i apologise for the length, but this a long story and I am a little lost, bereft and confused. I can also be over dramatic and panicky, so looking for reassurance.
My son, who is now 7.5 was slow talking, he was diagnosed with expressive speech delay and had 2 yrs of speech therapy, he is a mutterer now, but speaks, a lot! This came about following a brief chat with Gp after I'd mentioned he had stopped trying to say, ma/da, he could not sit without help and wasn't trying to walk. He underwent an assessment just after 18 months, which showed he had not yet reached his developmental milestones. I did get called in, when at the hospital to a dr, who was v abrupt and said, well of course he is on the autistic spectrum, she was pointing to the line that all his tests showed in his red book, the line showed he was below on all of them. She wasn't our allocated dr and I'm not sure why she even called me into her office, but after a hearing test, which he past, we were asked to wait and that conversation was the result. I was shocked and so I didn't ask questions or challenge this as I'd not been expecting to see a dr and was relieved to have a name to what was going. She was also pretty blunt and made me feel stupid for having not got a paediatric dr...honestly I didn't know they could be requested, and this was v early days, I was dealing solely with my gp and heatlhvisitor at this time.
He was referred to another dr, who advised he may be slow, he may have something else. I advised the previous dr diagnosing autism, but he didn't want to label and asked that we forget that comment this dr went onto say we won't really be able to tell his situation until school. At the same time he was also diagnosed as hypermobile and underwent physio and is now walking well but he can also appear lazy at times, although he seems to ache less, he isn't as sporty as my other child.
He has always been a moody child, he gets into strops if things don't go his way, he loses in a game, his brother talks over him. He is not quite screaming but quite cross and sometimes physical. He has hit his brother, and drawn blood using teeth and nails, but not for some time and I assume it's kids fights, he gets told off but I've always said, my one son is passive, my other will hit first ask questions later.
He has always appeared very shy, a friend once mentioned to me, do you know in all the time I've known you this is the first time your child has had eye contact with me...I laughed and didn't really think anything of it. I knew he was ok with said friend because he would stand for ages just stroking her hair, this is something he does all the time, he likes long hair draped over his face, he likes to wave my hair back an fore his face. He also used to twist his hair, but when he started getting bald we had to get it cut and only allowed it to grow long again on the condition twisting stops. It has worked, however now he refuses haircuts.
Bringing this forward. I do see he is educationally well behind where his brother was, maths, writing, reading, although he does enjoy reading. I home Ed, so thankfully no comparisons with peer groups and to be honest I think his moody attitude might get him into lots of trouble, which would be v stressful.
Last week my eldest had a friend over, my youngest did his usual, teasing stuff.. he then did the usual, touching, prodding, poking, standing nose to nose...I have always put this down to naughtiness, we have had several conversations about personal body space. He loves to have kisses and cuddles and insists on being right between us when we sit down, practically in our pockets stroking all the time. Whilst this is annoying for us, I need him to stop this with other children and to recognise when someone is uncomfortable.
so, where am I now. Well, after another conversation that ends in a very unconvincing, sorree! I thought I would google children who invade personal space, looking for ideas and more and more the parents mentioning this were talking about their children and being on the autistic spectrum. It took me back to the dr when he was 2, and then I started looking st other traits and it all clicked, I recognised so many aspects of my cute, naughty, rude, funny, weird, scruffy kid. I need to list them below (as if I hadn't written enough), in the hope that someone will say. Ok I agree, or stop being silly... ) on a side noteI did do an AQ test on line, he scored 29, which they classed as mild Aspergers.
he invades personal space. Nose to nose, constant stroking, tapping
he sometimes, howls, meows like a cat, top of his voice, usually startling when I'm driving
he won't have any eye contact with strangers, usually head down and barely a word muttered. He will order food in restaurants, as I've said if he doesn't he can't have it.
He will not respond to other adults being friendly or joking with him. Last yr he insisted on covering his face when we went to a festival so no one could see him, sadly he was dressed as a ghost, in august, so everyone was staring.
Generally he gets upset if we, as a family, joke. This upset manifests itself in him removing himself from family and going to play alone. He very often stomps off upset.
he talks about his fave subjects continually, lego, and dr who. I have had to ban dr who conversations as they can go on for hours. I have introduced horrible history books and he enjoys learning about science. He has no interest in anything else.
he will play alone for literally hours with lego.
he has no friends, he doesn't play with other children, my other child might get friends when out and he joins in, but he isn't able to make friends on his own. Also and can be overly physical so I'm always watching him in parks to make sure he plays nicely. I have seen him try to chat to other children his age, but his is quite immature and they look at him like he is odd, or they don't understand him, this leaves him looking confused.
Also, he has no guilt, no empathy and is the most unconvincing apologist ever. He literally cannot be punished, he doesn't seem to care when he had lied, hurt someone, upset someone...it's just a sorree...and that it.
He also cannot hold a conversation, my husband works away and it's all he can do to say, hi how is your day, then his eyes wander and he says, let's get mum.
I am sure there are more things but I can't think of it for now, but if anyone has made it to here, thank you for taking your time to read this. I don't want to make something out of nothing, and I do not want a formal diagnosis for him while I am home educating. I just wanted someone to give their opinions based on the fact they are far more knowledgeable than me.
I thought I would post some links in response to your post. I hope these are helpful to you.
Firstly, this link provides some general information about autism: http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/autism-and-asperger-syndrome-an-introduction/what-is-autism.aspx.
You may also want to look at our section that provides advice for parents, relatives and carers of people with autism.http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/parents-relatives-and-carers.aspx
Although you mentioned you do not want a formal diagnosis for him at the moment, to find out if your son has autism/Asperger's syndrome they would need to go for a formal diagnostic assessment. This section provides further information on getting a diagnosis:http://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/children.aspx. It is very important that you see someone with experience of autism spectrum disorders. Details of diagnostic services can be found on our Autism Services Directory: http://www.autismdirectory.org.uk/services/autism-services-directory.aspx. It might also help to pass on information about autism to health professionals when seeking a diagnosis. The following page includes information for a range of health professionals: http://www.autism.org.uk/Working-with/Health.aspx
Additionally, if you'd like to speak to someone about your situation aside from using this forum, then you may wish to contact the National Autistic Society's Autism Helpline. You can call them on 0808 800 4104 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 3pm), although please note that the Helpline is experiencing increasingly high demand, and you may not reach them straight away.
Please see the following link for further information:
Finally, other members of the community may post in response to your original post with their own information and advice.
Yes, it seems distinctly possible that autism would be diagnosed (Aspergers is not diagnosed nowadays as it is not recognised as a different condition to autism) The danger with discussing an individual case on a thread like this is that you are likely to get agreement but it doesn't count for much as we are not professionals and would not be able to give the best differential diagnosis to rule out any other possible diagnoses. I'm not sure why you would want to avoid a diagnosis - it doesn't hurt and it could only provide extra information for you.
You might like to look at some of the threads about Social Stories http://community.autism.org.uk/search?q=%22social%20stories%22 which might introduce you to others who are grappling with the same issues on personal space as you. There are resources and techniques mentioned on those threads that might be helpful.