There is something different about my 4 year old son. We have finally had enough of the tantrums and sleep issues and have realized he isn't outgrowing it any time soon so today I had an appointment with some people from CAMHS to talk about his behaviors - the tantrums, anxiety, sleep and intelligence.
I just don't feel like he has Aspergers but I could tell during the meeting that that is what they were thinking - they even said as much when I asked for their gut feeling. He wasn't present today as I didn't want to talk about him in front of him so they didn't get to see how he is in real life, only what I talked about which was obviously the negative things that we are having problems with.
Some of the things we talked about:
*He had some sensory issues as a toddler - wind on his ears, tags on clothes etc but outgrew most of that. Now he is usually only bothered by his socks being wrong.
*He won't wear new clothes - tops not so bad but pants/shorts he will always want to wear old ones and if none are available he will have a meltdown and eventually he will rummage through the dirty washing basket or wear damp ones to avoid the new. He says it is because he only wants to wear the ones he is used to. He also asks me if people will say anything about what he is wearing.
*He is alright to be left at kindy but apart from that he will not stay with anyone else other than my husband and I. He won't do anything new with the kindy teachers, like go on a short bus trip or even walk to the school next door with the teachers. He won't go to any birthday parties without me.
*He is an introvert and generally entertains himself at kindy. But if other kids want to play his game he is happy for them to join in and he is working up the courage to join in on other peoples games - he doesn't want to play it wrong.
*He has topics that he is very interested in for a month or two which he will role-play, draw, talk about, want reference book stories about at bedtime etc, but not to the exclusion of everything else - he will happily drop what he is doing for a game of tackle with his dad etc. The topics that he is interested in he seems to actually understand, not just regurgitate facts.
*He tantrums regularly. Triggers are often emotional - disappointment, being told off etc or just because.
*He is an anxious little fellow - worries about things like school which is 6 months away, loves the idea of new things but then right before it happens he will have a meltdown (and then is fine once we are there doing it).
I was so sure that he wasn't ASD but some of the things he does - the clothes, the anxiety, the tantrums....
There isn't a lot of point to this post, congrats if you read this far! I am just clearing my mind after the meeting today. Next step is an assessment for him.
I vote Gifted. He seems socially aware and sensitive to needs/cues of others so not what I (layperson) would associate with Aspergers.
I guess you may have already tried appealling to his intelligence to have him help solve his problems himself and at least be aware of when he's starting to feel overwhelmed and seeking help before he loses control.
My son had major tantrums at 3 and needed a very firm hand as well as lots of love, support and stimulation to get him through. He is nearly 8 now and although still able to lose it, he is much more aware of how this does not achieve the result he is seeking.
A post in another part of the forum referred to Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities in gifted children, of which your son sounds like he has - the feel of clothes etc. Have a look and see what you think - it may confirm you gut feel that his behaviors are due to giftedness and not Aspergers.
Well I am not an expert at all, but I don't think any of the things you describe in themselves mean a person has Aspergers. Some children are more sensitive than others, and very bright kids often have sensitivities, tantrums and are highly emotional.
I think also, the age at which kids feel comfortable to do things independantly depends on their nature and personality. My daughter definitely took separation anxiety to a whole new level at kindy age, but now she has been at school a couple of years she usually copes ok. A lot depends on getting a teacher who understands and supports her needs as a highly creative, sensitive and sometimes anxious child. I also have another child (def not Aspergers!) who will only wear comfy clothes-no collared shirts, no jeans, nothing "hard". Plus a 10 year old who also still has the "socks are wrong" issue. I had to Lol at that one!! it struck such a chord with the goings on at our palce.
If you get a child assessed for giftedness it can give a reason behind some of the behaviours and may help. Rest assured that whatever the outcomes or labels, you are not alone on any of these things....
Thanks. I have looked at the Overexcitabilities and a lot of the things he does seem consistent with that, but the nurses I had the initial appointment with didn't seem to be aware of them. They sort of fobbed off 'gifted' in favor of ASD because of the quirks that he has.
I just don't want him wrongly labeled. Or labeled at all really - I just want to find out what is going on in his head so we can find an effective way of dealing with these meltdowns.
Whoa. Your post - not you but what was said by the experts - made me very angry. I think you need to find another 'expert'. What are they doing mentioning Aspergers when your boy wasn't even present?? This is an extremely complex diagnosis that needs to be made by someone trained to make these diagnoses. Although clearly parental report will have to be a part of that, mentioning 'gut feelings' when your boy wasn't there is simply wrong. They are nurses who fobbed off giftedness in favor of Aspergers because of quirks?? Some parents would have left such a meeting absolutely beside themselves, not knowing anything about Aspergers, not having the resources to look into it further, perhaps being misinformed and having some pre-existing (and incorrect) ideas that will cause anxiety.
My children are gifted, highly so. All of what you mention is familiar to us. And oh the clothes, boy have we been there. Personally, *I* still have the sock thing going on, cut tags off etc. As long as they were warm and dry, I didn't fight the clothing issue. It's not worth it. One of my kids used to only wear a few items, refused anything new. (Thankfully they suited various weather situations). I think that stopped once school started.
We find routine, and telling the kids of of any changes in routine helps. Talking about future scenarios - what's the worst possible thing that could happen - role-playing etc helps with the anxiety. Role-modelling being 'less than perfect' and making mistakes also helps.
I've gone to considerable effort to teach my children that it's okay to be told off, it's the behavior being told off, not the person but we still struggle with that a little.
Good luck with your assessment, I hope you can find some answers. FWIW, we had tantrums with one of ours too. They *did* grind to a halt. There is still a lot of anxiety and that's hard for children and parents but it has become easier.
Maybe your boy has Aspergers, maybe he doesn't. We can't tell, we don't know him. But I don't think those you met with should have been throwing diagnoses around like that.
I have a 13 year old son who is gifted AND has Aspergers. It's not uncommon. Diagnosed at 4. All the same issues you describe. Socially aware and sociable when younger, now a lot less tolerant of people who are not on his wavelength, wants friends but only if they of high enough quality!
I think one difference is obsessive interests. We went from Thomas Tank Engine to dinosaurs, prehistoric beasts, Star Wars, Harry potter, video games.On a plane journey to UK he watched the same movie 7 times in a row - that was the deciding factor for experts!I also remember him getting cross with the other boys at kindy because they wanted a dinosaur from the Jurassic period to fight one from the Cretaceous period. Duh!
Don't be afraid of an Aspergers diagnosis. It brings with it help , understanding and a disbility allowance. He's still the same lovely boy.
School was always difficult for us and we have home educated since the age of 10. That change has been the single best thing I have done as a parent.
Perhaps this book would be useful. Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression and Other Disorders by James T Webb. http://www.amazon.com/Misdiagnosis-Diagnoses-Gifted-Children-Adults/dp/0910707642
It's an interesting read and could answer some of your questions.
Thanks, that book looks interesting - I will see if my library can get a copy.
We have an appointment in a couple of weeks with a clinical social worker. Is this the right person to see? I have no idea what they do, but the nurse should be in touch this week because they want to do a kindy observation.
Anita your child sounds just like mine, except mine is 10 and enjoys school, has a couple of friends who meet his standards, but no interest in extending those friendships outside school. I suppose if school was a problem, then seeking a disability allowance would be helpful, but so far it doesn't seem to be a disability. This discussion of 'gifted vs aspergers' vs `gifted and aspergers' is very interesting to me! I suppose for me, if it's not felt to be a disability, then it is definitely just giftedness, But of course, I am no expert, just the parent of a gifted child
Gifted with anxiety? Your son sounds just like my 11 year old son. He is gifted and has generalised anxiety. He was referred to child mental health services aged 8 and was diagnosed with anxiety. He's had counselling but he still gets major anxiety and has meltdowns - although it's getting better. In year 5 we got him assessed by an ed psych because the school wasn't interested - gifted. They can go hand in hand. His assessment by child mental health involved lots of discussions with me and my son, together and each of us alone, lots of obs, including at home, and his teacher and my husband and I each filling out forms about his behaviour etc. I feel that their diagnosis of anxiety was very accurate, but didn't get to the nub of the matter for me - that he is gifted and the socio-emotional aspects of this were very apparent. Good luck.
Diagnosing Aspergers is very much in vogue at the moment - I would trust your gut if I were you.
Anita - sorry but those interests seem VERY "normal" to me, along with most of the other characteristics being described here. You could just as easily have been describing my grandson who most definitely is does not have Aspergers.
He is what we current call "2e"..... which strikes me as rather a strange choice of terms (as does the term "mixed ability") considering what it means it that rather than learning moderately well in a number of ways he learns exceptionally well in a particular way ..... so very strange indeed!
Having taken psychopathology as a course subject I am less than impressed with both diagnostics and the theory upon which they are based.