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Old 02-06-2011, 11:22 AM   #1
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Question The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

Just a prelude: My sister in law has Asperger's. My daughter has the most severe form of autism, she has Angelman Syndrome. I am familiar with sensitivities, social awkwardness, and have met many Asperger individuals.

My son has been having problems in school since he started. He is a child of divorce and severe upheaval in his early life; his speech was non-existant until he was 3, and this caused much hardship- tantrums because people couldn't understand what he said. His tantrums weren't any worse than kids of his age though. Once he started receiving speech, the tantrums started disappearing. His first year of Kindergarten was a nightmare; I knew he wasn't ready for school, yet I didn't want to put him back into Headstart and he missed the cutoff for Pre-K by 4 days. A very emotional child, he'd cry when someone was hurt, almost like he felt their pain.

His speech improved by Kindergarten, but the teacher was mean to him, and singled him out. She felt he didn't belong there, and I got a phone call on a Saturday telling me he should be in headstart. He'd come home crying all the time. I left him back in Kindergarten, got him into the new classroom, and he did just fine. I was told he was a very social, loving child who loved to help out others in need. He struggled with reading and writing.

Skip ahead to now- he's 9, in third grade. He struggles with writing horribly. Phonics are lost to him, because his speech is still way off. He has a problem verbally conveying descriptions of things. When he reads, he reads the beginning of the word and tries to by the context of the sentence guess what the word is. He does OK with math, not a super genious, but at grade level if not a little above. I thought he had dyslexia, and asked the school for the pschological evaluation. The teacher brings up "Do you think your son has Aspergers?" I said no. She said he fixates on subjects and it's hard to turn his attention. He "isolates" himself in class, doesn't involve in classroom activities, and doesn't have friends. I told her he very well did, that they come and spend the night at our house! She said he hums in class, she thought he was humming with the fluorescent lights. I ask my son why he did that, he said he couldn't get a song out of his head. She was adament he had Aspergers, nothing I could tell her would change her mind.

The psych test comes back. My son scored high in perceptual reasoning, his non verbal skills were high compared to his verbal, although verbal was at 50%. His short term memory was horrific: 3rd percentile. They said his overall IQ was hard to gauge because his nonverbals were higher than verbals. According to the test though, he had about a 110 IQ. They did a Gilliam Asperger disorder scale on him, which scored high probable for Aspergers; his TEACHER being the consultant on questions. They never bothered to ask me for input. He's a completely different child in school! They need input from my experiences with him at home in my opinion.

My son loves to play with other kids; he willingly plays with his little sisters, even bringing his disabled sister into their "Fort" they build in the living room. He runs around, playing imaginary Star Wars with other boys. He is imaginative; he creates stories with humor, involving other people. He understands subtle nuances of language; if I raise my voice, or give him a "look" he knows what I am trying to get at whether it be I think he's lying, or I don't have time right now. He does tend to like toys more intensely than others- but if I tell him "Put it away, we have homework to do" he understands and complies. Very compliant child- even the school says he has no behavioral issues. He dabbles in multiple things at once, willing to try anything! Our home is very relaxed; we are never on a schedule. He's never (at least at home) freaked out over a huge shift of activity. Maybe tells me "I don't want to do that right now, I'm busy" but I tell him "Nope, put it away, we gotta go..." he'll do it and happily jump into the car or whatever. He has no sensory problems to anything; Nothing beyond a typical kid. He gets upset when he's trying to convey a thought and can't thoroughly put it together in his head and will stammer while trying... "I, I...I... I went to gym today, and we...we... we... played outside! Jason and I got to, ummm, um, throw the ball back and forth..." you get the idea. Speech is simple with him; although he can understand higher level words, he can't use them in his own speech

I had the school reevaluate his speech formally because they never had. They say he's fine. I'm bringing him to a specialized place to get his speech testing done CORRECTLY, as I think he has an expressive language disorder and that's why he doesn't talk much in school; kids are cruel. They will point out his deficits and exploit them, and he's come home and told me as much. I am also getting the Asperger's testing done, as well as an auditory processing disorder test done.

The school never tested him for dyslexia; or went more in depth in his speech. They slapped an Asperger's on him, said to get him formally tested for it (which I am) but I beg the Asperger community on here... does this sound like Aspergers? I'm sorry this is so long, just want to make sure everyone understands. Could any of this be Aspergers, and I'm diluting myself into thinking he doesn't have it, or could it possibly be other underlying problems like hearing/speech that is mimicking aspergers to them?

Thanks so much for any replies.

 
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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Re: The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

Hi there,
It is a very good thing to have your son evaluated by a specialist. That is the first step. Now, with what you have wrote about him and his behaviors , in my opinion, he does not have Asperger's. the reason why I believe this is because your child would be showing the same behaviors at home , school, in public , everywhere he goes. NOT just at school. Even in school I do not think this is Aspergers. What I am thinking is that he may have some learning disabilites that have been overlooked. ALso his early childhood was not stable, which in turn can explain a lot of why and how he behaves. In asperger's typically their is no speech delay. In fact children with Aspergers talk early and have an extensive vocabulary. A Asperger child will have extreme narrow interests , and this is what the child wil focus on , talking about his favorite topic, and it is nearly impossible for the child to change the topic of conversation. Conversation is one sided , meaning the child is only interested in his own special topic. Such as , the weather, Or dates , calanders, or the topic of space.
Aspergers is on the end of the autistic spectrum, because the people who have it usually test high IQ , but low in social skills. They tend to be awakward , and also clumsy in motor skills. Fine motor skills can happen with Asperger's children though.
My son has a diagnoses of autism. However, he is high functioning. He is verbal , but has a low IQ. He did not start talking in sentences until age 5. Their were many other behavioral characteristics , and they did not change in school or home, he always was the same way no matter where he was.
Your son is social , loves to play with other kids.... ASperger kids have such poor social skills that they are not able to maintain friendships. Also they are concrete thinkers. they have a difficult time with imangination. Also, it is extremely difficult for them to understand humor, because their thinking is so concrete . The child or adult cannot comprehend when someone is being humorous , my son knows that his uncle says things to be funny, however my son tells us that his uncle's jokes are "too real"
I am not a professional or anything, just a parent with a autistic son. My son is 17.
By the way Angelman's syndrome is Not on the autistic spectrum. The child may have some characteristics of autism, but if she has never been diagnosed as having autism , she is not. Their is overlap symtoms in many other disorders. However, it does not mean the child is autistic.

 
Old 02-10-2011, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

Thanks for replying, Mscat.

I didn't think so, either. My son can be very outgoing, around people he says he's comfortable with. He understands humor, and laughs like the rest of us! Sometimes he misunderstands something simple, but in his case it's because he mishears you. His teacher did some random checklist on Asperger's over the internet and now is determined to label him as such. Not that there's anything wrong with Aspergers, don't take me the wrong way, but I feel like slapping that on him doesn't address the learning disabilities! He tends not to hold eye contact for long, but if you watch him, he's trying to collect his thoughts. He talks straight to you, then his eyes veer to the ceiling or floor and he starts stuttering as he tries to figure out what he wants to say, then when he's put it together in his head, he looks at you again. Hell, I do that! I'm just trying to put the clearest picture together of how my son thinks before approaching the school and demanding services thru an IEP. I feel so horrible for him; he sticks up for disabled kids in his class because "My little sister is special and I don't want other kids to treat her bad so you shouldn't treat any kids that are disabled bad. They can't help it." Just such a loving child; yet the school says differently. He watches his 5 year old sister read off and spell the words he's supposed to work on, and actually says "Why is it so easy for her and so hard for me?" Poor kid. I think he feels lost, he knows he has problems and doesn't know how to account for them. He mainly has friends outside of his own classroom; the kids in his classroom tease him for one reason or another. I've always raised my son to respect others, ignore who don't respect him. And he does. He does tend to veer conversation towards his interests; that I cannot deny is an Asperger trait. But if you tell him "Not now, we'll talk about that later. We are doing this right now." And he completely stops and does as told. I think, with his speech problem, that when it comes to harder work in the classroom and at home, since he cannot express himself efficiently, he sticks to what he knows and can talk about. Having a voice about toys, or a movie he enjoyed is better than no voice at all, right? He reaches out for love; hugs, kisses, curls up with me on the couch and tells me "Let's have a movie night, mom!" I've never seen Asperger children to reach out so much for affection like he does. Yet, the school thinks he's a cold fish. I want to smack them LOL.

And sorry for the confusion on my daughter with Angelmans. Because our "Angels" experience high sensory issues, social problems, and a majority of autistic traits, most places consider them the most severe form of autism; many autistic newspapers such as spectrum publications frequently talk about Angelmans. Us parents, we just see our children in the spectrum even though it isn't actually a subtype because they can be so linked with both symptoms and therapies. I've read in a couple places they consider her diagnosis the most severe form, and I took it at face value although I shouldn't have. My apologies.

 
Old 02-10-2011, 11:54 PM   #4
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Re: The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

That is ok , The only other syndrome that I am aware of that directly correlated to an autistic spectrum disorder is Fragile X. That is an inherited trait given from the father's gene. These kids and adults also have physical traits. although it is not on the autistic spectrum , their are a lot of simalarities. If I am correct Angelsmans syndrome is also a genetic trait. Their is anther one that is called childhood degeneritive disorder, and anther that only affects girls. I think that one is called Rhett's syndrome. All these disabilites overlap each other, and can show the same characteristics of autism. Their is even speculation that ADHD can have some of the same behaviors as asperger's.
When my son was very young he was so hyperactive.... But I was told that Kids with autism are hyper so they could not have both.
Anther interesting thing about Asperger's is not all aspie children are above average intelligence, some do and have developmental disabilites as well as Asperger's.
my son was rediagnosed as having autism a year or two ago, by a neuropsycholist. He is now 17. I thought for sure he would end up having Asperger's because he is high functioning... However, his IQ is below average , and the language delay when young , placed him as having autism. He talks .... But has narrow intersts, and does not understand humor. He still repeats what he hears all the time, so we have to be careful what we say. He has a photographic memory ... Never forgetting anything.
Your son sounds adorable. He has a big heart. The thing that really struck me is the school techer.. These are school teachers, if they are not trained in dealing with children on the spectrum then she is only providing her own opinion in regards to your boy. that would anger any parent. My son has been in special day classess since the age of 4. These type of teachers are specifically trained and have learned teaching technques that apply to children with special needs including autism.
I certainly would bring that up in the meeting with the school district. If the school district has not even had him fully evaluated then I do not understand how they can place a label on him.
Your also entitled to have your son evaluated by a professional that specializes in autism or Asperger's. I would not hold too much weight on that one teacher's opinion.
Anther thing is your son does not behave the same way as he does at school> Asperger children do not just suddenly change their behaviors where ever they go. Their would be consistency all around , or globally. The avereage child will behave differently at school , especially around friends, however, it would not be such a giant leap of personality, and behaviors.
Kids can be so cruel.. Even now, my son as a senior , and a big kid. Still runs into some very mean boys. He goes to a regular high school , with his classroom being all special needs. They are segrated , but do have opportunities to go to PE with an teachers assistant. Just recently my son was grabbed by his shirt, and then the kid he was with was told off... Two special needs boys , confronted by a punk, a** bully. I am still mad about it.
I think you will feel a lot better once your child is evaluated by a professional outside the school district. What I think is that your boy is a very nice child, who may have some struggles , that could be learning disabilites .... He sounds like a real sweet boy .

 
Old 02-11-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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Re: The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

You need to get a professional who is qualified to diagnose, not a teacher, to make this detemrinaiton. It sounds more like a form of ADHD or (even more likely) an anxiety or adjustment disorder. Teachers like to think that because they went to a presentationi n some conference once about Asperger's, or they know someone who has it, that they are qualified to do a differential diagnosis. I would raise holy hell with the school if a teacher was trying to diagnose my child with anything. It is both unethical and illegal for her to do this.
I would call around your area to the community mental health centers or the large hospitals and ask for a referral to a child therapist or psychologist. You need to have oyur child assessed by someone who knows what they are talking about. A label of Asperger's Disorder will change your child's academic life, and possibly raeach beyond school. If he is not ASD than this could be very damaging to him. Don't let the teacher railroad you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Verucalise View Post
Just a prelude: My sister in law has Asperger's. My daughter has the most severe form of autism, she has Angelman Syndrome. I am familiar with sensitivities, social awkwardness, and have met many Asperger individuals.

My son has been having problems in school since he started. He is a child of divorce and severe upheaval in his early life; his speech was non-existant until he was 3, and this caused much hardship- tantrums because people couldn't understand what he said. His tantrums weren't any worse than kids of his age though. Once he started receiving speech, the tantrums started disappearing. His first year of Kindergarten was a nightmare; I knew he wasn't ready for school, yet I didn't want to put him back into Headstart and he missed the cutoff for Pre-K by 4 days. A very emotional child, he'd cry when someone was hurt, almost like he felt their pain.

His speech improved by Kindergarten, but the teacher was mean to him, and singled him out. She felt he didn't belong there, and I got a phone call on a Saturday telling me he should be in headstart. He'd come home crying all the time. I left him back in Kindergarten, got him into the new classroom, and he did just fine. I was told he was a very social, loving child who loved to help out others in need. He struggled with reading and writing.

Skip ahead to now- he's 9, in third grade. He struggles with writing horribly. Phonics are lost to him, because his speech is still way off. He has a problem verbally conveying descriptions of things. When he reads, he reads the beginning of the word and tries to by the context of the sentence guess what the word is. He does OK with math, not a super genious, but at grade level if not a little above. I thought he had dyslexia, and asked the school for the pschological evaluation. The teacher brings up "Do you think your son has Aspergers?" I said no. She said he fixates on subjects and it's hard to turn his attention. He "isolates" himself in class, doesn't involve in classroom activities, and doesn't have friends. I told her he very well did, that they come and spend the night at our house! She said he hums in class, she thought he was humming with the fluorescent lights. I ask my son why he did that, he said he couldn't get a song out of his head. She was adament he had Aspergers, nothing I could tell her would change her mind.

The psych test comes back. My son scored high in perceptual reasoning, his non verbal skills were high compared to his verbal, although verbal was at 50%. His short term memory was horrific: 3rd percentile. They said his overall IQ was hard to gauge because his nonverbals were higher than verbals. According to the test though, he had about a 110 IQ. They did a Gilliam Asperger disorder scale on him, which scored high probable for Aspergers; his TEACHER being the consultant on questions. They never bothered to ask me for input. He's a completely different child in school! They need input from my experiences with him at home in my opinion.

My son loves to play with other kids; he willingly plays with his little sisters, even bringing his disabled sister into their "Fort" they build in the living room. He runs around, playing imaginary Star Wars with other boys. He is imaginative; he creates stories with humor, involving other people. He understands subtle nuances of language; if I raise my voice, or give him a "look" he knows what I am trying to get at whether it be I think he's lying, or I don't have time right now. He does tend to like toys more intensely than others- but if I tell him "Put it away, we have homework to do" he understands and complies. Very compliant child- even the school says he has no behavioral issues. He dabbles in multiple things at once, willing to try anything! Our home is very relaxed; we are never on a schedule. He's never (at least at home) freaked out over a huge shift of activity. Maybe tells me "I don't want to do that right now, I'm busy" but I tell him "Nope, put it away, we gotta go..." he'll do it and happily jump into the car or whatever. He has no sensory problems to anything; Nothing beyond a typical kid. He gets upset when he's trying to convey a thought and can't thoroughly put it together in his head and will stammer while trying... "I, I...I... I went to gym today, and we...we... we... played outside! Jason and I got to, ummm, um, throw the ball back and forth..." you get the idea. Speech is simple with him; although he can understand higher level words, he can't use them in his own speech

I had the school reevaluate his speech formally because they never had. They say he's fine. I'm bringing him to a specialized place to get his speech testing done CORRECTLY, as I think he has an expressive language disorder and that's why he doesn't talk much in school; kids are cruel. They will point out his deficits and exploit them, and he's come home and told me as much. I am also getting the Asperger's testing done, as well as an auditory processing disorder test done.

The school never tested him for dyslexia; or went more in depth in his speech. They slapped an Asperger's on him, said to get him formally tested for it (which I am) but I beg the Asperger community on here... does this sound like Aspergers? I'm sorry this is so long, just want to make sure everyone understands. Could any of this be Aspergers, and I'm diluting myself into thinking he doesn't have it, or could it possibly be other underlying problems like hearing/speech that is mimicking aspergers to them?

Thanks so much for any replies.

 
Old 02-11-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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Re: The school thinks my son has Asperger's...

Thank you Deewight and Ms. Cat-

Just to clarify, I asked the school for the psychological evaluation on my son. He struggles with reading/writing, and I felt he had dyslexia or some underlying problem. He's never been in a special needs classroom, he just received OT for handwriting and a little extra help with reading/writing last year. This year, he's had no extra support. The school went thru some "Teachers support network" which evaluates all aspects of my son- his educational achievements, deficits, social... and then they decide whether school will move forward for testing. The school originally DID NOT FEEL that my son had any severe deficits that warranted this testing, but from what I hear from an insider, his teacher told this support network that she felt my son was on the ASD and promoted a whole bunch of small things my son does as proof! They agreed to test him after that. She only mentioned that she thought my son had Asperger's AFTER I requested testing- if you feel my son has Asperger's, why didn't you approach me before!?!?

They tested him; found he was average-above average intelligence. They didn't address my dyslexia fears (which I posted on the dyslexia board to ask if he could possibly have it and gave his symptoms) They did some generic GADS test and said he was high-probable Asperger's- he used his teacher's experience with him for the questions. I feel she was already biased against my son, so I'm sure many of her answers were targeted towards an Asperger diagnosis. They never bothered to ask ME what my experiences are of him at home! Trust me, like you all have said, kids on the spectrum are going to have their "quirks" no matter where they are.

The psychologist recommended two things: To get him tested for Asperger's with a qualified clinic, and to see about getting him evaluated for his expressive language deficits. The psychologist noted MANY deficits in his verbal areas, and said my son understands better than he can convey. Verbally communicating back to you is a problem, always has been. I had the speech therapist reevaluate him because I needed proper test scores to get him into an auditory processing clinic. She said he was within average, 50-60% on her scores, and said a deeper evaluation of his expressive language was not necessary, although the psychologist mentioned many times it was a severe deficit.

The school is just playing with me I guess. I have the Asperger's test scheduled next month, along with a PROPER speech evaluation and an auditory processing evaluation. From there, they might test him for dyslexia.

I'll test him for d*mn near anything if it will help; I am not opposed to an Asperger's diagnosis, but like I said before, it's still not going to address his LEARNING DISABILITIES. I want to be able to approach the school with what I consider proper therapies to help him, and test results that concur with it. Luckily, i've spoken to my son and he completely understands and has been fantastic about it. He's told me "Maybe they can find out what's wrong with me." I can't imagine how it must feel for him. I know he's different; he's smart, intuitive, and always wants to make things better for other people. He wants you to be proud of him, and I think his anxiety levels when he feels like he's done something wrong only inhibit him. I really feel he has a couple things wrong: expressive language disorder, dyslexia, and ADD. It's just hard to watch, now I know what people mean when they say they feel their kids are falling thru the cracks of the educational system!

Thanks again, I appreciate any input!

 
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