My son is 9.5 years old. He is extremely smart, has friends at school and in his Kung Fu class, and I often get compliments from other adults as to what a friendly, well spoken child he is. I have never had a concern brought up to me about him socially at school or anywhere else.
However, I have always felt that something was not quite right with him. When he was younger I just thought he was an extremely spirited child who jut got into everything. Then I thought, maybe it's food allergies or dietary stuff. (He does have an allergic disease of the esophagus). Then I thought maybe it was sensory stuff, as he has issue with that. He is our oldest son of three boys, and is by far our most challenging. Many times I was close to getting some help, but in the last few years he has calmed down a lot. When he was younger I worried more about the extreme tantrums he would have. (1-2 hours, vs 15 m for our younger sons). Now I worry more about him socially.
What is he like now? He loves books, and will sometimes read 6-8 hours a day. If it's not books, it's legos. he loves TV and video games, but I limit it quite a bit and often take it away completely). He prefers to be alone and has probably asked for a friend to come over maybe 5 times in his life. He complains and worries a lot about friendships, but does not seem to understand what he needs to do to be a friend. (His teacher says he will hurry up and eat his lunch, then go grab a book and ignore people who talk to him). He does not have good control of his body, and often gets in peoples faces, yells or makes loud sounds, plays much too rough. He does things he thinks might be funny, like run up and make a noise in my face, and not understand why I get mad. His younger brothers can be playing fine for two hours, and he gets in the mix and everyone is crying in about ten minutes. Getting him to do anything is a huge process as he is motivated by hardly anything at all. He will do things only because he wants something, never because it is a nice thing to do. He gets little pleasure from doing something nice for another person. However, he is a very loving child who needs A LOT of attention and love from me and my husband. He will stick up for his little brother on the school bus. He adores his cat. I could go on for pages but I'd better stop...:-)
I had pretty much decided he was jut a strong introvert (like my husband) with bad social skills who would always be challenging. But then I picked up "The Journal of Best Practices" written by a husband who was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 30, and what he did to save his marriage. I had just heard about it and thought it looked funny (and it was it's a great read!) But as I was reading it, all I could think was that this guys sounds exactly like my husband. (Who is also sweet, sensitive, introverted and difficult! :-) And then I began to think about my son as well, and stuff started to click into place.
This brings me to my question. At what point do you decide to evaluate a kid? When are they just introverted, quirky and challenging and when do they have Aspergers? I am a teacher myself and I hate how labels are thrown at kids (boys especially) so often these days, which is why I am so hesitant. And our boys go to a school that does nto rush to label kids, they really look at the whole child and are very accepting of who a kid is. I often feel that if we were at a more traditional school a label might have been picked for him a long time ago. I don't want to label him if I don't need to. I know his teachers will look at him differently if he gets a title called Aspergers. But I also worry that he is retreating more and more into his own world with little interest in the world around him. I don't want to look at him when he is 17 and think we should have looked into things.
Well, I've written a small book here. Thanks for reading! I would love to hear from any other moms who have a kid diagnosed with Aspergers, especially if they got it later in that child's life.