I am new here - my 5 year old son was officially diagnosed with asd and adhd a few weeks back. I have always known he is 'wired' differently so even though it was a shock to be confirmed it was not a complete surprise. His paediatrician said mainly high functioning aspergers. Now I am lost, we have an answer but I am totally confused and feel like I don't know if I am coming or going. I have so many questions and I don't know who to ask.....so I am hoping you guys might be able to help with your own experiences.
My son is nearly 6 and pretty awesome if I do say so myself :-) he is quirky, has these amazing obsessions that he masters, he is super clever, funny and sweet. On the other hand he is physical, picks on his sister relentlessly, rude, acts spoilt, doesn't listen etc.
I am not sure how much of his behaviour issues are down to the aspergers/asd and adhd or just bad behaviour. Some days I think oh he is fine what were we worried about and other days it's a non stop down hill spiral. I have always assumed (should never assume I know) that aspergers is a communication issue and not behavioural, am I wrong? He does tick all the boxes for aspergers (words of his paed), obsessions, factual, won't always look you in the eye, socially awkward as in if he knows you then fine but otherwise he acts strange, he is physical when things don't go his way, he isn't great at going to sleep, needs things to go his way. And to be honest it changes from time to time, used to be very ritual lead and no so much now.
I think I guess I am just so confused and I don't want this to affect him in any way and I wan't to discipline him in the right way and stop losing my way.
Thanks in advance Pia
Hi, I know exactly what you mean about the difficulty of separating out which behaviour is ASD and which is regulation child/teen! I haven't been on these forums myself for a long time, but I came on this evening and saw your post and wanted to answer as I have been just where you are and you're right, it is confusing.
With my son, there were some things which looked on the surface like 'bad behaviour' but which I was always certain were not, but wasn't sure why, until he was old enough to explain. For example, going into shops was a problem as he couldn't stop touching things. Eventually he was able to tell me that he could only fully 'see' things by feeling them! (We evolved a system based on short exposure, hands in pockets and understanding.) With instructions, it was very hard for him to take in a list of instructions, or to process verbal communication, so when you say your son doesn't listen, that may be part of the issue? Also, because of the sensory issues, it was hard in a crowded situation for my son to tune out noise/sights, so your son may also need silence and calm in order to hear you properly.
In terms of general bad behaviour, at that age, they can't explain how stressful a situation is for them, and so my son would just have meltdowns from sheer stress. As he has got older, obviously this has all changed as he was able to explain to me and I could help him more.
I don't know if you have read the standard Tony Attwood book but I cannot recommend it enough. I returned to it constantly and found everything in there that I needed at every age.
Good luck. All I can say is that it will get easier and you will become an expert. One thing - I thought that others were experts and discovered that when it came to my child, I was the best and most all-round expert, so trust your instincts!
Thank you for your reply. I will look into that book. I get so confused as one minute I think he's fine and then not, tough times x
Don't underestimate the shock of the diagnosis, either, and the learning curve you feel you're on. It makes you question everything you do in how you manage your child. I was in a daze for weeks after the diagnosis. I kept losing my keys, and even my car in the car park! But it is also a relief to have that diagnosis, because I had spent years playing that game of 'is he being naughty/I'm sure he isn't/oh maybe he is and I'm a bad parent'. Only when I looked back on things through this new insight could I see where his behaviour came from and I was grateful for every time I had been 'indulgent' and said, 'It's not that he won't do x, it's that he can't.' I had no foundation for that feeling other than my instinct but it turned out to be right. So when he's acting up, if you start from the viewpoint that he probably needs help and support more than anything else, you are probably on the right track.
As an example: on sensory issues, my son would not necessarily go into meltdown, but he could spend ages processing things which other children simply wouldn't notice. So in primary school, where other kids were settling down to start the day, he'd be there chugging through his thoughts: 'Oh, the light is different today, and there's a new noise, what's that, and this pencil pot is in a different place, my chair is uncomfortable today ...' and while he was doing all that, he'd have missed all the instructions as to what he should do. The teacher understood so he wasn't told off for it; the TA would come round and go through it again with him individually and then he could start. He wasn't allowed not to start work, just helped to do it in his own way.
Inkpen11 - you explain it all so well. Thank you for taking the time to make it clearer. I need to start looking at things from his perspective xx