I'm a mom of a great 5-year-old boy (he is a fraternal twin). We have always noticed things maybe not quite right, but contributed it to different things along the way. In preschool he would get angry if someone just brushed by him. He lashes out easily. Our main problem is frustration. He is one of the brighest in class. He is already reading just 3 weeks into school. His teacher actually moved him down a level and that seems to help him (even though she says he does know the answers), he has a hard time getting out the answers and then will have screaming fits. He cannot play games with other children (has major tantrums). Rules are extremely important to him and going the same way every day to school etc. He is totally fixated on the computer and Thomas Trains. He will play okay at times with his brother and sister, but I have to watch him closely at the playground with other children. He also has major issues with constipation/diarrhea. He loves bear hugs, but would rather not have kisses. He is a picky eater. He hates strong smells of any kind and frequently puts his hands over his ears at loud noises. He memorizes phone numbers. He doesn't seem to have the "little professor" thing going on though. He pretty much keeps information to himself, that is why we were so shocked when he started kindergarten all he really knew. He has been sent to the principal twice for hurting other children. One time the teacher did let him get by with a warning, she said he grabbed a little boys back, she said to stop doing it and he turned right around and pinched a little girl.
We are in the middle of a private evaluation on him. They really haven't said what it is yet (have more testing to go). I'm just wondering what you opinion on these things that he does is? I am also wondering that it seems like he has good days and bad days and I can almost tell this right when he wakes up how the days is going to go. Do Asperger's have good and bad days? I mean days where they seem more tolerable? He probably has 2 good days and 3 bad days during the school week. If this is Asperger's should I consider the separate classroom for autistic kids. He is so bright, just extremely socially immature. Anyway, thanks for all that respond.
It is so heart breaking for me to see him struggling. I wish other parents would just mind their own business and leave him alone. (the mom's who help out in his class). They act like he is just a brat that needs discipline, but you can just tell by the look on his face he CAN"T HELP IT!!!!
To answer one of your questions: Yes there can be good and bad days with autism.
For instance there are days when next to nothing will bother me. I can go shopping, I can put up with screaming children, and may even be calmer than most so called "normal" people. Other days I can take one step into the store and know right away I can't stay. Sounds will echo and my head will hurt with every word spoken... Usually with me I notice if I'm dealing with a migrane or tension like headache, my tomerance for stuff will be lower.
As far as behaving towards other children, you may find my latest autism journal interesting about theory of mind. As a child I viewed people mostly part of the environment. I didn't quite comprehend that they too have the same thinking and feeling ability that I have... I would ask questions to try to get understanding, but people didn't seem to be able to answer me.
For instance until about age 11-12 I didn't fully realize that I'm not the only person who can't see my own face without having to look in a mirror, while at the same time, other people can see my own face though they can't see their own. That is if I'm standing across the room staring at you and you're staring back at me you can see my face, whatever expression i have (or lack of expression) and I can look at you. I see your face. I see your whole body... But I don't see my full body...
Yes I had a hunch that my peception of the world and myself and other people may not be alone, but because people couldn't answer my question I wasn't about to fully assume it to be true...
Think of it as being a scientist. In science they don't accept truth or theory (unless they are being sponsored by soemthing, but that's another topic) without extensive testing. Even so IDEALLY nothing is considered solid fact unless it can be proved true 100% of the time. If there's one time that it fails after 10000000's of tests, then it's not a theory...
My mind generally does not like to make assumptions (though I do anyway because I have to pretty much).
Okay this leads up to some really bizzare things I used to do as a child to other people. Being a "scientist" I wanted to see if people's flesh felt like my own... So what did I do? I grabbed their arms. I poked people... I got to see what reactions they made... I also tore up paper and put it in their head... They didn't usually notice it at first, but if I kept it up eventually it annoyed the person... I made mental note of what occured if I did what... In this case it usually resulted being taken out of the classroom and forced to sit out for a period of time.
Was I being bad? No.... I was just curious... Your son could be doing similar experments, unless he's angry. If he's hitting people and he's angry, then that's a different issue. He could be trying to tell them to back off.
As you mention alot of sensory issues I would recommend getting a book by Olga Bogdashina called Sensory and Perceptual Differences in Autism and Aspergers. There is a caregivers questionnaire at the back that you can complete to get a sensory profile of your child. When you know what the main problem areas are eg. auditory and tactile, you can adapt the environment so that they can cope with it better and you will see a massive reduction in certain behaviours.
This book/questionnaire is used by the Autism Outreach Department in our City and Olga has come over from the Ukraine to speak to both professionals and parents a number of times.
If you google her name you can read an article by her in Autism Today.
You can also click on the Health Page icon on the top right hand corner of this page and go into the Behavioural Characteristics behind a Diagnosis of Autism/Aspergers (ASDs). I have posted the diagnositic criteria there (which is the behaviours the professionals are looking for). Parents have also posted examples of their own childs behaviours to give you an idea of what the professionals are looking for.
Yes, their days can be very variable. Sometimes behaviours appear to come out of nowhere, but the more you learn about ASDs and in particular, how it affects your own child, it will begin to make much more sense to you.
But they really do experience their world differently to us and if we just accept that their behaviour is actually 'showing' us some area of difficulty, you can begin to make changes.
For example, yesterday my son was upset going to school because he didn't want to leave the house or leave the TV (he loves watching TV/DVDs etc). When we got to school he was still upset, but became more upset because he didn't want his classmates to see him crying. So we had to walk into school with him wearing his coat back to front, with the hood up covering his face! I stood with him giving him some firm hugs, which calms him down. Then we saw that there was a big truck in the playground. A Theatre company was at the school and were going to perform Jungle Book. This 'change' in the environment upset him further. So I took him inside school to the Teaching Assistant. She took my son to the quiet room for 5 minutes for him to compose himself and then he went into class and was okay for the rest of the day. Infact at home time the TA told me he had won a game. The class had played 'Simon Says', but they had done it in French and they couldn't get him to make a mistake. That is the first time my son has ever heard French so that was amazing.
So there will be highs and lows and things they always seem to struggle with and other things they are brilliant at.
It's probably hard to tell because he is probably borderline. As Sam's docs say he has a little touch of it. He doesn't do the "little professor" thing either - and I thank the lord that he doesn't share his love of Bionicles with us - just those others inclined in that strange universe known as You Tube. I am truly hoping at 18 he is not making long vlog entries about them like other kids.
Having said that - I would have a full neuropsych done. It pretty much ruled out the real heavy duty autism stuff on Sam - basically saying that there was more to work with than not. Having said that, he does go to a school specifically designed for his needs. But do not think for a second that the state is going to grant you a program or pay for it. I just spent two hours on the phone with 3 - yes count them - 3 school districts. Right now they are passing him around because they all have a problem with the very large bill that comes attached to him (around 60K a year - not including the busing). If you think his behavior warrants a specialized program - go hire an advocate. They know all the rules - and they keep you from saying things that will help the school district from denying you services. And I repeat, as much as everyone in your IEP meeting will tell you that all they are thinking about is your child and his needs, just like everyone else it comes down to the $$$$$. Only the most annoying, bothersome, pain in the a** parents get about 85% of the resources. I know - you should see our annual school picnic each year. What a bunch of squeky wheels we are as we tell are stories of harassing school officials.
Wow, this is what I really needed to find. Thanks to all of you who took time to answer. It is really helpful. To MJ Writer, I do see where he touches people to see their reaction, especially the arm grabbing. He does that a lot. Sometimes when he is angry, but other times almost to see the reaction. That makes a lot of sense.
I was also wondering about the monotone voice. He does not seem to have this. He has an unusually loud voice. I always have to remind him to lower it.
Also, does this seem to run in families? I was wondering if any of you have more than one child with it or if you have it yourself if another family member has it.
I'm sure I'll have lots more questions along the way. Thanks again.
Yes, this does run in families. We have many family members on the spectrum, although not diagnosed. Since it is a relatively new diagnosis, previous generations seem to have a hard time believing in AS. After all, they made it through just fine (in their mind, anyway!) My daughter also speaks very loud, and is totally unaware of it. I remember as a kid everyone telling me that I was loud, and I could never figure out why they would say that. To me, I was not loud at all. I think it is like when you listen to music with headphones on and you talk really loud. Similarly, what is going on in an Aspie's head is so loud, they are speaking over it with a louder voice. The further down the spectrum you go, the louder everything is in your head. That is why people with autism are so focused on what is going on in their head, as opposed to the outside world--the outside world is much quieter to them. When my daugther is "in her little world" I have to scream at her to get her attention, and even that sounds like a wisper to her. You have to use many sensory inputs to ge their attention--touch, eye contact, talking--all at once.
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