Had to complete another report today about our son. It’s amazing given the number of reports we have had to do that they don’t ever seem to get any easier to write. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway today’s report featured some interesting questions
When did you first realise your son or daughter may have autism?
That’s an interesting question as I don’t think we ever had that one eureka moment when we suddenly realised he was on the spectrum. It was more of a drip feed type of realisation. If we are looking for one point then maybe when he was 5 and the first medical professional said that we should start the process of getting an official Aspergers diagnosis. One confusion – when we started the process Aspergers and Autism were listed as separate life long conditions. Now most agencies have dropped the term Aspergers. Son quite likes the idea of having a condition which doesn’t officially exist anymore.
What initial behavioural signs led to your belief that your son or daughter had autism?
Strangely we didn’t have a checklist of symptoms to work from back then. We didn’t have a clue on what we were supposed to look out for. It’s only when you look back that you see the clues. In our case we had several apparently independent clue strands that we should have brought together and bagged under a heading ‘potential Aspergers’.
- Repeatedly lining toys like cars and animals up in perfectly straight lines
- Initial slow development of speech
- But when speech started a sudden extensive vocabulary developed but with underlying problems with pronunciation
- Flapping hands when excited or laughing
- Not able to sit still
- Fixation on specific objects or toys
- Delayed walking and crawling
- Excessive clumsiness – that might be my genes….
- Refusal to wear socks and shorts
But what confused things was that up to the age of 4 he had no problems with making eye contact. Plus he had many many friends. He loved playing in groups. He did have sensory issues relating to his hearing but they were being examined as a specific ear issue. He has never shown any sign of a lack of empathy.
It was only from the age of 5 that his symptoms seemed to heighten and suddenly combined with becoming completely withdrawn from the rest of the class. Rather than being in the thick of play he would stand completely by himself. Additionally his specific ear issues were ruled out and the focus moved to looking at sensory overload. Yes he started to fall behind at school but that was probably the initial impact of dyslexia.
How well do you feel the education service has supported your son or daughter?
They only left 3 lines to answer this question. I asked our son and he said that 3 lines is more than enough to write ‘PANTS‘. So that is exactly what I wrote. I suspect I might go back to this and elaborate a little more but part of me hopes that I stick with the original response. Says it all really.