I have a couple of questions. Firstly my ex partner whom I was with for a number of years has asbergers.
When I was with him I didn't know anything about this disorder, I just spent many frustrating years with this guy thinking (in my ignorance at the time) that he was a very difficult frustrating guy, I felt that he was never listening to me, and constantely obsessing about a subject, and I HAD to listen to keep him happy, even though the subject matter to me was boring and I could not relate etc etc.
Anyhow cut a long storey short a few years ago he came to me and mentioned he thought he had asbergers, I did a search and the symptoms are him to a tee. He has never been offically diagnosed with this disorder, as he doesn't see the need for medications.
Anyhow, we had a son, and I have noticed over the years that he has some similar traits to his dad. The main one being the incessant talking of things that interest him, and it is normally a one track onesided conversation, which I am sorry to say can become boring and tiring.
I have never had him diagonsed, as I don't feel he suffers to such a degree that he would need medication, plus I am against meds and try and stay on a good diet.
Anyhow the questions I have are he has some symptoms recently which I don't recognise as Asbergers, and was wondering if anyone here can relate or recognise these as asbegers?
1. Every so often he has to go to his room and scream, he warns me first, when I ask him why? he says it is to let all of the stress out! I ask him what that means, and he says that cause he has a lot to say, if he can't GET OUT all he wants to say it builds up as frustration inside of him, and by screaming it lets it out??
2. He often has to tap, click his fingers etc and says he doesn't know he is doing it!
3. Also when he talks, he talks loudly, he has always done this, in supermarkets I tell him to keep his voice down, but it doesn't seem to sink in. His dad does this also.
All three of them sound like Asperger's to me, when you put them together with the obsessive fixations and one-sided conversations.
1. Us Aspies often get pent-up frustration that we need to release in an outburst. For me, I make myself violently cry as a tension-release of sorts. All of this pressure builds up that I need to get rid of. It usually happens once a month, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less.
2. This sounds like "stimming" to me. "Stims" are short for "self-stimulatory behaviors," repetitive behaviors that all autistics do to calm themselves when they feel anxious or upset. Some stim when they're excited, too. Common stims are rocking back-and-forth, flapping one's hands, and wringing one's hands. I rock and wring my hands. I also will rub my arms, stroke something between my fingers, move my thumbs in-and-out of my palms, and yes, tap an object. Nobody quite knows why stimming helps us, but it has something to do with our sensory issues. Sometimes stimming helps us block out the external environment, so we don't have to deal with people, and sometimes the repetition just soothes us and give us something else to concentrate on, besides the stressful situation.
3. A common stereotype of Asperger's is that we all talk in a monotone. This is false. Some Aspies do indeed talk in a monotone, but it's not required for a diagnosis. However, regardless whether or not the Aspie talks in a monotone, there almost always is some sort of problem with the way we speak, be it intonation, volume, or prosody (the flow of words and how stress is put on words). Talking too loudly is very common. I do it, too. I'm 19, and my mom still has to tell me sometimes that I'm talking too loudly. It doesn't sink in because our brains just simply don't have that capability to monitor our volume. We don't even realize we're doing it.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Good luck, and God bless!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Oh Gatsby - You know I actually was hoping you would reply to my post. So thank you.
I have read many of your posts, and most of your descriptions of yourself I recognise in my son. It is nice to be able to talk to someone who actually understands first hand their symptoms.
I have never mentioned to my son the word 'aspergers', not because of shame or anything like that, it is just that I don't want him to feel he has to carry a label. I don't know if that is wrong or not, what do you think?
It is interesting what you say about aspies don't realise they are talking loud, is there anything that can be done regarding that do you know?
Are you able to explain the urge for 'getting out the frustration' my son when he goes to his dads he spends quite a bit of time on a playstation, I wonder sometimes if this doesn't help him, and contributes to his frustrations?
Like yourself my son is also a very bright kid, and very talented in what he does. When he was a little younger at school he had problems with concentration, but now he is eleven he is settling down and finds concentration alot easier.
As I said before my sons dad obviously has aspergers too, but when he was growing up aspergers was never heard of, everyone irgnorantly thought he was just awkward, which is sad.
The big difference between my son and his dad is, my son is very affectionate and caring, and express 'I love you' often, where his dad can't at all.
Can you say that someone is fully aspie or just has some traits?
When your ex found out he had Asperger's was it a relief to him? To know there was a reason he may have felt "different"?
My son has AS. He's known since the day we knew. I didn't want to "hide" it and have him accidently overhear something and think we'd been hiding something from him as if it were bad.
AS isn't a disease, it isn't a label (as far as I'm concerned) it's part of who my son is. It explains so much of what he deals with. When he discovered all this his first words were "You mean I'm not stupid?" It was such a relief to him to know there was a reason why he thought differently then the other kids, why he did things the way he did, etc.
I really urge parents to be upfront with their kids about AS. To just treat it as an everyday thing, talk about it like it's no big deal and help the kids learn about it so they can learn to help themselves.
Kids can become great advocates for themselves when they know the facts. I'm glad you are taking the time to learn for your son. It's so important.
Hi Pink piglet - yes I totally understand what you are saying. I don't think of it as a disease, or anything to be ashamed of, it is just that I don't wish to attach a name to my son.
If he was in distress and asking me questions etc, then that maybe another matter. He certainly doesn't think he is stupid, far from it, he says himself that he has an active highly imaginitive mind, and as long as he can live a happy normal life, why do I need to say, "actually I think you may have aspergers".
What would worry me is it may have a negative effect on his confidence, as no child wants to feel they are different.
I appreciate you probably disagree, but it is just how I feel. I am against medication for him also which is why I haven't felt the need to visit the doctor. I am very much for alternative medications and a good diet.
As far as his dad goes, he hasn't actually had a diagonosis as such, he did a test on the net and scored mid way I think. He basically said that he wasn't exactely relieved as such, just that things made sence a bit more. In his day asbergers wasn't recognised, but he did well at school gaining a grammar school place, and then going on to get a degree etc. I expect his parents felt no reason to take him to the doctors as he was doing well at school, and was not behind.
I agree with PinkPiglet. I think for most people having an explanation for why they do things differently really helps with their self-esteem. I think it also helps them develop tolerance for other people, including nuero-typical people, as well. Just as you do not want your child to ever think they are stupid or inferior because they view the world differently, you do not want them to make those same judgments on others.
We are very open about my son's autism. I have found that everyone is very accepting of him. Instead of viewing him as odd, they find him amazing. I think it helps to educate others so they can be understanding, and accommodating when necessary.
Brook65, I was writing my post while you were posting so I had not read your last post. Now that I have read it I would advise you to trust your motherly instincts. Every child is different and every situation is different. If you child is not having any difficulties it may not be necessary for him to know he has a diganosis or for that matter to even get a diagnosis. In the future if it does cause difficulties you may want to reconsider. You can also educate your child on personality and learning differences without ever using the term autism or aspergers.
As others have said, it's really a personal decision as to whether or not you tell your son, or even whether or not you get him diagnosed. I was only diagnosed this spring, but I'm in the school of thought that diagnosis and Asperger's itself are both very positive things. I don't tell everyone I meet that I'm an Aspie, but I tell a great many people. I'm very proud of it. I don't know if there's anything that can be done about talking too loudly. I guess just a lot of practice and reminders. I can explain my frustration and tension-release mechanisms after they occur, but I'm inconsolable when it's happening, and I'm confused before it happens. I don't often understand why I get upset until after the situation has passed and I analyze it. You mention that your son is affectionate and caring. That doesn't mean he's not an Aspie. Another stereotype is that autistics are these stone walls that are uncaring and devoid of emotion. Not true. Some Aspies are overly affectionate. The main problem is that we don't know how to properly express emotion, but we feel emotions just like everybody else does, much more intensely, in fact. Asperger's is an ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), so there are varying degrees of symptoms. And there is what is called BAP (Broad Autism Phenotype), where a person has lots of traits, but doesn't qualify for a diagnosis. Just like every other disorder in the DSM, the symptoms aren't what characterizes the disorder, it's the intensity of the symptoms and how much interference the symptoms cause in daily life.
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Bettsyann and Gatsby- thanks so much for your understanding.
I don't want to come across as making a bad decision, it is just so difficult because as I said, he seems to be fine with life, apart from his quirks and differences.
Bettsyann the point you made about if he was to start having difficulties which were causing him distress, and then for me then to review it again and maybe talk to him, I agree with that totally. It is just that at the moment I don't want to upset him in any way. Like you said motherly instincts is what we have to go on.
I was actually speaking to his dad this evening about this, and asked him what he thought, he said he thinks our son has tendancies for aspergers but thats all? I don't quite understand that, surely you either have it or you don't?
Gatsby I can totally understand about being proud to be an aspie, as generally aspies seem very clever talented people, with outstanding knowledge and memory.
Bettsyann - yes I am trying to guide my son with social skills as well as concentration problems. When he was at infants I had many complaints from his teachers regarding his lack of concentration etc and not doing his work. Now with lots of help and encouragement and 'praise' he is learning to deal with concentration issues at school, and his social skills are better.
Brook65, I can understand what your son's father was saying about having tendencies towards aspergers. I consider my oldest son (13) to have asperger tendencies. He somehow just doesn't quit fit the profile. I don't know how to explain it but he is missing a certain element that somehow in my mind makes the difference between having or not having aspergers. He is brilliant, a bit OCD, hypersensative,and a bit quirky. He has had alot of anxiety but he has learned how to manage it quite well. He does very well in school, however, when it is too easy or too boring he zones out and hyperfocuses in his own mind. This doesn't cause him any academic problems but it does annoy some teachers-other teachers are great about just reminding him to come back to reality.
My son was finally dx 3 years ago when he was in grade 5. Before that we had an ADHD dx but I knew it wasn't right. When we pulled our kids out of the system to homeschool I realized we were dealing with a LOT more then ADHD.
It's definately a personal decision as to whether or not to discuss it with your child. Just remember that as he gets older he may feel different anyway and not tell you about it.
We don't do meds either. We've tried them and in the school setting it worked well as they HAVE to sit and pay attention at certain times but at home it's easier to let him be who he is. He can learn the way he needs to.
I know a friend who is using Omega 3 with her AS dd and it's been a wonderful for them. I haven't tried it yet.
I don't speak in a monotone or have unusual speech rhythms, but I had a tendency to speak too loud when I was younger. Sometimes, I have also been told I speak too softly. My main problem, however, is freezing up when people talk too loudly to me. People tell me, "You speak so normally otherwise. Why the problem now?" I don't have a formal AS diagnosis, and wouldn't want to use Asperger's as an excuse if I didn't have it. I put it down to nerves.
Thanks again for all your replies and advice. It is so nice to speak to others who can relate.
Betsyann - that is very interesting what you are saying about your oldest son of 13 possibly having the tendacies. So I guess you are thinking of your son in pretty much the same way as my sons dad is thinking of him. Infact the way you described him, is a close description to my son. He is eleven, and like your son he is also brilliant, talented, sensitive, a bit ocd and also quirky. My son is also doing well in school like your son, and can really apply himself at school now. I can also relate to what you were saying about him zoning out at school if he is not interested in a particular subject. My sons teacher said the same thing, that every so often my son goes into a daydream and 'zones out' and she has to prompt him to come back! My son doesn't seem to anxiety problems though, he is more confident than myself, the only thing I can link to anxiety is when he has the need to let go and scream for a minute to 'let out the build up of stress'!
Bettsyann you say that this son has the tendacies, does this mean you have had him accessed, or have you decided to see how things go for him?
Pinkpiglet, When my son was younger at infants/primary I had many complaints from teachers about him not listening, concentrating, not completing work etc. The school advised us to have an adhd acessment done on him, but like you I also felt adhd was not him, as he doesn't suffer from the distructive behaviour, tantrums, etc which can go with adhd.
Regarding diet I am a diabetic so I have to be careful about what I eat, so my son does get a good diet. Omega 3 is very good, also cod liver oil, and I have also heard that magnisium is very good to. I also read recently that wheat can have a negative effect on asbergers, which is interesting as my sons dad has many food intolarances including wheat.
9catmom - Unless you have other worries about yourself, I certainly wouldn't focus and worry to much about talking loud, lots of people do it
Although my 13 year old has autistic tendencies, I don't see any reason to have him evaluated. I'm sure that some doctors may place him on the spectrum while others would not. My vote is he has tendecies but he doesn't quite cross the line into aspergers. His tendencies make him a bit high maintaince but they do not impare his day to day life. He does well in school, he is very involved in music, he participates in sports, he has great friends. He is well rounded. His biggest problem right now is having too may talents and interests and being overinvolved.
On the other hand, my youngest son has been very impared by his autism. Because of all of the research my family has done to try to help my younger son, my older son is aware of his own autistic tendencies. He does not consider himself to have aspergers however. He just figures he has issues to deal with just like of the rest of us do. Anxiety has been a big one for him but he has discovered that banging out Jon Schmidt on the piano is very theraputic for him and released the anxiety.
I find my interests to be very therapeutic as well. Petting my cats is a wonderful source of comfort. Also, reading about the accomplishments of Roger Bannister is a great source of inspiration to me. I wish I had found out about him when I was younger and things were really bad. It would have helped to learn that other people were sometimes misunderstood and came out on top. Better late than never, however. His story gives me the inspiration to try new things.
9CatMom, it is wonderful to have outlets and people that inspire us. You have really sparked my interest in Roger Bannister. I have placed him on my list of "learn more about." You also are an inspiration for me and others on this boards. Thanks.
Regarding the food allergies your ex-husband has - Patrick Holford, a British nutritionist, considers autism to be like a 'brain allergy' caused by problems with the gut caused by food allergies. If you want to read about it, he published a book called 'Optimum Nutrition for your Child's Mind' that talks about the food/autism link and helpful supplements.
The other thing is - about your ex saying your son has 'tendencies' AS is a 'syndrome' and the levels of severity vary - like on a bell curve. So some people may have it very slightly and others very severely. Maybe your son has it only very slightly. I think AS kids sound interesting. I love it when kids are really 'into' things. My kids aren't into anything except sport and the playstation!!! Although I suspect my eldest son and possibly my youngest may have AS tendencies though I haven't sought a diagnosis. I'll wait and see what happens. My partner jokes that he has it - because when he was young he used to read encyclopaedias for fun and now one of his favourite hobbies is building amplifiers. And he's not very good on the empathy level!! but he's done ok.