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I believe my son may have aspergers... please respond
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I believe my son may have aspergers... please respond

I was researching aspergers syndrome and found this forum. At first I really didn't think my son has AS, but he has a lot of the traits.  The more I research though and think about it, the more I believe he does.  If he does, it is very high functioning.   I wanted to give you some of the things that make me wonder and see what some of you think.

1. He's 12. He's always been very very smart, straight A student. But he never gets asked to be on the academic teams. Because he's so slow. It's like he's unsure of himself. He wants to be on the teams and can't really understand why he can't be. Last year his teacher told him it was because he was too slow. That really hurt his feelings. When I say slow, I mean he just really takes his time with the answers.  On the state tests that they do at the end of the year, he scores out of this world.  

2. He's in 6th grade now and has never really played with the other kids that much at recess. Every once in a while he'll join in with them but most of the time he's off to himself playing some make believe game. Making weird noises and stuff. He says he doesn't like to play with the other kids because they don't like to imagine the same things as him and he wants to play what he wants to play.  It's never really bothered him that he doesn't have any friends. This is the first year that he's really interacted with some of the others kids but still mostly is a loner.  

3. He's gets obsessed with things and they consume him.  He's been obsessed with Avatar in the past, Digimon, the Titanic, Dinosaurs, Volcanoes, maps. He's very scientifically inclined. This year he joined beginner's band so music is his obsession right now.  Which I think has been good for him.  He wanted the bassoon from the start but it wasn't offered in beginning band so he chose the trombone.  The band director has let him switch to the basson because he says he is so talented he wants him to be happy with his instrument.  He's doing GREAT in band.  The band director says he is going to be an "excellent" bassoonist.  

4. He's a little shy and doesn't communicate well with other people. Sometimes it seems rude but I've talked to him about it and he tries to be better at it. I've had to tell him in the past if someone says something to you, you have to answer them and in a voice where they can hear. He's really getting better at doing that but I think it's because I've preached it to him so much.  When his grandparents come to visit he will get up and hug them now but sometimes I think it seems forced.

5. He has told me before that he likes being different, not choosing the same things everybody else is doing.

6.  Lately, and it may just be his age, he seems a little emotional.  His dad was teasing him last night and he seemed to be taking it really well, laughing with him and everything.  Later he's crying and I ask him why.  It's because he felt his dad was mean to him.  I told him they were having a good time playing with each other and he states that sometimes he can't tell if someone is kidding or being serious.  When I tell my husband about this he just gets upset and says there's nothing wrong with him, he's just too sensitive or something like that.  


Some of the things I read about aspergers doesn't seem to apply to him. He's just a little different that the other kids and I don't see the problem with that. But then again, sometimes I worry that I'm just trying to convince myself there's nothing wrong. My grown daughters say he likes being a "nonconformist." Whatever the heck that means.

I know I'm going to get a lot of responses that he needs to be tested.  My other concern is because he is so high functioning I don't know that I want to tell him and have him think that we think there is something "wrong" with him.  On the other hand, most of what I've read said they need to be told.  I just don't know what to do.  

What do ya'll think? I'd love some responses.
Tags: aspergers, worry, syndrome, friends, son, respond, test
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I also forgot to mention that he is very clumsy.  Trips and falls a lot.  But then so am I and I don't have AS.  
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Firstly autism (including Aspergers) is on a spectrum from severe to mild.  There are also many thousands of characteristics that would fall under the major categories and no child is going to have all of them.  Every single child is different.  Every parent who has more than one child on the spectrum will say that they are all different, but they still have difficulties in the major areas.  Let me give you an example - social interaction.  One child might be totally unaware of other people in its environment, another might play alongside other children but not join in, another might join in but not successfully because they don't know how to adapt or sustain their play, another might prefer to play alone because they cannot be flexible enough in their play to include other children, another might be trying to force a child to play with them regardless of whether the other child is interested in their game, another child might hit/bite/scratch other children to get their attention because he wants to play.  That is just a small list of different responses to play.  But every single one of those children is not playing appropriately.  Does that make sense?
Google Semantic Pragmatic Speech Disorder and see if that sounds like your son.
Did he have any speech delay, or use echolalic speech (google that to see what it is).
Can he plan and organise himself - google Executive Function Disorder to see what that is.
Does he have any sensory issues - Google Sensory Integration Disorder.
Also google Theory of Mind.  This is also relevant to those on the spectrum as it is a difficulty in being able to put yourself in another persons shoes.
All the above disorders are usually 'part of' autism/aspergers to some degree.
Also google DSM IV for Aspergers and see if he fits the criteria.
When you also consider that Einstein and Bill Gates - of Microsoft, are both thought to be on the spectrum, then you will see that it is quite possible to be brilliant or gifted.  But there is usually what they call 'a spiky profile'.  This means that due to the autism the child/adult can be brilliant at some things but also very incapable of doing other things that you would consider they should be able to do.  For example, if your child is academically brilliant why can't he understand that what he says sounds rude?  That may be due to the fact that he doesn't have a good understanding of the implications of words and the 'social etique' that you just don't say those things to people - that ties in with Semantic Pragmatic Speech Disorder and Theory of Mind.
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Trips and falls tie in with the senses of balance and proprioception (this means knowing where your body parts are in space).  What is he like with his senses of vision, sound, smell, touch, taste?
What is his handwriting like?
Coaching him on what to say and how to say it etc is common amongst parents with children on the spectrum.  They just don't get it automatically like other children do - they need to rote learn it and that is why their language or behaviour (such as hugging) can seem stilted.
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Thank you Sally for your response.  He is near sighted and can barely see without his glasses.  He doesn't really loud noises but it's not a major issue.  I can't think of any thing out of the ordinary with his smell, touch or taste.  

His handwriting is not bad.  I know most of the research indicated kids with AS had terrible handwriting, but his isn't bad at all.

He did not have any speech delay or any kind of speech problems.  When he was very little, he used to refer to himself in the third person.  But it was cute and he eventually grew out of that.  

The main concern and issue is his inability to connect with other kids his age socially.  It just makes me want to cry.  

Another thing and I really haven't read that this is connected with AS but I feel that he has a very high tolerance for pain/sickness.  He is rarely sick.  He never complains.  I can tell he's feeling bad and ask him about it and he'll say he's fine.  If he ever comes to me and says I don't feel good, I immediately take him to the doctor because it's usually bad.  

He's not as open to me and my girls were.  They told me everything.  I have to pry information out of him and still he's not forthcoming.  He'll tell me he can't remember or make up another excuse.  
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A high pain threshold is typical of sensory integration disorder associated with autistic spectrum disorders.  The person/child with this disorder can be over or under sensitive or both or it varies day to day and throughout the day.  So my son might 'perceive' a light touch as painful and may think the person who touched him had intended to hurt him, or he might get a serious injury and not feel pain, or not the level of pain associated with that injury.  This is particuarly true if their attention is elsewhere.  My son has chipped his front tooth, black eyes, torn achillies tendon with very little reaction from him.  When he damaged his achillies tendon he didn't tell me it hurt, he was just walking strangely and I had to ask him "is your foot hurting you", and he said "yes I think it's broken".  Thankfully it wasn't.
But that same variation to incoming sensory stimulus can be in any of the senses.  So my son might appear deaf sometimes when I call his name, or cover his ears at sudden unpredictable noise, or enjoy bursting balloons at a party, or go to drum club - and all that happened in one day!
He is exactly the same with being sick.  He never tells me he feels ill.  He does get migraines and tells me he has a headache, but I already know because of how he looks.  
Does your son like bright sunlight, or would he prefer to wear a peaked cap or sunglasses, or does he light bright shiny things.
The clumsy thing is also sensory.
Have you googled the other disorders to see if you recognise your son in any of them.  These difficulties/disorders are common regardless of cognitive ability.
Because you said he didn't have any speech delays or difficulties with pronouns or repeating TV/DVD dialogue that would rule out a diagnosis of 'autistic spectrum disorder' - so, as you suspected, he is fitting the criteria for Aspergers.
I queried his vision as well to see if he had any visual perceptual difficulties that might be causing the slow response to questions.  What do you think is making it slow?  Is it that it takes him longer to process verbal information, or longer to think through the process, or longer to put the words together to give the answer, or longer to actually put his thoughts to paper?
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As you say, he is probably very high functioning.  But his difficulties with language (eg. appearing rude or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or to the wrong person - and social  interaction are going to be lifelong difficulties.  Try to use his interests and obsessions to get him involved with like minded people.  At school they should allow him to use the library or IT room if he wishes, and for him to have another child with him to encourage interaction.  My son (who is 8), has access to dinnertime clubs and is also supported in the playground area.  However my son is diagnosed as high functioning autistic and not aspergers.  But the idea is the same.  Your son needs the support of a buddying or mentoring scheme, where someone (either from his peer group, or adults), just checks with him during those times he is on his own that everything is okay and to invite him to join, or join with him if your son wishes.  But you need a speech and language therapist to assess his social interaction skills to see what kind of supports would be helpful.
Then, of course, there are the teenage years when he is going to need relationships etc explaining to him, and he will need alot of things really spelt out to him because he won't get other peoples feelings and needs etc.  
Anyway, let me know your ideas when you have looked through the list of disorders I listed.
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Sally, thank you so much for taking this time with me.  He does not like bright sunlight.  When he was smaller he would say "the sun hates me" and we would laugh.  He isn't that bad anymore but still does not like it really bright.  

I'll have to think about why his responses are slow.  I think he just second guesses himself.  He'll have the right answer but then agonize over it anyway like he doesn't trust himself.  

I'm at work so I've not had a big chance to google the other disorders.  I'll try to do that when I get home.
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Because of the sensory issues you've raised, including feeling uncomfortable in sunlight - I would also recommend googling Irlen Syndrome.  This is a medical condition that many with SID, autism/aspergers and dyslexia can have.  It is rectified/helped just by wearing Irlen tinted lenses in glasses.  I had my son diagnosed, and he has it, not severely, but enough for me to notice a difference - not just in his tolerance of light - but his depth perception, tolerance and general attention, making better connections - better social interaction etc etc.  
It is a very simple test where the child is shown different types of visual things eg. sheet music, typed words, patterns etc and different coloured lenses at put in the glasses.  The child chooses which colour is best for them.  It is as simple as that.  Our local hospital now screens for it.
Once your waded through all those other disorders it will make it much clearer where your son's difficulties lie.
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I took some time to google those disorders.  I don't really think any of them apply much to my son.  Definitely not the Irlen Syndrome.  He is a big big reader and has no problems with it.  
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It isn't just about problems with reading.  It is about sensory perceptual discomfort.  The lenses filter out different light waves depending on which ones are causing the discomfort.  My son also does not have the difficulties with seeing letters moving on the page.  But he does have difficulties with sunlight and depth perception.  If you imagine a cup, if that cup is half full of sensory stimulation overload, it is going to make it easier for the cup to overflow (which you can interpret as having a meltdown, or not being able to cope, or just too much information it is making you feel dizzy or have a headache, or just not being at your best.  With the glasses his eyes are not strained all the time, he is relaxed, he makes better eye contact, he manages in environments much longer and performs much better.  
If you say your son says things that might be considered rude, what do you think is behind his lack of social understanding if it is not semantics or theory of mind?
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Okay, let me put it another way.  If you had bought a new outfit, and you'd got ready to go out, and you were just about to leave and you asked your son if it made your bum look big (and it did).  What do you think his response would be.  Would he be very literal and tell you 'yes'.
Can he predict and understand other peoples feelings and emotions from how they are behaving or would he need it explaining to him.  
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When your son is off playing by himself, making weird noises - what does he say he is doing?  Is he using something he has seen before eg. on TV or in a film and is he re-running and playing with that in his mind.  And the noises, are they the sound effects that accompany the playing or are they unrelated to the playing and appear as a vocal tic?
For example my son uses things he has seen before in his play alot.  He can also use some imagination and change them eg. he might play a war game in his head which involves transformers (from the transformer movie), and the darleks (from Doctor Who).  And he will have a very definate way in which he wants this game to go eg. dialogue/actions etc - therefore sometimes it is hard for a child to join in because my child will be acting almost like the director and will want to control 'how' the child joins in the game.  At other times he can join in with children and 'play' in the same way that they do, but then something might happen in the game and he wants to go off on a tangent when the rest of the children want the play to go in another direction.  When that happens he will usually withdraw and play how he wants to play.
Does your son understand humour such as sarcasm?
Does your son every have emotional outbursts or tantrums?
You say you don't think he has problems with executive functions.  Therefore he is able to organise himself, and plan his work or day, he understands time and will be prompt, he can make goals and aims and sequence this process through?
Being slow with work.  Do you think it is due to lack of confidence due to difficulty with predictions - so he has to check and re-check to make sure he has the right answer?
Is he a perfectionist and gets upset if things are not just so.
With communication you have said you have had to coach him to reply to people talking to him and also that he has to reply in a voice they can hear.  These are my thoughts on the things that may be causing this.  (a) Does he not reply because he appears deaf like he hasn't even heard the other person speaking to him (that can be a sensory issue as those on the spectrum frequently close down senses to concentrate on what they are doing/thinking and therefore their ears are effectively turned off - it may also account for the soft voice because they may hear their voice as at the right volume because their hearing is sensitive; (b) Central Auditory Processing Disorder is where the hearing system finds it hard to hear one person talking to you in a background where there are other sound sources, these people may also appear deaf until their name is repeatedly said or they are touched to make them realise they are being talked to - it may also account for the volume of the voice, (c) or it could be down to theory of mind.  Does he understand that he has to talk to people to give them the information or does he think they automatically have the same information as he does - or regarding volume because he can hear himself okay he cannot see that the other person would not be able to hear his voice at that volume - so he isn't seeing the situation from the other persons perspective.
You've mentioned him getting emotional eg. playing at one point and then becoming tearful later on.  Again, if you don't have a good understanding of semantics and social interaction etc you are going to come to the wrong conclusions.  In situations like this 'typical' children get information from the tone of voice, gestures, recognise teasing, may take language literally instead of in the context eg. you might chase a toddler and saying "I'm going to put you down the rubbish chute".  A child with literal interpretation of language is not going to see the humour behind that or recognise that a parent (or indeed any adult) is not going to actually do that.  Your son has said himself that he cannot tell is someone is kidding or being serious.  That is due to language semantics difficulties and literal thinking and problems with theory of mind.  What is good, is that he recognises that.  My son can also do this.  It is an example of high intelligence and also alot of insight into themselves and their difficulties.  Things that might be used to help improve these skills (because these difficulties will be lifelong), would be to teach them how to analyse the situation better eg. was the thing said in the context of play or in the context of a verbal exchange, was it said by a person who is known to upset other people or was it said by a friend.  Does he understand the qualities of a friend are, does he understand how to be a good friend to someone else.  Can your son recognise facial expression and take cues from that?
This would also tie in with a spiky profile eg. brilliant academically - cannot distinguish between teasing and being serious.
What I have learnt from my son is that if he says he has a difficulty with something or says he cannot do it - I just believe him.  Then I look at his difficulty and try to see ways to help him deal with those situations and try to work on those areas.  For example my son does have alot of difficulties with social interaction.  One thing he has always had is that he finds it very hard to remember peoples names.  This has a big impact on social interaction because using someones name improves your interaction.  So we will be working on this skill at home and in school to help him remember his teacher and teaching assistants name, and around 5 of his classmates names.  They are also going to set up situations in school where he will be given a message to take to another person and he will rote learn their name and deliver the message.  Once it is rote learnt and is automatic it will improve his social interaction skills and therefore he will, by default, become more successful.  Being more successful increases confidence and social interaction.  So we are working at an upward spiral rather than a downward one.  Because if you have a difficulty and you recognise it you tend to avoid those situations.  That maybe why your son chooses to play by himself because the chances are that any social interaction is not going to be successful - therefore he avoids it.
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When your son is off playing by himself, making weird noises - what does he say he is doing?  Is he using something he has seen before eg. on TV or in a film and is he re-running and playing with that in his mind.  And the noises, are they the sound effects that accompany the playing or are they unrelated to the playing and appear as a vocal tic?
For example my son uses things he has seen before in his play alot.  He can also use some imagination and change them eg. he might play a war game in his head which involves transformers (from the transformer movie), and the darleks (from Doctor Who).  And he will have a very definate way in which he wants this game to go eg. dialogue/actions etc - therefore sometimes it is hard for a child to join in because my child will be acting almost like the director and will want to control 'how' the child joins in the game.  At other times he can join in with children and 'play' in the same way that they do, but then something might happen in the game and he wants to go off on a tangent when the rest of the children want the play to go in another direction.  When that happens he will usually withdraw and play how he wants to play.
Does your son understand humour such as sarcasm?
Does your son every have emotional outbursts or tantrums?
You say you don't think he has problems with executive functions.  Therefore he is able to organise himself, and plan his work or day, he understands time and will be prompt, he can make goals and aims and sequence this process through?
Being slow with work.  Do you think it is due to lack of confidence due to difficulty with predictions - so he has to check and re-check to make sure he has the right answer?
Is he a perfectionist and gets upset if things are not just so.
With communication you have said you have had to coach him to reply to people talking to him and also that he has to reply in a voice they can hear.  These are my thoughts on the things that may be causing this.  (a) Does he not reply because he appears deaf like he hasn't even heard the other person speaking to him (that can be a sensory issue as those on the spectrum frequently close down senses to concentrate on what they are doing/thinking and therefore their ears are effectively turned off - it may also account for the soft voice because they may hear their voice as at the right volume because their hearing is sensitive; (b) Central Auditory Processing Disorder is where the hearing system finds it hard to hear one person talking to you in a background where there are other sound sources, these people may also appear deaf until their name is repeatedly said or they are touched to make them realise they are being talked to - it may also account for the volume of the voice, (c) or it could be down to theory of mind.  Does he understand that he has to talk to people to give them the information or does he think they automatically have the same information as he does - or regarding volume because he can hear himself okay he cannot see that the other person would not be able to hear his voice at that volume - so he isn't seeing the situation from the other persons perspective.
You've mentioned him getting emotional eg. playing at one point and then becoming tearful later on.  Again, if you don't have a good understanding of semantics and social interaction etc you are going to come to the wrong conclusions.  In situations like this 'typical' children get information from the tone of voice, gestures, recognise teasing, may take language literally instead of in the context eg. you might chase a toddler and saying "I'm going to put you down the rubbish chute".  A child with literal interpretation of language is not going to see the humour behind that or recognise that a parent (or indeed any adult) is not going to actually do that.  Your son has said himself that he cannot tell is someone is kidding or being serious.  That is due to language semantics difficulties and literal thinking and problems with theory of mind.  What is good, is that he recognises that.  My son can also do this.  It is an example of high intelligence and also alot of insight into themselves and their difficulties.  Things that might be used to help improve these skills (because these difficulties will be lifelong), would be to teach them how to analyse the situation better eg. was the thing said in the context of play or in the context of a verbal exchange, was it said by a person who is known to upset other people or was it said by a friend.  Does he understand the qualities of a friend are, does he understand how to be a good friend to someone else.  Can your son recognise facial expression and take cues from that?
This would also tie in with a spiky profile eg. brilliant academically - cannot distinguish between teasing and being serious.
What I have learnt from my son is that if he says he has a difficulty with something or says he cannot do it - I just believe him.  Then I look at his difficulty and try to see ways to help him deal with those situations and try to work on those areas.  For example my son does have alot of difficulties with social interaction.  One thing he has always had is that he finds it very hard to remember peoples names.  This has a big impact on social interaction because using someones name improves your interaction.  So we will be working on this skill at home and in school to help him remember his teacher and teaching assistants name, and around 5 of his classmates names.  They are also going to set up situations in school where he will be given a message to take to another person and he will rote learn their name and deliver the message.  Once it is rote learnt and is automatic it will improve his social interaction skills and therefore he will, by default, become more successful.  Being more successful increases confidence and social interaction.  So we are working at an upward spiral rather than a downward one.  Because if you have a difficulty and you recognise it you tend to avoid those situations.  That maybe why your son chooses to play by himself because the chances are that any social interaction is not going to be successful - therefore he avoids it.
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Sally, thank you so much for all help.  You've went above and beyond.  You sound like a very loving and patient mother and definitely an asset to this community.


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I know how hard it is sometimes to 'see' what the cause of a child's difficulty is, and when I was going through the process of getting a diagnosis for my son, there were many times when I thought he didn't fit the criteria because he could do xxx - but now, with hindsight, I can see that eventhough he was able to do many things, he still had enough difficulties in the areas needed to get a diagnosis.  Infact I have since found out that his receptive speech is severely affected eventhough his spoken language is assessed as age appropriate.  There is often a big difference between way they say and what they understand others saying to them.  He also has auditory processing disorder, and auditory processing delays as well as working memory problems.  He needs to see things visually and then he remembers it for ever.
I hope you don't feel I am just trying to wheedle out traits - for example when your son says that when someone talks to him he cannot understand if they are being serious or joking - that does mean he has a difficulty with interpreting meaning in social interactions situations.  That is because we get our information not only from the words that are actually spoken, but from who we are communicating with, the situation, the facial expression and body gesture, the tone of voice, from past experience etc etc.  Children on the spectrum do not automatically pick up these other cues so they have to rely on the literal interpretation of the words spoken to them.  And they also find it hard to have insight from another persons point of view.  So, for example, if you called your son a 'dirtbag' for example - because you were teasing him because his room was messy - you would expect your son to understand that you were teasing him and that you don't really think that about him.  Your son might not get that.  Or if he did get that, and on a different occasion a teenager called him a 'dirtbag' he might interpret that in the same way as he interprets how you said it.  Again that would be incorrect.  A stranger suddenly saying that to you out on the streets is to be avoided.  Does that make sense?
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If you wanted to get any professionals involved, the first one is usually the Speech and Language Therapist.  She should be qualified about speech disorders as well as speech difficulties/disorders associated with being on the spectrum.  She should assess all aspects of his speech eg. receptive/expressive language - comprehension, working memory, auditory memory etc.  She is also the professional who deals with Social Interaction.  Again she should be able to assess to see what he can/cannot do regarding play and social interaction.  
In the UK, typically, you would expect his school to have something like a mentoring scheme or a buddying scheme so that children with social interaction difficulties are included more.  These types of supports should be available at playtime and dinnertime because 'unstructured free time' is the most difficult time of the day for them.  In class they can get on with their work - but at dinnertime they are lost and usually spend it alone.  If you want it adult only support to help get him joining in, and you want your concerns confidential - that should not be a problem.
The school can also give these children dinnertime access to the library or the IT room.  At my son's school they have dinnertime clubs.  This will give your child something to 'do'.  And it is better if there is another child or children doing the same thing (with an adult present), because this will help with social interaction.  
For out of school stuff, try to get him involved with things he is good at - along his lines of interest.
These usually don't include sports or team games - that is usually a disaster!
Go for small group or one to one stuff - for example: trampoline club, climbing club, martial arts, fencing club, fishing, chess club, model making club, science club (your son would probably love that).  If they are at a club that is in their area of interest, all the other children are also interested in the same thing.  So they have alot more in common.  
Talk to your son's teacher about any children he does play successfully with.  Invite them to your house or take them swimming or to the cinema etc.  See how they interact and if they seem to get on well encourage that friendship.
You could talk with his class teacher or your doctor about your concerns.  Find out if they can support him in his social interaction skills etc without a diagnosis.  You could phone up the speech and language therapy department and talk to them.  You could get a private report if you preferred from a SALT.
Also, as he is 10 and will soon be moving to secondary school (age 11+), I would also recommend visiting schools in your area and finding out which of them has experience of teaching children with aspergers.  I cannot emphasis how important it is for these childrens' needs to be understood.
My own son goes to a school that is called 'Enhanced Resource'.  In the UK that means it is a mainstream school that has extra funding and trained staff who are experienced in teaching children on the spectrum.  They have children in all their classes who have autism or aspergers and they have the extra supports that they need in both the classrooms and during playtime/dinnertime.  
You could also contact a local parent support group and go along by yourself to see what the other families are like.  I go to one and there is a wide range of childrens' abilities from severely autistic to HFA and Aspergers.  
At some time you will have to decide what you are going to do.  Are you going to have him assessed?  And I know it is a very difficult decision.  It all depends on how much difficulty he is having now, and will those difficulties become greater as he gets older and will a diagnosis give him access to therapies or supports that he needs?  Getting a diagnosis will involve telling him and explaining to him about it.  He is aware enough to recognise he has some difficulties.  Which would harm his self esteem more - knowing he had Aspergers (with the difficulties and gifts that come along with that), or knowing that for some reason he fails with aspects of language and social communication.  Would he put his failure down to himself being stupid or rubbish etc (these are words my son used to call himself).  How will he cope if others call him stupid or weird etc etc.  
Alternatively you can go the private route and get a private SALT to see him and for her to give you a very clear idea of what his difficulties are and how severe they are.  Infact you will get much more detail from a private report because the educational staff or medical staff tend to do as few assessments as possible because the more they find the more funding they have to poor into your child to private the therapies and supports he needs.  That is why I ended up going the private route and recently went to an educational tribunal and won my case.  My argument was that eventhough he is High Functioning Autistic, if I want him to be independent as an adult he needs certain therapies (such as SALT every week and practised every day - both language and social skills), because that is the level of support appropriate to meet his needs.  Educational staff and medical staff were recommending a yearly SALT assessment and one a week practice with a teaching assistant.  And he just wasn't progressing in these areas.  My son now gets more therapy input than the severely autistic children in the autism unit at the same school!  So it pays to pay and to push.  However, I am going off on a tangent.
So, if you got private SALT report (in the UK it costs around £1500).  You need an INDEPENDENT SALT (ie. not employed by the educational service or the health service) with experience of speech disorders and autistic spectrum disorders (specifically including Aspergers), and you need them experienced in Educational Tribunal work (ie. They have experience of being called as an Educational Law Expert Witnesses).  They should be able to give you alot of detail about your son and also give you advice about the type of school that would most suit him best.  If you didn't want your son to know 'why' he was being assessed at this stage you could always tell him that these assessments would help you decide which next school he goes to (which, actually, isn't a lie).
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Sorry, poor should read pour - must re-read my posts!!
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Hi Christy:

My son is also 12; also very smart. He is very petite in height for his age and weights only 60lbs. He was diagnosed with ADHD in 2001 and has been on medication ever since. The reason why is so confusing and
hard to pin point may be that he just fall into the Autism Spectrum like my son; They are very high functioning, very smart and very loving. My  son actually was recently diagnosed with Asberger's / PDD and ADHD was confirmed. It's is okay. I find that I know have some hold of it. Make him a schedule, don't force him to do anything he doesn't want, be supportive and positively encouraging when he doesn't do that well in school. For instance " Whoa, you got a 51 on that science test, it's a low grade but you tried your best and I know that next time you will do better" There are so many community programs available for the family, I would really recomend you call them and start therapy; it will help you because you will have the input and assistance from an outsider's point of you so there will be no emotional mother-child attachment.
If you need to tal to someone, please feel free to contact me, mrs_diz***@****.
Hang in there, it will get better.
Liss Dionizio - Hollywood, Florida
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