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  • 7 year old nephew shows signs of ASD, mom is in denial

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    Old 12-02-2012, 04:14 PM   #1
    BabsB8
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    7 year old nephew shows signs of ASD, mom is in denial

    I wrote a sort of lengthy post, just now and the messageboard said I was not logged in and my post disappeard. So here's the cliffnotes:

    My nephew has showed signs of ASD since he was a toddler. His father is socially different. His dad rarely speaks, and when he does it is not much, in fact sometimes when I say something to him he doesn't look at me, or say anything, and I wonder if he is deaf. So having said that....his son, my nephew, is showing some major signs of ASD, that he could have inherited from his dad's side of the family.

    My nephew's mom is my husband's sister and we have a very close friendship. I have never mentioned to her that I am concerned that he has ASD, in fear of her getting angry at me about it. One family member has asked her if maybe he is autistic and she told me how mad that made her so I feel like she is in denial.

    I had a nice descriptive list of my nephew's symptom's but for time's sake I can't describe them in detail. Here are just a few of his major quirks that I have noticed over the years.

    No eye gazing. NONE.
    Awkward socializing. Does not respond to you in conversation, and if he does it is sometimes not as expected. Sometimes he will repeat a phrase. Like last night I was at a potluck dinner with him and asked him if he wanted chicken, he said "I want to pick my own food." I pointed out the different type of sandwiches that was being served and he said, "I want to pick my own food." I asked him if he liked peanut butter sandwiches, "I want to pick my own food." I asked him in all different ways, expecting different answers, but each answer was the same! Just an example of how he repeats himself like a robot oftentimes.
    Clumsy, awkard gait. Flaps his arms around and twists his fingers. When he runs he prances, or pounds his feet. He TOE WALKS. He's 7 and he toe walks. It's just unusual, and his parents ignore it.
    He has frequent temper tantrums. He will cry so hard that he hyperventilates or throws up.
    He is a major picky eater. Only eats peanut butter sandwiches and is very peculiar about the way he eats - very small bites. He has texture issues and will not try new foods.
    He has delayed motor skills. Still unable to ride a bicycle. Very uncoordinated in sports. Very cautious about climbing ladders (like to a treehouse) or swinging high on swings.
    Loud noises bother him.
    He does not pick up on social cues. He shows little sympathy. He gets excited and kicks and punches my kids and shoves on them, and does this to other kids as well. He doesn't know that this is not acceptable (and I sometimes blame this on his parents not enforcing self control), but at 7 kids start to realize that others have feelings. One time he shoved my kid down on the playground and kicked him repeatedly in the back. When I intervened and asked my nephew why he was kicking my child his answer was "He likes small animals and I like big animals". That was the strangest thing I have ever seen a child do, and his response baffled me!
    He is a very smart child and a whiz, but his handwriting skills are behind. He is obsessed with dinosaurs and the computer. He obsessively plays games on the computer.
    He has a hard time playing alongside other kids his age, because they don't play the way 'he does'. He will get mad and prefer to play by himself. He doesn't blend well in social situations.
    He picks his nose and eats his boogers. I know that sounds harsh, and I'm not trying to be mean, but at 7 you would think that kids have outgrown this habit, or made note that it is weird. He doesn't care. 100% of the time he is in 'his own little world' as if the social world outside of him is not relevant.

    My problem is that my sister in law is oblivious to the possibility of him having some type of ASD. She became very angry when another family member mentioned it. I have noticed signs since he was 2 or 3, and the older he gets the more obvious it gets that he could benefit from some social therapy. Because when he is a teenager it is going to be tough for him. Kids are nice now, but he will face challenges when he gets older if he doesn't get help.

    How should I intervene without ruining the friendship I have with his mom? Would going to his teacher and mentioning my concerns to her first be appropriate? She may have also picked up on some clues and it would be great to have a professional opinion, at least someone who sees kids everyday, some of whom are autistic. If I had someone else that had experience with kids that agreed with me, then maybe it would seem more obvious to his mom that he does indeed have some form of ASD. What do you think?

    Last edited by BabsB8; 12-02-2012 at 04:19 PM.

     
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    Old 12-02-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
    Seraph
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    Re: 7 year old nephew shows signs of ASD, mom is in denial

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BabsB8 View Post
    Would going to his teacher and mentioning my concerns to her first be appropriate?
    No, that would be well out of order. When (not if) your SIL finds out, that would be the end of any chance of keeping trust and friendship.

    There is really not much you can do here; I think it is denial, I am sure she is very sensitive about the differences and does not want to 'make it true' by acknowledging it. It is inevitable that some way through his education and associations in the outside world, that someone will force her to see what is happening. Remember too, that she loves and accepts the boy's father and if he takes after him, then she accepts that he is just like his dad, so the behaviour is not as extreme to her as to others. Where is she when he is kicking the other kids around? Has she seen and acted on this? That would be the focus of any approach, that he is likely to injure your kids and that is not acceptable. It needs to be said during an actual incident, I feel, so there is no doubt that there is a behaviour problem. The thing with Asperger's and the like is that it boils down to "this is who he is", and putting a label on him is not really going to make much of a difference to anything. But do protect your kids and don't stand for any violence from him. Sera

     
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    Old 12-02-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
    BabsB8
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    Re: 7 year old nephew shows signs of ASD, mom is in denial

    Thanks for your response! After more thought, that would be stepping out of my boundaries of trust to approach his teacher. And I am so glad you put it in persepective for me that she loves his dad just the way he is, so naturally, if she has accepted his father's quirkiness, she has accepted her son's as well. I never compared it in that way before. If she hasn't picked up on his behavior as being possible ASD signs, it may be that she hasn't become familiar with ASD signs. And if she has, she may feel like since he is really bright and smart, that he doesn't need a 'label'. I can only guess. It is just frustrating to me to see him struggle in some areas, and especially how to react to his extreme behavior. He has a little brother that is 2 years younger that is complete opposite of him. His brother is very very social and just a little charmer and very expressive. They also have a little sister that is 2 and she seems to be a typical 2 year old. I have noticed she tip-toes sometimes, but a lot of toddlers do that from time to time. Otherwise, all the kiddos are really sweet. I have talked to my kids and told them how to handle their cousin if he gets physically agressive with them. I told them just to back off and by all means, tell his mom what he's doing so she is aware. Sometimes I wonder if she just passes off his agressiveness to being 'little boy' behavior. But it is just too much, and too often in my opinion.

     
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    Old 12-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #4
    BabsB8
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    Re: 7 year old nephew shows signs of ASD, mom is in denial

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Seraph View Post
    Where is she when he is kicking the other kids around? Has she seen and acted on this?
    I forgot to mention that she is very slack in the way she disciplines him. The day that he kicked my child on the playground all they did was have him sit out and they whispered something to him, but I don't know if they disciplined him when they got home. I don't think they acknowledged how brutal it was. Even if my nephew starts in on punching or shoving on my kids, she will just stand there and let him do it. I am usually the one that has to tell him to stop. I really think 2 things - that she just thinks it's normal 'boy behavior', or that she avoids scolding him or punishing him so she doesn't have to deal with his temper tantrums. I don't want it to sound like she is spoiling him, because I don't think that's the case. I just think that her idea of boy playfulness is different than mine. Several times before I have had to sternly ask him to stop being so rough and I think it bothered her. But I don't care, because my kids come first. I also have to realize that there's just something about him that makes it hard for him to sympathize and think about how the other child feels.

     
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