I think my 6-year-old has Asperger's Syndrome - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 10-10-2013, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6-year-old son has been extremely challenging ever since he was a toddler, and I believe he exhibits many of the behaviors associated with Asperger's Syndrome. He has a very hard time in social situations. He is very rigid, especially once he has his mind set on something, and can have terrible meltdowns when things don't go as (he) planned/wanted. He frequently repeats lines from movies/TV shows/computer games, especially when he is uncomfortable. I'm beginning to see in public places (like the playground) he seems to WANT to connect with other kids, but he doesn't know how and usually says something strange or acts weird. We are homeschooling, in part because we were so worried about how he would do socially in a school environment, but we are trying to help him develop social skills by doing group activities, etc. (I also have a 4 year old and a baby, all boys)
I mentioned my concerns to our family doctor and she agreed with me that he seems to fit the criteria for Asperger's, though we have not sought out a formal diagnosis. My husband is strongly against a diagnosis/label. He admits that the kid isn't totally normal, but he doesn't think there's something "wrong" with him either. My husband himself shared some similar traits as a young child, though I don't believe to the same extent.

The two things I'm really struggling with right now are (1) my husband is so anti-labelling him that I can't talk to anyone about my struggles. I know some of our family members/friends suspect he has something going on, but wouldn't dare say anything. Even when I try to talk to hubby about my struggles, he listens but often tries to place the blame on ourselves and the way we've raised him ("he's a young 6 because we've sheltered him" and "we/you/I could have handled the situation better") or downplay it saying the events I describe sound normal to him. The other thing I'm really struggling with is social situations with strangers. Playdates with friends are a little better (though not at our house, if other kids touch his stuff he practically has panic attacks) but a few times at the park recently he's approached groups of kids and acted strange, then I've heard/seen them making fun of him. I don't think he quite realizes it, but it makes me want to cry for him. It's the worst feeling ever. I don't know how to handle it because he'll often latch on to a group when we first arrive and follow them around everywhere they go, even if they're obviously trying to get away from him. Sometimes I can redirect him, usually I can't. I don't even know how to handle this. If anyone has any words of wisdom or even just cyber-hugs, I would really appreciate it.
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#2 of 5 Old 10-10-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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Mostly just hugs. many hugs.

 

With many kids, 6-7 is an especially difficult age. Maybe rising expectations, maybe a developmental stage. I don't know, but I see it often (I work in the field of special needs kids as a Family Advocate, and I have a high needs son).

 

My guess is that your husband will need to come to acceptance in his own time. Don't let this drive a wedge between you. The diagnosis can wait. My suggestion is to quietly act as if you knew the diagnosis of Aspergers for sure. From your description, it sounds close enough to be a useful model. Research what therapies sound like they might help your son/family. I would suggest Floortime as a starting point. And Social Stories. Also, perhaps the book, The Out-of-Synch Child, as many spectrum kids have sensory issues. These avenues will offer therapeutic interventions that you can implement subtly at home, in the course of normal daily interactions. If these kinds of interventions help, it will give you a little more information about what works with your son. If they don't fit, that is useful info also. Try something else. In any case, no harm done. There will  be plenty of time for a diagnosis, if it is ever needed.

 

The mainstream attitude is that intervention and therapy are the way to go - the more, and the earlier, the better. I don't necessarily agree with that, and if pushing too hard in that direction would risk your marriage right now, well, alternate paths may be worth trying. It sounds like your husband is very accepting of your child's "quirks". Celebrate that!


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#3 of 5 Old 10-14-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SAHM2Boys View Post

The two things I'm really struggling with right now are (1) my husband is so anti-labelling him that I can't talk to anyone about my struggles. I know some of our family members/friends suspect he has something going on, but wouldn't dare say anything. Even when I try to talk to hubby about my struggles, he listens but often tries to place the blame on ourselves and the way we've raised him ("he's a young 6 because we've sheltered him" and "we/you/I could have handled the situation better") or downplay it saying the events I describe sound normal to him. The other thing I'm really struggling with is social situations with strangers. Playdates with friends are a little better (though not at our house, if other kids touch his stuff he practically has panic attacks) but a few times at the park recently he's approached groups of kids and acted strange, then I've heard/seen them making fun of him.

 

A lot of dads live in denial, so what your DH is doing is fairly typical, but IMHO, really isn't a reason to not get your son the help he needs. You don't need your DH's permission to do anything.

 

Go get the kid an eval. Get the process started now, because depending on where you live, it could take awhile. This needs to be your focus because otherwise, you are attempting to DX your own kid based on what you read on the internet, and attempting to make up a treatment plan based on that. 

 

Your DH will get over it or not, but either way, you still need to do what is right for your child.

 

Talk to who you want to. Say what you need to. If your DH is SOOO controlling that you are not allowed to speak about what is going on for you with others, then drag his butt to marriage counseling. (sorry to be harsh, but I've been there, done that, and the only way forward is just to deal with the situation. My husband and I did spend time in marriage counseling dealing with, among other things, our DD's special needs).

 

Education and kids on the spectrum is a difficult topic. I have a DD on the spectrum (who is now in jr. college) and at different points we homeschooled, public schooled and private schooled. There aren't any easy answers. Sometimes, homeschooling is the best option, and sometimes it isn't. However, homeschooling so that a parent can stay in denial about a special need is NEVER in a child's best interest.

 

Once your child has a dx, therapist, etc., you will have better tools for teaching him social skills. My DD attended social skills classes for awhile, which really helped.

 

Anther great book, which might help your husband as well, is Quirky Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Kids-Understanding-Helping-Doesnt/dp/0345451430


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 5 Old 01-06-2014, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know how I missed these responses - I guess I didn't get notifications... but anyway, thank you to both of you for taking the time to comment!  A brief update that DS's behavior has gone back and forth but has been pretty bad lately.  I think the stress of the holidays / break from normal routine is a big factor.  My husband has come a long way and while we still don't feel a formal diagnosis is necessary since we homeschool, he's quite a bit more open-minded about it.  He's still not sold that he's autistic, but acknowledges that he isn't like other kids and does in fact exhibit many spectrum-y behaviors.  I'm actually off to start a new thread about FEEDING a special needs kid, so if you have any words of wisdom I'd love input!

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#5 of 5 Old 01-06-2014, 07:53 PM
 
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Huge hugs.  I have a 7 year-old daughter with Asperger's :).  Her father (we're not together) still will not admit she's autistic, despite the fact that she was diagnosed, literally, years ago.  I obviously don't know your husband, but I think for folks who aren't "neurotypical" themselves (DD's father is not), it's genuinely difficult for them to see the differences you see every day.  The subtle things, the nuances, the social flow - your husband may truly not be able to see the true differences between your son and a typically developing peer.  I realize it may be hard to do this, but I agree with others in you not waiting for your husband's approval or full understanding.  What I mean by not waiting is, as another poster suggested, go ahead and start addressing the things you realize are difficulties for your son.  As Mamarhu mentioned, floortime is wonderful - "Engaging Autism" was a great starter book for me.  Also, something that helped me start to understand my daughter more was reading things written by the experts - and by experts, I mean autistic people (not MDs).  Karla's ASD Page is a great one on FB.  Autism Discussion Page is another FB favorite of mine.

 

You sound like an attentive, concerned, loving Mom.  Your son is a lucky guy.

 

Feel free to PM any time.

 

Katie

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