My son is seven years old. He is a good boy, plays well with other kids, and has no learning challenges (he's exactly where he should be for first grade). Based on all these facts, I think it's unlikely that he's got a standard form of autism. That being said, my wife and I have noticed for years that something is not quite right with him. I'm hoping someone here might recognize what I'm about to describe so we can get him (and ourselves) the right kind of help.
He flaps his hands fairly often. He can control it, and he says he does it when he's "excited, with lots of energy". He likes to cross and uncross his fingers, and will generally move his hands and fingers in strange ways. He does have some control over this, but it also appears to happen unconciously too (although if he is made aware of it, he can stop). He is very tall for his age, and gangly, and has terrible coordination. We're not sure if the coordination is related to whatever causes the hand flapping, or is just a normal trait. He has some strange habits too: If he sees a dog, he must say "Spunky". He likes to smell any new object briefly. He does both these things in a quiet way, so most people wouldn't even notice it. But since I'm around him, I know that it's very consistent. Every single dog he sees someone walking - he must say "Spunky". Finally, he is normally a very even-tempered kid, but every now and then (about 1-2 times per week) he gets "hung up" on something and will have an absolute fit if it doesn't go the way he wants. The most recent episode was him wanting me to put a check into an envelope (I had paid via credit card). No matter how rationally I tried to explain that a check wasn't neccessary, he just went further and further into a complete meltdown. Asking him after he calmed down, it sounded like he really wanted to put something in the envelope - he couldn't stand that it was empty. Any initial thoughts from the experts here?
Hello ben. From your descrpition i can tell you that your son has several ocd (obsessive compulsive disorder) which can be a symptom of asperger syndrome as well as the physical clumsiness. Is he socially interactive?
That's one of the things that throws us for a loop. He's not hyper-social (his sister is), but he seems fairly normal interacting with other kids. He does tend to do small-group or individual activities on the playground at school, but has a few good friends he's made and will play with them for a long time when he's with them (1st grade, btw).
He's well-liked by teachers and other other parents. Very well-behaved. Top grades, but not crazy-genius smart. Just works hard on his homework. Once he sets his mind to something, he gets good at it. Does crave order and routine - he gets more awkward the more he's in unfamiliar territory. Very cautious kid. Has color-blindness in case this is relevant.
What kind of therapy is available? What is typical long-term prognosis? Many thanks!
Hi Ben, I've just read your post.
I agree with the other comment, it sounds like possible Aspergers, maybe not a severe case but it sounds like there are some symptoms of it.
Try keeping a diary of what specifically triggers his 'melt down' usually children with Aspergers cannot cope with change, they like to know exactly what's going on and when! Regarding the name he calls a dog, that is also fairly normal in Aspergers, rather than thinking about what they're saying, they will just say it, without understanding why they've said it in the first place.
Depending on his age, his school should offer some support on this, if not, u can request that he is referred for observation. Hopefully then, he will get the addition support that is needed and you will be able to find out more info!
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