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Younger sibling of an ASD big brother

(15 Posts)
Widemouthfrog Tue 06-Jan-09 14:22:37

I was going to post this in behaviour and development, but actually I think you folks will understand more about my concerns.

DS1 has HFA, and is 5.5yrs. DS2 is 2.5 and as far as I know NT. I really don't believe he is on the spectrum but I am becoming increasingly alarmed by his behaviour. I know defiance is typical for his age but from the minute he wakes until he falls asleep (exhausted) he is oppositional.
He is demanding constantly, but then refuses what he is offerred, and will not accept help from anyone. He is very hyperactive, with short attention span, and he is very sensory seeking - he loves anything hairy or fluffy. he constantly rolls and climbs all over me and likes burrowing in duvets and wrapping himself in blankets.

Do any of you have experience of younger siblings copying their elder siblings autistic behaviours? Are they adversely affected. Or am I missing issues specific to DS2, and dismissing them because he is so different from DS1, and therefore must be NT.

A bit of a ramble, but hopefully you can help me work through my concerns

2shoes Tue 06-Jan-09 17:26:17

bumping for you

BriocheDoree Tue 06-Jan-09 18:39:12

Do you have a consultant for DS1 with whom you could discuss this? My DD is different (speech/lang disorder) but whenever I see her neuropediatrician or psychologist they usually spend a bit of time checking over DS as well. However, I do find myself spending time reassuring myself that he's not like DD, so I can see where you are coming from there! (Although it's too early to tell, he's only 18 mos).

LoubeHere Tue 06-Jan-09 20:40:54

my youngest is very similar, now 5. His older brother has severe ASD and LD. School have been fab using a variety of behaviour management techniques which he responds well to. Try the marbles in a jar for good behaviour take them out for bad, or good old star charts with treats. Good Luck x

Widemouthfrog Tue 06-Jan-09 21:43:06

We're not due a paediatric appointment for a few months, but I think I might raise the issue. he really does show a lot of sensory issues - high pain threshold, does not react to cold, and becoming very restricted with food. However he is a real sociable cheeky chappy.

I feel guilty that I have put so much focus on DS1 that I have failed to notice what is happening with DS2, He's a bit young for marbles in a jar as he will put them in his mouth, but we already use stickers.

Thanks for the advice.

jammydodger Tue 06-Jan-09 21:44:00

Interesting, this. My ds1, 4, has ASD, and ds2, aged 2.5, is not ASD, I think, but certainly does some of the sensory seeking stuff you described (loves hairy or fluffy stuff too - particularly loves stroking my eyebrows at the moment grin..ds2 is very sociable compared to ds1, and definitely has imaginative play whereas older brother still has none, but at a playgroup for example ds2 will just lie on the floor looking at trains, and I wonder is this him copying ds1, or a sign of something more?

Sorry, nothing useful to add, but I'm in a similar situation!

Mamazon Tue 06-Jan-09 21:46:52

Ds is 8 and has HFA.
Dd is 4 and as far as im aware NT.

She is a bloody nightmare. she most definitly copies a lot of her brother's more agressive traits.
I'd love to give you some advice but im struggling with this behaviur myself so i shall watch thsi thread with interest.
i intend to mention it next time we see the pead too.

Widemouthfrog Tue 06-Jan-09 21:51:10

It seems I am not alone! I know how to deal with the autistic meltdowns and aggressive behaviour yet a 2.5 year old is defeating me.

ClarissimoUsedToBePeachy Tue 06-Jan-09 21:51:16

I have 4 boys; ds4 is too young but ds1 and ds3 are sd. DS2 seems asd (but very definitely is not- though even Paed questioned us without meeting him!) because he mimics his brothers traits becasue A) its what he's grown up woth; and B) it gets attention in a very manic household.

It's a PITA and now he's 8 we're looking at getting him sibling support as it is affecting his behaviour but I do think it is normal.

Mention to PAed and if in a years time youa re still concerned revisit it as siblings are at greater risk of ADHD/ ADD, and IIRC ODD (? not sure about that one) but chances are its siblingitis combined with That Age.

Widemouthfrog Tue 06-Jan-09 22:15:21

Peachy, you've hit the nail on the head in terms of what I am thinking. I know he is a lot harder work than other 2.5 year olds, but he gets a pretty tough deal with DS1. I'll be watching him closely.

Someone told me once that once you have a child with sn, then all your children have sn - I think there is a lot of truth in that.

Wills Wed 07-Jan-09 00:15:11

My dd2 is 5. My dd1 with suspected aspergers is 8. Dd1 is very aggressive verbally (sometimes physically). There is no way that dd2 is aspergic (she's too sensitive to other people's emotions) BUT that hasn't stopped her using the same language as dd1 because she's seen it working. It's really difficult to explain to her why her elder sister seems to get away with things yet she can't but nevertheless we're tackling it. I'm also at the mercy of the schools as I know she takes her sister's behaviour into school and tries it on. But so far the schools have listened to us explain that she's copying her sister and are attempting to gentle reinforce the fact that she can't. Hope I've made sense - have just read your thread and its really late but wanted to contribute.

Oh and by the way my 2.5 year old son is also copying his eldest sister and has started spitting. My eldest (the aspergic one) makes a spitting sort of noise when she's stressed but whilst it can be annoying there is absolutely no spitting and in the grand scheme of things it could be a lot worse and she's letting out tension. However explaining to my 2.5 year old son that she's a) not spitting and that b) he therefore can't spit either seems to be failing. My inlaws came to visit for a few days over Xmas. He greeted his granny (he's her only grandson) by spitting into her face grin. Luckily she's easy going and coped but oh boy it could have been bad - it could have been my mother!

Clarissimo Wed 07-Jan-09 10:25:41

I also strugglew to explain things to DS2. He shares a room with ds3 (ds1 is very aggressive so nees own room, ideally we'd have ds1 and ds3 in one room and the toher two togerther) and ds2 is often asked to tidy it and every time we get 'But why can't <<ds3>>' and a resultanta rgument: the answer is clear- it's above his ability. But ds2 won't / can't accept that and does see the world as a very unfair place where he is picked on, rather than where he has a 'normal' life but ds1 and ds3 have differente xistences. Hopefully ds4 will bt Nt (no guarantees though) and he willr eaise it's not us being mean, at the moment though he truly regatrds himself as having been dumped upon and is a rather whingy, unhappy-with-his-lot child (but then you know what they say- Wednesdays child is full of woe).

jellyhead Wed 07-Jan-09 10:36:51

My ds1 has ADHD and autism he is 9. Ds2 is now 4 and copies alot of ds1's less lovely habits such as grunting and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO when asked to do what he doesn't want to.
DS2 nursery were always calling me into discuss ds2 behaviour alot of which I know is copied but I do realise there is a high chance he may also have ADHD. He started school yesterday so I am just waiting to see what they think.
The nursery were so unhelpful and seemed unable to see the effect an elder sibling can have and how differently you may need to 'parent' them. I just felt a crap mother most of the time as they were 'concerned' about his behaviour.
DD in the middle seems oblivious to ds1 as they are only 18 months apart and she just 'accepts' his behaviours but isn't influenced by them

notfromaroundhere Wed 07-Jan-09 13:12:24

I can really relate to this. DS1 is 3.3 and was DX with ASD in December. DS2 is 18 months and is a very different character to DS1 but I have seen him toe-walking and it makes my heart sink tbh. I am fairly certain it is bog standard mimacry as he is quite the mimac but there is part of me that is fighting the is he/isn't he feeling. I'm doing my best to enjoy him and not over-think it but its not turning out to be as easy as it sounds.

Widemouthfrog Wed 07-Jan-09 14:08:04

Its reassuring to hear that there are so many in the same position. I have been to my NAS support group this morning, and it seems that although DS2 may be NT, there was a lot of experience in the group that even when there is a real issue the professionals will still fob you off with the excuse that it is mimicry.

No answers, but am refocussing my parenting of DS2 and see what happens when he starts preschool in the summer. I will not be fobbed off, as I was with DS1 when the so-called professionals told me he was fine. (He has a diagnosis of autism and epilepsy, and full time 1:1 at school.)

I think DS2 knows I am at the end of my tether as he is very loving today and continually kissing me and saying sorry.

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