It sounds to me like he could be on the spectrum. Usually if there have been speech delays or disorders that rules out Aspergers and a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder is more likely. However children are not always typical to fit the criteria!
I will go through your post and mention what I think you have said that sounds on the spectrum compared with my child who is 7.5 years old and is diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and sensory differences.
I don't know about the blistering when he had his hair cut. But my son used to be terrified of the hairdressers because he said it hurt when they cut his hair. We had to leave the barbers once with half a haircut because he couldn't tolerate it anymore. Now we have found a female hairdresser who warns him before she does everything ie. sprays water onto his hand first and gets his permission to spray his hair etc. My son is also oversensitive to having his hair washed, it cannot be combed or brushed. It hurts to cut his nails etc and wearing socks and shoes are sometimes very uncomfortable.
Regarding food my son complains that it is hot and spicy when it isn't. He doesn't like certain textures and he cannot stand the smell of some foods to the extent that he would run away from them. At the other extreme he can smell his favourite food from upstairs and will come down if I unwrapped chocolate, for example.
My son also hates getting his hands sticky, but is better about getting messy. He didn't want to do it when younger. If he gets wet in the rain even a little bit he has to change all his clothes, or if he gets the slightest bit of mud on his shoes.
My son also hated nursery and school. Until he was nearly 6 I had to strap him into a childs pushchair to get him into nursery/school because he would have a tantrum and refuse to walk.
He has also had his hearing tested because he appears deaf when busy.
At this point, I would say that alot of these behaviours are sensory based and also rigid behaviours and routines associated with autism.
If you google the name Olga Bogdashina and read the articles by her printed in Autism Today you will find them relevant to your situation. She is a reputable professional who has spoken to professionals and families in our area a number of times. She is from the Ukraine and has two children on the spectrum. Her book Sensory and Perceptual Differences in Autism and Aspergers also has a caregivers questionnaire at the back which you can complete to get a sensory profile of your child.
It is also important to know that sensory processing and perceptual differences can vary hour by hour and day by day. And that is part of the child's problem as well so on one occasions something may hurt them, but on another they cannot feel anything. But from their point of view if their perception is that it hurts, or does not taste nice, or smells bad etc then their reaction is understandable. We can't understand their behaviour because we don't experience what they do. It is very important that you son understands this. He isn't mad or crazy, he literally sees, hears, feels, smells things differently to everyone around him. He may also have problems with balance, co-ordination, internal body sensations such as hungry, full, needing the loo, feeling hot etc. These are all sensory based.
My son has a speech disorder, but he can speak relatively well and is assessed as age appropriate. However he has problems processing and understanding other peoples speech. He also has literal interpretation of words; so if I say 'look you've turned the house upside down' (because it is a mess), he would literally look surprised and ask me 'have I turned the house upside down, how?' This will explain his difficulties with subtle jokes, sarcasim, teasing etc. He just won't understand it.
You could also google Semantic Pragmatic Disorder and see if that is relevant.
My son also memorises whole film dialogues and can memorise his reading book. But he cannot read yet. He also repeats alot of TV/DVD/Movie dialogue to himself and also incorporates it into his speech. This is delayed echolalia. If you google echolalia you should get some good examples of it. This demonstrates a speech processing disorder and is associated with autism.
It is very common for those on the spectrum to socialise better with either older adults (because they take the time to try to understand them more), or with younger children (who don't question them or their behaviour), rather than their peers. This is a social communication/interaction problem and is part of the diagnosis for autism.
Problems with taking turns and losing are also typical. These skills have to be taught because they are not automatically learnt in the same way that other children pick up things.
Your son will find unstructured free time during breaks and dinner time unbearable. He needs to have alternatives that give him structure eg. a dinnertime club to go to, or access to the library or computer. If he has to be in the same environment as other children he will be teased and bullied and he won't be able to cope with that.
My son also rarely wants to leave the house because it is a safe and predictable environment for them. If you bear in mind the sensory problems and the social interaction difficulties you can imagine how daunting it is to leave the house. It might help to draw up a list of things you are going to do so that he can tick them off as you do them to see that he is moving down the list. What exactly is he objecting to when you leave the house. Is it the unpredictability of not knowing where he is going or for how long. Does he get upset if you take a different route to the supermarket or if you do things in a different order to which you told him they would happen ie. you go to the petrol station before you go shopping. These are rigid routines and behaviours that he uses to try to make his world predictable. The more predictable and understandable you make his schedule the more he will be able to comply with it. As he is 12 you can involve him in writing up the daily schedule. Always try to build into it things he likes ie. going shopping and then watching a DVD he likes etc.
Also for any socialising etc try to do it through interests and hobbies he has. Never go for team games if he cannot understand the concept of teams and doesn't like physical contact. Try something else like trampolining, climbing, swimming, horse riding etc.
Having to finish an activity he has started is typical of autism. My son also finds it impossible to leave something half finished, or even to put away toys that he hasn't finished playing a game with.
Again his association with certain clothes for certain activities is typical of being on the spectrum and again is rigid behaviours and routines.
At the top of this forum page, click on the Health Page and read the DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria for Autism. I have posted it there and parents have posted examples of their child's behaviour that fits the criteria.
Your son does sound to me like he is on the autistic spectrum which could be Aspergers, High Functioning Autism, PDD NOS. The important thing is he is going to find mainstream school very hard to deal with without the recognition of his difficulties and the supports he needs.
Contact the National Autistic Society in your country for advice about getting a diagnosis, what educational supports he should have access to, what your legal rights are regarding education etc.
I would also advise joining a parent support group and finding out about any clubs or groups where teenagers on the spectrum can meet.
If your son does not understand 'why' he is different it is going to badly effect his self esteem. Being autistic means that he will have some disabilities as well as some abilities way above his peers.
If you find out he is on the spectrum don't hesitate to help him get connected with other autistic teenagers to let him know he is not alone. I can't tell you how much that helped me at age 12 when my dad got involved with ANI and some other autism advocacy groups. I got to see I am not alone and I also got to see autism in a more positive light than the doom and gloom that the mainstream puts out. I also got to see yes I am different but I am no less a person and I can use the unique gifts that I've been given. I don't have to live and believe I am hopeless. Unfortunately the media tends to feed off that sense of hopelessness and make things showing just the worst moments to feed off people's sympathies. It isn't helping...
Please pm me and I can give you some good links to look into that have a positive point of view.
Hi I hope things get better soon. My advice is to find a doctor that will address each problem behavior and issue. A a naturopathic doctor has helped us sooooooo much. There are plenty of things B12, mag, etc supplements that will help if you find he is most likely deficient. There has been much research into parental observations of these natural things but not a lot of medical research because big Pharma wont make a lot of money on them. Good luck.
Do this exercise everyday with your child in a fun way.Note any difference you notice every week.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril
then -keeping the left nostril closed deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 5 to 10 minutes twice a day(maximum 60 minutes in one day).
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.