couple of minutes later than usual, so didn't see dd1 going in from playtime as I usually do. The SENCO had to chase dd2 and me half way down the street because dd1 was upset at the change in 'routine'and needed to see me.
MIL was waiting in the car and said 'Was that in front of any other parent's?' FFS!

magso Tue 23-Sep-08 12:45:02

When the comments (oh hes just learning at his own pace/ he'll get there in the end) come from elderly neighbours it is OK - it is meant kindly and is therefore supportive. However I feel I need more realism from family and close friends because otherwise it forces you to be negative, and you cannot share concerns properly. I just don't think people get it unless they live constantly with my child. I am lucky in that my DPs are very caring and try to be supportive- but even they dont always get it. My DF took ds off to his computor and was surprised to find ds cannot read. Actually I find the acceptance of our son by the older members of our village mostly brilliant!

FioFio Tue 23-Sep-08 13:48:05

Message withdrawn

mehgalegs Tue 23-Sep-08 13:51:26

I have found it across the board. My parents and inlaws are starting to come round to the fact that DS4 does have a learning disability and that he probably will never be "normal" but I still have friends my age who seem to think it will all be fine and that he'll get there in the end.

Drives me mad.

castlesintheair Tue 23-Sep-08 13:57:04

I agree it applies to all ages. Some of my friends/acquaintances think DS's SN are in my imagination because he's my PFB hmm. I used to get comments like "oh my DS/DD is like that". I only talk to friends with SN children now about DS, if at all. My deluded mother thinks he's Einstein/Mozart in the making - he has a specific language disorder too.

FioFio Tue 23-Sep-08 13:58:44

Message withdrawn

magso Tue 23-Sep-08 14:46:27

Fio you are right it is more difficult with younger children. Ds looked the same as other kids at 3 - 4 (he sounded different and moved differently - but people expect some quirks and differing development with pre-schoolers!) Now it much more obvious - and will get more so. Comments change but people still try to be (falsely) reasuring!

Tclanger Tue 23-Sep-08 16:07:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shells Tue 23-Sep-08 19:48:08

Brilliant posts everyone. I have come across so much of this. And you're right - its not just 'older' people - some of whom are great about it. But as you say cyberseraphim - in the past it probably led to all sorts of weird goings on with lack of diagnosis.
tclanger - I have heard you say that before about PIL but its still shocking.
KT14 - I've had that such a lot too - 'he understands everything'. Well, if you're talking about biscuits or ice cream then he usually does, but really, he understands only about 50% of what you say. I feel constantly in that position where people are making me feel negative because I'm not always saying 'isn't he doing amazingly well. He's getting there'. But actually I'm just being realistic and I'm so thrilled when he makes progress, but I'm not under any illusions that its going to all just go away if I'm a bit more positive.

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