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The line between "different" or spirited and "high functioning autism"

11230 Views 20 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Shazeb
My son, almost 27 months old now, has had a couple of evaluations (one general developmental, another speech). We'll also be getting his hearing tested. He's also recently transitioned from in-home care (I've worked part time the last two years, as has his father, and we've had a part time nanny) to a wonderful day caring setting where he has adjusted really well.

I'm writing this message because I'm lost in a sea of conflicting emotions and information and I'm looking for some advice or perspective from those who have been there. I was conflicted about whether to post this message to toddlers or to this forum.

I've always been acutely aware that our son is different, especially in the way that he reacts to the world, ever since he was a baby. He was a pretty fussy baby and it often took enormous emotional and physical energy to keep him on just the edge of happiness, and he only slept well if he was being held or in our family bed. He really liked to be physically stimulated (champion and recreational nurser, physical games that involve being tossed into the air over and over)-- he is still like this. His physical development has always been on the early side-- he sat up early, walked early, and his fine motor skills are excellent. He is primarily a very sunny toddler and his transition into daycare (such a big change from being at home and having 1-1 care) has been great-- he separates pretty easily and is always happy to go there. His teachers report improvements in his social skills and cognitive development.

What makes him different: the big flag is that he doesn't speak at all, and that's what prompted his recent evaluations. He is "conversational" often, where he sees something that he's interested in and then makes a kind of bird-like, semi-vowel sound like "fwoop?". We'll repeat back to him, "dog" (or whatever it is) and he will say his little nonsense word again, and this might go back and forth a number of times. He also makes flapping gestures with his arms when he's really excited. He has a big, broad smile when pleased with himself or interacting with others, and his general social self makes it clear that he doesn't have any of the severe forms of autism. He rarely imitates his father or I, and he doesn't engage in imaginative play (like pretending to be a dog or anything). He does appear to be "in his own world" some of the time, absorbed in doing or watching something and it's hard to get his attention. He does have excellent focus when engaging in some of the activities he seems to really enjoy (ball drop toys, marble labyrinth toy). As his evaluators have noticed, he has an "unusual" interest in things that spin (or things that he can make spin), although I wouldn't consider him obsessive about that or anything else. He also likes to roll a ball back and forth or roll a car or truck back and forth between us. He understands pretty much everything we say to him and is largely quite easy to manage-- he pulls us by the hand and makes his needs well known without words. He's obviously smart and all of his teachers as well as the evaluators comment upon how well he can solve problems or figure things out. He's an extremely picky eater, although he will try and accept new foods.

So here's my dilemma and the reason for this rapidly lengthening post: you can take many of his behaviors (flapping, lack of language, lack of imitation, no imaginative play, "unusual" interest in spinning, being in his own world and sometimes uninterested in other children) as symptoms of high functioning autism. I think there is also a case to be made for children and people more broadly who have distinct and passionate interests from early on and who aren't really cookie cutter kids. I have read "Raising your spirited child" and he fits within the "spirited" category quite well, and some of the strategies that she suggests have been very useful in parenting him. He might simply be different and developing language and social skills in his own way. I'm wondering how to think about and approach this problem, both within my own head and with medical professionals: is it important that he be labeled as "autistic" (I think a sensory integration disorder is also possible, though I'm having trouble finding good information on it)? The other alternative, it seems to me, is to simply pursue speech therapy for him and be somewhat resistant to having him diagnosed (and possibly, misdiagnosed) as anything.

In my heart I am very conflicted-- part of my gut tells me that something's wrong because he just seems to be "stuck" in his language expression, even though it appears he is making attempts at saying words. And he is somewhat odd when compared to other children his age because he doesn't imitate them or fall naturally into a crowd. Sometimes I think his social behavior makes him appear more like another species-- he is gentle and cooperative, but seems to be pretty clueless about what is going on around him. But the other half of my gut tells me that I'm worrying for nothing, because his general behavior is definately *not* autistic-- while he is in his own little world some of the time, he's also very insistent about interaction with us and he seems very emotionally connected to us. I do understand that autism is on a spectrum, and I'm not trying to stereotype all autistic kids as the hand-banging, lack of eye contact, aggressive little creatures that are featured on TV. I don't want to be insensitive as a parent and want to be tuned in to his needs, and to get in his way of becoming who he is (which might simply be a more introverted, nerdy, march-to-a-different-drummer kind of guy).

I don't know exactly what I'm looking for here-- some perspective from those who might have been where I'm at (or who are where I'm at), some resources (I'm overwhelmed by the amount of information out there on the web about autism and stumped about what books might be good reading), or just some sympathy. I feel heavy-hearted about this.

(and sorry for the length)
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Hi Karla. Don't apologize for the length of your post. It was very heartfelt!

My best friend has a 14 year old son who I've known since he was 2. He was recently diagnosed as "high functioning autistic" and it has been a real education for me because I certainly never saw any signs of "abnormality" from him at all. I wanted to share some thoughts with you.

First, I believe that people really do fall on a spectrum. There is no set line between "normal" and "special needs". Because I believe this, I don't believe it is always necessary to find a label for children, try to figure out where they fit in the label system, if you kwim. We have to ask ourselves, when in a situation like yours (which is similar to where my friend has been for a while), what the benefits would be to finding a "category" for the child.

Going by my friend's experience, getting a "label" for your child is mostly a drag. From school to the family doctor, people just treat the child differently. And sometimes, that does more harm than good. BF's son is very high functioning. His "issues" stem from a lack of social skills and issues with processing requests. These mostly crop up at home, though sometimes at school. My friend is glad that he wasn't labelled autistic growing up, as she feels it would have really changed his view of himself and the way others treated him.

But, with that said, she is also extremely grateful and relieved to get this diagnosis. The doctor she is working with now sounds wonderful, and has made big differences already to their life. By explaining how her son's mind processes things, it has helped immensely with the way they handle certain situations from a parenting perspective. And, their son has also benefitted hugely from understanding his social issues. It seems just by recognizing within himself what it is he isn't "getting", he is able to practice social skills without feeling that it's a reflection on him just being "unpopular" or "geeky". He's already improving in the friendship area (making and keeping friends). So, my BF feels that the diagnosis has been a major breakthrough for their family b/c it has allowed them all to understand what is going through his head. It is quite fascinating - it's not at all about DISability - his mind just works differently and in some ways, better than others. For example, he's a very visual learner. He excels in languages with pictoral characters, such as Mandarin. He's not in the least bit "slow"'; he gets excellent grades in school.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: if a diagnosis helps you to understand your "borderline" or "high functioning" child, to reach them better, and to help guide them through life, then I think it's really helpful. But as far as general society is concerned, I wonder if that label just works to a disadvantage most of the time. It sounds like you know your son well, are close to him and not having any problems handling him. In that case my friend might say a diagnosis would be for others' benefit - those who are uncomfortable with your son's "dancing to his own beat" personality. OTOH, as he gets older, he may come to you with problems that you don't know how to help him with ("Mum, why don't kids like me?"), or you may have problems with certain parenting issues (for my BF it was doing his chores: he wasn't being stubborn or lazy, he just had to be shown visually what needed to be done or he just didn't "get it"), and then a diagnosis could help you get the tools you need.

I hope this helps!
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I have so much that I want to say, and not a lot of time to say it (isn't that always the case).
First of all, I think some of your perceptions about Autism are off, so you need to do some reading/research about High Function Autism/Pervasive Developmental Delays/Asperger's Syndrome.
You realize that your son could use some help- get him that. Get him into speech therapy as quickly as you can. Early intervention is really the best thing IMHO. Some people will say it is better to wait and see if language will develop naturally on it's own, however the further behind a child is, generally, the more difficult it is to catch up. And really- you can't get that time back.
Unfortunately, in the world that we live in, it is the label that allows people to get the treatments that they need. Try not to think of a label as a disease or disorders, but rather a set of symptoms. All Autism is, (in simple terms) is delays in language, social skills, and range of interests.
Here is a site that has tons of informationa nd a message board
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This may not be at all helpful or even appropriate, but I come at this from the other side.

I am 48, my Dad is mid 70's. I have been frustrated trying to communicate or have any kind of deepish relationship with him my whole life. Having read a bit about autism lately, as related to vaxes (and I have 2 autistic nephews on my dh's side of the family, ages 8 and 4), I am just now thinking my Dad may have a form of Aspergers.

He is "selfish." He monologues as a preferred means of conversation. he has dozens of shallow "friends" who all golf, drink a bit much, eat a lot, and tell each other stories. when we are together, his idea of conversation is retelling a tale of when we took a family trip back in say, 1968 and trying to insist I cast my mind back to where we camped, who was in the next site, what the terrain was like etc. No matter how many times I say, I was 8, I was 12, I don't remember, he still always does this.

My mom speaks in his stead a lot, "we think... or we feel," when I know he doesn't give a damn, it is just her own compassion talking, including him to ennable him and make him seem as if he cares too. Doesn't fool me.

He made a comment this summer about a couple friends of theirs, their age, 70s, who moved into a 4 bedroom huge new home, to ennable them to have all 3 of their kids and 8 grandkids over 4x/yr for reunions. He couldn't understand why they would do this, "...out of duty?" he wondered, to me! Shows how much he cares abt family. Could you actually take pleasure in having the whole family over for holidays??

Myself, my sister and our families are just shallow characters included the milleu of all his "friends" and acquaintances. Our lives seem to have no more meaning or interest to him than a sit com on his blessed TV.

He hates losing at board games with the family, for ex, even against it when a 5 yo makes up a rule for Uno he doesn't think is "right." One time he stormed out of the room, when my dd wouldn't or couldn't hold as many cards as he thought she should pick up.

He will interrrupt others' conversation or AM newspaper reading (when we are visiting) to insist we all help him with his daily crossword puzzle. For 50 yrs he has watched hours and hours of auto races every weekend on TV, taping in another room while watching, when 2 races are on at once. When he visits and can't get the Speed Channel he gets very testy. He used to keep meticulous records of gas prices when he gassed up and still will drive 10 miles to save a couple cents on a tank of gas.

I used to call him the mechanical man b/c he seemed more in tune with systems, cars, machines than people.

He really doesn't know who I am. Even tho I have used alt meds for 17 yrs, bfed, been in LLL all that time, don't vax, he will still say, "You 'believe in' that stuff?" If I critique a painting he will say,"You think you can do better?" (yes, I went to art college, drew from the time I could hold a pencil, etc), act surprised that I can play piano (7 yrs of lessons), or sing in a chorus. "But our family can't sing."

Now that I have "diagnosed" him, a lot of this makes sense. He is not necc an uncaring selfish a---hole, he is unable to connect b/c he may be slightly autistic. It give me more perspective and patience somehow.

Sorry for the long rant! I can see you have lots more connection with your son that I have with my Dad. Just wanted to talk about those "borderline" people.
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While reasing your post, I sense that you are conflicted, but I'm not sure why. There's no rule that says your sweet little one must be labelled in order to receive services. At this point, you recognize that he's doing things differently, and it seems that you think therapy might help. Why not use this as a jumping off point until it becomes evident that your little guy needs a label to access additional services?

I ask because the question of where someone falls on the spectrum is so challenging. Before we adopted Elliott, I was an Early Intervention specialist, and I worked with MANY kids on the spectrum. Early on, I knew that Elliott also would need EI services for obvious sensory integration issues. 4 years later, I still don't know whether or not to put him on the spectrum, but I do know that he is obviously helped a great deal by attending speech and sensory based therapies, physical therapies, and by our recognition that he needs some additional help in areas that other 4 year olds do extremely well. Elliott didn't need a label for me to know that an adaptive swim class would be best, and he doesn't need a label when he wears earplugs to his gymnastics class to better cope with the very loud, but terrific teacher. None of these therapies or "extras" detract from the delightful boy who is Elliott. He's still charming, bright, verbal and funny, very loving and attached. He also happens to be very uncomfortable in his own skin. Through therapy, etc. I'm not trying to alter him to better fit the world, but I am trying to make the world a more comfortable place for Elliott to be. His sensory issues make some everyday experiences an ordeal for him, and whether or not he has a label, he's still easily startled by sudden noises (like the doorbell) and he still has a terrible time transitioning from place to place, or activity to activity, etc.

This isn't meant to be a criticism of your desire to avoid labelling your sweet tot, just a gentle reminder that the issues will still be there, whether or not there is a label attached to 'explain' why your little guy is the way he is. Keep reading and researching--an educated mama is an empowered decision maker in this process. To learn more about Sensory integration dysfunction, try "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It offers some great information, and will help you to introduce a sensory diet at home and at child care.

It's ok to do this in several stages. Begin therapy or therapies, and keep reading. You'll know in the next few months if a label is necessary. In the meantime, enjoy your sweet treasure. he sounds like a terrific little person!
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Originally posted by lifetapestry
I've always been acutely aware that our son is different, especially in the way that he reacts to the world, ever since he was a baby. He was a pretty fussy baby and it often took enormous emotional and physical energy to keep him on just the edge of happiness, and he only slept well if he was being held or in our family bed.
I SO get this. My son (our first child) was exactly like this. I don't think I *relaxed* for the first 3 years of his life, I was so wrapped up in helping him cope with the world, sleep, and just helping him to "be".

My son actually has Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. I resisted getting him tested but also *knew* something was different about Matthew from even when he was a small baby. When he began to display severe symptoms of Tourette Syndrome (Tics) in first grade my husband and I were beside ourselves with worry and greif--but it was not unexpected that it happened because we had always known deep down that there was something going on. I was freaked out when his teacher wanted to do testing on him...and did not want him "labeled". Now I see how foolish I was, and the only thing the testing has done is to help us know Matthew better, and we are now better equiped to help him.

I actually have never met a mom of a kid with special needs that regrets testing and the whole "label" thing. These days a label will get your child some wonderful services and help and compassion--rather than that look of distain that comes when your child is different but you don't know why.

But even with all that said, you son is still young, and if you want to wait on testing and see how he does--that is fine too. Speech and some Sensory Integration Disorder touch therapy would be a great place to start. Call your doctor and get a number to call in your area for Early Intervention. Your son is at the perfect age to start therapy...I wish I had done it then. Even if your son matures out of some of these issues, the therapy will only help. It is often one on one therapy--they will even come to your home to do it.

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I just wanted to thank you for your various perspectives and the time you took to write about them; it was all just really helpful to me.

Just to clarify-- I'm already on Early Intervention and getting speech therapy set up, so that is not what I am in conflict about-- whether or not we pursue a medical diagnosis further or not was the sole issue. We'll take him to speech therapy (actually, I think they will come to his daycare) as long as it looks like it is helping or has the potential to help.

I would get a medical diagnosis. I truly believe that information is power.

My daughter has sensory integration dysfunction and certainly many of the things you have written could be related to it. I also agree that there is not a wealth of information that I found useful about SID. I read "The Out of Sync Child" and didn't really see my daughter in there but I was lucky enough to meet with Carol Stock Kranowitz and get her evaluation done.

I am also having her re-evaluated after a year of OT to get a record of her improvements. The difference in only 3 months is remarkable.

I think the younger you start, the more success you will have. It could be that speech therapy is the only thing that will be required but I would hate for you to wait and then find out years down the road that OT would have helped. At his age, he could really benefit from therapy IF it is warranted.

Good luck and keep us posted!
In my opinion, by having a Medical Diagnosis it will better help you understand what specific intervention your son will benefit from rather than just stabbing in the dark. It may be that by knowing his "condition" they will know to focus on certain issues rather than general therapies. General therapies will give you that head start, but I feel that if you suspect that something is not "right" with him, get onto it as soon as possible.

The first 7 years of a child's life are the most important in terms of helping them establish who they are, setting up learning patterns, teaching them to communicate, to play socially, to interract etc.

Whilst it is good that you have already started therapies, I dont see why you are so afraid of Medically "labelling" him. He is still who he is. It just helps you understand where he is coming from, how he sees the world, how he feels. You dont have to profess his label to the world, you dont even have to tell anyone, but by not doing it, or putting it off, I feel that you are delaying the inevitable by just waiting and seeing how he goes. You loose precious learning years. As he gets older it will also help him to understand who he is and not wonder why he is different to others in some ways once he recognises these differences (if he does at all).

My Stepson was diagnosed with Autism at 2.5 yrs. He is now 6. After 3.5yrs of constant therapy, attending Autism Kindy, a lot of one on one assistance, he has come such a long way. In Australia, you are not entitled to this Government assisted help unless you are formally diagnosed. Without this help that he has received, I know he would be a completely different child to the one he is today.
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I feel like I could have written most of your threads. And most of the points are valid. What I have learned to do for my high functioning Autistic child is to accept the label soley for the purpose of getting the help we need, and ocassionally to explain to people why we can't do certain things with him or why I accept some behaviors from him.

And work hard not to let the label be an exuse not to teach him or to let him get away with poor behavior, but it jsut reminds me that I have to approach it in a differnt way. Also I don't let the lable get in the way of what he can accomplish in life.

Mommy has to stand up for him and too him.
I too feel like I could have written your post. I knew something just wasn't right when he was born. I think its great you are getting speech therapy. That has helped my ds so much (he's 3 and a half btw). We just recently got refered to the UCLA Autism center, and I am really excited. I don't like labeling my child, but I feel by him having a diagnosis I can get more help with him. I feel so lost on what to do with his behavior. A really good book I read is A parents guide to Asperger syndrome and high functioning autsim by sally ozonoff, phd; geraldine dawson, phd, and james mcpartland.
I say always trust your gut with these things. I knew something was wrong and everytime i mentioned it I was told that he was fine and kids develope differently. But I couldn't shake the feeling. I was so releived when a good friend came up to me and suggested we get him evaluated. Anyway, good luck.
Your son sounds just like mine, right down to the flapping arms and fascination with mechanical stuff.

My son does not have an ASD diagnosis, as I haven't pushed for one. Here in CA, you have to be "severely autistic" ( ie, not just PDD or Aspergers) to get services from the state. My son is high functioning (and doing better all the time) so I figure whats the point anyway. We get ST and OT from the school district, but they do not require a medical diagnosis, just a documented deficit. My son is speech delayed, so he qualifies under that category.

What I would reccomend the most to you, just from my experience, is finding the biologic cause of your son's problems. This is just my opinion from experience with my son. I did not know that my son was intolerant to most foods he was eating until he was 18 mos. old. IGg food testing helped us remove foods (a lot of them) and immediately he improved. His staring spells stopped and his BMs improved. Further immune testing by a wonderful doctor revealed that his immune system was seriously compromised, causing multiple metabolic problems. His HHV6 (herpes) and measles titers were sky high. I'm not big on medications, but antiviral and antifungal drugs have helped my son SO much. 7 mos ago he had 20 rough word approximations, and he now has over 175 words, learning new ones every day and putting them into 4 word sentences spontaneously. He also gets a lot of therapy, but before addressing his medical issues, he was making little progress. His exczema is gone, he sleeps all night long, and has normal poop. He still has a long way to go, but he's come so far. Our dr's webiste is or and explains his basic theory about immune dysfunction. You can also contact any local DAN! doctor about biomedical interventions. Theres tons of info out there.

Look at these boards and how many posts are about autism or other ASDs. This is an epidemic. How can you have an epidemic of a purely developmental or genetic abnormality? I won't go into theories of what cause ASDs, but I know that for my son, autism is not an inherent, incurable part of him. It is a disease that is affecting the way he feels and the way his brain is able to function. I do beleive that he was born with a genetic tendency that was then triggered by a series of assaults on his immune system at a very young age. His succeptible immune system was unable to cope normally, and he was sent into a downward spiral.

Anyway, I'll hush up now. I just wanted to point out that for us, autism is really a medical issue-- not just a "different" child , and my son was never very severe, thank God.

Blessings to you all on your long journey ahead.

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Hi Kate,

I just wanted to tell you that a mom from my dd's birth boards has a child who was just diagnosed with SID. He's a very, very bright little boy, very social but just doesn't talk. He's advanced for his age in many areas. Well he's going to be 3 in December and is finally starting to talk. Not anything big, but a new word every week or so. All on his own.

He's currently getting evaulated so he will qualify for a special preschool, but otherwise he's doing well and is a delightful little boy. Just wanted to give you some encouragement. And trust your intuition. If the diagnosis doesn't seem to fit your son-- well you know him better than any evaluators will.

You're incorrect about getting services in CA. I'm in CA, and my son had an original dx of PDD, and now has a dx of Asperger's and he has gotten services through two different Regional Centers. I also know other families who have those diagnoses and receive services.

Well, in our experience with Inland Regional Center, it certainly IS the case. My son recieved services from them until he was three then was dropped because he "did not meet the criteria for autism under DMS-IV" I also had to write numerous letters and waste lots of time just to get them to evaluate him for autism. They didn't want to do it because he is so high-functioning. Their report stated that he clearly has autistic traits, but not enough for them to fork over money. I know several other parents of ASD children that are paying a lot of money to have their children evaluated by outside sources in order to fight Inland Regional Center for services. I took Jacob to a developmental pediatrician at UCLA and she didn't want to give him an ASD or PDD diagnosis, either because she didn't think it would "do him any good". So instead we have all these "fringe" diagnoses such as SID and apraxia that don't get Regional Center services.

I simply don't think it worth my time and effort to fight them for services. What would I get from them anyway? A few hours of respite that I won't use anyway? My son is too high functioning for an ABA program, and in order to get that I'd probably have to go to due process anyway. We get plenty of ST thru the district and university programs. And like I said before, treating his underlying medical problems are helping much more than any therapy so I prefer to focus on that right now.

I've heard that other Regional Centers are much better about offering services than Inland is. When Jacob did go there for EI, I had to wait forever and then fight like crazy to get 2 hrs ST/wk. The preschool programs they offered were a joke. With budget cuts and the dramatic rise in ASDs and other developmental disorders, I only see the situation getting worse, unfortunately.

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Imformation is power. Get the label and get the services. Your child will benefit from the services and its up to you not let your life be ruled by the label.
I would also say get the actual diagnosis. For years I knew something just wasn't quite right with my Anthony (he has Asperger's), but it was not until he had a meltdown in front of our family doctor that anyone agreed with me.

Since he's been diagnosed, I have done extensive research and found him social skills therapy which helps quite a bit. Also, I am able to help others help Anthony by understanding why he does what he does.

DaryLLL, my FIL is almost EXACTLY the way your dad is! My husband is also Asperger's (my dx not a doc). In fact, our marriage almost broke up a few years ago because I thought all of these behaviors were under his control.

There is such a strong familial component with my son - it's really incredible. And everyone from the outside just thinks my DH and FIL are self-centered men.
I really want to respond to all your replies with a big "Me too" on the "I could've written that" front. Especially yours, KarenEMT, about the family component. The impression that your DH and FIL are "just self-centered" is a really important point in favor or diagnosis. I have a brother with an undiagnosed, classic case of Asperger's--and I thought he was a complete a**hole until my son was diagnosed. Suddenly a light went on--some of the things that had always bothered me the most about my brother are, in this context, impressive adaptive behaviors. I went from being angry at him all the time to being *impressed!* [uh, that said, he's still undiagnosed and therefore untreated and he is still really really unpleasant to be around. It's just not personal for me anymore, to say Oooookay, let's not hang around *you* anymore
Speaking as a mother of an older child than yours, I think it's so important to get a diagnosis. After 8 years of knowing my son was different, I finally found someone who saw all his "oddities" as parts of a whole, and he was diagnosed with Asperger's. A formal diagnosis was and continues to be a huge advantage. For the services, for the context it gives you and others, for the saved time you don't waste trying things that won't work, and even just for the social/conversational shorthand:

not long ago, a neighbor of mine confronted me, saying his daughter comes home very upset about the way my son talks in school. Not to her, personally, but still he's aggressive and foul-mouthed, and she's bothered. I took a deep breath and said simply and bluntly, "My son is autistic. He's in therapy 6 days a week."

I gave him a second or two to adjust, because this changed everything, in his head. Then I told him that it really changes nothing. I said, "The rules at school and at home are the same, and he is not allowed to talk that way. Please tell your daughter that she is welcome to both tell him to knock it off, and to ignore him, since I doubt it's anything personal." With the context of a diagnosis, my neighbor was able to understand I wasn't saying "boys will be boys," but "my boy is my boy. We're working on it." A diagnosis made a situation that could have gone the "you're-a-bad-mother-with-a-bad-kid" route into an "apparently-theres-more-to-this" route. A different understanding and a different dialog between me and the neighbor. He told me he would explain to his daughter==a different understanding and a different dialog between his girl and my boy. At least in part because of a "label."
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What I would reccomend the most to you, just from my experience, is finding the biologic cause of your son's problems. This is just my opinion from experience with my son. I did not know that my son was intolerant to most foods he was eating until he was 18 mos. old. IGg food testing helped us remove foods (a lot of them) and immediately he improved.
I second this. My son also did not talk until after he was put on allergy shots. It cleared up his ear infections too. He didn't speak but "mama and dada" at age two and a half. Two months after allergy shots and food rotation, he spoke in paragraphs!
Typing while balancing a nursing baby so this will be quick. Your post sounds VERY much like what I went through with my now 9yo dd. I took her to the doctor at 3 asking her to be tested for ADD (at the time that was the only thing I knew of that would cause the behavior). He looked at her and said "oh, she's just too smart and you're not teaching her the way she needs to learn". Well, that made sense, she's absolutely brilliant, however, it hasn't gotten much better. She didn't speak until she was just over 2 years old and people always thought there was something wrong with her. She's in the 3rd grade now and has a slight lisp and the school is finally giving her speach therapy once a week. After doing a lot of research I believe she has CAPD (central auditory processing disorder). I don't know how to go about having her tested for it though and being that I'm on state insurance, I'm not sure if they will cover the testing, but I think it may be something worth looking into in your childs case. There are lots of sites online that will give you some amazing information.

FWIW I don't think there is anything necessarilly wrong with"labeling" children as long as it gets them the help that they need and as long as you make sure that your child (I'm so sorry, I've blanked out whether you said it was a ds or dd) knows what an amazing and smart person you think he/she is. My dd is told regularly that she is one of the smartest kids we know but that she learns differently and not everyone knows how to teach the way she needs to learn and I think it's helped. Her teacher commented that she's amazed at what great self esteem Alexis has in spite of her apparent learning disorder.
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