New with some questions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
New with some questions.
6
Mon, 10-10-2005 - 10:19am

Hi, my name is Robin and I have a 12 yo son that I suspect may be on the Autism spectrum (if that is the correct terminology) or at least exhibits some Autism characteristics. Let me give a quick summary of his history. He has always been hyper, immature, impulsive, disorganized, and easily distracted. All of these chartacteristics describe ADD, so in 3rd grade a psychologist diagnosed him with ADD - well sort of. He said that my son exhibited some of the characteristics of ADD, but some of his behaviors were contradictory with an ADD diagnosis. For instance he is able to concentrate on some very complex things. He is extremely good in math and science and he is an avid reader. But with "lack of a better diagnosis" (his words) the psych. called him ADD. At the time he ruled out Autism. I think that perhaps the psychologist ruled this out, because in a one to one conversation he can talk in a very engaging and interesting way. It is not until he is in a group that his odd behavior really sticks out.

My son still has all of the above characteristics, but he also seems to have some Autistic characteristics. He actually always had these characteristics, but they have become even more obvious as his peers mature. He just doesn't seem to catch on to social cues like other kids his age. He finds it necessary to talk too much to any adult in the room about things that are not necessarily on topic, and he just doesn't seem to listen to the other kids. Well he will listen to them, but will respond to the adult in the room. He rambles on about whatever he finds important, but he doesn't talk about the same thing all the time. He also has a habit of touching other children. I can see other children laughing at his odd behavior and he has trouble making friends. I can't seem to teach him to act in a more socially appropriate may.

Perhaps he is not autistic, but he definitely has some characteristics of autism. My neighbor, who has an autistic son, recently asked me if my son has apsbergers. I don't want to go through testing again as it was quite expensive and not covered by insurance, so I was hoping that you might have some ideas for dealing with his innappropriate social behaviors. How do you teach your kids to behave more appropriately? Can you recommend what to look for in a therapist to help him cope? He is not on medication, and managing to do well in school (as long as I stay on his case to get his homework done), so I am mostly concerned about the social issues at this time. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Robin

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 10-12-2005 - 7:14am
Thank you so much Chelsea. I will check it out.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Tue, 10-11-2005 - 11:12pm

GRRR!!

~ Chelsea
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 10-11-2005 - 10:30pm

Tony Attwood, I will look that up, thank you Chelsea. I think I need to learn a little more about the law and my rights, because my son already has an IEP. In our state Gifted Education is categorized under special education so he has an IEP for that. I never thought of tagging things on to it and using it for other purposes. We have only lived here for 2 years and I have found the IEP process to be a joke. They write an IEP for him every spring, but they never look back at the old IEP to see if they have done any of what they say they will do. It is almost like a formality to get him into the appropriate classes. Each year they write something about improving organizational skills, but they don't do anything special to help him. In a way I think that being smart has been a bit of a detriment. They don't feel that they have to help him get better at certain skills because even with those problems he can do pretty well academically. But I am very nervous that as the he gets older and the work gets harder he will not have the skills to keep up. And they won't even consider his social skills. Can I write something about helping him with social skills into his IEP and make them do something about helping him? Any suggestions about sources to use for ideas about what to put in an IEP?

Thanks,
Robin

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Tue, 10-11-2005 - 9:56pm

My kiddos are still pretty young, but I'm a big fan of Tony Attwood.

~ Chelsea
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 10-11-2005 - 5:28pm

Thank you for your response. Our son's do sound similar - there is something that is just not right, but you can't put it into a category. I guess I have decided that the diagnosis is not as important as treating the symptoms. Kind of the opposite of what you would do for a normal illness. I try to delicately point out different ways that he could have handled social situations when I witness them, and he acts as if he understands, but then the next time he makes the error again. I think I need to tell him what is wrong right when he is doing it, but I don't want to embarrass him in front of the other kids. Maybe I should role play with him? I suppose that would help, but I am not sure that I would be very good at it.

Robin

Avatar for betz67
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 10-11-2005 - 8:21am

HI Robin!

Your son sounds much like my oldest! Warren is 14. He's talkative and well informed, does not understand social cues, is poorly organized. But my son does not want anyone to touch him to the point of defensiveness. In third grade our son was tested, we came up w/ no dx. The pschyc ruled out ADHD (which is what all his teachers insisted was his problem) and we looked at aspergers but they decided since he had a couple of friends and was able to talk to other children that he didn't ahve that either. He continued to struggle w/ organization, attending in class or other choaotic situations. We were able to put him on a 504 plan due to having severe eczema, asthma and allergies that caused him lots of illnesses and severe dysgraphia. This way he could get consultant OT at school and catch up a bit on his writing skills and have some organizational help. We also had a behavior plan for the classroom. (it didn't address social skills which he really needed though)

In middle school he fell apart and also became the target for bullying! We finally had to have the school resource officer get involved w/ the bullying (police officer at the school brought the kids that were bullying and threatening him and our home in and gave them a stern talking to and basically told the kids that they'd be refered to juvenile detention if things escalated-- we moved out of the state before that happened but I'm sure something would have!)

His teachers were very down on him in 6th grade and he was depressed! He had a horrible time keeping up w/ his class (he also had lots of health problems that didn't help). In 7th grade his grades fell into the basement(we had moved to a new state new school etc). He barely passed his classes. We got a new eval. in the middle of the school year last year. The pschyc decided that due to him needing something and not really fitting any of the criteria he would Dx him ADD-NOS. This at least got Warren supports at school and gave our family Dr reason to put him on meds. We opted for Strattera which is not a stimulant but works on the organizational part of the brain. and it has fewer side affects. Meds aren't for everyone but it has been a big help for him in middleschool!

He's now on an IEP for his ADD. He goes to resource 2x a week and gets organizational help and has a better routine. He's had a couple of social skills groups that his guidance counselor put together that have helped w/ social understanding (his social skills haven't improved that much-- he needs something more constant, not something that only runs for 6weeks)

You could help him w/ some strategies that help kids w/ AS. We use lists to help Warren remember what to do in certain situations (list in his locker to remind him to bring home homework, another list at home to help get ready for bed) special ways to help organize, I'm sure others would have great ideas for this as well.

Betsy