Asperger's Syndrome Community
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512869 tn?1211432256

Aspergers Syndrome

I have a 7 year old boy who will be 8 in August.  When he was 3.5-4 yrs old I questioned if he was Autistic. Doctors told me NO and told me he was ADHD. My son often spoke of Snakes coming out of a hole in his wall. He is a nighttime headbanger, He is a tip toe walker, avoids eye contact, acts as though he is 4 or 5, BUT even though he acts that way he does VERY well in school, especially in reading. He has a very good memory, He is very much into Astronomy.... Wants to be an astronaut. My son can't maintain a conversation. We might be sitting in the dr. office and out of the blue he will get mad, I ask him why he has a mad look on  his face and he says he is mad because when he's at school his sister goes into his room..... Let me tell you this... His sister is also in school. Well anyways, I was told yesterday by his new PCP that he wanted him screened for Aspergers Syndrome. WE have to drive 3.5 hours to get there..... Ok, I've jumped around alot in this post, but there is alot going on in my mind... recap of symptoms:
1)Avoid Eye contact
2)unable to maintain or start a conversation
3)Intrest in Space ( MORE than any child I know)
4)only 2 friends at school
5)intrested in only a few things.... puzzles, Bingo, Computer, Video games
6)Late in all motor development skills
7)head banger
8)tip toe walker
9)doesn't like to be touched as in hugged or kissed
10)Has to sit in same chair for meals (otherwise gets angry)
11)Upset when things are out of routine
12) Feels like he needs to be in control
13)Social interaction is poor
14) bedwetting

and I don't know what Rote Memory means.... can someone explain that too me? Dr said he had Rote memory, and me as a parent failed to ask what that meant. I think I was in shock that a dr. saw what we saw years ago with our son. Any advise? Any thing I should look at before his appointment?
9 Responses
347888 tn?1239903054
It does sound like your son could have Asperger's.  It is frustrating trying to get a diagnosis--we went to a counselor on and off from the time my child was 1 because she was "difficult".  He never once mentioned Asperger's.  Finally her pediatrician did when she was 7!  But you must go forward now.  I hope you drive the 3.5 hours to get the screening.  It will be worth it.  As for rote memory, it means you just memorize something without really getting the meaning.  An example would be when we were kids we learned the multiplication tables by memorizing them.  We didn't think about the process of the multiplication problem, we knew it by rote memorization.  Hope that makes sense.  Good luck to you.
427258 tn?1266448842
my 4 y/o son was JUST diagnosed with AS the other day actually. We always figured he had some form of ADD/ADHD, but then the more I researched those the more I read about Autism and AS. I had him evaluated by our local IU20 unit and then he went to see a specialist on Monday (5/19) and it in fact is AS. My son shows the following:

avoids eye contact
has NO friends (deperately seeks friends, but can not maintain a friendship b/c he simply doesn't know how)
delayed in motor skills & appears clumy or physically awkward
BIG TIME tip-toe walker (almost like a ballet dancer most of the time)
seeks routines & if removed from a routine gets very upset
is not potty trained depsite desperate efforts to try
has behavioral issues
has no 'filter' and will say what ever comes to mind

now my son LOVES to be touched, but his problem is he doesn't really care WHO is touching him. he has no 'stranger danger' and will run to people and tell them his name and where he lives.

i hope you get the answers you need! best of luck
427258 tn?1266448842
i forgot to mention that my son is very obssed with Toy Story and the movie Cars. he can recite the movies by heart...any movie actually. he lines his toys up in rows and if one is out of order or not straight he gets very upset. he has also been diagnosed with OCD, which of course plays its role with AS.
347888 tn?1239903054
Your son may have better luck finding friendship with kids either older or younger than him, as kids of different ages tend to accept an Aspie's differences better than someone their own age.  Often an Aspie's obession helps with this.  For instance, my 10 year old daugther is a vido game wizzard so she connects with mainly boys, and older boys, because she is better than them at the games & tells them how to play them!  Another obession she has is cartoons--Tom & Jerry, Garfield, etc.  So she can connect with younger kids through that obsession.  It is very typical for Aspies to have friends that are not from their age group peers.
Avatar universal
It sounds like he has Asperger's - ADHD (at least the executive dysfunction part) is very muuch a part of it.  ADHD people also can hyperfocus when the usbject suits them.  My son is borderline Asperger's and he is a straight A student (thouh he hates to write).  His reading skills are in the 99.8% - that is not unknown for a child with Apserger's as their IQs have exactly te same curve as the general population regardless of how well they communicate their knowledge.  My son goes to a school for Asperger's children and as far as academics go - they have their superstars and they have children with learning disabilities.  Be grateful that he has one less problem to deal with.

As far as traveling - it may seem like a long way to go - but it is hard to get qualified experts to look at a child.  Many parents on this board were given a quick checklist - which was horrible.  We spent hours upon hours with clinical proffessionals and got a better understanding about our child.  These very professional opinions forceed the NYC Board of Education to open up services for him (like a school specifically designed for children with his issues) that would not hace been available with a quick psycho-educational screen mafe available at the school.  Is it an inconvenience - sure - but he is your child and as a parent it is your responsibilty to go the extra foot, dare I say, extra miles to get him what he needs.  

I live in a comp;lex of over 632 partments.  Every morning all of the children who go to special schools assemle in the lobby awaiting their various buses.  Three of the children are suffering from profound autism (and I think one may be mentally retarded) - and I amazed what their parents have to go through.  The Asperger kids may be difficult but it is nothing compared to what these folks are going through.

470168 tn?1237474845
Rote learnt stuff is as said previously it is learnt (sometimes immediately) without the understanding behind it.  Or there can be understanding behind it but it is learnt in a rigid way therefore they will use the 'rote learnt information' and be unable to generalise that into new situations or be inflexible in what they have learnt and be unable to alter or adapt what they have learnt.
For example my son can read his reading book after he has been told what the words say on the first page, because the other pages have the same words on them.  But he cannot always read those same words in isolation out of their sequence.
He also immediately learns anything he sees/hears on TV/DVDs and will want to re-enact them.  So, for example, in play it maybe rote learnt ie. he is re-playing something he has already seen and will get very upset if anyone tries to deviate from the rote learnt 'script'.  Rote learnt stuff can also manifest itself as rigid routines/behaviours.  
When they are shown a way of doing something they will insist on always doing it in that rote learnt way.  They are not able to be flexible and see that there are other, may better ways, or approaching a task.
Language can be rote learnt with phrases heard repeated in their appropriate context giving an impression of good language acquisition when infact it is rote without the full understanding of the meaning behind it.  This may show itself by unusual phrases/words being used that may seem 'odd'.  An extreme version of this is echolalia or delayed echolalia.
Learning things in a rote way denotes a cognitive way of thinking that is not analytical.  Children with autism/aspergers have difficulty understanding the connection between things and the reasoning behind them especially around things like social interaction.  So, from their point of view, it is easier to rote learn how to behave (from something they have seen or heard) rather than them trying to analyse the situation and respond appropriately when it doesn't make any sense to them.
It is also possible for children/adults to be half/half rote learnt and analytical especially at the higher functioning end.
My son (age 7) uses a mixture of echolalic,rote and analytical speech.  The other day he was talking about his 'arm bow'.  What he meant was his armpit, but he had analysed the word elbow as being similar in shape as the armpit, but he didn't know what the armpit was called so he made up a word 'armbow'.
325405 tn?1262293778
2 friends at school.  That's good.  When I was in elementary school, I had 0 friends in my class.  My 2 friends I had were one girl who was a grade ahead of me and my older brother who was 2 grades ahead of me.  Sometimes having one or two close friends can be better than having more friends.  
Avatar universal
Ladies help me my son is showing signs of AS. his anger and fit throwing is out of control and my responses are as well. What things do you apply in order to control the rage and fits? He is bossy and demanding way beyond a 4 year old. He goes into total melt downs if one thing doesn't pan out the way he thinks it should>
470168 tn?1237474845
Firstly if you suspect AS then you should get a multi-disciplinary team evaluation through Health.  This will usually mean your son is seen by Speech and Language Therapist, Clinical Paediatrician, Clinical Psychologist, etc.
Then you need to read some good books about AS.  If you have an autistic society (eg. in the UK there is the National Autistic Society) then they have book lists.  There are also parent to parent help lines etc.
The main thing you are posting with problems about is the tantrums/range if things don't work out the way he expects.  And that is exacly what it is.  His 'expectations' have not been met.  This is usually because something has 'changed'.  The point to remember is that those on the spectrum find it very hard to 'understand' things and make connections, or predict outcomes.  This means that when, for example, they are shown how to do something they will 'always' want it doing in the same way.  That is because they cannot 'imagine' another way of doing it because any change makes it completely different and they don't 'recognise' it as the same thing.  Difficulties predicting outcomes means that if the situation requires them to 'alter' something or do it in a 'better way' then they cannot see that.  So they just want to do it in exactly the same way.  We can see a more erganomic way of doing it and therefore push them to do it 'our better way'.
There can also be problems with generalisation.  So you may show your child how to do something in one environment.  But on another day, at a different time, in a different room they cannot perform the same task.  That is because it isn't the same task to them.  When you teach them something they can sometimes 'take in the environment' as being relevant to the thing taught.  So teaching the child to tie their showlaces on a Monday afternoon, on a sunny day when mum and dad are there to prompt is not the same as being told to tie your shoelaces by your teacher at school after P.E. on a rainy Tuesday morning.  And therefore they cannot do it and become angry/frustrated.  Does that make sense?
So you need to try to keep things the same.  If you have to change anything you need to warn him beforehand and explain 'what' is different and 'why'.  He is a bit young for reading and writing.  But when he is older you could try getting him to write a list of what he is doing during the day (and use a visual timetable) and he can tick off each thing as he does it.  My friend writes a list of where she is going in the car for her son to tick off along the way.  If she were to deviate from the list ie. add in another stop, or do the things in a different order to the list then all hell would break loose.
If you look at it from his point of view, bearing in mind the above, then you will see that he is not really 'being bossy'.  He is terrified of things changing or being different because then he won't recognise them and he will again be tossed into a very chaotic and confusing world that he doesn't understand.  So that is why he is 'demanding' things are done in his way and when he says so.
I would advise go along with his way of doing things and begin to make suggestions such as 'if you did this it would be much faster'.  He may/maynot be able to follow your advice.
You can also use Social Stories to explain concepts ie.  "Mum had told Johnny that they were going to the park tomorrow.  But when they woke up it was raining.  What do you think happened?  Do you think it is a good idea to go to the park when it is raining?  Johnny's mum said 'We are not going to the park because it is raining.' " By using stores like this you will be helping him understand outcomes and from his answers you will also be able to guage if he can predict outcomes himself.
I would also recommend getting in touch with a parent support group, especially if they have social events for the children.  You will get alot of advice and support fromt he parents and you will see other kids with AS/Autism, which I find helpful to see the differences.  Your child will also be able to socialise in a very accepting environment and may make some friends.  I think it is important for the child to understand their diagnosis and to meet other children who are similar to them.  If they don't they will simply believe all the things they hear people say about them eg. weird, freak, stupid etc.
If you take the time and effort to read about the condition and them start to look at your sons behaviours from an autistic perspective, then you will begin to see 'why' he is doing that.  When that happens you can make adjustments and life for all of you will become better.  Please remember that he is not just being awkward to annoy/upset you.  The emotions he demonstrates when truely upset/angry is a true reflection of how the event has made him feel, and that is not a nice place to be.
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