Asperger's Syndrome Community
not getting much help!
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not getting much help!

Hi, my son is now 8 but he has had difficulties since about 2. He is seeing a psych but we were there today and to be honest I felt he liked to hear himself talking more than listening to what I had to say. My sons symptoms are didnt talk until after 2(we thought he was deaf, not so), terrified of loud noises when smaller, could read almost as soon as could talk(reads at an advanced level now), talks about only what he is into and not in a conversation he talks at you not with you. He would be OVERLY sensitve about others feelings and worry to the extreme. At almost 9 yrs he would not wait in the car alone for any time without a complete breakdown. He is social to some extent and plays with other kids in school now(not always the case, after 3 yrs in 1 school we had to take him out because of severe bullying and the teachers saying he was constantly playing "imagination games". These games are a huge part of his life but take second place to his constant arm and hand flapping in front of his face while running or moving in specific patterns(ie from 1 point to the next and back again inthe same line). He has a fantastic imagination and loves to write stories but he also loves to line things up eg cards toys etc. He has suffered from unexplained stomach pains for 2 years. The psych today said that he felt it couldnt be aspergers as he is social in school(my brother has aspergers and I can see a lot of the traits in my son). I think it is aspergers along with adhd. Any advice????????????????
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I agree the psych is not being very helpful.  I think there is a very real possiblity for aspergers or PDD nos.  For PDD nos/aspergers, not every trait related to autism is expressed and there may be crossovers that seem characteristic to other things like ADHD.  I'm pretty much all over the spectrum when it comes to varrious things. (at least my grandma believes this)  Makes me wonder if I had your psych, if they would rule me out too because of whatever?
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I'd also have that stomach pains complaint looked into by that child's doctor. I believe your if your son is complaining regularly about stomach upsets, there is real pain causing it, not that he is making it up... as doctors may like to think if they can't find an easy solution.
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I agree that this sounds very much like Asperger's.  My daughter's pscyh didn't realize it either, it was finally her pediatrician who mentioned it when she was 7.  A behavioral psychologist may be a better place to get a diagnosis.  If you are in the US, you need to ask the school to do an evaluation so you can get an IEP and extra help there.  Good luck to you.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your reply. We have been seeing this psych since nov. I spent 2 hours with him yesterday and he said that because my son is social it COULDNT be aspergers. Incidently, my brother who is 15 has aspergers and he would have it to the extreme and wouldnt be social and has all the classic traits. As I am writing this I can hear my son in the other room and he is having a major flapping episode while making "explosion" sounds!!!!!!!!!. The psych was more onto the fact my son CANNOT stay still for a second and this led him to say adhd. I dont disagree that there are definate signs of hyperactivity but having looked up criteria for adhd he doesnt really have the lack of attention required to meet the criteria. In fact, just the opposite. He hates to leave a task half done, loves school etc. We arent in the US and things are done a bit different here, the psych actually visited the school to see how my son interacts with other kids etc. He said that he watched my son playing well with other children so it couldnt be aspergers and that he has a fantastic imagination which also rules out aspergers. He has ordered an IQ test(the relevance of which I'm not sure as we already know he is very bright). Time and again, the psych is alluding to the flapping being a "habit" and that perhaps because is is so bright that he is doing it because he is bored!!. Any ideas???????????????????
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347888_tn?1239903054
Yes, I have an idea--go to another doctor!   How does having a fantastic imagination rule out Asperger's?  This dr. doesn't know what he's talking about!  Aspie's live in this fantastic imagination!  ADHD traits are commonly found with Aspie's, and they often hyperfocus.  You need to find someone who truly understands Asperger's.  "Normal" kids do not flap in the first place for it to become a habit.  The fact that you have an Aspie in your family makes it highly likely your son is.  It is so frustrating to me how many people don't get it.
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I beg to differ with the assumption autistics/aspergers have no imagination. I believe that to be a myth that needs to be discounted.

MaryannesMom, I agree with your statement.

I AM autistic and I HAVE an imgination.  Feel free to follow my walmart link to my other stuff.  I believe that people with autism/aspergers may have an even more active imagination tham most people.  With me, when I imagine something, I can play it like an animated video clip and "hear" dialogue and minipulate the characters actions, setting, etc. I used to think everyone was that way but it appears not.  Perhaps the reason why professionals are so confused, is because they can't see into the autistic person's head.

Not every autistic person chooses to let the world know what they are seeing/imagining in their head. Not every autisitc is able to let others see a glimpse into their world.  I think with people like me who are able to express our thoughts, it is important for us to get our word out and help break some of these myths and misconceptions.
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Avatar_n_tn
   The symptoms you describe would have me suspecting aspergers, and I would certainly not discount the family history.     I am a retired school psychologist.  In my former practice, if the school and home were observing the same behaviors along with our own evaluation suggesting these issues to be a possibility, a referral to a child psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician would be indicated.  Since we were in a rural area, we referred to a developmental clinic operated by a university teaching hospital where a team of highly trained and experienced professionals would evaluate.  I would not refer the child to a psychologist for two reasons:  First, I have found their experience, training, and skills to be all over the map.  Most have excellent skills, and some do not.   Secondly, most clinical psychologists have limited experience with children with low incidence disabilities.  
   I would strongly suggest you have your child evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of professionals--a team lead by a psychiatrist or pediatrician.  You will get a diagnosis, and most important, a treatment plan--both of which should give you some confidence that you are on the right track.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I'd get another opinion. Obviously, this psych has little experience dealing with this sort of problem. Children with Asperger's are often socially inclined; they just aren't very good at it without some extra help. They want to make friends; they just don't know how. I have spent time with children with an Asperger's diagnosis, and have generally found that with some help and understanding, they are able to form friendships.
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Having read through your post again you talk about your son playing alot of imaginative games.  I am not sure if lack of imagination is pre-requisite for Aspergers, I know it is for autism.  Are you sure it is imagination and not just re-enacting things he has already seen or read about.  There have been many times when my son has being doing/saying something that I think is really imaginative, but when I ask him 'have to seen that somewhere before' he will usually say yes.  He can adapt the story sometimes, but mostly it is re-enactment.  Have you asked your son about his games to specifically identify that they are 'original'.
If lack of imagination is needed for a diagnosis of Aspergers (as it sounds more like Aspergers than Autism), then, as already mentioned, you will probably be looking at a diagnosis of PDD NOS.
I don't see anything in your post that suggests ADHD, what is making you suspect that?
As you posted sometime ago, I hope you are in the process of getting a multi-disciplinary team evaluation through Health and more importantly through professionals with experience in autism related disorders.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks to all for the recent comments. Since I posted that in feb I have re-evaluated things myself. I think part of the problem I had was that I was takin the word of a stranger(albeit a psych) over what I knew myself about my own child and from what I know about first hand aspergers experience(my brother) The psych ruled out aspergers because he saw my son roughhouse with a boy in the yard, the boy cant stand my son. My son "looked" like he was roughhousing when in fact he was doing what he does(and is not liked by other kids for doing) is invading their personal space. He has no concept of that whatsoever, I am constantly getting accidental headbutts, elbows etc from him.  As sally44 said about the "imagination" games is a fair point. I tried to expalin to the psych that these are not in fact imagination games at all, but the same game played over and over since he was about 3 and half. If the psych knew him at all or bothered to listen to me, he would have found out the imagination games are my sons excuse to stimm and boy does he stimm!!!!! He can do hand flapping in front of his face(always with his right hand) along to the game(which involes him flapping and making "thisshhh" sounds). The psych said this was "just a habit"(that has lasted 5 and a half years) Surprisingly, he dx my son adhd(we knew he has this). Anyway, I KNOW my son has aspergers, I just had to find the courage to admit it to myself!!!!!!!!
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Yes, it takes a while to see it doesn't it.  When I read through my notes written a couple of years back about my sons behaviour that I thought was not autistic I can now see, and know, that it is so autistic!
Have you managed to get the dual diagnosis?  If not then you should even consider going private and getting someone who actually diagnosis children with autism/aspergers for a living.  The person you saw was so wrong!  My son is autistic and also likes to rough and tumble, but on other occasions the slightest touch will hurt him and he'll be in tears.  The state OT is in the process of assessing him now and I'm concerned because she said 'as I have seen him rough and tumble with other children I don't think he has sensory issues'.  WHAT.  So I am now going to get a private report.
Who diagnosed your son with ADHD?  Are you sure that diagnosis is correct?
And yes, it would be nice if professionals would listen to us parents a little more.  They observe them for an hour, but we do live with them 24/7!
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Avatar_f_tn
Get a neuropsych.  The jury is still out - with one doctor holding by a slight case of Asperger's and the other two are going with severe ADHD.  AFter having him enrolled in a school for Asperger's/ADHD - I am beginning to come around to the severe ADHD side - even though he stims.  He doesn't flap, he stopped twirling about 5 years ago, and he doesn't have narrow obsessions or odd speech - he is very inflexible.

A neuropsych usually can rule out Asperger's - but there is no test for Asperger' s per say.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well I have only waited since nov but today, miracle of miracles, my sons report came in the post this morning from the psych. And, surprise, surprise, after 3 pages of text the psych doesnt think there is too much going on apart from "perhaps" adhd. He didnt take into account the flapping(which his teacher also reported)the obssession with time(6 watches and 2 clocks!)no friends(not 1 invite all year to a birthday party or playdate all year)even though the psych said for he 5 mins he saw him in the schoolyard playing(as I said already my son wasnt playing he was doing the usual and invading the kids space which in turn he is disliked for. The prob is in Ireland, you are "entitled" to healthcare for children. As a lot of people have said(and dont think I havent thought about it!) why not go private? If I take my son private it will cost me 450 euro for the initial evaluation. Then for every psych session for my son will cost up tp 1000 euro. Every ot session is 150 euro per hour. Every other session ie behavioral etc will cost me 150 euro an hour. Ladies, count that up per week!!!!!!!! I am a normal person with an average family income. Wish I had that kinda cash, dont!! So I have to try to fight the system yet again to help my son. Forgot to add on any other post. He is almost 9 and still toewalks. Duh not aspergers?
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What about if you got a private report and then accessed the healthcare system?
I can understand your concern that Aspergers is also on the cards.  Look at the diagnostic criteria under DSM IV for Aspergers and make a list of all the behaviours you think fit the criteria.  Then you should head back to your GP show him your list and ask him to refer you to a multi-discliplinary team that specifically diagnoses Autism and Aspergers.  
You could send a copy of that same list to the Psych that diagnosed ADHD and ask him why he doesn't think Aspergers as well.
Which do you think is the most dominant condition, the ADHD or Aspergers?
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Avatar_f_tn
A lot of it boiled down to the dominant condition - with my son it is severe ADHD.  tell me about the testing - over the years we have shelled out about 22K.  A lot of it was reimbursable in the end - but none of my son's doctors took insurance.  We have skipped many family vacations (and my husband even sold his beloved Hassleblad to pay for our lawyer).  the state still owes us 50K for his school tuition (the check is in the mail).  Hopefully, it will arrive i time to pay for next year.  I am still out 50K until he finishes up at private school - because we have to sue very single year - so the money is just rolling.  My own doctor is going through the same thing with his son and they jump for joy when the heck finally comes (and then they try to tax it as income even though it is technically just the district's reimbursement because they don't like to say how much they are paying for the special ed private school kids - everything is politics).  

I don't know how Universal Health Care works - something tells me that you may have to enlist your GP to get some help.  Perhaps you need to videotape your son to prove your examples. Get letters from his teacher.  DId you call the psychologist and make him explain his diagnosis.  The great thing about having a family of doctors is that we know that they make mistakes and that they misdiagnose.  Make him/her explain why they ruled out Asperger's.  It is amazing what happens when you put people on the spot - something my husband is very good at and I am trying to learn myself.  

I think Sally's strategy is the best.  Learn the criteria, and more importantly, learn te lingo that the doctors speak.  Just like my advocate was able to have the doctors reward their letters so that the judges could only rule in one way - you need to learn psycologist lingo and come in with concrete examples to prove it.  Keep a daily log of what he explodes over (something we had to do), if he has an obsessive interest document it, Asperger's people tend to be very literal - document when hit happens - people are impressed with contemporary evidence..

If possible, can you contact a Child Development Center in your area - they are always doing free testing in NYC.  In fact, they actively advertise for participants. Sometimes, graduate students do the testing and then they are supervised by the professors (cuts the fees in 1/2).  At least, those are the games we play here.  Mom - you need to get creative.  Sam ha had half of his testing done for free - because they are so desperate to find these kids.  In fact, he got paid $300 for one round of tests and I got a full report - can't beat that.  

I will tell you what I have learned - is no school district wants to pay for these kids.  They make it impossible for parents to get the help they need.  Private doctors are a little it better at writing the letters - in fact, my advocate dictated the letter to our son's psychiatrist so that the judge couldn't make any mistake what we wanted).  I don't know how it works over there - but you can get the school districts over here to pay for a lot of the testing.  

Once you get the testing - it lasts for about three years.  I know it is a family hardship to get all of this done - in fact, all of it is hardship.  n advocate for your child.    

Now, that being said - Asperger's and ADHD have many overlapping characteristics which should be treated the same way.  The number one problem is executive dysfunction - which effects both - there are excellent resources on the internet to check.  Severe ADHD does interfere with ability to socialize - my daughter (who does not have Asperger's but really bad ADHD - has friends but she can be intrusive, pushy and emotional about them).  Even though she is very bright academically - she acts incredibly immature for her age and cannot shut up or stop moving (it is exhausting).  It does affect her friendships.  My son also has severe ADHD - but unlike her - he is not social and the physical activity has greatly subsided (he is 9) but the internal distractions are still there.  ADHD medicine has been totally ineffective.  Why do they think it may be Asperger's - mostly because he is very rigid and inflexible and he stims.  The autism expert even watched him stim and was rather confused because his stimming was coherent (he paces and talks to a pencil) and very interruptable.    Why don't they think it is asperger's - speech no formal, no obsessive interests, and the big one was the neuropsych - he is an inferential thinker in the 90%.  But we had about 4 experts waiting on the neuropsych - that sort of ruled out autism - even though he can act autistic at times.   This was a kid who had no problems spending hours in his class walking back and forth talking to a pencil and still no one can agree.  So don't blame the psychologist - they have certain criteria and if you don't answer correctly or they don't act in a certain clinical way - your kid doesn't get the diagnosis.  So now my kid has just  touch of asperger's - but is primarily ADHD with an inflexible personality and a mood disorder.  But that's okay, because we though he was just plain old mentally disturbe and crazy before all of this.

Still, we got all the services we needed.  You don't need the autism stamp - at least the report says ADHD and you can run with that until you get further testing done.

If he is having trouble ocially getting laong with kids - you may want to look into your psychiatrist throwing some Buspar into the mix.  I find my child was having a lot of socia troubles because of his anxety.  there are also excellent books that teach social skills.

You didn't mention how he was doing academically (if he seems to do school work easily at times and then seems to have problems (inconsistant) you should have him tested for giftedness or vice-versa - children can be acting out because they have learning disabilities.  Sometimes very bright children have severe behavioral problems.  When we moved my son into a program that could handle his academic needs things
improved dramatically.  

the toe-walking is disturbing.  My son's best friend has Asperger's and when he gets bored he starts that around my house.  My feeling is in his case that it is a coping mechanism for stress.  My son only twirled which stopped about two years ago but he used to crash into people all the time (Manhattan at rush hour was horrible).  Eventually, he started convincing all those activities - stimming and twirling to his room - and many have disapated. He no longer stims at school.  

Needless to say, Sam has only seen his psychologist once this year (just to check in), his shrink twice (but now the we are off all medication I'll probably just check in at the end of the summer) and he is behaving much better with his supports in place.  the smaller classroom has taken the stress off of him - also alot less personalities to navigate, he has friends - albeit strange - but who the hell cares it makes him feel happier.  


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Avatar_m_tn
We met with psych today to discuss his report on my son. He asked us how we felt. I very calmly expressed to him that we felt he had treated our son like a "pick and mix". He only reported on the adhd side and completly ignored everything that suggests aspergers(stimming,unusual facial expressions, obsessional behaviours like 6 wathches and 2 clocks to always know the time, really repetative speech same ? over and over, toewalking,very sudden outbursts of rage)He said that these were all "just habits" When I told him my son at 9 years of age still cannot ride a bike,tie his laces or brush his own teeth he said "alot of other 9 year olds cant do those things either" What a crock!!! So at that point I politely informed him that I would like a second opinion and could he refer us to the consultant who has a lot of expertise with asd's in our local hospital, needlees to say he was not a happy bunny!!!! He actually got quite nasty!! I stayed polite but insistent, to be honest I was really proud of myself. In the end he somewhat backed down and said he "may" refer us. If I dont get my appointment in a week or so, guess who will be getting another phone call?
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Well done!
So start from now to document all the behaviour that you think is part of Aspergers.  Use the diagnostic criteria to help you. Apart from the criteria also list anything you think is sensory based such as toe walking, if he is sensitive to touch or sound, or appears deaf, any stimming etc.  
List anything around his speech/communication ie. obsessions, being unable to hold a conversation, interrupting, unusual tone of voice, repetitive use of phrases or words.
List all the behaviour that you think is anxiety driven.  Especially when it involves interaction.
Observe how he behaves in group situations, is he part of the group, or appears unaware of others and his surroundings.
List any difficulties with social interaction.  Does he have any friends.  What do you see as his problems with his peers.  Does he prefer younger children or older adults.  Can he play games with them especially imaginative games.  Or is he quite rigid in his games and generally thinks there is only one way to do things and any other way is wrong.  What is he like if there is a change in his plans or things happen unexpectedly.
Write down instances of rages, tantrums.
Just so that you can go to this meeting armed with information.
I don't know if it will help or not, but I've just begun a Health Page about behavioural characteristics in autism.  The icon is on the top right hand side of the webpage.  If you look on that parents have posted examples of their childs behaviours under each section.  That may give you some ideas of what your son does that is similar.
Good Luck.
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I'm going to disagree with Sally, with the lack of imagination being a prerequisite to autism. I think she is looking at written material not necessarily from people with autism. I believe that is a myth that lack of imagination occurs with ALL people with autism. It may occur with a number of autistic people, but not everyone.

If that were the case then I shouldn't be writing my own stories and drawing my own characters, which as far as I know can't be traced back to any "original"  Some people may dispute over my characters being related to any well known bug movie, but I've been working on my things since at least 1994-1995...

That being said, there may be rigidity to WHAT your son may do with his imagination. For instance I favor imagining stories with certain characters and insects over imagining things dealing with people.

To me, writing about people, just straight human beings takes away freedom to create my character's own worlds’ social skills, etc... I'd be locked into writing about the real world, real events, political correctness, etc, etc... I'm sure I could work around it, but it doesn't captivate me.

If your child’s shrink is ruling out aspergers on the basis of having any imagination, I suggest they lurk wrongplanet.net to see a variety of people with aspergers/autism that have an imagination. That seems to be a topic that crops up there ever so often.  Some members claim it is true with them that they lack imagination. Others disagree.
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Hi MJ, I think we've already discussed about people on the spectrum having imagination and I do think it is possible to be diagnosed and still have imagination as my own son has it to some degree.  The reason I mention it is that it is part of the diagnostic criteria and experts will pick up on it if a parent mentions their child appears to have difficulty with imaginary play.  Like all things mentioned in the diagnostic criteria they can be on a spectrum from severe to very mild, but my understanding is that to get a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or aspergers you have to have some difficulty in this area.  If you don't then you probably get a diagnosis of PDD NOS.  But a lack of imagination does not only have to show itself through play.  Lack of imagination can also be the cause of the problems with social interaction (usually called theory of mind).  
I went to a very interesting seminar by Wendy Lawson (Aspergers/Writer etc).  She said that she believes people on the spectrum do have imagination particularly in their areas of interest (which seems to be what you have put in your post about your own experience).  For example she said that she is very interested in space, space travel, sci fi etc and because of that she could write an imaginary essay on that subject with relative ease.  But if she was asked to write an essay on another subject that was not in an area of her interest, or was just about human relationships, she would not be able to do that because she wouldn't have access to any information to help her formulate her essay.
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Perhaps the diagnostic criteria needs to be revised to list as showing lack of creative imagination and play outside areas of interest to the individual. That would be truer with many autistic people, I believe.

That is true with me at least.  That was one of my struggles in college was coming up with editorial illustrations.  Try as I may I hit up against a brick wall...

A good narrative, I can see in my head, just like watching a movie and a well written essay I can "hear" as if someone is giving a speech, but if I'm forced to draw an image out of there, I hesitate even if I can see images in my head.

As a general rule I can do a lot more in my head than I actually execute.  Perhaps that's true with many autistic people and part of the reason they get labeled as uncreative. Am I lacking creativity there? Maybe not in my head, but physically lacking the skill or desire to execute my ideas.

As far as aspergers/PDD I believe they are essentially the same, but the language delay gives the person a PDD NOS.  If it weren't for the delay, then people with aspergers and PDD NOS would likely be neck and neck.

Skill and ability wise it varies on the person. With aspergers/PDD NOS, there are people who are more autistic like and there are people who could pass as non autistic.

The main separator from the HFA autism and the LFA seems to be whether or not the person is able to speak verbally. If they can speak verbally, then they get diagnosed aspergers or PDD NOS depending on when they started talking.  If the child does not speak and does not become verbal, then they seem to be given an autism dx.
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As far as my personal opinion, I think the break-up between autism, PDD NOS and aspergers is a bit misleading and confusing.

I think someone can be perfectly verbal, but still be struggling with some aspects that a non verbal autistic people may do better. Intelligence wise, I doubt autism has anything to do with intelligence. There can be pretty intelligent nonverbal autistic people; only standard ways of testing don't reveal it.

Perhaps it'd be better to see autism broken down and categorized by certain specific aspects such as Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Central Auditory Processing disorder, and so on. That way people can find out specifically where their weaknesses lie and work on specific elements.
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Maybe they diagnose things slightly differently in the USA.  In the UK if a child is relatively okay with speech (eventhough they may have had some delay) and don't need SALT; if they are doing relatively okay at school (some excelling, some a bit behind); if they have special areas of interest and obsessions, then they are usually diagnosed Aspergers.  My son was diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum.  He did begin saying words at around 2 and putting 2/3 word phrases together by the age of 3, then his speech remained at the same level but he began repeating and reciting TV/DVD dialogue.  Now he is very verbal if he wishes to be.  His expressive language is assessed as age appropriate.  His understanding of speech/instructions etc is delayed by about 3 years.  He still repeats dialogue to himself.  But he also has imagination, empathy and a sense of humour, maybe not to the extent of one of his peer group.
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I believe they do dx different in the US.  Here's for another personal oppinion.  I never enjoyed being compared to other people, or a supposed "average." I don't think I'm alone.

If people start saying, well you have such and such, but not at the same level as the other people your age, it kind of brings down the self esteem a little.  I'd like to see further study done on supposed non autistic people to see if there are non autistic people who "lack" imagination.  Every person is different. I would think the level of creativity and imagination would vary a lot in people. Some people may be extremely creative and some people not much at all. If you have a group that's off the charts, likely that would affect the "average".

Then there's also the ongoing debate what is considered creative?  Someone may think creative may be to see how many toys they can wrap a string around or dangle. They may think of different way, lengths, and objects.

To most people that wouldn't be seen creative.  To the person dangling string, likely they wouldn't think playing tea party with a bunch of toys as creative either.

Creativity is based on opinion and perception and a bit of stereotyping.  The stereotypical concept of creativity also falls in line with typical gender roles.  Society's concept of a very creative child likely would have a female pretend she was a princess, dress up in strange clothes, pretend she's a fairy, or play house, tea party, etc... She may pretend she's a mother to a toy doll. If they are into art and writing they will be drawing and writing about such things.

The typical concept of creativity for a boy is to have him play cars, trucks, dig in the dirt, play with action figures, etc... I'm sure I can think of more, but I'm short on time at the moment.
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Now I'll pull up an example from my own childhood:  I played house a few weeks when visiting my grandma in the summer. I had a doll, but no broom.  So... The doll doubled as the "child" and as the broom".  Up-side down, I had a broom. Right side up, I had a doll.

Okay someone seeing me treat the doll as a broom, likely would be rather disturbed... To me, I was just being resourceful. They likely would wonder if I had any creativity and wonder if I even understood the concept of the game I was "supposed" to be playing.
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I was thinking a bit more on the subject while I was away. Perhaps one good indicator of autism would be if your child actively engages _other_ children in their imaginative play _and_  engages in _other_ people's imaginative games, _allows_ them to take turns, _and_ enjoys them just the same.

Likely there will be exceptions to the rule, but I suspect a fair number of autistic children are pretty content to play by themselves and possibly get irritated if other people try to get them involved with a different game than what they were playing, at least most of the time. This degree of irritation can vary upon the child's mood.

As a child I did play with a few friends if they wanted to get involved in my imaginative games. I did play games like tag, but probably not as a really young child. As an older child I would play along with other people (unusually boys) but once I lost interest, I'd go off on my own rather than suggest we play another game.

Most of the time I played by myself. If other people wanted to join in, I let them, but I don't think it made much a difference. As far as playing other people's games I'd go along, but I didn't really take charge unless it was something I was already playing by myself.

Does your child invite people to play with them with their imaginative games?

Chances are most autistic people would not unless they were trained socially how act out that behavior. Even so they would need the desire to engage someone with their games.

If other people invite the child to play, this may be trickier. An autistic child may or may not go along with depending on their desire and social skills.  If they lack the social skills, they likely will not notice another child wants to play along. They may react defensively.  If they have the social skills, they may let the child play, but be confused about the turn taking process. They may dominate the game or act passively.
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I meant (usually...)
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Well, my son has started to ask me and some other school friends to join in his games.  But the problem is that it usually involves re-enacting something he has seen on TV or DVD and he expects you to know what to say and do, he doens't explain it to you or seem to understand that he would need to explain it.  He expects you to automatically know what he is doing.  Or if he does explain to me what I should do or say then it's okay, but I've usually had to ask him first.  He will allow some deviation (ie. imagination) into the game, but has to keep control of the content and the outcome of each part of the game.  Otherwise he would get upset.  Most other children just cannot do what he is asking them to do (unless they know exactly what movie or part of a movie he is trying to recreate).
If I invite one of his school mates round he usually loses interest in them after a couple of minutes and either I, or my daughter, are left to play with them until their mum comes!  
The other thing he does, which makes interactive play difficult, is that he plays in his head.  He can vividly re-run scenes and dialogues in his head, which of course we don't have access to.  So he could quite happily ask you to play Narnia with him, but he would then just sit down and start reciting dialogue from it.  Children can't join in with that.  Or if he does want to physically re-enact it, it has to be 'the same'.
He can use other objects to represent something else ie. pretend a spoon is a telephone etc, which is good because some autistic children/adults cannot do that.
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Its very interesting to listen to both of your points!! I am only new to all of this(well not that new I suppose, my brother has pretty serious aspergers) Actully, on that point, I remember when my brother was only a baby knowing something wasnt quite right. To be honest, he was with 2 psychs at age 4 and 6 and both said he was fine!!!!!!!! But what I do know, with hindsight, if he had of been seen by someone competant, he would have been diagnosed as classically autistic.  
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Sounds like your typical lack of theory of mind case.  I had that problem too... For some reason I thought if I understood something then everyone must understand what I understand, because what I understood, I thought was "common" knowledge...

I had to learn it doesn't work out that way. If I could tell you when and how that light bulb went off that may help, but I guess it's just something that "clicks" after learning things the hard way...

I still may do it from time to time, but am learning to notice if people seem to be confused.  If they become confused then I try to explain what I am seeing in my head and what I am trying to talk about.

In the end sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. For instance trying to tell my grandma about a leak in a soaker hose I just bought...  I was trying to tell her the hole in the hose was not intentional... Apparently when the company packaged it, they folded up the hose and the crease caused the hole.  I either approached her at a bad time or she just didn't get it, until I led her to the hose and pointed to the hole.
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isthiscp

Yes autism is a very interesting subject. The main thing it being variable to the individual. What may be true for one person may not be to another.

For instance I'm not one to engage people into my own activities, unless I know I can't do it on my own, or know that it would work better to have people work with me.  In group situations I'd either be sitting out letting everyone do their thing (if they didn't give me a clear role), do whatever I was told to do to the best of my understanding, or want to lead the group and assign people to each task.

The last one would be if I have an idea what I want to do.  A good example would be one night I wanted to cut out paper autumn leaves to decorate tables for a church Thanksgiving event. Since I had only one day to create the leaves, I knew by myself I couldn't do it.  So that night, I drew out some patterns, and wrote out some step by step instructions.  That morning, I got my parents involved in helping me make the leaves.  Another case was at another church.  I wanted the "Olive tree" props to look natural for an event. This included tearing little holes in the leaves where bugs may have chewed and creasing the leaves to look like wind had blown them or something.  I actually got two or three other people to help me on that task.
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Someone else with autism may do things differently.  I also think one big thing that gets overlooked when looking at various people with autism is the fact that the autism is just a small part of the individual.

Take the word "autism" out of the picture without removing the actual condition and you're going to have an equally diverse group of people.  You're going to see the same features in both the autistic and non autistic group.

There are autistic people who lack imagination and there are non autistic people that lack imagination.
There are very creative autistic people and there are very creative non-autistic people.
Rigidity: You're going to find rigidity and obsessions in both groups. Even the extreme form that gets the OCD diagnosis tag can occur in both groups.

Autism is just a label for a set of behaviors that people exhibit. Some people would include mercury poisoning and autoimmune conditions in with autism.  Once again I can't say that is true for EVERY autistic person.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if you'd find mercury poisoning and autoimmune conditions, gluten intolerance, etc in near equal portions of non-autistic people. It's just when you throw autism in the mix, it seems to amplify certain behavior characteristics that I suspect would otherwise have been overlooked.

Of course I'm just rattling this off the top of my head without scientific basis. I'm just one that likes to read up on various stuff and form my own opinions off of such stuff I read.
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