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Old 03-22-2005, 09:52 AM   #1
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Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

It just hit me. My son was dx last week with mild Autism. It never accured to me that he wouldn't be able to go to public school, get married, work and have children. Is he always going to need care?
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Old 03-22-2005, 10:24 AM   #2
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

My son has mild or high functioning autism, and he's in 4th grade now, in a regular public school, in a mainstream classroom, with some pull outs as recommended by his IEP. I also worry about his future, but have read of some high functioning adults who have made descent futures for themselves. I don't know about marriage, since he's still too young and doesn't show interest in girls yet. He tells me that he doesn't want to get married, he'd rather take care of his dad and me when he gets older (how ironic). We're trying to teach him skills to make him a little more independent. He's actually very proud after he masters a new skill, but we do it little by little, baby steps, don't want to overwhelm him. It's been almost a year since my son has been diagnosed, and he has shown a lot of improvement from last year.

Ps. I don't really know if those high functioning adults I've read about could be considered "normal", some have good careers and others even have families(spouse and children), but they've admitted that the quirkiness is still there. I've been told that my son will not outgrow his Autism, but with the right support and intervention it is still possible for him to have a bright future.

Last edited by mom2chris; 03-22-2005 at 10:38 AM. Reason: added ps

 
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Mom2Chris

When you say that he's high function, can you describe what he can do and cant do for himself....social skills...how are his grades in the 4th grade? Any info that you feel comfortable sharing would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-23-2005, 08:40 AM   #4
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Quote:
Originally Posted by queen
Mom2Chris

When you say that he's high function, can you describe what he can do and cant do for himself....social skills...how are his grades in the 4th grade? Any info that you feel comfortable sharing would be greatly appreciated.

Queen
He's was labled as High Functioning I'm assuming because he has average intelligence. His grades in 4th grade are good, just missed being on the Honor roll by one subject, he mostly has A's and B's. But he was on the Honor roll in 3rd grade, 3 out of 4 gradings. He has good memorization skill, does well in Spelling, had started reading Chapter books when he was in 1st grade, the problem is reading comprehension, he may read an entire book out loud perfectly, but if you ask him questions about the story or ask him to explain it, he'll have difficulty doing that. Math is not a strong subject, but he does okay, he had no trouble memorizing his multiplication table. Problem solving and essay questions on his tests are quite difficult for him. He's behind in language and communication skills. He's still working on improving his penmanship. I do help him with his schoolwork at home. I used to homeschool him when he was in 2nd grade and he did very well then, he learns faster when its one-on-one. He sometimes has a problem paying attention at school, he's easily distracted. His teacher would usually assign a seatmate to look after him and remind him of what he's supposed to be doing next.

He was fully potty trained at 4, he can dress himself, get his own snacks, brush his teeth and shower by himself (although I still have to adjust the water temperature before he steps in, so difficult to adjust that faucet). He does some chores around the house, but only when asked to do them. We only ask him to do things we know he can handle, like helping set the table, cleaning his room, and picking up mess. He's still immature for his age and still needs to work on being more independent.

He lacks social skills. Never really had a bestfriend, maybe just someone considered a "preferred" friend. Unfortunately his friend moved last year, and so far he hasn't had much luck finding a new friend at school or around the neighborhood. He doesn't mind hanging out with his older brother's friends though, they seem to tolerate him more since he's a lot younger.

One thing that was pointed out during his diagnosis is that he has some significant strengths and skills not always found among indiviuals with autism. Like his unusual degree of cooperation and frustration tolerance. And his easy to manage temperament both at home and in school. He's very well behaved, has no problem following rules, never been violent. And even when he's upset or angry, doesn't really throw a big fit, maybe just an eyeroll, a sigh or a "geez" now and then. If he's really upset, it's hard to get mad at him, he'll just look really sad, with tears rolling down his cheeks, maybe whimper and sob a little, doesn't cry out loud, he'll look really pathetic. He is also quite sensitive. He's basically the nicest and sweetest kid I've ever known.

Sorry, that my post is so long, but you asked.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 11:50 AM   #5
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

My son is 18 diagnosed at age 8 with high functioning autism. He drives a car. He will hopefully graduate with a diploma in May(we are waiting results of a graduation qualifying English exam required by the state of Indiana). He has a few good friends, but would probably like to have more. He has had some girlfriends. One lasted a year and the others have been fairly short lived. He is planning to take the girl that he went steady with for the one year to the prom next month. He is planning to attend vocational school locally in the Fall. Our plan is to help him gain his independence more slowly than we would have with our older two children. We don't feel comfortable sending him off to a university and he is uncomfortable with that transition as well. When he was very young things did not look this promising! I didn't think my son would be able to function in society when he was very young. Early intervention helped and also the fact that my husband and I simply would not give up on him having a future. Besides that we had some luck on our side. My son is also very well behaved. He's never been a behavior problem. He has compassion for others but he is a bit self centered when it comes to his needs. So just try to stay positive. It sounds like your son will do very well.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Mom2Chris and Ninelives

Thank you so much for sharing.....

My step daughter is 8 going on 9 and with all the information that I have read and the observations I am definately convince that she has HFA. She is in a regular classroom in the second grade, only leaving for speech (IEP) which I think is rediculous, she doesnt really speak any better than when she started. She just started bathing herself but still has no idea about the difference between conditioner and shampoo. She will get into a scalding hot shower and not say a word. She doesnt remember from one minute to the next. She can only complete tasks with one command. I'm sorry if I sound angry or irritated about this but I cant get my husband to do anything about it. At this point she will not be able to live by herself. I'm just wondering what brought you both to the point where you knew your son's were different.....I'm all about getting her help but everyone else thinks that she is just struggling in some things....

Other things she does, she follows her dad around the whole time she is at our house, she will even try to go into the bathroom with him...people have ask me about it strangers have even made the comment to me that she doesnt act like an 8 or 9 year old little girl should act. She does not have a favorite toy game or anything.....she like one of your sons has a "preferred" friend. She never initiates conversation, in fact, she wouldnt say crap if she had a mouth full of it.....she shows no emotion at all....she has no concern for other peoples space....like she would try to walk right through you if you were in her way, she's not trying to be rude or funny she really thinks that she could get through you......I'm sorry about venting but I hope that you will be able to help me better understand so that I can do what I can without over stepping my boundaries. Thanks again for sharing and thanks for listening.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 03:53 PM   #7
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Hi Lady's. I had a lady at my church that has an son who has autism that I might as well give up on the dreams and hopes of Lexi ever having a child, a husband or just a normal life. That really hurt me to the core. But I ask you what is a normal life? Everyone has things in their life that they thought that they would never have to deal with. I think Lexi has a bright furture. Things might not be going well now but who know how things will be when she gets older. I hope she has anything and everything that makes her happy. Because you know she will always have me at her side pull for anything she needs.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Queen,

Sounds like my son and your step daughter do have a lot of things in common. My son wouldn't know the difference between shampoo or conditioner either, it's just that I have this small container which I put enough shampoo in, so that he doesn't use up all the shampoo in one shower. He does complain if the water is too hot or too cold, and would not dare go through the water to reach the faucet, if the temperature wasn't just right. He will initiate a conversation at home, but not at school. There he only speaks when spoken to, and he gives as brief an answer as he can.

I knew he was different when he started school (kindergarten). The first week of school, he would cry everytime I'd drop him off. Although he didn't cry the first day, he thought that it was just a one time thing, and he was doing it to please me. The first time I volunteered in his class some of his classmates were surprised that he can actually talk. Before that he only talked to his teacher, and only answered her in whispers. I called him the invisible kid, coz he tried very hard to be inconspicuous. I'd notice him not paying attention a lot, and he would murmur and recite monologues from his favorite cartoons. I put a stop to that, right away. I told him not to do his monologues in school coz his classmates would think he was weird. I had him observed by the school psychologist, and she thought it might be autism. We saw a doctor who told us that it's not autism since academically he was still doing okay, and he was having a good day during that visit. He answered all the doctor's questions correctly and even showed good eye contact. I was told that he's just extremely shy with some language delays, and he may outgrow these problems. They started him on Speech and Language Therapy right away.

Then 3 years ago we moved to a different state (My husband is in the military). I decided to try homeschooling him while living off base. He did so well in homeschooling, that I thought that he had already outgrown some of his problems. After a year we were able to get base housing, so we decided to give public school a try again. I gave his teacher a background of what he was like in school. After just a few days in school his teacher reported to me that he's starting to drift off again. So I had him observed again, and this time they did more extensive testing. We were referred to TEACCH, and last year we finally got his diagnosis. TEACCH gave us a long list of suggestions on how to help my son improve, the shampoo container was their idea. We've noticed that his grammar has improved, his vocabulary has grown, and he's been using sentences we don't normally hear from him. But I'm not sure where he gets it from, it could be his IEP, but then again it could also be the new cartoons.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 05:12 PM   #9
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

gin2001,

Don't lose hope. My older sister, who I suspect is in the spectrum of autism, has a husband and two kids, her son has classical autism with mental retardation, but her daughter is very intelligent. She was just labled as being a slow learner, back then, but we didn't know much about autism 40 years ago. She has poor social skills, some odd mannerisms, and learning disabilities. My mom says it wasn't inborn, coz she was smart during her first years. She thought it was caused somehow by the spinal tap done to her when she had a febrile seizure, as a toddler. She was never the same, after she came home from the hospital. I now think it might have been regression. When my son was diagnosed, they told me it was most likely genetic, since my nephew had been diagnosed before him. Therefore, it came from my side of the family. Of course my mom was in denial, wondering where it could possibly come from. She seemed upset when I pointed out my sister, and a few of my mother's relatives who seemed odd. My sister had to repeat a few grades, but with the help of aides and tutors was able to finish highschool. My parents didn't really want her to marry, knowing she was hard to get along with, and too immature. But her then fiance assured them that he didn't mind her quirkiness, found it endearing. She lived with my parents the first few years of their marriage, had her daughter while still living there, he was still a seaman back then. Now she's a stay at home mom, she knows how to cook, and does most of the household chores, she gets a little help from her husband when he's in a good mood. Her biggest challenge is trying to raise her son, he's 6 years old now, still nonverbal and hasn't been successfully potty trained yet. I think she had a happy family for a while, everything just went downhill after her son was diagnosed. Not that having an autistic child will ruin ones happiness, my sister is just having a hard time coping with it. I on the other hand, still believe that my family is happy. I still feel that despite of my son's difference, he is still a blessing. My son is a very happy child, he may not have any real friends but he has a family and other relatives who love him dearly.

Last edited by mom2chris; 03-23-2005 at 06:51 PM.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 05:52 PM   #10
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Hi queen,

I'm 25 and getting ready to have a evaluation for autism done in a few weeks.My family was in denial when I was younger like your stepdaughters dad and other family members. Part of it was due to the fact that I scored above average on everything except math on those aptitude tests. My family thought I just wasn't trying hard enough in math. The truth was I just didn't get math. My teachers tried to get me help but my parents refused and said I could do it if i just tried hard enough.
I didn't get the help I needed until I was in high school and out of my parents care. I was placed in resource room for math and a few other subjects but still in a lot of mainstream classes. The resource room made a huge difference. My grades went from being "D"'s and"F"'s to A's and B's I finally realized it wasn't my fault that I couldn't do math. So it was a great self-esteem booster.

My social skills have always been lacking in some way. I'm a loner. Never had a bestfriend but a preferred friend as you all call it.
When I was younger and still do have some weird behaviors like turning in circles, hand flapping, talking to self along with others behaviors. Although I don't do some of these behaviors now I'm sure I do other odd things that I'm not aware of yet.

I say this not to discourage you, I just want to share my experience. Now that I'm an adult. I do live on my own and take care of myself but still have trouble with socail situations. Hopefully your husband will come around and get your stepdaughter the help it sounds like she needs. I'm sure it would help everyone involved. I don't think I would be the person I am today if it hadn't been for my parents pushing me so hard. I feel like I have gotten this far in life because of that tough love but I do think they were in some denial. I'm sure it's hard to accept the fact that your child needs help and isn't typical as you all know or else you wouldn't be here.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Wow, after I posted my above response I realized how long it is. Sorry!

 
Old 03-24-2005, 08:39 AM   #12
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Many individuals with autism can marry or lead independent or at least relatively independent lives, given the right support (although severity of problems does not mean support was neglected!), but it's a bit offensive to ask if they can "become normal".
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:40 AM   #13
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

My son is almost 20. He was diagnosed with moderate severe AU at the age of 3 1/2. With early intervention, lots of speech therapy (I bartered during the summer months with a speech therapist, I made her dinners for therapy). My son today is in a junior college (with a note taker and extended time for tests) driving a car for 2 years and doing wonderful. Yes, he's quirky but a funny guy who loves life. Yes we have gone thru the major ups & downs but he's making a life for himself. Oh, yes, he's holding a part time job on weekends too. Mom can finally relax.......

Last edited by possomcat; 03-24-2005 at 10:41 AM.

 
Old 03-24-2005, 10:50 AM   #14
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Thank you for sharing Grace and Mom2Chris

God Bless you Grace.

I hear what you are saying about your parents giving you tough love but let me give you an example of what I'm saying about my step daughter and everybody but me thinks it normal.....My husband and I received a call from his xwife stating that our daughter had ran into the corner of the wall and they were going to take her to the emergency room. We met them over there to find out that they (his xwife and her new husband) didnt even realize that something had happened until they cleaned the dinner dishes and went to get her to start on her homework and found blood on the carpet.....they then realized that she needed stitches....she didnt cry or anything she just kept playing wiping the blood all over her forehead.....ok so we're at the hospital...the doctor is getting ready to give her the injection of pain medication in the wound, any kid that I know whether they have a strong pain thresh hold or not would have been crying like a wild animal, I'm 36 and I would....he stuck that needle right into the wound and she didnt even flinch...not one time.....not even while he was stitching her up....I'm sorry but that is not normal...not at all.....she is almost 9 years old and she is failing 2 subjects and the rest are going to follow as you know the higher the grade the more reading and comprehension there is to get you to where you need to be........I hate it for her because she will not be able to survive without supervision......she has no facial expressions at all she does not get excited, she does cry alot but I think that's because she knows that she is different and she just doesnt know how to communicate...she does not like being touched....and she has no bonding ability whatsoever....her father and I have been together her whole life and still there is no bond there....her preferred friend when she comes over she just hugs and kisses all over me and sits on my lap talks talks talks and my step daughter just sits there....my 3 year old daughter tells her what to do.....my step daughter has been on the same visitation schedule since she was 2.....same schedule, no changes in 6 years and she still has no idea what day she comes to her dads house...why dont they think there is something wrong with that, I ask you....well thanks for sharing and letting me vent some more......

 
Old 03-24-2005, 10:54 AM   #15
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Re: Can children with mild Autism grow up to be normal adults?

Quote:
Originally Posted by possomcat
My son is almost 20. He was diagnosed with moderate severe AU at the age of 3 1/2. With early intervention, lots of speech therapy (I bartered during the summer months with a speech therapist, I made her dinners for therapy). My son today is in a junior college (with a note taker and extended time for tests) driving a car for 2 years and doing wonderful. Yes, he's quirky but a funny guy who loves life. Yes we have gone thru the major ups & downs but he's making a life for himself. Oh, yes, he's holding a part time job on weekends too. Mom can finally relax.......
That's awesome about your son, but the key like you said is with early intervention....I pray eveyday that the light goes on for my husband and his xwife.

 
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