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Asperger's Syndrome Message Board
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Old 04-28-2006, 12:39 PM   #1
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MrsBlack HB User
Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Hi there. I'm new to the board and glad I found it. First, my name is Kim and I have a 5 year old son, Tyler, and a 14 month old daughter, Cameron. My son Tyler was just diagnosed yesterday with Autism. I had really believed he had Asperger's Syndrome, but as it turns out, I was wrong.

Tyler had been displaying unusual behavior early on in his life, and though I suspected something was a little off, I honestly thought he would simply outgrow it. He was our only child at the time and so I guess I had little basis of comparison. The things we noticed by the age of two was that he had a fantastic memory (he and I would go through just loads of flashcards and he memorized them so effortlessly, as well as all car logos, which he knew by age two.) But when he was with other children, he was aloof and didn't really seem to care they were there. He started speaking at the appropriate age, but his language was filled with babbling and echolalia. Another thing we noticed early on was when we took him to a Wiggles concert, he hid his face in our arms and seemed to be overwhelmed.

When he turned four we enrolled him in a private preschool. We were still clueless and believed that if he spent time with other kids, he would just snap out of it. In preschool, he had some issues there, so it was suggested to us to have him evaluated, which we did.

Through therapists under the local school district he was found to have PDD-NOS. They said they believed he was on the autism spectrum, but that we would have to take him to Children's Hospital for the official diagnosis.

Meanwhile, he was enrolled in a public preschool, where he's been the last six months. He's been getting special education, OT, PT and speech therapy. He ocasionally acts out in class, screams for attention, and have an ocasional meltdown. Until recently, he didn't like group activities, preferring to stay to himself. Only in the last two weeks or so he's been more enthusiastic about participating in group activites, but only for about 10-15 mins at a time.

What led us to believe Ty probably had Asperger's Syndrome rather than Autism was that we've been told his intelligence seems to be in the normal to above normal range by his teachers. But now, I wonder if he's just superior at IMITATION and MEMORIZATION, but cognitively, he seems to have delays. He DOES take part in imaginative play at home. For instance, he will grab a walmart bag, keys, wallet and tell me he's off to the store, or Blockbuster for a movie. He will fill his bag with household stuff and pretend to then come home and show me what he bought. He will also pretend to get in a make believe car and drive places. We also play in his kitchen and make all sorts of good meals. I know I would very likely be able to see his deficits more clearly if I had more contact with typical children in his age group, but I don't, so I learned to accept his behavior the way that it is. We don't have a lot of one-on-one conversations - that I realize isn't normal.

His obsession is company logos - it started with car company logos, but now it's expanded to include lots of logos. He's especially fond of the movie production clips that are at the beginning of a movie - THX, Miramax, Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox, etc. He dwells on these images for a large part of the day. I search for these images on the internet at his request and print them out. I cut them out for him and he plays with them on the floor. He also puts a tape in the VCR and watches these clips over and over, pausing, rewinding, slo-mo, etc. He stars at them, shouts with excitement and flaps his hands.

He shows affaction toward me - hugs, kisses, eye-contact. He loves to be with me. If I go to the master bedroom to fold laundry, he will gather his toys and join me there. He interacts with his baby sister (who unfortunately has Down Syndrome, but a pure joy and complete angel) they are very amused by eachother. He can be very loving, playful, interactive and laughs at all my attempts at humor.

As far as his intelligence, he seems to learn quickly. I have lots of trouble teaching him things verbally, but if I teach by example, he picks it up fast. Verbally he is still at a relatively low level...you can have a basic conversation with him, but if you ask him to describe something, or tell a story...nothing. He's not inquisitive at all. He oftentimes has trouble figuring things out for himself and is quick to ask for help. But he's a whiz on the computer. So as far as his intelligence goes, it would be extremely hard for an IQ to be administered as it was yesterday. Tyler aced portions of the test and any verbal parts he crashed on. He also gets really ansy and starts squirming in his seat and just starts giving any answer - he does this with me at home all the time when we try to work in workbooks. He's great for about 10 minutes and then just starts being silly. I just don't get how someone with high and low spikes in their abilities can have the intelligence measured with any level of accuracy.

Anyway, their finding was "Autism" - because apparently a diagnosis of Asperger's can only be given if Autism is ruled out and because of his slight delay in verbal development, he falls into the Autistic catagory. I know it's only a label....it just confused me a little. Regardless, he's starting Kindergarten in the fall for a full day and will aslo have additional speech therapy and some sort of sensory therapy.

Anyway, it's good to have a board to visit. I will be here often now that the official diagnosis has been handed down. If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with my long story. It's hard to sum up nearly 5 years of behavior in one long paragraph!

- Kim

 
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Old 04-28-2006, 12:57 PM   #2
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Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Hi Kim,

I enjoyed your post, though I know that enjoy is an odd choice of words.

One of my nephews was diagnosed with autism at a very early age. He is now in his early 30's and is a joyful presence. He is also high-functioning retarded (is that an oxymoron?), has a severe hearing loss, and vision problems. Like your son, he has certain focuses and will go round and round with them. I figure, if it brings his joy, if he has interest in it, what's the harm. He spends his days working at a nearby restaurant, folding napkins, cleaning tables. They love him there. He visits the library frequently to do research on the moon and the weather, both of which interest him greatly.

Another of my nephews probably has Aspergers. His parents refuse to have him tested and diagnosed. He is now 17 and miserable. He has always been odd, and his father doggedly insisted he was just a nerd and would grow out of it. His father insists that he join the family when we are visiting though my nephew would rather be in his room. He, too, is very focused and interested in certain topics. His social skills suck.

My point is to say: GOOD for you that you had you son tested at this early date. Get the diagnosis and move forward from there. Ty will have a wonderfully happy life, there is NO doubt in my mind. There are many reasources, including this board, and you will have no trouble customizing the input and information you receive so that Ty is addressed positively.

My sense from the way you've described thing: Ty is a cool kid, will always have some quirks, some social awkwardness is some situations, will very likely interact well with some folks, and will continue to grow and learn "normal" reading and math and all that stuff. btw, you sound like a wonderful mom; hugs to Ty and Cameron, and hugs to you, too.

Last edited by jimmielegs; 05-03-2006 at 11:21 AM.

 
Old 04-28-2006, 06:25 PM   #3
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9CatMom HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Kim,

Welcome to the boards! Good luck to you and Ty!

 
Old 04-29-2006, 01:02 AM   #4
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MrsBlack HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Thanks so much. It's good to talk to other parents going through the same experience.

It's ironic that I used to teach computer skills to developmentally adults - which included adults with Down Syndrome and Autism, as well as tutoring an adult with Autism in college and now I have a daughter with Down Syndrome and a son with Autism. Funny how life works, huh?

 
Old 04-29-2006, 05:33 AM   #5
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9CatMom HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

I often wonder if my interest in Asperger's and autism might mean that someday I will have a child who is on the spectrum. I have quite a few Asperger traits myself. My strength is in verbal skills; my weakness mostly in the social arena.

Mrs. Black,

I hope you will continue to post about both your son and daughter. I have read quite a bit about Down syndrome as well as ASDs.

 
Old 04-29-2006, 09:24 PM   #6
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geezermom HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Dear Kim, how confusing the diagnosis process is, huh? Just like all little 5 year old boys, it sounds like Ty is going to improve his academic and social skills quite a bit over the next couple years, so you may get a different diagnosis later on down the line...he may be PDD NOS or Aspergers. What's important is that you know he's somewhere on the spectrum and you're getting him help.

I've come to view the "labeling" of the various forms of autism as just a quick snapshot in time...sometimes you look great in a photo, sometimes your white jeans make your backside look gigantic! The snapshot is a 2 dimensional representation. Yes, the diagnosis is very helpful to have, but try not to worry too much about which type of autism Ty has.

In a six month time frame, our son Cole (also 5) had a diagnosis of PDD NOS, then he scored too well to be even on the autistic spectrum at all, then he came out as PDD NOS again. Cole was a one pound preemie (had to do an emergency c-section at 26 weeks), so for ages, everone thought he just had a developmental delay in his responsive language. When we finally accepted that he was on the autistic spectrum, it was a huge blow. We felt like Cole, who had suffered so much physical pain from multiple medical procedures and he had fought back so well, that now turning out being autistic to boot was like winning the rotten-luck-powerball twice. I'm guessing with your sweet Cameron having Downs, you guys might be feeling a bit like that, too.

Anyway, you have a smart and affectionate little boy who's counting on you to be his advocate, as well as his mom. Be a bear when you have to, particularly in the school situation, but smile sweetly at all times. Sometimes its difficult to get the kind of services our kids need, but robo-mommies always get the job done. I hate to have to say it, but welcome to the club. If this had to happen to your child, you couldn't be with a better support circle than the people you'll meet here. Take care, Kim!
-LeAnne (geezermom)

 
Old 04-30-2006, 05:04 AM   #7
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MrsBlack HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Thanks! I love the term "Robo-mom" as it describes me perfectly.

Well, my children both have weaknesses which are the other's strengths, so they will make a great team.

My husband and I have a long road ahead of us and will face lots of challenges, but I want to have fun along the way. I refuse to let this situation bring me to a dark place. Life is tough, but while we are here, we might as well dance!

 
Old 04-30-2006, 07:19 AM   #8
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9CatMom HB User
Re: Son diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's (long read)

Keep up the good work!

 
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