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Question on Aspergers / giftedness and Vent


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#1 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:00 PM

Hello - 

 

I know the term Aspergers is really not used officially anymore, but I have a quick question for anyone with a gifted child that has aspergers.  I have always heard that children with aspergers will fixate on a certain topics like trains, space, etc and want to talk about it all the time.  With aspergers, does the topic always stay the same for it to be aspergers? Or can it change?  My 5.5 year old son is obviously ADHD (runs in family and its been obvious since he was in my womb), but also shows some other symptoms.  He fixates on certain books/stories/shows for a week or few at a time and then switches.  Today he interrupted his piano lesson, for example, several times to tell his teacher about characters from Toy Story (his latest fixation).  He has also started vocal stimming a lot in the last few months.  He spends much of the day chewing his baby blanket.  He rubs his mouth with his hand a lot, etc. and other things.  Trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my 5.5 year old read five chapter books at the 3rd/4th grade level just last week, but needs a checklist to get dressed! (Checklist just tried today after too much arguing about the need to wear pants in the winter.)

 

On another note...feeling alone as a parent.  Every time I try to talk to someone about what we struggle with at home (which in the big picture is not that bad I know..could be much worse), I get some talk about not labeling or recommending more exercise.  I find it very dismissive and condescending  at times.  (Exercise can't cure ADHD...it might wear out a child without ADHD though..) When I don't label him, I get more frustrated and feel like I am a worse parent for it. When I label him (internally of course), I start to problem-solve, research strategies to help him,  have more realistic expectations and am a better parent I think.   When someone just tells me, "I just give my son lots of exercise" or "Some kids just need more time to grow up more..." or what have you, it comes across as being condescending as if they are telling me I'm naive and inadequate for feeling overwhelmed by an average child.  Anyway...thats my own issue I guess I have to deal with...some people don't like labels and it really helps others I guess.  Sometimes my son is so intense at the end of the day my husband and I are just trying to catch our breath...we do have our calmer days too.  

 

Can anyone relate?

 

 


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#2 JennSnow

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:27 PM

I can absolutely relate :).  There are a couple of boards on FB that have been extremely helpful for me as a parent of a gifted child who is likely on the high functioning end of the spectrum..one is called "Raising Poppies" and the other is called "Homeschooling Poppies"


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#3 Tanaqui

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 01:15 AM

It is very common for autistics to switch between topics - though they may connect to each other :)

 

For example, I started off as a young child with a strong interest in names and their meanings, segued into an interest in etymology, transferred to an interest in the lesser-known Romance languages, especially my ancestral language, Walloon, this crosspollinated with a general interest in conlanging to a full-blown fascination with linguistics.

 

Or, I'd read a book literally over and over until it fell apart in my hands... and then I wouldn't touch it again for months or years, having switched to another book. (Actually, I still do that, and come to think about it, this probably explains why I never ever had the kids read anything by Roald Dahl. I got all that out of my system during my last bout of Dahl-reading as a kid! Mystery solved, thanks for posting this so I could think this out.)

 

 

I get some talk about not labeling or recommending more exercise.

 

This is Tanaqui's general rule of advice for all situations: If you discuss something with other people, you're sending the message that the topic is up for discussion. And if it's not, it's not. So don't do it. Keep your concerns on a need-to-know basis until you have a solid diagnosis in your hand. Then you can decide when it is or is not appropriate to disclose this information, and if anybody tries to give you grief you can say, quite honestly, "Yeah, no. You don't know what you're talking about."


Edited by Tanaqui, 15 December 2017 - 01:17 AM.

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#4 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 06:40 AM

My Aspie's areas changed.

Fwiw, as the mom of an adult Aspie who really struggles with adulthood, my strongest recommendation is to seek a diagnosis and get therapy now. Our ds wasn't labeled as a young child (Apsergers wasn't a diagnosis at all in the US until 94 and he was born in 92. Most rural drs hadn't even heard of it. His pediatrician had an autistic Dd and he recognized it in ds, but we could not get psy's to label him autistic back then.). He missed out on the best yrs of behavioral therapy. He is severely impacted as adult even though he has a very high IQ and is incredibly well- read and well-educated.

He is controlled by his anxiety and spontaneous behaviors. His employment options are limited bc he limits himself.

In hindsight, I would focus more on behavior than academics.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 15 December 2017 - 08:27 AM.

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#5 Heigh Ho

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:34 AM

Quite a lot of what you've written is in the realm of normal for all children. Refusing pants in winter is not reserved for children on the spectrum or the gifted, nor is reading/hearing/conversing to stimulate the mind, or bringing in other topics he is more interested in during the lesson...

 

Exercise is an interesting topic.  My son's obviously adhd and gifted friend was over recently.. at 22,he fondly recalls the role of exercise in helping him function in the classroom and still uses exercise for life.  It isn't a cure, but it is chemically helpful for the type of ADHD he has..something about dopamine/seratonin generation. He spent his classroom freetime running laps in the gym rather than free reading.  In general, many parents of boys will tell you they need 3 hours of hard exercise daily...trike, moving heavy things in boxes/wheelbarrows/buckets, carry bricks or wood, pulling a sled up, digging a ditch to china, etc. to get the muscle feedback their bodies want.   Many of the traditional little guy games do this...remember 'train'?...you put your little sib in a cardboard box and push her around the carpeted area of the home for hours boarding and discharging stuffies when the weather was too bad to go out?  At five, you've got swim club on the horizon, and you'll find that's wonderful with the right coaching staff...try it out in spring or summer, then join the fall club.

 

Giftedness...gotta look carefully.  A lot of people told me my highly gifted child was on the spectrum ...to their unqualified -to -diagnose either gifted or spectrum minds, they thought being highly inquisitive and studying an area in depth equated to fixating.  With little but book learning in a psych class, they didn't realize that gifted children develop unevenly, and are ready much earlier to look in depth as they explore the world and figure out how things work. Interrupting the class to change the topic is really common with everyone at this age...ask your library  volunteers or friends who teach to give you a reality check.

 

 

Are you working with someone on the oral stimulation needs?  In general, what the ped told me is they need different textures, tastes etc. as the brain, eyes, mouth/tongue learn to work together. 

Are you using authoritative parenting?

 

Hoagies Gifted website is still a good resource


Edited by Heigh Ho, 15 December 2017 - 08:56 AM.

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#6 okbud

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:48 AM

Big hugs first of all.

Secondly, some ad/h/d and gifted kids do all the same stuff you've listed here. Which is probably just splitting hairs but reads like 5 books but needs a checklist to get dressed, while hyper-focussing on something? Totally.

This is how I try to think of it...you know how children's growth charts are nearly useless? And as long as the baby in your arms is growing in general, chances are he's completely fine? These off-beat people are like that too while they're growing. THIS kid forgets that socks come before shoes, but as long as he's progressing along acceptable lines... No worries!

And the thing about exercise and other well intentioned things people say is that usually they don't appear out if thin air. People with similar proclivities or struggles have found relief or comfort or focus or ~whatever~ through some of these means. There's no reason (I assume) to think random people especially those with all NT kids will be experts on the neural functioning of gifted or ADHD or autistic kids, ykwim? I think there are polite ways to point out that in your case, exercise isn't a panacea. But I don't think you'll be able to feel calm inside yourself as you navigate those conversations until you adopt more realistic expectations of other people, who aren't going through what you're going through "should" know.

...unless you're talking to jerks who just don't like you or your child. If that's the case, stop talking to them.

Eta-cross posted with heigh ho. What she said :)

Edited by okbud, 15 December 2017 - 08:52 AM.

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#7 HomeAgain

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:53 AM

I could have written everything Heigh Ho did.  I had to tell my 7yo this morning:

 

-put on pants (it's 10* F outside, he was wearing a winter weight compression shirt and boxers.)

-go to the bathroom.  (every, freaking, morning as he does the potty dance while involved in something else)

 

Around age 4/5 he was getting molars, I think, and chewed on things a lot.  This year we have the habits of licking lips and chewing on shirts.

 

But Heigh Ho covered most of my thoughts on the matter.  Exercise does help, as does maximizing routine and schedules (both food and daily tasks). 


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#8 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:16 AM

Heigh Ho..I know exercise helps...thats not up for debate.  Its people blowing off and saying all he needs is exercise that bothers me.  We have days where he gets ton and its of no help.  I guess I should take Tanaqui's advice and keep it all to myself.  FWIW, he stands out as different in a group of similar age peers all the time.  They are not doing the things he does.  If they were, I wouldn't make note of it.  It wasn't very kind or sensitive of you to say I needed a "reality check" when I wrote that I was looking for support.  I am intelligent and aware enough to know my son is different and to make observations of other children.  I know its pointless to look for support from random people I don't know and who don't know me....so lesson learned.


Edited by nwahomeschoolmom, 15 December 2017 - 09:34 AM.

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#9 kbutton

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:51 AM

Heigh Ho..I know exercise helps...thats not up for debate.  Its people blowing off and saying all he needs is exercise that bothers me.  We have days where he gets ton and its of no help.  I guess I should take Tanaqui's advice and keep it all to myself.  FWIW, he stands out as different in a group of similar age peers all the time.  They are not doing the things he does.  If they were, I wouldn't make note of it.  It wasn't very kind or sensitive of you to say I needed a "reality check" when I wrote that I was looking for support.  I am intelligent and aware enough to know my son is different and to make observations of other children.  I know its pointless to look for support from random people I don't know and who don't know me....so lesson learned.

 

You might try the Learning Challenges board. Lots of us there have 2e kids, including gifted with ASD/ADHD. 

 

It might also help to know that people get burned both ways in not being believed--not being able to get help and camaraderie and also having labels that didn't fit shoved down their throats. 

 

But seriously, check out the Learning Challenges board. 


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#10 Crimson Wife

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:56 AM

HFA vs. ADHD + SPD can be tricky to tease apart in gifted kids. How does he do with perspective-taking, making inferences, and other "Theory of Mind" tasks?

 

That is the biggest distinction between my HFA child and my ADHD one. My ADHD child may miss social cues when he's not paying enough attention, but he can actually be a bit manipulative (in a "shyster" kind of way rather than a mean way). He can "read between the lines" to guess how people will react and then use that information to try & get what he wants. When I described that behavior to our family's pediatric neurologist, she said that would be inconsistent with Asperger's/HFA.


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#11 okbud

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:01 AM

Heigh Ho..I know exercise helps...thats not up for debate. Its people blowing off and saying all he needs is exercise that bothers me. We have days where he gets ton and its of no help. I guess I should take Tanaqui's advice and keep it all to myself. FWIW, he stands out as different in a group of similar age peers all the time. They are not doing the things he does. If they were, I wouldn't make note of it. It wasn't very kind or sensitive of you to say I needed a "reality check" when I wrote that I was looking for support. I am intelligent and aware enough to know my son is different and to make observations of other children. I know its pointless to look for support from random people I don't know and who don't know me....so lesson learned.


I think you're in a place right now where you really need unconditional support.

You can definitely get that from people who haven't btdt. For ME, my mil is a lifeline sometimes...she's not necessarily experienced in the same way as I am, now, but she DOES know what loving and working for my unusual kids entails. Do you have a person like this in your life? I've met friends with similar issues on and off too... Folks are out there, though it's so hard sometimes to hang in there while looking for them.

As for us here... I think everyone who's posted so far is speaking from a BTDT pov. We're not saying you might need to adjust expectations because we're insensitive to your needs... quite the opposite. It's because we've been where you are right now, and learned the old fashioned way.

In any case, take care of yourself. ((()))
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#12 mumto2

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:17 AM

:grouphug" first.

You aren't alone.

Nothing you described would have been that out of the norm for my kids at some past point. Lots of time playing outdoors really did help, long walks too. Neither child has ever enjoyed group sports activities. They are in college now and are great.

It's hard when your child doesn't really fit the norm in the groups available to a parent. It took me years to learn not to discuss the intensity that my children had in their passion for things like mythology or Toy Story for example. Math, which has been both of my dc's love is it's own story. I am blessed to be able to say both because they have always had a mathy friend which is hard to find. To understand normal at my home wasn't really like other people's homes. Giftedness can be very uneven. Over time I learned to only really talk about my children with very few people which can be very limiting socially for a mom who home educates. My husband is my best friend to talk to about the kids. No one else comes close to understanding.
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#13 TerriM

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 01:20 AM

"He spends much of the day chewing his baby blanket." 

 

I don't know why, but oral fixation happens for a lot of kids.  Mine chewed his clothes and ate away his fingernails and even the skin on the tips of his fingers and toes.  I sucked my thumb until 2nd grade.  I only stopped because my mom contacted the teacher to find out if I was doing it at school and threatened to spank me for every time I did.  Apparently *she'd* sucked her thumb until she was 10 and needed braces because she'd pushed her teeth out really far.  

 

 

Trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my 5.5 year old read five chapter books at the 3rd/4th grade level just last week, but needs a checklist to get dressed! (Checklist just tried today after too much arguing about the need to wear pants in the winter.)"

 

ABSOLUTEY NORMAL!  I could not believe how long it took for kids to get to the point of getting them ready all by themselves.  Three kids, all of them around 2nd grade.  And my current second grader drags.  I swear she's spending 20 minutes on the toilet in the morning.  My oldest is the most responsible kid I've ever met, and still couldn't/wouldn't get himself ready without help until about 2nd grade.  I couldn't believe it.  He could play Dominion at age 4, but wanted help getting dressed..... 

 

Hang in there!


Edited by TerriM, 18 December 2017 - 01:21 AM.


#14 PeterPan

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 01:07 AM

The behaviors of autism ARE HUMAN BEHAVIORS, so OF COURSE people here can identify with them. It's the combination, the intensity, and the effect they have on life that distinguishes them. But it would be absurd to say well he is sensory seeking and kids without ASD are sensory seeking so he's not on the spectrum. 

 

This is a really important question to sort out. By the time it's affecting your marriage, it's time to get it sorted out. Yes come over to LC, yes get some professional evals going, and yes get the right words for things.

 

My ds did all the things you're describing (except the reading, he has SLDs and is complex), and he's on the spectrum, absolutely. Yes, I recognize my ds in the intensity you're describing, and yes it's the contradictions and unexpectedness that make it so shocking. 

 

What you want is a behaviorist or psychologist or developmental ped or someone to run the Vineland on him. There are other tests and questionaires and things too, but when you say things are off with his ability to function in the home, to dress himself, to do things you think he ought to be able to do, they can QUANTIFY this!! So it's the combination of what you're describing that is concerning, not any one thing.

 

Also, your other issue is assuming it's ADHD. The first (jerk, idiot, I could go on) neuropsych who eval'ed my ds said ADHD-inattentive, which NOBODY, nobody, nobody agreed with. However the guy was just so adamant and happened to be a supposed expert on ADHD, blah blah. Well we got my ds' reflexes integrated, and now he passes computer tap tap tests like the Quotient with flying colors! The ped won't give him ADHD meds and nobody thinks he needs to be on them.

 

So getting the right evals, the right diagnoses, answers that make sense, can lead to the right INTERVENTIONS. Within about 45 days of working on retained neonatal/primitive reflexes my ds was a new child. We've had to do a lot more. Your ds clearly needs an OT eval. You need language testing to make sure he's not hyperlexic (reading but not understanding). You clearly need evals.


Edited by PeterPan, 01 January 2018 - 01:07 AM.


#15 PeterPan

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 01:51 AM

Gifted children with Asperger's Syndrome  The chart in this article is helpful and parses them in a way I hadn't seen before.



#16 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:14 PM

Thanks for posting Peter Pan...very helpful. Things have been going better past few days since we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas (presents each day unless behavior is not good) and he has been distracted by his new toys.  New electronic keyboard (i.e. piano, not computer.) in his room has been very helpful so far.   I'll enjoy the break while it lasts!

 

Thanks for the encouragement to get the evaluation done...I'm going to ask his pediatrician where to start when I take my baby in for a well baby next week.  I am wondering though how I can ask questions about it in front on my son.  I tried calling last month but I got a really unhelpful message back from a nurse that just said, "I'm returning your call." with no further information and I got discouraged.

 

Most recently my son has been fixated on the Muppets and now Charlie Brown.  (Incidentally, both were created by men with Aspergers.)  Some things that stand out about my son in the past two weeks: When we were making Christmas goodie bags to give out at church, he kept saying, "Won't  (so and so) be pleased?!" [by the present].  It just doesn't seem like how most 5 year olds speak, but I could be wrong.  His language is like that frequently.  At the park, he started singing Carol of the Bells by the Muppets really loud.  He had made a new friend there that wanted him to stop singing it after a few minutes, and my son wouldn't because he said he was having fun. Then the kid went to sit by his mom and was actually kind of weirded out by my son and why he wouldn't stop.  All in all, my son was singing it loudly around the park for like 20 minutes until I finally took him on a walk and tried to find a way to convince him to stop which was that he couldn't listen to the Muppets anymore that week if he didn't stop!   And sarcasm....he doesn't get it or like it.  He calls them "lie-jokes."  "Its another one of those lie-jokes."  He put me on time out the other week for telling a lie-joke.  

 


Edited by nwahomeschoolmom, 03 January 2018 - 11:17 PM.


#17 Tanaqui

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:56 PM

As an autistic individual, I encourage you to start talking about this with your son now. There was no benefit in my life from not being informed.

 

Your son knows, of course, that people all look different from each other on the outside. You can start explaining to him now that we all think differently on the inside as well. Our brains work differently, and that means some things which are easy for him are hard for other kids and vice versa. But of course you want help to learn the best way to help him with the things that are hard for him.


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#18 wendyroo

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:54 AM

As an autistic individual, I encourage you to start talking about this with your son now. There was no benefit in my life from not being informed.

 

Your son knows, of course, that people all look different from each other on the outside. You can start explaining to him now that we all think differently on the inside as well. Our brains work differently, and that means some things which are easy for him are hard for other kids and vice versa. But of course you want help to learn the best way to help him with the things that are hard for him.

 

:iagree:

 

I have two kids (6 and 8 years old) with mental health challenges, and I have no problem discussing those issues (respectfully) with their pediatrician in front of them.

 

OTOH, even now that they have formal diagnoses, I still tend to avoid the labels.  Instead I will say things like "I'm hoping to get him evaluated to see if there are types of thinking his brain needs help with" or "we are looking for strategies to help him refocus when his brain gets stuck" or "he is taking medicine that helps his brain think more clearly".  If I did not feel comfortable using those types of phrases with the pediatrician, or I was not confident that (s)he would not show equal respect and sensitivity when discussing the subject, then I would find a new pediatrician.

 

Wendy


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#19 kiwik

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:10 PM

When I wanted to discuss assessment for autism for ds8 I made 2 appointments, one to talk about him and one with him there. I don't know how that would work where you are. Ds8 will probably never get a diagnosis and possibly doesn't have it but he is very similar to kids in my extended family who have aspergers diagnoses. And very similar to me who also could have used a diagnosis.