Hi, I'm new here. I have a 10 year old boy who has struggled with social interactions and school for years, alongside out of control angry meltdowns. His school are convinced he is on the Autism Spectrum due to his unwillingness to communicate and his struggles to form friendships with his peers etc. He also suffers from social anxiety and doesn't like to go to school, refuses to try out of school clubs etc. We are currently in the process of trying to get a diagnosis. We attended our local CAMHs, and received a letter from the Dr there saying that in her opinion his difficulties were due to ASD, and she referred him for further assessment, BUT, we've been warned of a 18 month to 2 year waiting list! As he's due to transfer to secondary school next year, we felt a bit desperate, and have used our savings to pay for a private assessment. The result of that is the Dr saying that he has several autistic traits, which are the reason for his struggles at school (his anxiety leads to him shutting down and then these traits come to the foreground), BUT, because he was able to communicate and make eye contact with him, and because he showed an ability to use his imagination in their play session, he says he doesn't think he is fully autistic (he does change in the summer holidays when he's more relaxed and not stressing about school). This is slightly confusing news to us, and I wonder if anyone here can explain it? Basically we're being told that he has several autistic traits, and that these traits are enough to cause significant problems at school, and he advised us that the best way to deal with this is to see advice on the NAS website, but he doesn't have an autism diagnosis. Not even on the spectrum. Not aspergers. Just 'traits'. I'm confused, because I feel if he has enough traits to cause significant difficulty, surely this means he is on the spectrum, albeit at the high, functioning end of it. But the Dr says the fact he could communicate and showed imagination means he isn't. Please help me make sense of this. On the one hand, if he doesn't have autism then great, but on the other hand, where do we go from here in order to help him with what are nonetheless significant difficulties. Sorry for the waffle, just trying to work out what being 'on the spectrum' as opposed to 'having autistic traits' means.
I have received the same from the developmental pediatrician. I was told my 8 year old son has autistic traits but is able to give eye contact and communicate. However, she did set up an appointment for him to be seen the on the 20th of July in the Autism Clinic at the hospital for a full evaluation. Hopefully we'll get some kind of diagnosis. It has been years of back and forth.
Definitely continue to pursue assessment, my son now 11, similar story with autistic traits identified but quite sociable (on surface) and other inconsistent areas. However despite that (and even his consultant psychiatrist describing him as puzzling!) he will have a diagnosis of ASD now.
Ha! "Puzzling" was the word my first assessor used for me too. I genuinely stumped the man.
That both makes me smile and feel a bit less anxious about hearing that...!! I can sort of see what he means,but the more I read, can see why the surface isn't everything and could give the psych examples where my son wasn't masking. Thank you so much for your contributions Emma, was reading the other one about meltdowns etc last night and it's so helpful as a parent to get a perspective on what it must feel like inside.
Thanks I've tried to make it my aim being on this forum to be an inside perspective as much as I can.
It was very unsettling when I was a child not really having the introspective skills to work out why I was struggling in certain situations (let alone the ability to articulate my feelings accurately- I still find it harder describing emotions accurately than any other concept or item) and things like the meltdowns were happening. Didn't help that my family hadn't even heard of autism/aspergers until I was flagged up by CAMHS in my early teens, so we were working double-blind.So my goal now I'm able to do that for myself is to spread it around and so try to make things run a bit smoother for other autistic people. I'm really glad it's helping you! x