High functioning autism

Mimi - posted on 03/21/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )

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I have a 17 year old son. I have always realized that he beats to the beat of a different drum. As he has gotten older he really doesn't socialize with friends. We have joined a church where he is getting involved with the youth group. This helps, but he still has no close friends that he wants to socialize with. I have been reading about high functioning autism, and was wondering if this could be what he has. The only thing, he's very athletic, and hasn't had any problems with his speech either. He just gets obsessed with one thing at a time, and doesn't want to socialize, and it's hard for him to communicate with a 2 sided conversation. He seems very smart, but won't study, and doesn't seem to care about his grades. I am worried about him, and wondering if there is testing to determine if he's high functioning autistic. If he his, is there treatment for this? He goes to a psychiatrist now, and all he will do is prescribe abilify for his mood disorders. Wondering if anyone can give me some insight on what to do? Thanks.

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Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2011

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My son, who is only 7, has had some issues since he was 4. My son was just diagnosed with Asperger's, which is pretty much the same thing as High Functioning Autism. My son started one words at 22 months, but was talking completely by 2 1/2 years. He had a little phonological speech disorder, which was resolved with speech therapy at 6-7 years old. Since Kindergarten he has difficulties with being ostracized. He never had friends from the classroom and was never invited to boy's birthday parties or play dates. He does very well at initiating social conversations, especially with adults (since he was 4). He goes up to kids as well as introduces himself and plays very well with kids on the initial, like when we meet kids at a playground, park, or at the Playmobil place. The difference is when children get to know him and are around him all the time, like in the classroom, they pick up on his differences (I guess) and they don't include him. His problems started when he was 7 and he has really began to feel bad about himself because he doesn't have anyone to play with at recess. He asks to play and they don't include him. My son has very bad meltdowns or emotional over-reactions. His frustration / anger level goes from 0-10+++ in less than 3 seconds. He has more of the social/ mood disorder described with Asperger's. Alexander is not extemeley athletic, but he moves well.
I would recommend testing for Asperger's. We went to a Neuro-Psychologist. Look for someone under CARD, an autism resource, or other autism resource sites on the internet to try and find a provider. Your son's situation seems to me to be Asperger's. Also, my son has refused to go to school for the last two months and has difficulty and gets frustrated with homework, even though for the first part of his 1st grade year (this year), he had straight A's and has a high IQ. Socially and emotionally, he can't handle it and has expressed thoughts of wanting to die.
I hope this helps. Even with Asperger's, every child is different. My son does not get obsessed with one thing at a time, but he matches up with Asperger's on many other things. Either way, either with Asperger's or a Mood disorder, I'm pretty sure the treatment options are the same. Good Luck!

Shonnie - posted on 03/28/2011

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I have to agree with Renee. Grades, practicing clarinet, and behaving appropriately are REQUIRED. Don't worry about his age ... you still have a say ... espcially if he can't function. You can't pussy foot around with your son. You have to spell the consequences out for them. My son is like her's .... LOVES video games and Will do anything to get new ones and get to play. They just do NOT get the need for the letters. You have to make it real to them.

My son didn't want to socialize -- I asked him did he want to live on his own? did he want to have a job? ...and did he want to have control of how he lived or did he want to be in a hospital with others telling him when to eat and what to do?
he wanted freedom to choose ... and I said ... if you want freedom to choose then you HAVE to learn to socialize it is a requirement, by society. he got that.

Rachel - posted on 03/25/2011

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it sounds more like asberger syndrome not sure i spelled it right but i had a friend that her son was like that my daughter is high functioning autistic and the speech was an issue but with asbergers the have normal speech but have social problems

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Cynthia - posted on 10/19/2012

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i have a dilema. i am a single working mom but i cant afford childcare/programs nor do i have time to take my son to do activities to show him how to be social or independant or to survive in this world. He doesnt have medicaid and is a high functioning autistic boy (asperger) and i am a working person which means he doesnt qualify for afterschool programs, or respite, or day camps, or sleep over camps, etc.. i've gone to every local place that offers programs for him, school, church, and no one can help. i cant even afford an attorney and advocates are now charging. i dont know what to do and i hate to see my son at home playing video games and not wanting to socialize or go out or do anything that is not the future i want for him. please help!

Leeann - posted on 10/13/2012

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My boy is high functioning and I have learned a lot in the last ten years!, one thing being Autism is a spectrum disorder and varies exteremely! They have the same basic issues but they are very much one of a kind people. Meds are not what he needs! he needs proper direction and teachings of professionals. My boy not only has ASD but also Tourettes, ADHD, and anxiety disorder, and he is not on any prescribed meds, he is taking some natural thing from a natural path, which has helped dematically in the few years he been taking them. They are all teachable! unfortunatly quite often they do regress sometimes but generally are just sort of observing new skills and dealing with it differently. I hope you try to talk to a doctor soon, because it will hopefully make him feel better. Look up all the amazing people in history that are on the spectrum too, that could help him feel better too! I wish you luck!

Tina - posted on 10/04/2012

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Mimi I feel like Im in the same boat except my son is 8 and he has aspergers adhd and mood disorder. Noah has social issues which come with aspergers has a hard time with children and often gets bullied due to the need for acceptance. My son demands it and is very talkative,intrucive,noah is very out going though.. Noah was tested for aspergers done by observation and they do different things with them.Treatment counseling and reminders coping skills and mine may be more intense because we have 3 diagnosis..I will pray its a hard road..

Mary Elizabeth - posted on 10/02/2012

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does he take abilify?, If so that made my son throw up every day. My son is 32 and I am just now looking into this, he was diagnosed schizophrenia at age 17, since then i cannot get any doc to rediagnose him. I have had him reevaluated for his medicade purposes but that is all. I just started researching, as I do so much on the sz. A friend dr. in chapel hill to take him to UNC but i don't have the slightest idea of how to get there or make the appoiment, i live in statesville. should be simple, but i am terrible about high traffic roads and charlotte makes me scringe, but it would be worth the price to get the diagnosis so i could show his reg psy. please let me know. My email is livelife1956@gmail. I may not be on here a lot so please email if u get this. thanx Mary

Colette - posted on 03/29/2011

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oooo Mimi, I know how you feel...my oldest son Andre, is functioning, the level they say, is usually from the person's point of view....Andre was checked starting around 10...couldn't find anything wrong..well spoken, shy, good looking, not into sports or anything with contact...certain things make him freak right out, would need to me medicate to calm him down...but, I must tell you, it's not easy, go to his level...keep conversation going...make sure he trusts you, so he comes to you, when issues happen...Andre is now, on his 5th year of university...he is an artist, gay...started to have confidence in himself....is learning a new life style, in Ontario...I'm in NB....takes cares of his bills, student loans...those were all things that I had to explain, things just didn't come easy for him, he just doesn't see things the same way, somebody else would...I adjusted to it...the only thing I can tell you my dear Mimi, is go, to his level...live what he lives, then you might get to understand, his frustrations and the way he sees people...try that....I don't really believe in a label on somebody, it helps to understand the bubble they live in....but doesn't help them to grow...in their bubble...Andre is now 23, as a younger brother with multi disabilities 20...and often, I was worried, who had the most problems...Andre that couldn't live with other people and wouldn't socialise or Nicky that couldn't talk and wore a diaper...made me appreciate my boys...and I live everything they live...and when it's hard for them...I bring the fun things into it...then, the stress level usually comes down...hope this helps...good luck....when I read a note like yours, I see myself 10 years ago...living the same thing...I wouldn't have changed a thing, would relive the same things also...but glad that phase is over...lol...have a good day...xxx

Cheryl - posted on 03/28/2011

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Hello Mimi...I work closely with RJ Millar, President and Founder of Auum Inc. He was diagnosed with Aspergers. He is much older now and learn a whole lot. He says in his presentations with me and others to let the children do what they love BUT RJ has now discovered a new omega source from his research and I have been working with these omegas for almost 3 years. They really do help children. The first clinical study the company did was with children, and the results were dramatic. Even 4 non-verbal children began speaking within 6 weeks. RJ is bright and his mission is to help children all around the world. Your child is special (as I don't believe in using labels anymore.) Sure sounds like he is loved. Please feel free to contact me cherylmillett@auum.ca for more info and clinical study results.

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I have a 15yo with Aspergers, who has some similar issues. He actually wants a few close friends but has trouble socializing. We just keep exposing him to different things when we can. He did judo classes a few years ago, but didn't like that. He also did the Sheriff's teen academy last summer and totally loved that. He also likes golf. Just keep putting him in situations to experience new things and meet new people.

As for grades, we had to get tough-because grades are just letters, which have little value. I cut an ad for a roommate out of the paper and told my son that he'd have to get a job (more like 2 at minimum wage) to be able to cover the costs of moving out (he can't stay with us if he's not in school). We also took away video games, but made a deal that he can play on weekends for a few hours after every 5 days of no missing assignments, which is definitely working. I even, after getting a call about bad behavior, got a bright pink bathrobe and fuzzy slippers and shadowed him at school one day, which made the office ladies laugh, and made my son more respectful! We also started with housekeeping: if he's not going to use his brain (at school) then he's CHOOSING to use his back, and the only trade I can give him is housekeeping (he won't have a diploma, so he won't be able to get jobs that use the brain). He did lots of housekeeping initially, but that has tapered off to just his regular chores, which he gets paid for-nothing extra for a couple of months now.

I do try to explain to him that though social norms and expectations are not necessarily logical, there are some things we all have to do whether we want to or not, and some things we should do just because it makes our lives easier (like not wearing blue with brown-doesn't make you bad, just makes your social life easier). There are other things he's just figured out on his own, like washing his face to prevent pimples.

Carrie - posted on 03/27/2011

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My son is 10 and has Asperger's. Before we had him diagnosed he was having all kinds of trouble at school with the other kids. When we had him diagnosed, I sat him down and told him what was going on, (He is VERY intelligent) and he seemed to settle down then. It's like he KNEW he was different and when he found out why, he was OK with it and just accepted it and went on with life. I have my son on medication for the ADHD, which sometimes goes along with Aspergers, and his teachers have said that he's one of the best kids they have in their classes!!! There is hope, I promise!!! I totally ENJOY my "Aspie"... he is HILARIOUS!!! OH, the things that kids says!!! :-)

Jodie - posted on 03/27/2011

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He sounds just like my 15 year old son, also undiagnosed, (we got halfway through the process) but I'm certain he has Asbergers.

My son also has one obsession after the next. He is very bright, but doesn't do well at school because he doesnt want to do his school work.

He does have friends however, because the majority of his friends are like him. Also Asberger boys.

User - posted on 03/26/2011

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Thanks for all the helpful comments. I have known for a long time that he was different. I guess I now have a name for it. I know it will be difficult getting him to be tested, since he is older. I'm hoping I can get him in to therapy, if nothing else, just so he and our family can understand what is going on.

Tegan - posted on 03/25/2011

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It sounds like Aspergers Syndrome. Have him tested by a psychologist. There are many different things that can help, but one is simply for him to understand the way that he is different. Read as much as you can on Aspergers, and adjust your interactions with him to support him the best you can. Good luck.

Deanna - posted on 03/25/2011

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My 12 year old son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when he was 8. This is a high functioning form of Autism. His behaviors sound a lot like your son however he was on ABilify for a while for "mood disorder" and last summer I took him off the medication he is doing better he socializes a bit more but still has no close friends from what his psychiatrist tells me this is normal for these kids they dont understand how to form those close bonds. I would suggest finding another psychiatrist one that will listen to you and your concerns. My son was evaluated for an Autism spectrum disorder at another Psychiatry facility because our psychiatirst was not familiar enough witht the disease and felt more comfortable having someone else preform the testing. He is now onlyon medication for his ADHD and attends group therapy monthly. The group therapy helps him to understand how to behave in social situations and understand social cues which he has problems with. So try asking your regular doctor about another psychiatrist that has a better understanding of the autism spectrum.

Lela - posted on 03/25/2011

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it sounds like Asperger Syndrome. my son has it. it is an autism spectrum disorder. the only treatments would be therapy and medication or diet. but at 17, your son would have to want to do those things, you probably couldn't force him. you could do therapy and all that without the diagnosis. you should probably discuss it with the family and all decide togehter what you need to do.

Shonnie - posted on 03/24/2011

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Well ... getting the diagnosis will help you all to understand what you are up against. He sounds a lot like my High Functioning Autistic son ... who is 16. I use his obsessions to get him to socialize. If you want to talk more -- mishon88@me.com -- email me. =)

User - posted on 03/23/2011

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In NC we couldn't get school to test him, they don't do it anymore I was told.. but we went through a company that does the testing, and its FREE.. Its got a waiting list, but we were seen within a month. It was with TEEACH, they are through the UNC Hospital/Staff. They have offices in several areas. Not sure about where u are located. My son is medicated, but he has had Rage outbreaks, and he has hurt others. I agree some don't need medication, it totally depends on child. I also say that Michaels meds mostly are for issues that come from having Asperger.. He has severe depression/anxiety and anger, so he takes meds for that. he has extreme ADHD.. he takes a med for that.. and takes meds for the Chronic abdominal pain n for the severe constipation. Some kids show only social awkardness or behavior issues, while some others have many health issues. That is where Michael fits in. Once you get with right set of Drs it will all seem more clear. Michael been having issues for years.. and it took us till this year to get a diagnosis. It stinks but sometimes its so time consuming. Michael is doing alot better since his hospital stay, and med change. However he vomits 3 to 4 days a week, and so we are still on long journey.

Raquel - posted on 03/23/2011

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Hi Mimi, I can only tell what I know personally & what I've read or heard from many... In general to sum it all up autism is very broad. Thus it's called a spectrum disorder. Even Asperger's is on the spectrum disorder. However, some argue that Asperger's is a totally different thing.

Yes, if your son is in public school you can request testing. There should be 4-7 tests. Just be honest & tell them what you know & what his doctor told you. The tests may require you to fill out information about your son like on a scale to 1-10 type questions or agree, disagree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or questions that you will have to write out to answer. The tests may even require his teachers to give input. Then your son will be tested independently. Question and answer type questions. Maybe questions that will require critical thinking skills, questions to learn how he may perceive things & testing concerning his motor coordination.

What I do know is that after my son had his 18 months vaccination he had a severe reaction. From then on he was a different baby boy. I knew something wasn't right & doctors didn't want to diagnose him until he was in kindergarten, which was exactly what I was trying to avoid. When my son was a toddler my mom & a friend of the family would care for him. When I had to put him in daycare it was too much for him. He told me the kids made him nervous because they were climbing the walls. The teacher said that he didn't socialize with other kids there & would just stay near her. Next thing I know he's biting his nails, he's chewing or sucking on his shirts & one day he pulled out all his eyelashes out of one of his eyes. I then took him out of daycare & put him in Primrose as it is more structured. He did fine there. Kindergarten he acted out due to frustration, which is what I feared. He then got tested & was diagnosed as severely autistic. Another 2 years he was diagnosed as moderately autistic, another 2 years he was diagnosed as mildly autistic & his dr "unofficially" diagnosed him with PDD-NOS. This year he was tested again & now he is high functioning with Asperger's! My son has literally been through the whole spectrum! :)

I will tell you that the day I got his diagnosis I have been doing my own research so that I can help him. I have been a very determined mommy. I believe he has progressed so well because of a combination of things.

The way my son is now, he sounds very similar to your son. My son isn't super outgoing, but he does sincerely try. He seems to gravitate to younger kids like preschool to his age. He seems to be hesitant to socialize with older kids. He has a strong liking to the elderly. It's really beautiful to me. He just loves them. They all seem to love him too. I am actually thinking about us both volunteering at a nursing home or an assisted living center.

Just a few years ago I never would have thought my son would be able to keep up with other kids in karate or swim competitively. He use to have a hard time keeping up with me like when I go walking, hiking or shopping. He would get tired easily. That is due to the way their cells are structure. Their mitochondria lacks what it needs to sustain energy for endurance. His motor coordination was really bad, he still struggles some. However, he was no way at all athletic & even had a funny walk to him. Now he is very strong, competitive & athletic.

As far as speech, he began talking at the average age. However, his grammar may be off. We often have to correct him. He may even confuse asking with telling. He sometimes takes things literally. He has a difficult time understanding joking. However, he is a clown & likes to play his own little jokes on us. His social skills & his communication skills still need alot of work. I have a really great book I just started to read concerning this. His reading comprehension still needs some work too.

My son has his obsessions too. He will watch the same movies over & over such as Batman, Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk. My son is in the 5th grade & is 11 BTW. He can become obsessed with certain items for whatever reason like last year he was bringing home rock or beans from school. LOL Currently he's been fascinated with coins, tossing them in the air, spinning them, comparing them & any time he sees a coin he wants it. He is VERY into wrestling, UFC & boxing. He has wrestling figures & a wrestling ring. If he's watching wresting he will have his wrestling stuff out & he will wrestle his figures in the wrestling ring. However, he will not show his "obsessions' around other kids. He will just do it around family or younger kids that he is comfortable with. Maybe because he realizes this & maybe doesn't want to be teased about it.

A 2 sided conversation is very difficult with my son as well. You can't just ask him "How was your day?" You really have to pry him & ask several questions. However, he can talk an ear off a billy-goat! Sometimes I have to say "Christian, just give me one moment. Let me have a minute & I'll get right back to you." Then I give myself a little 15 minute break. He also has a hard time about knowing when to talk such as not interrupting conversations or not talking too loud at certain times.

My son has caught on to alot little by little & is very smart. However, the way I motivate him is I ask him questions like "When you grow up what kind of car do you want?" He'll say "I want a big 4 door truck" & he'll describe what all he wants on it & in it. Then I'll say "Well, then you have to study hard in school. Then you have to go to college & study even harder in school. You have to want to try harder to get those nicer things you want in life as an adult." I'll also bring up about him having a family & I'll tell him that he has to work hard to go to school & continue to work hard to get a good job & to have a good job to be able to support his family.

I have to constantly remind him about chores & I'll ask him "Did you brush your teeth? Did you trim your nails? Did you brush your hair? Did you take your vitamins?" Those type questions... When he doesn't do it I then tell him why it's so important that he does do it.

You need to get your son off the meds ASAP & stop seeing that dr. Find a clinic or center or a very well recommended dr in your area that specializes in the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or neurobehavioral disorders. In my experience DAN doctors & naturopathic drs have been a godsent for my son. The less toxins you can put in your son or on your son or around your son the better he will be & the better he will progress.

Have him eat a cleaner diet. Look up the Dirty Dozen produce. Buy organic when you can or wash with a produce cleaner or you can make a homemade one. I make one with water, vinegar, baking soda & lemon. Eat more poultry, rarely eat red meats & be careful with fish. Eat fish with lower traces of mercury. Like no tuna, but Alaskan salmon is good or trout. Watch for BPA packaging. Get rid of toxic household cleaners, watch for toxins in your toothpaste, shampoo, lotions, body wash, etc. It really is everywhere & you will be surprised! There are so many carcinogens & toxins in every day products that most people use. Tide has 5 known carcinogens & even lye! Johnson & Johnson products has toxins & formaldehyde & are currently in a lawsuit over this.

Getting rid of toxins is key. Those on the ASD lack enzymes that metabolize toxins. Thus, they get a toxin build up. This build up is what creates or worsens their symptoms. Some on the ASD have high amounts of metals in their system or bacteria, viruses, yeast, etc. Some are treated with antiviral medication & some have said with that alone that it has 'cured' them. Network with moms like you are doing here. Subscribe to newsletters like Autism Speaks, Autism Research Institute, etc. & look into their sites & resources.

I have NEVER medicated my son & his progress has been amazing! :)

I can give you more information if you'd like to contact me as my fingers are now falling off! :)

Take care & wish you the best!

Mary - posted on 03/22/2011

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HI ! I have a 12 year old son with PDD-NOS, ADHD, tactile sensitivities, Social Deficits (about 4 years behind socially). I believe that if you psychiatrist is not helping you, look for another doctor. I have found that some psychiatrists, neurologists, and pediatricians. One type of doctor helped my family get the services our son needed. Please look into a Neuropsychologist. This is a specialty doctor that understands autism among other things. By the way, if you put your request IN WRITING to your school district (so They pay for the evals this doctor will provide) they must answer your request within a certain amount of days. If they refuse (also in writing), they must provide you with an answer why. It is worth a shot. I hope this helps you. Mary Barabos

Cynthia - posted on 03/22/2011

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Your son might have aspberger's syndrome. This is not a medication disability. This is a trait in some people that allows them to hyperfocus, and even obsess in an area where your child is strong in. I would encourage the athletics, because other kids are doing it too, so that is socializing. I would look up everything you can about Aspberger's.

Michelle - posted on 03/21/2011

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My son is 13 and has Asperger's Syndrome also. He does so many of the things you mention. Does your son also have a hard time maintaining eye contact when conversing and just not quite catch on to the meanings of what people say? It's so much a communicating issue, along with a sensory/tactile issue. Often "Aspie's" will be very intelligent and talkative, but not know how to deal with relationships and personal issues.

Theresa - posted on 03/21/2011

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My son didn't get therapy outside fo school. In school through special ed services he did social skills training. That helped him tons. It teaches them how to read social ques and how to socialize "normally". Ask his doctor about social skills therapy. Once you find a doc is willing to listen and then assuming the doc does find cause to believe your son is ASD, that doc will be able to help you find the right therapies and therapist that will help your son the most.

Mimi - posted on 03/21/2011

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Thanks so much for giving me more insight on this subject. The more I read about it, I really believe that is what my son has. I think I definitely need to find a doctor who can point me in the right direction. I really think I need to find a good therapist. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks

Theresa - posted on 03/21/2011

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I would talk to his regular doctor about your concerns. If the psych he's seing now won't listen, then find another one. My son (12) has been diagnoses PDD-NOS. That's a form of high functioning autism. The fact that your son never had problems with his speech and is athlitic means nothing. High functioning autistic people can be absolutly "normal" in these aspects. My son is. He has issues with socializing and he also is very "focused" on one thing at a time. He has a hard time transitioning from one thing to another. My son also has tactile issues. For instance as an elementary school student he had to rub his hands on the carpet all during circle time. He didn't know he was doing it, the feeling of doing things like that calmed him. Som of the things he's grown out of and some things he's learned hi own coping mechanisms for. There are soe meds tat can help with focus and things like that, but the biggest help for autism (in any form) is therapy to help the person learn necessary skills.

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