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    Old 11-08-2006, 02:23 PM   #1
    wishing2bmommy's Avatar
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    Question "socially-induced autism"

    Has anyone else ever heard of this?

    Let me tell you my story. My step son, whom I met about a year and a half ago, is said to be High Functioning Autistic. I was told that in ordered to be prepared to have him in my home, there were some things I needed to know. My SS's father, mother, grandmother, and uncle told me things about this 9 year old boy that stopped my heart. He could not be touched, don't dare hug him. He will freak out. He cannot be kissed, nor does he give kisses. "I love you" is not in his vocabulary. He does not interact with others. He will not hold conversations with you, he is incapable of doing so. He likes to sit by himself and rock. He doesn't speak often. He becomes violent and hits his siblings and others. He cannot eat vegetables. He does not respond to repremands.

    Let me tell you I was terrified. I am a very emotional person and the thought of never getting a hug from my own soon to be step child terrified me. It didn't scare me off, I mean why should it? He is a child and like all children need, want, and deserve all our love.

    Now, what I saw when I met my SS. A comely young man, michevious smile, and a shy nature. By the end of the weekend, (we had a weekend visit) he was talking to me about EVERYTHING. He refuses to go to bed without a hug and a kiss from me, hugs me and his father, and also other relatives everyday, numerous times a day. He does not rock, does not get violent (other than normal sibling rivalry), is active in boyscouts, clubs at school and friends.

    I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS CHILD THEY TERRIFIED ME WITH. NEVER. Unfortuently, his mother sees it every time she sees him. Social workers, child protective services and the CASA see this child. ONLY at his mother's house. I have spoken with his doctor (a new one) about getting him retested. He said his opinion was that he wasn't autistic and that since he is on no medication there really is no need. A social worker, a friend of my brother-in-law's told us about something called "socially-induced autism". I have searched the internet and have not been able to find any resources to lead me to believe this is true.

    Has anyone else ever heard of this and if so, please let me know your views and were to find information on it.


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    Old 11-08-2006, 07:45 PM   #2
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"

    I haven't heard of this, but it certainly sounds possible. I was told by my mother that I seemed normal until I began school and the psychiatric profession began to mess with my mind. I don't know if my problems are actually due to Asperger's (some traits were probably present in me early in life), or if they were caused by (mis)diagnoses. They thought I was hyperactive but, in my research, I think Asperger's is a far better fit.

    It sounds as though your SS is going through a lot of the things I went through. It is a wonder I am functional at all with all the things the psychologists put me through. I want to do something so great that it would show them.

    Old 11-08-2006, 08:38 PM   #3
    Liz Cook
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"

    he very well could be autistic. or neurotypical. here's the thing children in general spectrum or not react to their ENVIROMENT my severely autistic son was diagnosed late because he was cuddley. he is growing up in a loving home and he has learned that its okay to show his love toward others. it very much sounds like your step son has learned that his mom doesnt want his love. it could be that she wants the attention having a disabled child brings. either which way, whether he is completely neurotypical or spectrum it doesnt sound like the most conductive enviroment for him. my son would be getting no where fast if we didnt challenge him and honestly ourself to let him try new things all of the time.

    it could also be that he has associated your (and his) new home as the only enviroment that he needs to socially interact. he may not have generalized this skill. the funny thing about an autistic brain is that it can hold a ton of information and skills and it just doesnt always have the keys to bring them out. perhaps you have given him a key to let out some of those emotions that he has been storing up. thing is he may not realize that he can use that key other place than your home. my son certainly had different behavior with different people. on of his aides at school he is cute and cuddle for, the other one he cries for, his OT, he is constantly hugging and kissing her, his home aide he has decide to torment, she's tougher on him than the others.

    i am not sure i like the idea of diagnosing him socially induced autistic. that's one heck of a slippery slope. sounds alot like "Refrigerator Mom Syndrom" where autistic kids were blamed solely on the mothers raising techniques. imagine having your beautiful baby, watching him grow, loving him with all of your heart... then you start to notice something is "off" and it keeps getting worse. you finally say enough is enough, my child needs help! and you turn to the only source you know for help... and they tell you its all your fault. autism is not a product of social engineering for the most part, in fact i am not sure there is any way to "turn" a person autistic short of gross neglect and torture but autism is in fact a neurological variance. brush up on some education on autism (i'm not at all criticizing! just there is never enough you can know, i recommend a local offline support, they are awesome!!!). i think that you could be very helpful to your step son. if he is opening up to you then there is reason to believe that you are a very good impact on him and your positive influence can take him miles.

    just remember to focus on the child, not the diagnosis. work with the label and there is a good chance with high functioning autism that the label will come off on its own. giving your step son resources to deal with stress and any behaviors and above all giving him a safe place where he is challenged and encouraged with positive reinforcement to grow as a person is so much more valuable than deciding who is right or wrong about him... that applies to neurotypical and spectrum kids alike! and it sounds like you've got a good start!



    Old 11-08-2006, 08:45 PM   #4
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"

    Originally Posted by Albinus
    On a side note, most children like going to McDonald's, don't they? I used to scream my head off as soon as I walked in the door. The reason? Their deep fryers have alarms that beep repeatedly when the fries are cooked, and I'm extremely hypersensivitve to beeping noises. Could there possibly be something at your stepson's mother's place that is causing him to go troppo, no matter how insignificant?
    I would follow up on this lead. Albinus, you are very wise.

    Old 11-09-2006, 03:48 AM   #5
    Mummy Bear
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"

    My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism at 3. Hes now 9 and has been undiagnosed by do gooders saying hes outgrown autism.
    My son is a model student at school, only to come home and have a complete meltdown. Hes well behaved at my parents house and at other peoples houses, as long as there is none of his siblings in tow.
    Its so frustrating as a mum, believe me ! when i see all the behaviour and have to deal with it and then people say, no way is he autistic. I see him when hes relaxed and not putting on a front at home, thats when the autistic behaviours show.
    Ive been called a bad parent, told its all in my mind, my childs normal ect ect.
    Its a lonely world when only you see the behaviours and have to deal with it alone.
    He had his first swimming lesson this week. He stuck out like a sore thumb, the only 9 year old interested in watching the water drip infront of his eyes, not understanding even the simplest of instructions and misbehaviving. After the teacher said is he always this bad ! I dont get it !
    Also i have put many hours into my son of helping him to learn the basics like emotions, facial expressions, manners ect which he couldnt pick up like other kids.
    My son is also cuddley and says i love u.
    I found a great book on ****** by Dr Mike Standon about high functioning autism, its been a great help to my family and friends, it explains about his son, im sure you would find it helpful x

    Old 11-09-2006, 08:07 AM   #6
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"


    I hate the "refrigerator mother" theory. I'm not a parent, but I have been through the psychological mill. I feel bad to this day for the trials I put my parents through. There are many times I wish I had been "normal" so my parents wouldn't have had to go through that. I do believe that, if you get into the clutches of evaluators who simply rubber stamp kids, then there can be major problems. Asperger's wasn't known as a diagnosis in the 1970s, when I went to elementary school, or even in the 80s and early 90s, when I was in college and graduate school. I wonder how I ever made it this far without a diagnosis. I was misdiagnosed with hyperactivity as a child. Knowing my traits, I think Asperger's is the best fit.

    Old 11-09-2006, 08:48 AM   #7
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    Re: "socially-induced autism"

    I was talking with the psychologist who diagnosed my son, and she told me that my son (who is very affectionate) may be at his worst with me, and at his best with me. I think that's true for all kids. They can behave themselves like perfect angels around some people- like my older child is generally extremely well behaved for her grandparents- and yet the worst at home, because they feel the safest there (when it comes to being judged, I suppose). My son plays very well at home with his sister, but I hear that at school, his teachers have to work to get him to play with other children. I think partly it's because she forces him to play with her LOL. But yet he is more stressed out (as my husband sees it) when she is around him. Go figure. Point is, kids are different in different environments.

    As for what your new family told you about this child, my first reaction was that they wanted to throw every possible (scary, bad) scenario at you just to see if you could hack it. If there was any hesitation, they'd see it. You know? I can't imagine if my husband and I were to get divorced, and at some point I wanted to remarry, how a future husband would take my son's having Autism. I would hope it wouldn't be a factor, but it has to be. It sounds like your step-son has taken very well to you, and vice versa. I think there must be something going on at his mom's house that is stressing him out - either sensory wise, or emotionally or something, to cause whatever is going on. That or maybe the mother has issues you aren't aware of?

    Last edited by datgrlstef; 11-09-2006 at 08:49 AM.

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