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meechieny 05-27-2008 07:49 PM

Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
I am a mom to autism. My son is very high functioning and is on a "typical" soccer team. No one knows his "issues" and I believe no one suspects. We are actually very private about it and some family doesn't even know. I have worked so hard with my son and just marvel at the things he has overcome. I am an advocate for autism, but not on a soap box because of the things that people say.....I am very protective of my son.

It seems when you are a parent to autism you can spot a child who is on the spectrum a mile away. Does anyone agree?

I believe the coach's son is on the spectrum. I don't think he has been diagnosed just based on his parent's conversations. I know that he is in a mainstream class and does not receive services. This boy is seven. He stims with hand flapping and vocal noises. He has difficulty following his father's directions on the field. He is usually not part of the team and in his own world. He is their only child and this is his first season playing a sport.

I know that because I am so private and protective that I would probably be offended if someone came up to me and asked me if I knew what autism was and told me that they felt my son should be evaluated, but then what if I didn't realize it and my son missed out on valuable therapy that would help him.....all because no one spoke up for him when I didn't know to. I would be so crushed.

I am torn.

What would you all do????

janewhite1 05-28-2008 02:28 AM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
Well, how close are you to this family? If it was the child of a relative or close friend, I'd probably just come out and say it, unless my experience with this person led me to think it was a bad idea. If I thought a stranger's child was ill, I wouldn't say anything unless I thought the child was in immediate danger of serious harm. "Hey, your baby's lips are blue, do you want me to call 911?"

Sounds like this is an acquaintance, somewhere in between.

One thing you could do is talk to the coach about your son, start educating him about autism, allegedly to better work with your child. Then you could see how the conversation goes from there.

Cathy01 05-29-2008 09:44 AM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
I agree about being to spot a child or person a mile away. After my son was diagnosed and found out more about it....What I really hate, I have seen a few shows, I think Law and Order was one of them, had a person who was the criminal with aspergers was the "the bad guy"....Of course I recognized that the charactor was being played w/aspergers and thought, oh no I hope this charactor is not going to be villian, but of course. What a terrible stigma that could cause...shoulda wrote a letter.

Regarding speaking with the coach. I have found that saying something first about your son may be the best approach. You need to find a way to go about it indirectly and see what his response is. You may be surprised, maybe he has been wanting to say something to you but didn't know how to approach the subject. You may could say something like, he has trouble sometimes at school keeping organized and gets some help from the school with that. That may open the door. I have found alot of people in the same boat (parent of Aspergers) as me and now have a small network of friends that can lend an ear and help overcome problems that may come up. You may be surprised at how many of "us" there are out there.

Trixibel 05-29-2008 08:24 PM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
I agree with all the people who said talking about your own son (and maybe outlaying some of the signs and symptoms that you feel correlate with his own child) might get your coach's mind working. As you already realise, it's not your place to tell someone their child has autism.

I have a friend whose son I am positive has ASD, have thought so for the last 6 years but would never say anything. Another mutual friend of ours had a child who was having tests for all sorts at one stage and she was listing some of the autism signs one day and the other friend's mother said 'oh, that sounds a bit like Jack, but I'd rather not put a label on him'. So they haven't put a label on him but I'm sure they see something. And now this child is 12 and has just had a story published in a kids charity book and was in the local paper yesterday. But his father is still waiting for him to score a goal at soccer - which he may never do - and said to my son last week 'can you teach Jack how to score a goal?' If I'd thought a bit faster I would have turned around and said, 'only if Jack can teach Tom (my son) how to write poetry and be published!' That's off the track but thought I'd share that one. Jack has been in the soccer team for three years. He's not their strongest player but all the other kids love him and have been extremely supportive. And he's got a massive amount of self confidence.

golfhat 05-30-2008 01:55 PM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
Since you are so private with your son, maybe this coach and wife are also private...Perhaps he gets therapy and they just don't talk about it! You cannot know everything.

They want him to have as many sensory experiences as possible. [B]I would not say one word--[/B] unless you want to tell coach that [U]your own son is on the spectrum [/U]and he has been in therapy for x number of years -- I doubt if you want to do that since not talking about it is working well for your son.

Also, you should not presume to diagnose another child --You can never be sure what is actually afflicting a child. [U]Stimming may or may not be because of ASD.[/U]

As others have said, talking about your own son FIRST is the only approach that seems appropriate.

One pediatrician who specializes in RSV and it's lingering affects and 2 therapists have said labeling is counter productive except for insurance coverage.
Once the label is there it sticks and changes people's behavior toward your child. And many children "come out of it" especially children who are not autistic but just SID. they learn to deal with their sensory issues and a label is not appropriate in any way.

Many children have different neurological issues and they learn to manage these thru therapy and the maturation of the brain.
this family has chosen to remain private and I would respect that.

meechieny 06-02-2008 02:00 PM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
I may of misinterpted my intention and the situation. I was not going to diagnose any one with autism. I was just thinking about bringing up the subject to get the parents minds thinking. I was just asking for some "friendly" advice about if anyone would approach someone and how they would do it. I was just trying to work things out in my own mind because I feel for this child. I am not judging him nor his parents. Autism, SID whatever is going on....I know this child is unidentified, struggles and his parents without a doubt(even to another friend of mine) seem totally unaware. His father seems embarassed of him at times and you can see him really question his behavior.
Even though I am knowledgable about autism, not only because of my son, but because of my job I feel some sense of responsibility. Right or wrong that I may be, I feel many of your postings are sacastic and self righteous. Unfortunately people have a little more freedom with their words on the internet. Thank you for those that were kind and respectful. I feel this site has changed for the worse over the last couple of months and I will not make the mistake again asking others on this site for some support or advice.

janewhite1 06-02-2008 04:21 PM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
Hey, Meechieny, don't be hurt. There's no topic quite so delicate as one's child's mental and emotional development, even worse than the physical. We're not in the situation, we can't say what's right for the coach and his son, or what you might feel comfortable saying, because we aren't you. I've seen other people in my job use brilliant techniques that I just couldn't pull off because I'm not the right type of person.

I just think that a non-confrontational way to approach the topic, if you did choose to say something, would be to talk about your child, rather than his.

MOM23ANGELS 06-02-2008 06:53 PM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
I have felt this way for a few years regarding my nephew (my brother's son and lets call him M). He is a twin and the focus has always been on his brother (lets call him J). J always reached milestones earlier than expected so everyone was focused on how well J was doing. no one noticed (except me) that M was showing some red flags. i (like you) am not open with my sons DX because he is so mildly affected and yes i do feel that people treat him differently when they find out. my son is who he is and that's all that matters to us; i don't want people to see his dx as what defines him. that being said, i have never kept it a secret from my immediate family (including my brother) and have given him ample opportunities to ask me about it. his wife has always been in denial and M has missed out on so much therapy because of it. my nephew is turning five this summer and has just started therapy.

there is a part of me that wishes i just came right out with it (2 years ago) but i feel it may have ruined an already strained relationship with my brothers wife.

golfhat 06-05-2008 11:42 AM

Re: Seeing Another Child Who You Think Is On The Spectrum...What to do?
This is a hot button issue and my advice is [I][B]go slow, grasshopper...[/B][/I]

As for the coach getting embarrassed---I [B]guarantee [/B]the mom isn't embarrassed. I don't know why, but moms take these quirky kids in stride better. A dad's ego gets in the way at times.

Another thing that might make you feel better, I doubt if anyone with a child with true autism could go even a week without seeing it on Oprah or CNN or in a magazine.
So the family probably knows what is going on and is either in denial or is already giving him therapy.

I personally agree with your decision to stay private.

Remember---we all are coming from our own experiences and the reason I cautioned you NOT to say anything is this>

I was in this particular situation and butted in where I was not wanted.
I was told in [U]no uncertain [/U]terms to mind my own business, that the child was not autistic or anything else. OOps. My bad...Actually it was a much more serious condition and I had misdiagnosed the child in my own mind.

I felt very bad...and it changed my friendship for the worse.

I disagree with you on one point.
I think it is the parents who do NOT have an autistic kid that notice things first... & rather than talk to you, they may talk behind your back.
This is what you don't want to do. Either say something to the family or don't say anything to anyone lest it get back to the coach. you know?

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