Mothering Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
5,274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently made friends with a woman at church, and a couple weeks ago she brought her youngest boy, age 6, with her and I got to meet him. Both my and my husband's (separate, discussed later) impression was that he was on the autistic spectrum. The way he held his arms, didn't ever make eye contact or respond to people, even his mom, and the sort of very strong outbursts he had at his mom (new place with lotsa people, rough time for him of course). She told me it was difficult with him and being a single mom and whatnot, and said that he had ADHD. I don't know if she has had him evaluated for some form of autism or is aware of what it is. I'm no expert at all but like I said, I had a really clear impression that he was. Would it be rude to discuss the possibility, might it be helpful, how should I mention it if it's ok to do so?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
My gut feeling is that unless this woman is a close friend, I wouldn't suggest it to her unless she brings it up, asks you about her son or something like that. Also, you didn't mention if you had a child with ASD? It might be appropriate if you have a child with ASD and you discuss her son in the context of your own child.
Maybe you could suggest she get him evaluated PERIOD. Not evaluated for autism. Just evaluated if she expresses concern about him to you.
I don't think????? most people would take too well to having someone suggest their child is autistic unless it is brought up in some kind of context.

Also, his behaviors may be indicative of something other than autism like SPD. It is hard to say someone has ASD from just one meeting like that unless they are pretty severe.

I could be wrong...just my gut feeling.
I'll be interested to read others' opinions.
Kristin
 

· Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
I would never suggest that a child I met one time has autism. However, if you're concerned, you could fish for more info. i.e. You could sympathetically ask how the first day of school went for her son. Hey... about his ADHD... is the school giving him support services? If so, are they helpful? Maybe she will mention that there are ASD concerns and you can add your thoughts if she seems open to it then.

Agree with kme, it would be easier if you have a child with ASD or work with ASD children, something to give you common ground. It is definitely a delicate subject.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
She told me it was difficult with him and being a single mom and whatnot, and said that he had ADHD. I don't know if she has had him evaluated for some form of autism or is aware of what it is.
I am no expert, especially since I'm only the mother of one 18 month old, but if ANYONE (apart from my MIL that is) were to comment on what may be going on with my daughter, even if they were trying to be helpful, it would really offend me. Thankfully only my brother has done that so far. He and I aren't speaking at the moment.

Maybe she just said "ADHD" because she felt it was easier to explain than autism. Or because she thought it carried less stigma. Or because she doesn't want her son to be "labelled" when people first meet him. Or maybe she's absolutely petrified that it might be autism and she is working with her doctor for a diagnosis. Maybe she's in the process of having him evaluated right now. You really just don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

I know you mean well and really want to help, and like I said, I'm certainly no expert and just one opinion out there, but I really think this is the type of situation where I'd hold my tongue unless she flat out asks you for your help or your insight.

The only other thing I can think of is if you know another child around the same age with the same behaviour who has been diagnosed with Autism? Could you somehow have a "playdate" where you could introduce the moms? Or get her in a situation where she could make the realization herself?

For me, the best thing to help me realize that something was different about my DD was seeing her with other kids her own age. For me (perhaps it's because I'm so stubborn) I was only accepting advice from my pediatrician, and any unsolicited comments from others were not welcome.

Hope maybe that helps? And again, I'm just one (perhaps very stubborn, LOL) person.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
4,469 Posts
It sounds like his behaviors are fairly obvious, and I'm guessing his mom is pretty aware of them, whether she has a label for them or not. I know that for me, I appreciate general acceptance, inclusion, and interest. The exception would be another parent of an ASD child, but in general, we recognize each other pretty fast
.

I think PP had good ideas - you can definitely be a listener and support her and hear if she has any fears or concerns, or could use any tangible, practical help as a single mom. You may have some suggestions at that point (like information on how you get evaluated where you live), but even then, armchair diagnoses probably aren't nearly as helpful as a good listener. And a good babysitter - priceless
.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,154 Posts
You don't even know her and you have met her child once. You are in no position to diagnose her child! Just because you have an impression it doesn't make it so. You also don't know enough about the situation to know what she has or has not been through as far as concerns and evaluations. At this point you should keep your concerns to yourself. If you end up getting to know her better and it becomes an appropriate topic then reevaluate. If she asks your opinion you *may* want to give it to her (but tread lightly). This is one of those touchy subjects that most people would be well advised to steer clear of!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks ladies, I'm glad to have your input. No my kids haven't got ASD. I've always had some issues myself (bad at social interaction, easily distracted from conversation, really strongly can't stand jumping into things without a plan) and read extensively about aspergers when I noticed a lot of my own stuff matches up with that...I don't think it's that though with me, I just suck at life and have to try harder than most to get it right
. I've met several diagnosed autistic kids before and noticed the same behavior going on really strongly with him, that's all. I won't say anything I guess, except to generally ask how are things going, and not to minimize if it she does express concerns. If my son and I are playing with him, maybe using things that work with autistic children would be ok though? Like engaging him with a toy instead of trying to have a conversation?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
Quote:
If my son and I are playing with him, maybe using things that work with autistic children would be ok though? Like engaging him with a toy instead of trying to have a conversation?

I know that you are coming to this with a kind heart, and I don't say this snarky... Not all children with autism need toy-engagement versus people-engagement. Every child with autism is different - it goes so much further than "text-book autism" If you really want to be a good friend to him and his mother I recommend you rid yourself of typical autism-stereotypes and just be his friend.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
9,239 Posts
I'm glad you're not going to say anything. I would have advised you not to mention autism unless a parent directly asks about autism. Hopefully, if it is that obvious, school will soon step up and make the suggestion.

My spectrum son is a person engagement kid too. I don't think there is any one thing to suggest for you other than watch how mom interacts for clues. And don't try to get an engagement or response that just isn't there. Don't ask questions of him! He may need time to warm up or he may have sensory issues that are making things difficult.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by nigellas View Post
I know that you are coming to this with a kind heart, and I don't say this snarky... Not all children with autism need toy-engagement versus people-engagement. Every child with autism is different - it goes so much further than "text-book autism" If you really want to be a good friend to him and his mother I recommend you rid yourself of typical autism-stereotypes and just be his friend.

Well, I only thought he might need that because talking with him wasn't working and my little boy was very confused as to what to do trying to be friends. Sorry to sound like a crappy human being.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
Sorry to sound like a crappy human being.
I don't think you sound like a crappy human being at all! I think you sound like a person who wants to help her friend.

But sometimes it's hard being on the other end of a person who means well (if that makes any sense at all.)

I think everyone can see here that you just want to help your friend, and I think we just want to offer advice so you can do it in the best way possible.

Hope that makes sense!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
You are not being a crappy human being! I understand you are trying to help but sometimes it can feel bad to the person whose child is struggling to have their child's difficulties pointed out. Let me just give you an example of how someone's "good intentions" felt to me.

About a year ago when DS was going through his evals, I mentioned to a neighbor he was being evaluated and some of the possibilities we were looking at. One was Asperger's. My neighbor immediately said "Oh my nephew has Asperger's. He has trouble looking at and talking to people." I told her my son doesn't have a lot trouble with either especially but I did confirm that some people with Asperger's do have trouble with those things.

SO.....it's Halloween and we go trick or treating at their house. They have this huge dog that comes to the door and my kids are (warily) looking at this dog and not at her. She actually MADE MY SON LOOK AT HER AND SAY HI BEFORE SHE WOULD GIVE HIM ANY CANDY!!!! She did not do the same with my other kids even though they weren't looking at her either. She also talked really slow and loud to him like he was deaf or mentally disabled. I was appalled and pissed quite frankly because she was singling him out, treating him differently, and it was not her place to do so. She is not his therapist or his teacher. And....as it turns out my son doesn't have Asperger's anyway, he has SPD. It took a lot for him to do the whole trick or treating thing and for her to do that just rubbed me the wrong way.

I am not saying you would have been as insensitive as that but I'm sure she thought she was "helping" by getting my DS to look at her and then "rewarding" him with candy. But...those of us with special needs kids really just need someone to be a friend to us and not try to diagnose or treat our kids. That's what the therapists and doctors are for.

I don't think anyone here thinks you are being a crappy human being, I certainly don't.
Kristin
 

· Registered
Joined
·
324 Posts
another vote for "not a crappy human being." i completely see what the pp was saying when she encouraged you to let go of autism stereotypes, but i don't think that means anyone thinks you did *anything* other than try to help and understand your friend (and her ds). i think it's easy (just imo) for special needs mamas (myself obviously included) to forget that we ALL had these stereotypes in our head prior to our own experiences. i was a pediatric nurse while pregnant with dd. i will never forget that my very first patient had a dual diagnosis of autism and leukemia. at the time, i considered myself on open-minded, well-educated, conscientious person, and thought i was providing good care to this 8 year-old girl. i look back now (having a dd on the spectrum) and realize, "wow, i really missed the mark there." obviously i had good intentions, and still floundered a bit. that said, there was no way for me to truly understand what i simply didn't know on an everyday level, and the best answer, i think, is always just ask what people, want, need, etc.. point is, it sounds like you're trying to just be supportive of this woman, and i know that comes through.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
4,469 Posts
It sounds like maybe something you could do is support your son in basic interactions with the other little boy? Perhaps ask the mom how her child likes to play with others (outside, with special toys, in a quieter place), so you could put the boys in that situation? If you don't think that's likely, then finding words to explain to your son that some people's brains work differently, and how to react in those situations, might be helpful to him - he may be feeling as unsure as you are about how to be and act and what to think?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,354 Posts
Just wanted to chime in and say not everyone is LOOKING for a label. My mom refused to let anyone diagnose me and yeah, I'm not "normal", but I turned out fine. My DD's OT told me what I'd probably be diagnosed with if I wanted to start looking, but I see no reason to. I know other parents who's kids are a little quirky or have some delays or communication problems, and feel it's not something that necessarily needs addressed, or maybe they just get a little speech therapy and leave it at that. A lot of people feel certain forms of autism are just a variation of normal and do not need to be "fixed".

I'm not trying to be harsh...just trying to let you know what it's like to be the kid that everyone wants to diagnose and "fix"....don't get involved. All parents compare their kids to other kids and panic a little if they notice something isn't right. I guarantee if there IS something going on with the little boy, she's noticed and has decided already whether to seek treatment or not.

kme: I can't imagine how furious you were or how upsetting that must have been for your DS. I remember being in situations like that and it is HUMILIATING. Ugh. And definitely counter productive. I would often clam up even more after something like that to show people I wasn't their little puppet. I remember doing it as early as 3. I didn't talk or communicate well, but I was a smart one.
It often ended up being a battle of wills and I usually won because in the end, you can't force a kid to talk...I mean what were they going to do...beat me?
(thankfully no one ever tried that!)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
487 Posts
One of my oldest and dearest friends has a son who is 7. I used to babysit him and would spend tons of time with him. We know he is on the spectrum. I tried to suggest that she have him evaluated by the school when he was younger. And that was only after she mentioned his speech problems. She didnt want to hear it. So I left it alone. He is in the 1st grade now, and the school has finally had to tell her he needs to see someone. They did put him in speech in school . But they still dont want to hear it it could be something more. I never bring it up. Some people just dont want to know I think.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top