Severe autism to HFA / High visual perception skills

Page 1 of 1 [ 15 posts ] 

maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

20 May 2016, 5:06 pm

Hi, I am parent of 5 years old boy. (5years and 5 months)
We received His ASD diagnosis around when he was 2 years and 8 months old.

The diagnosis came out DSM5 Category3, Global developmental delay severe to moderate. His developmental age was around 14months old at the time of diagnosis. That is less than 50% of his actual age.

After intensive early intervention, He is now showing a lot of characteristics of so called Asperger syndrome (Gross motor fine motor delays). He has very minor speech delay and he is very good at math (He can tell me which year the person is born when birthday and age are given) and happy to interact with adults and some children.

I recently noticed that A lot of Asperger kids were Asperger when they were given their diagnosis at younger age or their Asperger was picked up a lot later in primary school.

I have 2 questions to ask you and I would greatly appreciate if you can tell me your experience or experience from others.

1. Is there any parents who have/had same experience like mine? What is difference between those Asperger kids who was always Asperger and kids like my son who went through different developmental path? How are they going to develop differently from those typical Asperger?

2. My son has very good visual perception skills (97% percentile) and his OT said that is the highest she has ever seen among her clients, but I am a bit confused..I assumed ASD kids (especially, those who likes letters and numbers) have good visual perception. What does "having good visual perception skills" means in their real life?

I am looking forward to chatting with you in this forum.



btbnnyr
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 May 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,359
Location: Lost Angleles Carmen Santiago

21 May 2016, 12:21 pm

(1) Your son has one of several developmental paths, which is more severe autistic traits and slower, more delayed social/verbal development at a younger age, then catching up in many areas and definitely HFA by middle to late childhood. I had a similar path when I was a kid. For each person, it is hard to say how they are going to develop, so your son may be very different from any other kid with a similar developmental path. I don't know exactly how I am different from someone with milder autistic traits as a toddler. I think I am not as emotional as most asperger people, don't have as much social interest, don't have as much social cognition (this is not necessarily a bad thing, since being more oblivious can also mean less anxious and more extroverted), and less verbal in thinking. But overall not that different.

(2) Good visual perception skills probably means your son is good at visual tasks and thinks in a visual way. Many autistic kids are like this, but there is also a population at the other extreme of poor visual perception, good verbal skills, and non-verbal learning disorder. Many people with good visual skills enjoy learning math and science and engineering, so if your son shows interest in these subjects, it is a good idea to encourage his interests as much as possible. Also, school is often more verbally oriented and suited to people with a balance of visual and verbal abilities, not as much people who are very verbally oriented or very visually oriented. So if your son differs in thinking, it is best to let him develop his ways of thinking and doing things instead of making him conform too much to more typical ways. For example, many people use to-do lists and calendars as an organizational too, but I find this a hassle, so I never use these, but instead keep everything visually in my mind, and this way works for me.


_________________
Drain and plane and grain and blain your brain, and then again,
Propane and butane out of the gas main, your blain shall sustain!


Ettina
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,526

25 May 2016, 9:44 am

I don't have stats on it, but my impression is the most common difference between kids who were delayed and caught up and kids who were mild to begin with is in the balance between verbal & visual skills. In general, the kids who were delayed and caught up seem to have better visual than verbal skills. The ones with no delays can have that profile too, but they could also have equal verbal and visual skills or better verbal than visual, which seem less common in the kids who were language-delayed.

Also, some of the kids with a history of language delays look more caught up than they really are. For example Donna Williams (an Australian author who wrote several autobiographical pieces) had an initial language delay, and then later ended up high functioning with better expressive than receptive language. She was only catching about 3 out of 4 words spoken, but that was enough to fake understanding most of the time. I don't know if Donna did this, but some kids with this profile will also use words they don't understand and end up misusing them slightly. (Eg "I have to evacuate the cup" while pouring a cup out.) So it's important to look these kids over carefully in case they have residual language issues. Especially at your son's age, since he'll be starting grade 1 soon and kids with mild language delays still present in grade 1 are at high risk of dyslexia. (Again, some kids who never had an obvious delay have similar subtle problems, but it's less common.)

But in general, most HFAs who started out severely affected aren't really distinguishable from the kids who never had a language delay.

As for high visual perception skills, the practical impact of that can include:

* good math reasoning, especially for highly visual areas of math like geometry
* good navigational skills, less likely to get lost, can take shortcuts without getting lost, can read a map easily
* good mechanical skills, may make a good engineer or mechanic when he grows up
* representational artistic skills, especially if he turns out to be creative as well (don't believe the myths - autistic people can be highly creative too!)
* good at finding lost objects, good at remembering where he last saw it and/or good at spotting his target in a jumble of other stuff (my Dad and brother both have really good visual skills, and when Mom and I are stumped searching for something we ask one of them)
* understands visual information better than verbal - these kids often do well with picture schedules and other visual instruction forms
* may be a visual thinker - visual thinkers think in pictures, not words, and have to mentally translate their picture-thoughts into words in order to speak. This makes speaking a bit more effortful for them, they're more likely to lose speech under stress, and they may not always be able to translate their thoughts properly. However, it means doing a simple verbal task is less likely to interfere with a nonverbal task, because they're not talking themselves through the nonverbal task.

Not all people with high visual perception skills will have all of those traits, but most will have at least some of those traits. It's a useful strength to have, even though it tends to be underrepresented in the school curriculum.

At the 97th percentile, that means your kid scores better than 97% of other kids. On average, only 1 out of 30 kids scores as high or higher than your son. That's actually the cutoff for giftedness, so that means your son is gifted in visual perception.



lisa_simpson
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 30 Dec 2015
Age: 31
Posts: 97
Location: Spain

25 May 2016, 10:41 am

I'm not a parent, so maybe what I'm going to say is not too trustworthy, but I'm interested in this topic.
Your son was lucky to be born in the 2010s. He had a quite early diagnosis, so he started to get intervention since he was a toddler. Thanks to that, he is now developing as any other kid with HFA/Asperger's. I saw a documentary a couple of years ago where they say this is really common, and kids previously diagnosed with 'classic autism' can end up functioning as any other one with HFA/Asperger's.
Since I was born in 1990 (and in Spain), I had a more difficult situation. A pediatrician once asked my mother, when I was two, if I could have a bit of autism, by the way I acted with her. But back then, the word 'autism' only referred to 'classic autism', and I didn't fit in that category. I didn't have a huge speech delay, so nobody brought up my possible autism until I was 23 (less than three years ago). Anyway, I like the way I developed :P
I don't know a lot about visual perception skills, so I can't help you there, sorry! I hope I have helped you with my experience!!


_________________
Feel free to visit my autism advocacy blog (in Spanish): https://espectrante.wordpress.com/


Ettina
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,526

25 May 2016, 1:47 pm

lisa_simpson wrote:
Your son was lucky to be born in the 2010s. He had a quite early diagnosis, so he started to get intervention since he was a toddler. Thanks to that, he is now developing as any other kid with HFA/Asperger's. I saw a documentary a couple of years ago where they say this is really common, and kids previously diagnosed with 'classic autism' can end up functioning as any other one with HFA/Asperger's.


It helps to get early intervention, but plenty of kids develop like this anyway. A couple of Kanner's cases had that pattern too.



maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

28 May 2016, 12:47 am

Thank you everyone for taking your time to post messages.
I am really grateful for your support. I really embrace this current technology that makes me feel I am not alone in this world. I really appriciate your intelgence and your insightfull point of views.

Hi, btbnnyr.
I was really wondering if there any indivisuals who progressed from Serverly autistic to HFA at all. I understand there are notable stories told in books, mums memoirs but I have not seen anyone gone through same path in realworld (eg. locally). At this point, when I see other asperger kids, I feel my son is not quite same as those kids in language development and behaviours. Over past years, my son's emotional regulation improved so He is not so explosive anymore. I can see he is much calmer than other asperger kids as you explained in your post. I can say he will be more obvious (in your word) when he is in a group of typically developing children while aspergers kids are kind of blending into OK.

The 97% score was obtained from Beery Visual-Motor Integration which was done at OT clinic. Although his scored in high in visual perception, his fine motors score was average so overall score was around 88%. I should be very grateful for his development (both fine motor and compliance) at all because when he was 2, I could not imagine that he was going to paticipate any developmental tests in the future. We have been focusing on his delayed motor skills a lot. Although how hard we try, We will see this same pattern, his unbalanced developmental pattern thoughout his school years. You taught me very important point that school system best suits those who have balanced skills and I should not focus too much on evening his skills to accomodate him better at school system. I need to have better understanding in his strengths and thank you for the information on visual perception.



maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

28 May 2016, 1:18 am

Hi, lisa_simpson!!

Thank you for you post which is telling us your story.
I think back then, a lot of kids were not undiagonosed for modate and mild form of autism.
I can identify some of students in my year at school may have some form of autism too. (Maybe very mild or border)
I saw some kids of extended family have the tendacy but now they are doing good at schools.

As Ettina says, I have noticed there is a group of kids (in the world) who develop like my son (with or without early intervention). I may say my son may have progressed to where he is now without early intervention but We do not know really..



Last edited by maru99 on 28 May 2016, 3:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

28 May 2016, 2:43 am

Hi, Ettina.

Thank you for taking your time to explain a lot about visual perception and development path. I am very lucky to live in this era that I can get to know people like yourself and those who happily gave me messages in this thread.

As you pointed out in your post, I too anticipate coming problems and delays during school years but I was not sure what kind.. I was not sure how big or how small they could be. You explained Dona Williams case and I guess, same things could be happening to my son years later. He misses verbal cues very too often and has problems in following verbal instructions in a group. He will mask it OK by looking others in grade1 or 2 but He may not be able to do so later. It sounds not so big problem now but it may be later on. My son is actually hyperliexic but I guess that does not necessary garantee that he may not have deslexia or other LD. LD is really diverse condition that I don't understand fully.

* My son has good math reasoning, especially for highly visual areas of math like geometry
* My son has good navigational .
* My son has no representational artistic skills.
* My son understands visual information better than verbal

I am very interested in your explaination in how those visual thinker process their pictures in their head and translate into language. I watched Temple Grandin in her movie and Jacob Bernett in 60 minutes. They both are visual thinkers. It was facinating to see Jacobe Bernett does his math with using geometory objects in his mental picture. It must be very hard to translate objects or pictures into languages.. I have no idea how it works.

I believe my son is visual learner but I alwasy feel that he might have problem in parsing 3D objects. He does not like playing legos, puzzles I am not sure that is because of visual problem or some form of LD. (He has motor planning problems too)

You wrote:
"Not all people with high visual perception skills will have all of those traits, but most will have at least some of those traits. It's a useful strength to have, even though it tends to be underrepresented in the school curriculum."

I think you are right. Good Visual perception skill only itself cannot be identified as usefull skill at school. But not reconigsing it really taking away my son's strength, I guess. So I have to be a good supporter to him and work out how we can use his strength to help him learning at school.

I am very interested in finding Kanner's case that you mentioned. When I researched Ivar Lovaas studies, I did not see the pattern in them. so I was disappointed to know that my son may not progress well without ABA therapy.



maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

28 May 2016, 3:14 am

Also, thank you for telling me your views/experience in how those who was identified as serverely autistic turned HFA later are going to progress in the future

I am glad that I asked the question in this forum. I mostely feel relieved but I feel there are many challenges ahead.

Thank you, Thank you.



btbnnyr
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 May 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,359
Location: Lost Angleles Carmen Santiago

29 May 2016, 2:24 pm

Maybe it is the motor problems that make playing with some objects harder, so your son does not play with them.
I wouldn't worry too much about this, as long as he learns basic motor tasks like tying his shoelaces and basic chores when he is older.
It would be a good idea to teach more motor tasks as he gets older, so he doesn't fall too far behind.
I was pretty bad at some motor skills when I was a kid, but also really good at some motor skills, it was a weird combo, like very good at drawing and building, but often dropping things, bumping into things, tripping over things.
When I started college, my motor skills were probably below average in many ways, but then I became a chemistry major, which involves lots of time in labs handling chemicals and manipulating all kinds of apparatus, and I developed good motor skills from this, and the skills generalized outside the lab, so it is definitely possible to develop better motor skills, even as adult.
I think good visual perception can be very useful for your son in school, especially if a kid is allowed to use it instead of conforming to more verbal, sequential ways of thinking.
With a good mind's eye, you can bring up many overlapping mental pictures in a flash, and understand how they relate in a flash, so it helps with thinking especially in math/science subjects.
I rely a lot on mind's eye and visual thinking in my research, pretty much all the good ideas I had for research started as a single mental picture that popped into my mind in a flash.
Also, I know lots of very smart people who are still bad at motor skills as adults, they choose careers in math or computer science or theoretical physics, subjects that require little motor skills.
I asked one why he majored in math, and he said to "avoid touching things", as in he didn't want to do things with this hands.
Another one repeatedly failed PE, but did great in physics.


_________________
Drain and plane and grain and blain your brain, and then again,
Propane and butane out of the gas main, your blain shall sustain!


maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

03 Jun 2016, 1:00 am

Hi, btbnnyr.

Thank you for your post.
I was suprised to hear that somone majored in math because he does not want to touch things. It could be also tactile sensitivies or he just knows that he is really bad in handling objects. I anticipate that my son will have a lot of difficulties in settling in mainstream classroom setting next year because partly his delayed fine motors and gross motors. There may be individual differences but I feel better if you did not have or people you know did not have too much motor skill problems that frustrated you and affected you in classroom.

I like what you can do in your mental picture. Overlapping mental pictures in a flash is very similar to what Jacob Bernett does with a lot of geometry objects when he does his math and what temple grandin does in the movie. So you have the same way of processing your thoughts. Probably my son does that too. How fascinating!!

I saw one speech therapist last month for my son. I paid her $220 for a session and She talked and talked, talked so much in how much she is hooked on Autism. I was not very happy because I did not pay $220 to hear her enthusiasm on Autism.
But I understand how she feels.I am hooked on Autism too. Now things I used to have in my life in pre-autism time do not interest me anymore. Is it fortunate or unfortunate? I don't know. I just want to help my son and myself probably. More I read forum posts or autism related books, more mysteries are solved..



Last edited by maru99 on 03 Jun 2016, 1:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

03 Jun 2016, 1:14 am

btbnnyr,

I am not quite sure what is "more verbal, sequential ways of thinking." but I guess that is opposite to how you think visually. I do tend to think by interelating many different things without sequencing them. I used to be in IT industry and I may be a visual thinker too.

Is your pictures in your head 3D or 2D?

I suspected long time that there are 3D kids and 2D kids on spectrum. Now I am convinced after reading other peoples post. My son is definitely 2D.

I guess My son's profile is visual skills > varbal skills and 2D> 3D. (as Ettina says that there are verbal kids and visual kids)

But I do not know how this generalization helps in anyway.

I really enjoyed chatting with you.



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 76,257
Location: Queens, NYC

03 Jun 2016, 7:13 am

Elijah, in the biographical account "Elijah's Cup," is just like your kid.

He was "severely autistic" when very young, then "Aspergian" later in childhood.

I was also like your kid.

I was quite autistic until soon before I acquired speech--at age 5 1/2.

After the acquisition of speech, I became quite Aspergian.



maru99
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 41

04 Jun 2016, 11:51 pm

Hi, kraftiekortie.

Thank you for your post. I googled Elijah's cup and read the information. It may take sometime to get the book because it is not avaiable here. But I will.

You started talking around at age 5 1/2. Wow, it is quite late then you started talking and became "Asperger". That is amazing!! My son kind of started around before 4. He still has minor delays at 5 1/2.

It is very hard to talk to people in real life about his autism with this level of information and understanding. I really want to know more and more about it like Elijah's mum. In fact, I am always in search for answers in not only autism but other things too. The drive makes me very tired and isolated from others because myself and other people are not on the same page almost always.



kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 76,257
Location: Queens, NYC

05 Jun 2016, 9:34 am

I should have mentioned that Temple Grandin had a similar profile.

Absolutely oblivious until about the age of 5.

Then she realized her "visual thinking" powers, and made use of them.

Eventually she used those "autistic" powers to invent many agricultural devices (one of which was a more humane way of vaccinating farm animals, based upon the "ideal angle" of the animal when he/she is being vaccinated).

She discerned many things in animals which "neurotypicals" would not be able to discern.

She obtained her doctorate in some sort of "animal science" about 20 years ago. These days, she is on a constant speaking tour.

One vast difference between her and me is that I'm not really a visual thinker.