The social difficulties that you describe are consistent with Asperger’s Disorder, but an accurate diagnosis can only be made through assessment by a qualified professional. Therefore, I recommend that you seek the assistance of an individual who specializes in the diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorders. From my point of view, diagnosis is primarily important for identifying appropriate services and supports. Diagnosis alone does not dictate the appropriate intervention. Therefore, my recommendation is for you to work with school personnel on a plan to improve your son’s social skills and to decrease problem behavior. I recommend that you seek the support of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, who would be able to conduct the appropriate assessments and to assist in developing a behavior plan. Please visit the website of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (http://www.bacb.com/) where you will find a directory of service providers.
Wow - you have a nice school. My ASD kid sat in the principal's unlocked bathroom (he is gluten sensitive and was having a diarhea bout - he did ask the nurse to call us before it all escalated) for 2 hours (no one called us) and they called 4 cops and an ambulance to take him away. We got a fabulous settlement which is paying for his private Asperger's School.
What the doctor says up top is very important. My son's dx is still up for debate. We have had ADHD, OCD, mood disorder (NYU doesn't give out the bipolar until later teenage years), ASD and Tourette's. Honestly I couldn't give a hoot about the dx - we just needed to ascertain the services he needed. We still have no real idea - he is just a kid who skirts alot of spectrums but fails to make full criteria on any of them. The new school made all the difference and we are so grateful that these trained professionals (outside his large staff at NYU) know how to bring out the very best in these kids.
Its very true what you say SueNYC. It amazes me sometimes that in school they appear to be unable to 'think outside of the box'. Many times I feel my son's school is more autistic then he is!!
To: Dansmum. Alot of the things you mention sound familar from an ASD point of view. If he takes things literally and is allowed to do something one day he will not understand why he can't the next day. This is basically a change in routine/expectations and is usually one of the big difficulties those with ASDs have.
If he is having alot of problems during unstructured social times eg. dinnertime/playtime etc are there any dinnertime clubs/playtime clubs that he could go to? If not the school should be asked if they could set up something. I know the examples of behaviour given sound extreme from our point of view, but if you see it from the autistic point of view there is usually a reason for it however 'over the top' their reaction has been.
When my son was at nursery I was called in because he was screaming and wouldn't stop and had locked himself in the toilet. Apparently their 'system' was to go with any child to the toilet to 'watch' them. My son doesn't like being looked at. He told them not to and they ignored him. With hindsight, the simple solution would have been for them to turn their backs to him!
As your son is 8 and verbal have you had a talk with him about it, encouraging him to explain to you what happened from his perspective. I am not condoning bad/violent behaviour, but I think if he is able to give you some insight you will probably be surprised at his honesty.