8year old son possible aspergers?

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Babyinarms
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06 Jun 2013, 5:37 pm

Hi all,
I would like a little advice please. My 8year old boy has been attending speech and language for approx 1 and a half years. The school first noticed he had trouble following instructions in school and had problems participating in school.
He has always been a model child, very shy, very placid , very cautious and very well behaved.
He is now attending a new SALT since Feb of this year. She feels that his language is more disordered than delayed. She suspects he may have aspergers and has recommended a formal assessment in order to get support she feels he needs.
I suppose I'm a bit confused because my son is quite sociable and does have good eye contact. He craves company of his friends and doesn't do we'll in his own company. Is a bit intolerable if he doesn't have a friend over or we not out and about doing something as he can't entertain himself at all.

A list of concerns are

He takes everything literally.
He Can't and never did do imaginary play ( but loves sports and outdoor play).
He Doesn't seem to get humour in jokes etc ( has to be explained to him).
He finds it very difficult to recall/retell stories/ events.
Poor reading comprehension. Reads word for word and doesn't get the story line.
Becomes anxious when asked to recall details of his day and changes subject.
Loves to have friends over but gets upset or a bit lost if play turns to imaginary play or conversation.
Asks questions constantly about things he should know.
Not very affectionate. Never liked hugs and doesn't really like to be hugged.
Will ask ..why does that person look like that? Finds it hard to read people's emotions.

Just wondering if a child with these signs could have aspergers despite being sociable and having good eye contact.
Sorry for long post and thank you :)



zette
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06 Jun 2013, 7:07 pm

The lack of imaginary play, literal interpretation, and reading without comprehension are all possible symptoms. I think it's worth having the eval done. One book you might read is Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn. He gives very good descriptions of how AS looks with different personalities, and you might recognize your son in one of his subtypes.



Eureka-C
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06 Jun 2013, 8:17 pm

Social deficits are one of the three key features to diagnosing ASD's. However a child who is sociable and outgoing can have social deficits. Oftentimes, these children may have friends and social interactions when they are younger and the social communication demands are fewer. As the demands become higher, they have more and more difficult time keeping friends.

As for the poor eye contact, while that occurs at a higher frequency for those with ASD's, it is not a defining feature.

Is there a reason you are hesitant about assessment?


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momsparky
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06 Jun 2013, 9:03 pm

If a speech therapist recommends you get an assessment, that's as good an indicator as any that an assessment is in order.

It's important to remember that Asperger's looks very different in reality than it does on TV or on paper. Each child is still unique, and no child has every single symptom - most have only some of them. Most of the issues you list are pretty typical, and having a kid who is sociable and makes eye contact is also not unusual. My own son was actually listed as "popular" when the school did the initial assessment around age 8 - he did pretty well until the bad pragmatics caught up to him in later years.



Babyinarms
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07 Jun 2013, 2:18 am

Thank you for your replies. Its great to hear from parents who know wgat they are talking about:). I suppose my only hesitation in getting him assessed is my mother and sister constantly telling me he is just a typical 8 year old and we are over analysing things. However my gut feeling is that my lityle man is a bit different ir at least thinks differently to others and processes things in a different way to most.
Im not majorly keen on labelling him (as has been said to me) but im adament to get him the support he needs to help hom have the best future he can
Thank ye so much. Any more advice would be really appreciated as im new to all this as ye can see :)



Babyinarms
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07 Jun 2013, 2:21 am

Ps. I have the referral form and I am posting it off today. A step in the right direction I think :)



ASDMommyASDKid
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07 Jun 2013, 5:58 am

Go with your gut. I understand the hesitancy especially if you have people reinforcing it.

I am not so keen on labels either. Every kid is so individual and the spectrum is just that, a spectrum. So the label only acts as a short cut for part of it. I recently spent a significant amount of time trying to explain to people at the school "how" rigid my son is, to people who were very aware what my son's label is. Why? Because as an individual, especially when stressed, he is significantly more rigid than the textbook average HFA (high functioning autistic) kid. He is also way more snuggly than average.

He is an individual, and your kid is too. The label does not change that, it just decreases the things you have to explain, instead of explaining the whole thing from scratch. It also gives you access to assistance and means that they have to cut your kid some slack when it comes to certain things relating to autism.

The immediate impulse is to want not to see it. I was that way, and as it turns out, I am on the spectrum, too. Autism is made to sound so scary, that it really is the natural impulse. There are some challenges, but there are also some very interesting pluses. Your child sounds at least somewhat on the spectrum to me (A non-doctor.) Assuming that is the case you will see what those (individual) challenges and pluses are.



momsparky
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07 Jun 2013, 7:40 am

There is a time and place for a label; some of us sought one out, others here don't prefer to use one but look for supports and services without. A label is only good for what you can get from it; if it does nothing for you, it isn't worthwhile.

That being said, we've gotten a lot of value out of the label. Without it, my son and other children tend to give him other, less kind labels (e.g. "crazy," "mean," "weird") It provides a frame for why his behavior is slightly outside the norm and allows other people to accept him better. It also opened the door to services at his school that we otherwise would not have gotten.

We tried an experiment this year, when he started middle school, of explaining his differences without using the label, as eventually I think I'd like there to be less focus on it. We talked about him saying things like "I'm the kind of kid who ____________________(forgets names easily, really gets focused on things I like, doesn't like loud noises," etc.) This worked for nearly 6 months - but then DS made a serious error in social language that could have been misinterpreted very, very negatively, and we decided it was time for him to disclose again. It worked - sometimes an explanation keeps people from leaping to conclusions.

So, for us, the label provides a shorthand that fortunately most people in our community seem willing to accept. We aren't seeing negative consequences - although I have heard from a parent in a neighboring suburb who says the kids are actually meaner knowing his son's diagnosis, so our experience is far from the only one.

In any event, I left disclosure of the label to his peers entirely up to my son - and we didn't tell him until we had definitive answers, when he was about 9 or 10 or so (it took a long time to get good answers.)

Hope this helps...



Babyinarms
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07 Jun 2013, 10:16 am

Thanks so much again . We live in Ireland so without a label I'm afraid my son won't get any support or resources or very little. Getting the assessment will bring clarity for us all I think. He will either have aspergers or not and we can take it from there !
Eithet way he will always be our quiet shy sensitive little boy. I would do anything to make things easier for him and to help him make sense of the world around him.
Thanks again so glad I stumbled across this forum :)