Autism vs LD

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Autism vs LD
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 4:21pm

Hi, I don't typically post here but I clicked on a discussion that was highlighted on the ivillage homepage..  I wanted to ask what kinds of autism your children have.  My daughter is 13 and she's in 8th grade, She's gotten services of one kind or another since kindergarten.  She's in special ed for a learning disability but I've gotten opinions from both school and an independent counselor that she may fall in the autism spectrum.  I am skeptical of this for several reasons, Mostly b/c I don't know what difference it would make to the services she is already getting.  But secondly, There is the social element that weighs heavily on me now, As a middle school I hear a lot more of the "I'm different" stuff and while I know some of that is normal I see a lot of social skill deficiencies that are symptoms of autism too, She's a happy go lucky kid but she can go off on a tangent and create a mountain out of small things, She is smart and she thrives on structure...  I don't know but next year she transitions to high school, I'm sure that's going to bring all kinds of new discoveries, Lol.  I have a call out to her pediatrician about things too.  I was just curious how your own autistic kids operate, How you knew it was that and where they are both academically and away from school!  Thanks, Jeanne



Avatar for skystrider
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-1999
Fri, 02-15-2013 - 6:22pm

The difference between my older children, who are probably on the spectrum but never had a dx, compared to my youngest two that both have Asperger's dx's is night and day.  School was such torture for the older ones that I ended up taking them out and homeschooling.  That was fine until they had to make the transition to adulthood.  That was a huge struggle and is still not going well.  The younger ones thrive with autism support at school.  They have access to therapy that their siblings never had.  It still remains to be seen how this will play out as they get to high school and beyond.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Mon, 02-11-2013 - 9:26pm

Hi Jeanne,

Welcome to the board.  You have raised some interesting questions and seem to be on top of things.  Your daughter is fortunate to have you in her life. 

DS6 was diagnosed with high functioning autism/Aspergers when he was 3.  We knew something was up, contacted the autism center located here, and had him followed since he was 11 months.  For us, when stranger danger hit, it hit hard.  All of a sudden even family he saw weekly were strangers.  We would get questions if DS ever smiled.  He did, just not when anyone else was around.  DS also has sensory processing disorder, which we discovered at age 2.  He's been in and out of OT for it since then.  He also has motor planning delays which we see OT for as well.  Recently we discovered his vision development (not eyesight development, but the development of the visual/spatial section of his brain) was behind as well. We are just finishing vision therapy which has helped us tremendously.  When he was a baby (year 1-2), he had a lot of frustration because he could intellectually do stuff that he could not do physically.  Or he would get overwhelmed by emotions that he did not process well.  He did a lot of self harm during this time.  We saw it again when he was 3.  Things like hitting his head on the floor or trying to pull his fingers out of socket.

DS is considered 2e (twice exceptional).  On top of everything else, he is also exceptionally gifted which creates it's own learning issues and needs that have to be met.  At school, the asyncronous development comes across as LD.

For the social stuff, we went to social therapy (group speech) from the time he was 3 until this year.  He did not age out of it, it was at the same time as vision therapy and something had to give.  We'll pick it back up again in the summer.  DS gets a lot out of the social group.  In addition, I supplement at home.  We have done ABA CDs on playground behavior which he enjoyed.  Right now we are working on the SuperFlex curriculum.  He really likes the characters and looks for the bad guys in books we read a lot.  But he doesn't really extrapolate this infomation to real life just yet without a lot of help.

For pragmatics (all the emotional and gray stuff in language), we saw a Speech Therapist. It is tough to justify the speech as his verbal skills are way above age even though it's clear the development there is uneven as well.

We are currently trying to get rid of the autism label.  DS did really well with the Early Intervention programs and now the thoughts are that autism doesn't really fit anymore (by several professionals).  If you do not think the autism diagnosis will benefit you, then don't pursue it.  Even though people will tell you it can be removed later if it's not right, it is VERY tough to get rid of that diagnosis.  When you mention it, people shoot you down quick for being delusional.  Or they say that sometimes you learn coping mechanisms which help to hide the autism so well that no one sees the behavior but you still have autism. 

On the other hand, if it will help you get services, then by all means, pursue it.