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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on special needs.

ASD just 'appearing' at age 7?
15

anx · 14/05/2022 19:23

We're currently going through the ASD diagnosis - private because we can't stand to wait years and years and want to be able to access as much help as possible should we need it - SaLT, DLA etc.

The diagnosis was encouraged through DS's school, who say his behaviour is 'unexpected' for his age.

He definitely has issues around social communication, but other ASD traits? Not particularly. Very minor sensory issues (covers ears to a loud car alarm, for example, but can manage fireworks and cinema fine), nothing in the way of meltdowns, very independent and always has been. He is very empathetic and imaginative. The social communication issues seem to have 'appeared' in the last few months. Has 'special interests' - I guess - about half a dozen things that he is 'into'. But I would not say he is fixated, for example we watched Frozen for the first time earlier, and he's been making comic strips involving the characters from Frozen. He is very bright, will score 90% easily in maths, reading and writing tests.

We have an appointment coming up with the private psychologist, and she's said we will be discussing DS's early years, so to think as much as we can about it. I was in a position when DS was younger where I filmed and recorded everything, due to my job. I have hours upon hours of footage to go back on. I have looked for all the 'classic' signs - there was no toy lining up, no obsession with how toys 'worked', he points at things that interest him, is very chatty and wants to share his interests, he's vocal, has good eye contact. He talked from 1 year old and was talking in sentences by 2. Walked at 11 months. Always slept and fed very well. Seldom cried, he was a very content baby. Learnt to use the potty at just turned 3. He was never bothered about being left overnight with close family, sleeping over or visiting new places etc. There really isn't anything I can say from DS's past that indicates autism, literally nothing.

Has anybody had a diagnosis and had no signs or symptoms in early childhood?

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Ilovechoc12 · 15/05/2022 07:44

Yes - my son was the easiest happiest baby out of my 4 children. I often think “easy babies “ equals ASD now - the tables have turned now and he’s far the hardest by a loooooonnnnnggggg way. My son has ASD profile with pda - still he doesn’t do many things that is characteristic of ASD (put his social and communication is lacking) but everyone that look at him would say NT child on first glance (even on our last holiday the flight crew hugged him when we was getting off the plane and that set him off as he “looks nt “ as he doesn’t like to be touched/ cuddled) …. It’s when they get older at school it shows - mine was yr2 when the teachers started noticing his difficulties - before he was a masker / not much formal schooling done - he was under the teachers radar.

just out of interest is he an only child? Mine gets annoyed at the other siblings in the house (playing the sax / electric guitar so again thats noise) but if he was an only child - he would take life so much easier …… so maybe that’s why you aren’t noticing the differences ?!?!?

Also dla - you can claim without a diagnosis
salt - well that’s difficult we haven’t received any.
Once we got the diagnosis we have had no help.
I’d apply for an EHCP yourself as a parent to help in schooling - you don’t need diagnosis and the things take forever so quicker you start it the better

good luck !

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Sneezesthrice · 15/05/2022 12:58

My now 10 year old was an early talker, extremely sociable, fierce eye contact, no societal stereotyped ‘male’ autistic traits like obsessions with wheels spinning or lining up toys. Is HIGHLY empathetic (which overwhelms her actually) and loves making new friends.

She is autistic though and diagnosed as such despite me thinking she wouldn’t be as she doesn’t have the traits that score highly on an ADOS.

autistic brains come in all different presentations, and autistic people can reveal different parts of their autistic traits in different environments or when experiencing different levels of challenges. You’d not know she has difficulties when she’s home with us but at school it was very different and they were the ones suggesting an assessment.

What was always clear now in hindsight from birth was her ADHD (also diagnosed) and her PDA profile. Sometimes having these alongside being autistic masks the autistic profile.

Some children are excellent maskers but eventually it starts to fall away and the traits become more visible. Usually at a time when social interactions become more complex (around 7 I’d say) and the pressures in school get much more intense so they have less coping mechanisms to maintain any masking (also around 7!!)

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 12:02

Potential Plus UK have an information sheet on how the traits of gifted children vary from those with ASD. There are many crossovers. Mainstream schools may not be able to cater well to either group so might be considered "unusual" iyswim. PPUK also have another site by the DME Trust and a useful helpline. Good luck

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Summer1912 · 16/05/2022 13:01

My nearly 10 is similar to all these
Bright 3years ahead reading
Spoke well very early
Potty trained late as difficult behaviour
Now wontlet us sing and doesnt like it at school
Headache from load party music
Ok at home but demand resistant generally and especially re going into school
Did have friends in reception but only 1 now y5
Generally flexible but doing too much is an issue

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BestZebbie · 16/05/2022 15:18

Any demand avoidance? Love of roleplay? PDA often presents without many of the more famous autism characteristics (until you look slightly deeper).

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anx · 16/05/2022 18:06

Thanks everyone.

@BestZebbie DS loves his drama group, he is very expressive, loves to be on stage. I wouldn't say he presents as PDA (from what I've read online) at all. He is very compliant - gets himself ready in the morning with no fuss, not argumentative at all. Will accept - for example - if I tell him he's had enough time on his iPad... he won't get angry or refuse.

He doesn't really have sensory issues, as such. Main things I have observed are covering his ears to a car alarm or a loud rattle in a supermarket for example. But very, very far from a meltdown situation. He is also very resilient - for example - things that have 'stressed him', but he needs to do to cope in life. As an example, he used to hate scraping things in the bin, but after we've 'made' him (for want of a better word) and after doing it once he isn't bothered anymore. Is that an ASD trait?

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 19:13

If you were able to "make him" do something then it probably is more of a dislike than a sensory issue. Any issues with motor control, handwriting? The thing is that children with AS can behave very differently at home compared to school. At home we often compensate so much we stop realising how much we do to work around the child's rigidity. At school the system is generally unable to do that and often that is where the kids start to show - especially from around the start of KS2. What have the school said this unusual behaviour is?

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ADarknessOfDragons · 19/05/2022 23:51

KnottyAuty

If you were able to "make him" do something then it probably is more of a dislike than a sensory issue. Any issues with motor control, handwriting? The thing is that children with AS can behave very differently at home compared to school. At home we often compensate so much we stop realising how much we do to work around the child's rigidity. At school the system is generally unable to do that and often that is where the kids start to show - especially from around the start of KS2. What have the school said this unusual behaviour is?

Really? That's really making me think. My (diagnosed) 11 yo autistic daughter says she doesn't like socks... but will wear them. She also doesn't like showers and much prefers a bath. But will shower if really encouraged/no time for a bath. She likes to touch various things, sucks her thumb and twiddles her hair near constantly, likes to use the trampoline repeatedly particularly for handstands/being upside down. I'd always thought she had sensory issues but now I'm wondering how much is just dislike as she can "do" the things eg socks

She was also an easy ish baby. Didn't like to be put down and left eg in bouncer, but made lovely eye contact and seemed smiley and happy. Then did get into some more unusual rituals wg dropping tiny pebbles/bits of grit down the drain outside our drive for up to about 40 minutes at 1 or 2 (very unusually long time for a child that young I think), big meltdowns from 3 on. Didn't speak much until 3 then "caught up"


OP- I would definitely say my DD's autistic traits (not sure that's the right way to put it?! ) have become more obvious. School started saying she struggled with changes in routine eg around Christmas time from Y1. I didn't see difficulties with this at home. We do more now. She is also quite demand avoidant at home. Social differences eg lack of friends, playing with much younger children, not knowing if she's upset someone, not seeing that telling the teacher they're wrong is rude etc are more apparent now she's older. But we always thought she was "quirky".

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 20/05/2022 09:51

If you were able to "make him" do something then it probably is more of a dislike than a sensory issue.

I don’t think this is necessarily true, especially in those adept at masking and who are ‘people pleasers’. DD2 and DS3 with ASD have sensory difficulties but could be made to do pretty much anything because they want to please others and are excellent maskers. Doesn’t mean they don’t struggle, there isn’t fall out later or it doesn’t have a negative effect on their mental health.

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Scratchybaby · 20/05/2022 14:01

@KnottyAuty Thanks for mentioning that Potential Plus website - really interesting stuff on the overlaps between gifted children and children with ASD. While I'm not going to unfounded claims that my son is gifted (he also has challenges, and does display some ASD traits as we wait for a possible diagnosis) it really reinforces my view that I can see he has massive learning potential. Although he is developing his speech and communication at a slower rate (I think he's a gestalt language learner and that I guess has a few extra steps to the process) he at the same time can complete 80 piece jigsaws at 3 yrs old and has a library of books memorised (Green Eggs and Ham on repeat anyone?). I can see he has a huge potential to do amazing things, we just need to work out how to support him in the right way.

Sorry to derail the thread, but reading that was a real bright spot to my day. I know he's got an incredible brain in there, we just need to find the right way to help him reach his potential - thank you!

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KnottyAuty · 20/05/2022 15:46

Interesting to hear others’ experiences regarding sensory. DS can do non preferred activities if given a big enough incentive. but he cannot mask in the moment for sensory things so I’d assumed that was the same for other kids. Based on the above - maybe not!

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ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 16:48

I can definitely 'make' my daughter do things she doesn't like KnottyAuty. She is an absolutely pro-level masker and does generally want to please (while also being pretty demand- avoidant. A mixture I can't get my head around). What she can tolerate eg level of noise also varies depending on how she feels that day and time. She can tolerate a louder environment if she was calm beforehand and it is a preferred activity. Less so if not her choice etc- like school, where she really struggles with noise.

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Punxsutawney · 20/05/2022 16:57

Ds has significant issues with sensory processing.

Usefulengine is right about some children seemingly being able to manage something, but it actually being very difficult for them. Sensory overload for Ds can been 'looking okay' in school for example, until he's in a safe place to allow himself to meltdown or even shutdown. Interestingly Ds did not start having meltdowns until he went to secondary school. We were aware of his sensory issues when he was smaller, but they really starred to impact him more the older he got.

He has to have time to decompress every time he comes home after leaving the house. Sometimes even just being outside can cause sensory overload.

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ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 17:29

Punxsutawney

Ds has significant issues with sensory processing.

Usefulengine is right about some children seemingly being able to manage something, but it actually being very difficult for them. Sensory overload for Ds can been 'looking okay' in school for example, until he's in a safe place to allow himself to meltdown or even shutdown. Interestingly Ds did not start having meltdowns until he went to secondary school. We were aware of his sensory issues when he was smaller, but they really starred to impact him more the older he got.

He has to have time to decompress every time he comes home after leaving the house. Sometimes even just being outside can cause sensory overload.

My DD is like that now! As soon as she comes in she wants to be alone and watch a preferred cartoon to decompress. Trouble is she goes for screens and then struggles to transition off those...

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Staynow · 20/05/2022 18:20

Mine would cover his ears from a loud noise at school but loves fireworks, no other real sensory issues. If the are very bright IMO these things often only become more obvious as they get older and the social issues become more evident, mine wasn't diagnosed till 11. I had no idea really before he was 10. Yours sounds a lot like mine, mine is now hoping for all 9's in his GCSEs but wouldn't consider going to his prom for anything!

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