Autistic Diagnosis

 

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Old 06-29-12, 11:04 AM
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Autistic Diagnosis

My oldest (3yrs old) was unofficially diagnosed as being autistic. He's now on a waiting list to see some experts. He's not the sterio typical bang his head against something, ritualistic (knock three times before entering a room), or anything like that, but definately not a typical kid.

My question is, what impact can his being officially diagnosed (labeled) will this have on him down the road?

I'm assuming this diagnosis is like any medical diagnosis (legally blind in a eye, or skitsofrenia as extreme examples) and am worried that it'll impact or remove opertunities for him.

What led to this assumption was his lack of speech progression (It was identified he has hearing problems) and anti-socialness (plays around kids, but not really with them).
This in combination with his high inteligents, above average motor skills (was turning screw drivers with me before he was 1) and completely independent (within his strength limitations, uses a chair or other items for hight issues), makes this a hard to argue thing.
 
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Old 06-29-12, 12:56 PM
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Autism is a continuum with some autistics being pretty functional and others being darn near invalids. The diagnosis is also often a judgment call, as the criteria can be pretty vague.

Overall, I would say the issues are with the struggles the child has with tasks (speech, apparently) more than what a label might do to him.
 
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Old 06-29-12, 01:53 PM
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In the long run it's going to help in seeing that he progresses well when he reaches school age. Our youngest (8), was speech-delayed [of course can't get him to shut up now] when he was about the same age, which got him entry into an ESE pre-K class at the same school he attends now. He did two years in that class and then progressed right into Kindergarten. Although he's not autistic, nor has any other health or medical problems, he is mildly ADHD and is a one of a kind kid. Among other things, the early diagnostic work and documentation means that we have a twice a year conference with members of the school staff wherein we document any special needs in the classroom, such as seating near the front and addition time for some tasks, etc. It is referred to as an IEP, Individualized Education Plan. More info here:

Individualized Education Program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 06-29-12, 03:53 PM
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I definately have no worries about him being functional in life as he's already well educated in tool identification, how to solder copper pipe (procedure, daddy solders), and other tasks he and I have done together.
When we got our d-link Boxee system, I didn't bother figuring out the ins and outs. Connect it to the network and let my son at if for a few days.

He is extremely inteligent and is only limited by his physical strength.

My concern is that if they officially label him, it'll be on his file and affect him later in life.
 
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Old 06-29-12, 04:13 PM
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I don't have any good advise or insight....but my stepson was constantly getting failing grades and incompletes on reports from 1st or 2nd grade after we moved to VA. After a meeting with the teacher we asked him to show us his homework assignment notebook (I know, my bad, should have been asking all along...but I had no parenting experience before that)....it was mostly blank except for the dates and class. Turns out he couldn't see the darn board!

Trip to the eye doctor and he became an A student (except when he got bored or lazy). The next year they bumped him a grade (THAT was a mistake).

Point I guess is that sometimes it's the littlest thing that can make a difference.

Emphasize the strengths...minimize the weaknesses.

Unofficial is just that...there could be plenty of other factors that haven't been addressed.
 
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Old 06-29-12, 04:46 PM
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I don't have any good advise or insight...
Me either. What I do know is that I have a cousin that is autistic, (the walk around on your tiptoes, can't interact socially very well type- but is smart enough to be an electrician's apprentice).

We also have some friends of the family who are somewhat "backwards" and they have a son with what we all assume is an undiagnosed form of autism. Doesn't grasp a lot of sarcasm or humor, also kind of does the tiptoe / silly walk, has obsessions with cameras, computers, video recorders, etc, and has what we would call "nervous habits" which others readily notice just by watching him for a short time. Since the family is somewhat backwards and reclusive they have been in total denial ever since it became apparent that from an early age he was "different". Not surprising, since the entire family is a little "different". They put him through the public school system where he was the object of ridicule by his classmates, and the teachers apparently never made any suggestions since he's a smart kid who made good grades. He has a drivers license but doesn't want to drive... and has no desire to ever leave home or get a job. Smart kid, but what kind of life is that- especially as he gets older?

But I guess what I have been thinking is that he probably could have been "helped" somehow if he had really been diagnosed by a doctor, psychiatrist, or specialist in this field. I can't help but think it would be advantageous to get this thing out in the open so that everyone involved can better understand both his limitations and capabilities. And by "helped" I mean that a child with some form of autism would likely benefit from education and training that is tailored to their needs and abilities- such as why make them endure 2nd grade math if they were able to figure that out by age 3.

People are probably going to label him no matter what... so you can't control what other people do. So I would probably focus on what positive things could come from a diagnosis.
 
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Old 08-17-12, 06:24 AM
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Thought I would update this thread.
We have scheduled his appointments to diagnose (or not). Because of his age, this is a 4-5 day process.

His hearing has done a complete 360, going from confirmed hearing lost at certain frequencies to 100% perfect (well, selective hearing now, but what 3yrs old doesn't have that). He is now communicating better.

He still has a number of the indicated signs of asperger (which most people are suspecting he has).

With his improved hearing and communication, his skill sets have almost tripled and are now at the 'holy crap' level.
In about 3 weeks, he went from knowing his numbers from 0 to 12 (verbally and sorting numbered cards), to being able to count verballly 0-20, identify any requested number, organize numbered cards (forward and backwards), all 0-20.
His fine motor skills have also vastly improved. Being out at my parent's house for the past week, he has helped granny change the oil in her motorcycle, bake (a lot apparently), and other tasks I wouldn't expect a child twice his age to be able to do.

My mom describes him as being me all over again , but slightly more advanced.

We should find out in the next month or two what they say and how they suggest proceeding.
 
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Old 11-10-12, 07:03 AM
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Hello Northern Mike,

(sorry moderators for waking up a "dead thread" thats been idle since August)

from reading your story about your son and his abilities and disability, it sounds to me like Asperger's Syndrome.

I happen to have Aspergers and it effects me in a couple ways, the problems it gives me is my handwriting looks like a chicken grabbed the pencil with his claw and drew (penmanship sucks) and have trouble with nonverbal communication/eye contact.

the diagnoses (dxed at age 16, now 28) has i know for one thing made me pretty much the "walking,talking door closer service manual"

with son's ability to identify tools at age of 3, never know how long the interest will stay or what it will lead to if he sticks to it and enjoys DIY projects with you or watching them on TV.

in my case, when i was really young, my interest was cars, then narrowed to car shock absorbers (Monroe shocks and struts) then when i was 12, i seen a door closer on the classroom door when I was in 6th grade, the LCN 4040 series, and me being mechanically inclined I enjoyed what I seen and how it worked and used to pester the custodians asking 100's of questions on how they worked, and now, at age 28, I'm STILL into door closers accept the questions reversed direction, many questions since high school times have been aimed AT ME about how to fix them older "traditional" type closers from the 50's.


also with aspergers and obcessions/interests/passions, some individuals also may develop collections of items that interest them that may seem "weird" to the neurotypical, and yes, I will admit, I do have a collection of DOOR CLOSERS, my collection of them has about 7 hydraulics (many different brands, my last addition to the collection being a floor concealed type, a Rixson #28) and about 12 or more screen door pneumatic type.


any update on your son since your last post in August Northern Mike??

-Jess the doordoctor
 
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Old 11-10-12, 07:43 AM
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Hi DD, I've been following the thread, as I'm sure other have, and thank you for the explanation as it matches to a T one of my grandchildren. I will share this with them as they have struggled to decide what his issues actually are. They have been told, mild autistic, but his collection of toy tractors and farm equipment, and anything with wheels sure seems to fit. A high mechanical aptitude, but poor social skills.

Thanks NM and DD
Bud
 
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Old 11-10-12, 04:43 PM
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I guess I should post an update with the info I do have.
We have not had him to see the specialist yet. I had looked into going 100% private to expediate the process, but my benefits didn't cover enough for us to go ahead with it. Will be going with the semi-private funded means, but waiting sucks.
He's counting has progressed as he can now count forward and backwards to 30 now. He can also do the same with the alphabet.
He's mechanical interest and how things work has gotten really bad. With all the stuff I am fixing around the house, I need to be super careful what he sees me working on as he wants the help. I am however looking to feed the mechanical interest. I'm currently looking for a small engine for him and I to take apart, clean, reassemble and run.

As for fixations on specific things, just letters and numbers currently. I try hard to keep him active and busy with different things.


From what both my parent's are saying, he is a mini-me, but more extreme. If they are correct (which I don't doubt), I am going to need to keep him very busy and challenged, both physically and mentally.
 
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Old 11-21-12, 09:45 AM
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Just a quick update.
Our son had his first visit with the pediatritian (first step in the identifying and labelling) and the doctor confirmed that yes he is autistic in her view.

Despite his accellerated understanding of letters and numbers, we where strongly recommended to no put him in a french school next year.
 
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Old 11-21-12, 10:17 AM
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This is all about balance - you can push them too hard but you can also not push them hard enough.

So he does not speak French already?
 
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Old 11-21-12, 10:22 AM
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He doesn't speak french beyond a few words (oh and spanish thanks to Dora and a few other US cartoons).
We live in a high french population (~52% french as first language) and being fluent in English and French can make a huge difference in job opertunity and pay. When I lived in southern Ontario, being able to speak french (just speak) was about $10k pay difference in some of the places I worked.

The kicker to this whole thing is my parents and extended family and family friends all say he's a younger version of myself, just more extreme.
 
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Old 12-06-12, 08:35 PM
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I work in an education system and have observed special education first-hand and often.

When your child enters school, you need to be mindful of the environment that he's in. You need to know if the particular classroom setting can work with or around those aspects of his disorder and actually provide education, if the classroom has the right balance of discipline, and basically if the nature of the other students in the classroom contribute negatively to your child's learning experience or not. In short, is the class a baby-sitting gig for the non-mainstream kids, or are the students learning what they should be capable of learning?
 
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Old 12-07-12, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by T-W-X
I work in an education system and have observed special education first-hand and often.

When your child enters school, you need to be mindful of the environment that he's in. You need to know if the particular classroom setting can work with or around those aspects of his disorder and actually provide education, if the classroom has the right balance of discipline, and basically if the nature of the other students in the classroom contribute negatively to your child's learning experience or not. In short, is the class a baby-sitting gig for the non-mainstream kids, or are the students learning what they should be capable of learning?
You've nailed our next concern and issue in this adventure.

We live in a small town, just on the edge of the bigger city's education board boundaries (holy mouthful).Long story short, lower than average child to teacher ratio, but the access to the special needs funding and services available had we still lived in the bigger city.
Although this will be a huge advantage for this situation, I'm not banking on it being the solution.


As a bit of an update on his progress...
Over the last few weeks to a month, he's been getting progressively worse. Not sure if worse is the correct wording, but definitely more not normal.

On good days (or times), I can hold a conversation with him or do work with him as if he was an adult. Last Sunday, him and I fixed the bar auto-oiler together on my chainsaw. He was able (on his own) to identify which tool he needed to remove which part (Philips screw driver for the star screws, 1/4" open box wrench for the nuts) and was meticulous in putting all the pieces in their respective jar while we worked (I use baby food jars to keep fasteners separated while working on things). He had casual chit chat about what the parts where, what they did, and so on. He was a little adult in a 3yrs old's body.

On the total other end of things, if he can't have things his way (i.e. walk ahead of us in a busy store or parking lot), it's an all out fit. He'll throw himself to the ground, throw objects, cry/yell/scream, total freak out. These episodes are generally a result of him not getting his way, or being restricted as a child should be in some cases.

His interests are still in the alphabet, numbers and electronics, but have expanded to music, particularly stuff he can sing to. He's also a huge fan of music with proper instruments (classic rock, etc). Acoustic Guitar is probably his favorite instrument.

We've been able to control the freak outs a bit by allowing him to do stuff on his own, with very close supervision.
If he wants chocolate milk, I'll follow him to the kitchen, watch closely as he moves a chair to the cupboard to get a cup (plastic kids cup). Let him retrieve the milk and pour it himself (don't try to hold the cup for him), then on to the pantry to retrieve the chocolate syrup. He'll add the syrup, retrieve a spoon to stir it, then replace everything where it belongs, but place the spoon in the sink.
Last night's chocolate milk run was interesting as there was not enough milk to fill his cup (has to be ~1/2" from the top).
With a quick verbal "Oh-oh", he went to the fridge and got another bag of milk (our milk comes in 1.33L bags). He took the empty bag out of the container and put it in the garbage, then replaced it with the new bag.
I had to step in for the scissors though. I retrieved them and was lining up to use them to cut the corner of the bag. Surprisingly he let me help him line the corner up and guide the scissors to cut the hole.
I was expecting a freak out when I stepped in, but nope. I guess using hand tools with assistance was acceptable to him.
 
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Old 12-07-12, 08:32 AM
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You know this already but a big requirement of all involved is patience. Being autistic doesn't mean he can't get there but often it means the road will be longer for him. I have a couple buddies with kids diagnosed with what used to be call Asperger's: one family is very patient and their child is improving while the parents in the other family cannot agree on how to manage their daughter and she is getting worse.
 
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Old 12-07-12, 09:54 AM
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Yep, patients will be the big thing.
I am fairly patient when dealing with him.
 
 

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