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OK - questions about my son NT or not?

15 replies

sphil · 27/10/2005 22:18

I need some advice. My son was four in June and has just started Reception (half days). At the first teacher consultation last week his teacher said she had some concerns. She says he's one of the most advanced in the class as far as letter/number knowledge, reading and vocab are concerned, but that he has 'real issues' with organisation and concentration. He is very reluctant to spend long on any activity (except reading and playing!)and actively avoids writing and drawing / colouring tasks. (She also said she loves him, he's cheerful, funny and friendly)

Part of me thinks 'he's only four, what do you expect?' But another part is worried because I've always had concerns about him, and to be honest, I thought he might struggle at school.

A bit of background - he was a month premature and has always been slow to meet milestones (walking, talking etc.) However, he's always got there in the end, usually just at the very end of the 'normal' range. He's still behind other children his age as far as gross motor skills go and is physically cautious (but then so am I!)He's always avoided pencil/paper activities ,hasn't yet decided on a hand preference and hasn't yet got a secure pencil grip.(But there's a family history of this too!) He has a huge vocab but his speech is a little disordered at times - as if his brain is going too fast for his mouth.He sometimes 'stims'- mainly jumping and sort of twitchy dancing when he seems to be in his own world. He gets embarrassed and angry if I question why he's doing it He is inquisitive, happy, charming, sociable and gorgeous!!!

My younger son (3) is awaiting a formal diagnosis but is likely to be placed on the autistic spectrum. I've done a huge amount of reading about ASDs over the last year and sometimes wonder whether this has made me neurotic about DS1. On the other hand, I know ASDs can run in families, so....
As you can see, I'm a mass of conflicting feelings! Someone help me sort them out please!

OP posts:
Saker · 27/10/2005 22:49

A lot of what you write suggests dyspraxia to me rather than ASD. My ds2 is 4 with a lot of dyspraxic symptons and bigger problems with language but a lot of what you describe sounds similar.

Have a look at the Dyscovery Centre website and the Dyspraxia foundation website.

Tiggiwinkle · 27/10/2005 23:09

sphil-I agree with Saker. Reading your post, your DS sounds just like one of my DSs when he was that age. He has dyspraxia. (He was also premature by the way, born at 32 weeks. He is 16 now!).
I also have a 6 year old recently diagnosed with Aspergers.

Pages · 28/10/2005 08:31

What does dyspraxia mean for an older child? What difficulties does your 16 year old experience, Tiggiwinkle?

Kittypickle · 28/10/2005 08:50

I agree with the others, he sounds similar to my who is 6 and has a diagnosis of dyspraxia. It's very common for children with this to avoid the tasks they find difficult.I'm a bit of a broken record with this, but for writing have a look at yoropen and if you haven't already I'd get some fish oils down him.

sphil · 28/10/2005 10:14

Thanks everyone. Dyspraxia had crossed my mind too. In fact, when we took his younger brother to BIBIC, the SALT there mentioned the possibility of verbal dyspraxia for him. He's three and only speaks the occasional single word. He struggles to form words and can't do shape sorters or puzzles very well. DS1 is articulate (if, as I said before, a bit rambly at times)and is quite good at puzzles etc. I suppose, like autism, dyspraxia has a wide range of symptoms.

I'm torn really - on the one hand a label would be useful to get him any help he needs, but on the other hand I'm wary in case it turns out to be just that he's slower to develop. In the past we've worried about him not being at the same level as his peers and then, usually about three months later, he's caught up. The only way it's really affcting him at the moment is that he often doesn't finish work, mainly because he has clever ways of avoiding it til the last minute. The other day he said his teacher asked them to draw their family " but do you know Mum, on the way to the table the bones in my foot got stuck together and I had to lie on the floor." It's a good job his teacher loves him is all I can say!!!

It's good to have made contact with mums of older dyspraxic children. What sort of help did they get and what did you find worked best?

OP posts:
SoBlue · 28/10/2005 17:41

Hi my ds 17 has dyselxia and dyspraxia (co-ordination, fine motor particularily). He found sports,writing,numbers,shoelaces,telling time v. difficult. I now have a asd young ds and i can see that some of his problems were autistic tendencies ie poor social/communication skills, sensory issues, hyperactive. I sent him to every kind of sports training i could to help his co-ordination problems and social skills and luckily he enjoyed it as he got better at it. Football, tennis, archery, pot holing, hill climbing etc so much so he's now in the army.

tallulah · 28/10/2005 18:50

My 17 yo has dyspraxia and had huge problems with fine and gross motor co-ordination. He was v bright but couldn't get anything down on paper. He has done ballet since he was 10 (still goes). He did try karate and was OK until the first grading came up then just couldn't cope with it and gave up.

We took him to a cranial osteopath at 7 and he has been going regularly ever since.

He has just started driving lessons (in an automatic). Watch this space !

figleaf · 29/10/2005 01:26

Just bumping and adding that your DS sounds like mine sphil. He is now 7 and has a diagnosis of dyspraxia. I have found it useful to have the "label" as it brings help. We didn`t persue things until the start of Y2. Y1 had been dreadful as the work part of school really started. My sons reception teacher was great (as yours sounds)but his Y1 teacher was a cow.

sphil · 29/10/2005 12:00

Yes, I'm aware how much depends on the teacher. The school do seem to have a very open door policy with parents though, which I'm really pleased about.We had a choice between the most popular school in the town, which is very high achieving and middle class and this one, which is much more socially 'mixed' but seemed much more friendly and willing to cater for the individual.Thank gooness it seems as if we made the right choice. His teacher has already taken on some of my suggestions, like using a picture list for the things he has to remember when he lines up to come home. She also lets him lean up against a cupboard when it's carpet time (he found it difficult to sit cross legged at first but seems to have mastered it now). When I asked him about it he said " Yes, and if there's no room against the cupboard I just lean on the person next to me"!!
His teacher is going to let the SENCO observe him and then we'll go from there.
Figleaf (or anyone)- what does 'bump' mean?

OP posts:
Littlefish · 29/10/2005 13:29

"Bump" just keeps the thread going until someone else comes along.

figleaf · 30/10/2005 15:14

You will be surprised how fast a thread slips down the active conversation list. Some folk only really join in from the threads listed there so unless you "bump" it up the list you`ll fall off the bottom so to speak. I bumped you because I find it jolly useful to hear of other mumsnetters experiences with their older dyspraxic children and get prepared.

Your school sounds really good by the way.

aloha · 30/10/2005 15:20

My four year old is also dyspraxic and he too sometimes is in a world of his own.
he's very bright and my main concern is that the school can understand that he is clever but also will have problems organising himself, has the need to touch things to orient himself in space, has poor hand to eye coordination and figure/ground issues (ie cannot find or even see things if they are with other things as they all appear as one big mess to him!).
Many dyspraxic symptoms are similar to Aspergers.

Tiggiwinkle · 30/10/2005 21:46

Pages- my 16 year old with dyspraxia still has atrocious handwriting-the EP who saw him when he was 10 told us not to bother to try and improve it, but to allow him to use a keyboard for his work. (His keyboard skills have always been excellent) This proved difficult in secondary school where to be honest he received very little support and had to do his work by hand. I was told by the SENCO he was not even entitled to extra time in his GCSEs. To be honest, he probably would not have used it anyway, as he finds it impossible to write slowly! But it would have helped if he could have used a keyboard for his exams. He still managed to get some good grades in his GCSEs as he is very bright, and is now doing 4 "A" levels at 6th form college. However, I have been told that he will still have to hand write his exams and will be marked down if his writing is poor, so I am going to have to pursue this-he has only just started the courses this term.
He is generally very disorganised, but has developed strategies and somehow manages to get his work in on time and so on!
As some others have already posted, there are so many similarities between dyspraxia and autism and my 16 and 6 year old have shared many of the same problems. My 16 year old is very loud, but cannot bear anyone making noise; he develops intense interests and always has done, even when young (Titanic and Egyptians, for instance); he used to flap his hands, and even now goes into a world of his own sometimes. I suspect if he had been assessed now, rather than 8 years ago when the AS DX was made less often, he may well have come out as AS as well as dyspraxic.
Personally, I have found it very difficult to get him the help he should have received, particularly in secondary school-despite the fact that it was a relatively small school where I would have expected to get more help. Hopefully this is improving as schools become more aware.

Tiggiwinkle · 30/10/2005 21:56

Forgot to say-I eventually managed to get my dyspraxic DS assessed for dyscalculia by the Dyslexia Institute. The school paid for this, and eventually arranged for a specialist teacher to come in and help him-but this was in his last year of the GCSE course, so far too late (despite my requesting help for him from the time he started in year 7).
However, the specialist help she gave was excellent and would have helped a lot if given at the right time, so it would be well worth requesting such an assessment if your child has extreme difficulties with Maths.

sphil · 31/10/2005 18:19

This is all so interesting - I've often thought how many similarities there are between DS1 and DS2, even though I'm pretty certain DS1 isn't autistic and DS2 is.

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