Social skills and autism / not autism

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Cuppacoffee
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08 Jun 2021, 5:56 pm

I paid a hell of a lot of money for my son to have a talk with a psychologist recently.
The outcome was "Have you heard of autism?"
To me, this conclusion seemed to be made very quickly, which means:
(a) He's obviously autistic and I'm a bit dumb not to have realised by now (he's 13).
(b) Autism is the easy / standard explanation for social skills deficits.

My initial thoughts were that as a trained professional, the psychologist must be right (also ASD has been suggested previously by school). However, although my son was asked some pretty leading questions, I believe he answered many of them in a NT manner.
Other than having having poor social skills, no friends, and always being right, there is little I can see that would deem him autistic.
Or is that enough?

I have come across diagnosed autistic children who come across very differently (and not as negatively) as my son, who doesn't avoid social situations, he's just more like a bull in a China shop.

What I'm getting at, I suppose, is that I don't want to go along with people and pretend he's something he's not. I want to know how to make things better, and help him be able to make friends.
Clearly, knowing the reason why he finds these things so hard would be helpful. Years of input from myself and family has done nothing, neither has anything any of his schools have done.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.



Mountain Goat
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08 Jun 2021, 6:48 pm

An assessment is a lot more then a few questions from what I understand. Autism is a spectrum so it is possible.
Leading questions do not help anyone. I am surprized by this because the questions should be to find out if the individual is likely to be on the spectrum or not.



Cuppacoffee
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09 Jun 2021, 4:19 am

Mountain Goat wrote:
An assessment is a lot more then a few questions from what I understand. Autism is a spectrum so it is possible.
Leading questions do not help anyone. I am surprized by this because the questions should be to find out if the individual is likely to be on the spectrum or not.


It was a psychological assessment, not an autism assessment. I have been told it could be 2.5 years wait for an autism assessment (by which time he'll be virtually of working age anyway).

I am hoping for solutions - A happier life for him and those around him and less worries for me. An unofficial "working diagnosis" could be helpful in figuring out how to address his issues, unless of course, it's the wrong one.

Which is why I am trying to consider what else (if anything) might cause such big problems in getting along with others, and learning from mistakes.



ezbzbfcg2
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09 Jun 2021, 5:08 am

On one hand, I wouldn't go along with the first diagnosis just randomly thrown out. Shrinks aren't infallible priests. At the same time, some parents may fight an accurate diagnosis for fear of stigma. Also, there's familiarity. Parents see their kids everyday, they're used to them, so they might not even register something is off. Social skills problems are more of a concern OUTSIDE of the home, outside of the family environment. If you think your kid is fine when he's at home or out and about with you, that says nothing of his social interaction when you're not with him.

Cuppacoffee wrote:
Other than having having poor social skills, no friends, and always being right, there is little I can see that would deem him autistic.

In all seriousness, what is your definition of Autism? Why do you think it doesn't apply to your son? (You may be right, I have no way of knowing. But how do you define it and why do you feel he doesn't have it?)

Also, why did you need to take him to a shrink in the first place?

EDIT: I'm surprised there's a two+ year wait time for an Autism diagnosis (or lack thereof). I thought it was easier for someone under 18 to get diagnosed.



Mountain Goat
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09 Jun 2021, 6:04 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
On one hand, I wouldn't go along with the first diagnosis just randomly thrown out. Shrinks aren't infallible priests. At the same time, some parents may fight an accurate diagnosis for fear of stigma. Also, there's familiarity. Parents see their kids everyday, they're used to them, so they might not even register something is off. Social skills problems are more of a concern OUTSIDE of the home, outside of the family environment. If you think your kid is fine when he's at home or out and about with you, that says nothing of his social interaction when you're not with him.

Cuppacoffee wrote:
Other than having having poor social skills, no friends, and always being right, there is little I can see that would deem him autistic.

In all seriousness, what is your definition of Autism? Why do you think it doesn't apply to your son? (You may be right, I have no way of knowing. But how do you define it and why do you feel he doesn't have it?)

Also, why did you need to take him to a shrink in the first place?

EDIT: I'm surprised there's a two+ year wait time for an Autism diagnosis (or lack thereof). I thought it was easier for someone under 18 to get diagnosed.


Six years has been known but it has come down to just a few years.



Cuppacoffee
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09 Jun 2021, 8:19 am

ezbzbfcg2 wrote:
On one hand, I wouldn't go along with the first diagnosis just randomly thrown out. Shrinks aren't infallible priests. At the same time, some parents may fight an accurate diagnosis for fear of stigma. Also, there's familiarity. Parents see their kids everyday, they're used to them, so they might not even register something is off. Social skills problems are more of a concern OUTSIDE of the home, outside of the family environment. If you think your kid is fine when he's at home or out and about with you, that says nothing of his social interaction when you're not with him.

Cuppacoffee wrote:
Other than having having poor social skills, no friends, and always being right, there is little I can see that would deem him autistic.

In all seriousness, what is your definition of Autism? Why do you think it doesn't apply to your son? (You may be right, I have no way of knowing. But how do you define it and why do you feel he doesn't have it?)

Also, why did you need to take him to a shrink in the first place?

EDIT: I'm surprised there's a two+ year wait time for an Autism diagnosis (or lack thereof). I thought it was easier for someone under 18 to get diagnosed.


I don't have a definition of autism. I think unless one is noticeably affected across many areas it is rather subjective... Which makes it difficult to know if it is a possibility / probability.

In the past 6 months my son has had 3 referrals made by school, one of them which was particularly stressful. The latest summary I've read by them portrays him as a psychopath with no empathy / remorse etc, which I found a bit harsh to say the least.
On top of this he is frequently missing real lessons due to being in inclusions for offending people. Also, he has been offered alternative ways to spend breaks, leaves before everyone else does, has weekly sessions with someone, etc, so I am aware he is being treated differently to others, but without having a proper explanation.

That is why I wanted him to see a shrink. Also, one of the referrals was for cahms (which I believe is basically a shrink, but that was rejected).



kraftiekortie
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09 Jun 2021, 8:34 am

People with Asperger's Syndrome might be like "a bull in a China shop."

Asperger's was officially a type of autism under the previous diagnostic manual, and still is an official diagnosis under the ICD-10, but not the DSM-V diagnostic manual.

It is said that people with "classic autism" are reluctant socializers, and that people with Asperger's are avid to socialize--but are awkward in how they go about socializing. I would recommend reading the works of Tony Attwood, who is the person who came up with the "willing, but awkward" notion as pertains socialization.

Perhaps your son is more like the Asperger's type of autistic person than the "classic" type of autistic person?



ezbzbfcg2
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09 Jun 2021, 8:38 am

It's possible one could be both Autistic and Psychopathic, but I feel it's rare. Most psychopaths understand the social rules and actively manipulate them to their advantage, having no qualms using and abusing others, no remorse or guilt. Most Autists are quite caring and feel guilt and remorse, but struggle with social cues.

I know he's your son, you love him, and want what's best for him. What I would suggest is testing the waters to see if he is/isn't a psychopath. Again, I think it's rare (but not impossible) for him to be both.

Ask him this question, morbid as it is. Supposedly, psychopaths/sociopaths always answer it correctly. "Normal" people may answer it correctly, but they usually struggle with it:

An old lady was very active in her city and had many friends and admirers and acquaintances. When she died, hundreds of people came to her funeral to pay their respects. Her estranged daughter also showed up. While at the funeral of her own mother, the daughter met a guy whom she did not know (understandable as so many folks came out). She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be, that she fell in love with him then and there. Unfortunately, he left before she could get his contact information.

A few days later, the estranged daughter murdered her own sister.

What was her motive in killing her sister?



ezbzbfcg2
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09 Jun 2021, 8:41 am

^ Supposedly, true psychopaths/sociopaths asked this question answer: She murdered her sister in order to have another funeral in hopes the same guy would show up again.

Test the waters. See what your son says when you ask him this question.



Mountain Goat
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09 Jun 2021, 8:55 am

Maybe her sister had money and she would inherit to pay for the funeral?



kraftiekortie
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09 Jun 2021, 8:59 am

The thing is: she doesn't know why the guy came to the funeral. So murdering her sister might not yield the intended result.

What a waste of a life!



ezbzbfcg2
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09 Jun 2021, 9:10 am

Mountain Goat wrote:
Maybe her sister had money and she would inherit to pay for the funeral?

Statistically speaking, you're NOT likely to be psychopathic. Correct answer is she hoped that by having another funeral, the same guy might show up again. COLD.

kraftiekortie wrote:
The thing is: she doesn't know why the guy came to the funeral. So murdering her sister might not yield the intended result.

Exactly. It makes no sense to a "regular" mind. Supposedly, true psychopaths always know instinctively what the estranged daughter's motive for murder was (ridiculous and fallible as it may be).



Dandansson
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09 Jun 2021, 10:08 am

Cuppacoffee wrote:
I paid a hell of a lot of money for my son to have a talk with a psychologist recently.
The outcome was "Have you heard of autism?"
To me, this conclusion seemed to be made very quickly, which means:
(a) He's obviously autistic and I'm a bit dumb not to have realised by now (he's 13).
(b) Autism is the easy / standard explanation for social skills deficits.

My initial thoughts were that as a trained professional, the psychologist must be right (also ASD has been suggested previously by school). However, although my son was asked some pretty leading questions, I believe he answered many of them in a NT manner.
Other than having having poor social skills, no friends, and always being right, there is little I can see that would deem him autistic.
Or is that enough?

I have come across diagnosed autistic children who come across very differently (and not as negatively) as my son, who doesn't avoid social situations, he's just more like a bull in a China shop.

What I'm getting at, I suppose, is that I don't want to go along with people and pretend he's something he's not. I want to know how to make things better, and help him be able to make friends.
Clearly, knowing the reason why he finds these things so hard would be helpful. Years of input from myself and family has done nothing, neither has anything any of his schools have done.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

What about PDD-nos?
Sure the DSM-5 doesn't include it but it still exists but under another diagnosis.

hell of a lot of money? Private psychologists are expensive. I don't understand why people go to them at all.



Cuppacoffee
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09 Jun 2021, 12:28 pm

Wow! Thanks All :wink:
I read out the psychopath question (having not pre-read it) and he got the answer right - from a psychopath's point of view.
Having said that, I did ask him to do an online psychopath quiz a few weeks back and he failed (i.e. Failed at being a psychopath). He also did an online autism test and failed at being autistic.
Why can't things be simple?!
If the library is open I'll have to borrow books on Tony Attwood AND on how to fix a psychopath 8O and possibly something called "attachment", as I read that might affect social skills... Might have to sign up for a psychology course at this rate.



CinderashAutomaton
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11 Jun 2021, 10:56 pm

"Get a second opinion"

I'm told that that's what a good healthcare system should recommend. As mentioned above, healthcare workers aren't infallible, and in the field of mental healthcare there is the additional concern of compatibility between the practitioner and patient. It might be helpful to find practitioners that specialize in treating people with certain conditions, and checking with them regarding the issues your son is suspected to have. It was almost a decade before I saw someone with a specialty in Aspergers Syndrome (AS) and finally got the diagnosis that cleared everything up for me.

Speaking of which, I was regarded as 'normal' for 30 years. It wasn't until I was diagnosed and learned a few things that I saw obvious markers for AS and some other issues.

Since it's an issue you'll be interacting with a lot for a long time into the future, it'd help you to approach it with the intent of being informed. When you talk with the people doing assessments, ask them for more info. What were the reasons behind the assessment? What does the assessment mean? Where can you find more info about the condition(s), what keyswords should you use, where can you find info about treatment (as a non-professional)? What can your son do to help himself and where can you find more info?


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