New Asperger Mommy Here....sorta nervous!

Lindsay - posted on 03/17/2011 ( 45 moms have responded )

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Just thought I would introduce myself. I'm new here, not just to this group, but to the forum as well! My son, Mitchell, has just been diagnosed with Asperger's. We always knew our little man was quirky, but we just thought it was him until this year, 3rd grade, when everything came tumbling down.

He's SUCH a polite boy, not willing to get into the least bit of trouble. Really good at compiments and manners without even being taught. He just always was in his own little world. Homework assignments would fly right over his head while he stared out the window. Organization was non-existent. The only reason it wasn't a problem until now was the comment we always hear; "But he's such a great child!" He was diagnosed with ADD this school year and is on Intuniv. Focalin was first, but with severe mood swings and tiredness. Pediatrician was sort of confused by this because he said that Focalin was usually the mildest of all meds. But then when the Asperger's was brought to attention, he said it all made perfect sense, for Focalin triggers the part of the brain Asperger's is.

Anyways, some other "quirks" that Mitchell has....ever since toddlerhood he has had to hit walls. By saying this I mean he will run to one wall, tap it with both hands, run to another wall and tap it. It is ALWAYS the same wall, same path, and for several hours that this will happen. He also throws his hands up into fists by his head when he gets really excited. He also is known to spin around behind me while I walk thru the isles at WalMart. Yep, quirky! ;0)

Oh, and did I mention Titanic? The kid is obsessed. His every waking moment is about Titanic. He will draw picture upon picture of Titanic, each one more detailed than the last. We had a blizzard last month, and in one day I had 16 Titanic pictures hanging on my fridge. No kidding! Every conversation he has is about Titanic. Oh, and about conversation.....it was SO ironic that Asperger children are called "little professors", because everybody that has known Mitchell has called him that since he was 2!! He uses words that are so unusual for a 9 year old. For example: "Mom, I can infer that the boy admires horses when I look upon his walls!" :0) Quirky!

Well, then these quirks weren't so quirky anymore when it was brought to our attention that Mitchell has no friends and doesn't even care that he doesn't. We've always thought things were okay because he seems to be such a social person, but looking back it was only with adults or small children, never kids his own age. He won't participate in group activities, freaks out over timed tests, and could care less that there are even other kids his own age around him. The kids will even try to interact with him, but it's like he just shies away, or tries and then gets super hurt if that child plays with another. Almost like a jealousy thing.

As far as routines, he's really easy going. The only time he gets freaked out is when the teacher springs new things on the day plans, or if a quiz is announced. At home he is okay. The only time when he has a meltdown is if some place he knows really well is rearranged or repainted without him knowing prior. We've had a couple thanksgivings where we've been in the bathroom with a crying little boy over painted walls!

As far as tantrums, violence, or meltdowns, we don't have much of that. So I guess I'm confused here. Because all I've researched (and like I said, this is all so very new to us!) says that Asperger kiddos tend to have tantrums over changes, or tend to be aggressive towards others. Mitchell doesn't do that...the only time change bothers him majorly is when big changes happen, not everyday routines.

I guess I want to ask, is that normal? Is what I'm saying a typical Aspie? I would love stories or experiences!!

Nice to meet you, and I hope I've just made some very awesome friends! :0)

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Melissa - posted on 03/23/2011

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Welcome! Your son does not sound like my son-- but he does sound like my middle daughter. :) When your son is upset, you may notice that he withdraws instead of acting out. [Someone once told me that that is because they are trying to process whatever is disturbing them and it's at a different level than the screaming behavior is.] I described it to our children's developmental pediatrician as "acting in" as opposed to "acting out." Different manifestation of the same issue. Our trigger for that is primarily being overwhelmed by too much stimulation (noisy, crowded rooms) or too much change (unlike your son, both of our younger children are really bothered by change).

You mentioned feeling like there's something you could have done or noticed earlier, but I don't want you to beat yourself up. Really. Think of it this way. Thirty years ago, there was no label for Aspergers (and that's all it is). Those were the kids that hung out by themselves and were content with their own thoughts and interests, without the meddling of others. You remember them. Maybe it was you, or your husband. They had labels too, like geek, weirdo, or loner. Now the label is much nicer, but unless the quirks are enough to interfere with his daily functioning, there is nothing to feel guilty over.

There are two main schools of thought regarding people with autism spectrum disorders. We need to fix them, or we need to accept them. I am entrenched in the second camp, but that's not to say I don't want to help my children lead successful lives. I don't think there's anyone or anything to blame for it, but that there are tools we ccan use to help our children grow to be their personal best. Now that your child has this label, you need to decide what you're going to do to help him. :) Instead of looking back, move forward. Good luck to you!

Jennifer - posted on 03/23/2011

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Hello, welcome to the Aspie world! I feel this supports that all Aspies are not alike. My son is 11, and language is his biggest obstacle. We all say he has his own language that none of us understand. But he does hyper-focus on one thing , video games. Just like your son, would like friends, has no idea how to engage them, and if forced, kids try and soon become bored and frustrated by my son. All he wants to talk about, or do, is related to video games. Every story at school, every sentence he needs to write, is about this topic. Its very tough. He has a younger brother, who is already more mature and has many friends. This is very painful to witness. Good luck, and write any time you need to vent.

Jennie - posted on 03/23/2011

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My son wants to be a video game maker is what he calls it. He loves pokemon. He knows all the evolved forms. Pokemon is his favorite.

Cindy - posted on 03/23/2011

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Hi Lindsay,
Wow, your Mitchell sounds just like my Jason! Jason was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome and PDD in the third grade as well. I know what you mean about quirkiness. Jason engaged in what we called very eccentric behaviors, such as sorting and aligning things, Pokemon cards in particular, hand flapping, running back and forth in the yard while in the process of trying to do homework. I found that he seemed to need to decrease his anxiety over his assignments by taking breaks to run his laps in the yard. It seemed to help him to settle down so that he could complete his homework.

Social interaction is a challenge for him. I used to think he was fine until he joined a baseball team that year and he seemed so out of place when it came to interacting with his teamates. He is now 10yrs old and in the fifth grade and still has not developed a significant friendship with any of the boys his age. It has been a real struggle for him as he has a hard time relating to people in his own age group.

. He too is a very well behaved child with no significant behavioral issues. He is polite and very caring and can be very helpful to someone if he percieves that they need the help. He is also a routine oriented and does not do well with sudden changes in schedules or plans.

He has sensory issues and is highly distractable because of it. He started having issues in school because of the distractions, we are now using ankle weights( they can be worn under his jeans and nobody else will notice) and also ear plugs that filter out some noise but will allow him to hear what his teacher is saying. Hopefully this will help him to concentrate better. He did not qualify for an IEP at school because they say he has no learning disability, but they were wonderful about accomodating his needs. Though I am concerned that he will struggle as he moves up into the middle school, because he is sooo literal in his thinking that I fear he will not be able to understand the concepts of what they are asking him to do as his thinking will have to become more abstract the older he gets.

Those are fears that I'm sure I am not alone in. He is an absolute joy, honest (yes sometimes brutally), caring, nuturing and one of the most genuine people I know. A truly beautiful child. Yes to your question... is that normal? They are different, but very similar at the same time. I took Jason to a birthday party the other day and another parent approached me with questions because she believes her son is on the spectrum as well. After swapping many stories, I realized just that .... they were different with their quirks but seemed to share the basic attributes of an Aspie, I kinda felt bad that we spent the whole time chatting about our children, while at my friends son's birthday party! But it did feel good to talk to someone who seemed to understand.

This is the first time on this site for me as well, so welcome and pleased to meet you!

Elizabeth - posted on 03/22/2011

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My son, Preston is much the same as yours. He was finally dignosed at the end of 3rd grade. He is very smart, but completely disorganized. Never gets in trouble, but has no friends. His obsession was the solar system. By the time he was 8, he knew all the planets, their moons, the core of the planets, their temperature, etc. Crazy! He moved on to the earth and for about a year would draw the continental drfit - from 150 million years ago until now in a series of 15 pictues. over and over and over. His teacher even posted one series in the classroom.

Now he is in the 6th grade and has 8 different teachers and switches classes. It was a very hard transition, but he is much better now.

All this to say, I think all Asppie's are a little different. Your son sounds closer to mine than the "typical" textbook case. (Does your son eat bread? Mine refuses! No pizza or anything) Good luck to you both!

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Lindsay - posted on 12/12/2011

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Hi Lisa! Welcome! :0) I am SOOOO glad that somebody knows what it feels like to hear about Titanic ALL day long! LOL!

Thank goodness this school year I have a very understanding teacher who allows him to explore and do his big "projects" about Titanic instead of struggling with him to do other things. He just did a speech in class in front of parents about his favorite memory. His was the day we went to the Titanic museum in Tennessee. LOVED IT!! :0) I hate to say that we sort of planned our year's vaca around Mitchell's interest, but we sort of did....just once. I am so glad because the look on his face as he explored that museum was priceless. We all had boarding passes and played a real life character that was on the ship. He was Isadore Strauss, which I guess was a very rich man on the ship. (Mitchell knew this, of course, and proceeded to tell the tour guide that he knew his character had "perished".) Apparently this person was the basis for the elderly couple on the movie Titanic who both went down with the ship laying in their bed. The wife said that if her husband was dying, then she would die with him because she couldn't live life without him. They had his state room, glasses, wedding ring, etc (real!) in the museum. It was the best thing watching his eyes!

He has two little sisters too! It's very hard though, because Mitchell and our oldest girl are like oil and water and fight constantly. But when it comes to school they both look out for him and keep him safe. He is now on Zoloft too for anxiety....not too sure about it yet but we are giving it a go. I just hate the fact that my 10 year old is on anti-depressants. Ugh!

I had to laugh when you said about correcting everybody. He always does that! There was an episode a while back at school where the teacher was describing the difference in the weight of things. She said that monkeys have a heavier brain than humans. She then asked the class how much a chimpanzee's head weighed. Mitchell pipes up and says, "You said monkeys. Chimpanzees are in the ape category because they have no tail and therefore cannot be categorized as a monkey." Thank God his teacher has a great sense of humor!! LOL!

Does Conor have any sensory issues? Mitchell has alot, mainly the tapping walls and spinning. They are now giving him free time during school hours to go into a room and do those things freely. They say he's doing it to relieve stress, but I'm not sure how true that is.

Well, it was so nice meeting you and if you have any questions or want to talk, just let me know! I know how you feel...it can be soooo overwhelming! :0)

Lisa - posted on 12/10/2011

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Hi, My name is Lisa and I have a newly diagnosed son who is 9 yrs old with HF aspergers. I had to reply to your post because as soon as I read it I cried. I couldnt believe what I have read. You completely described my son! I thought that we were the only ones that had to deal with a child that had a intense obsession with the Titanic. It has consumed his life and ours. Every waking moment, every conversation, people just arent getting why he cant switch gears and what the massive obsession is all about. It has been almost a year now. He talks like a little adult saying things like" i have to use the facilities" and cant relate to kids his own age, but interacts great with adults and young kids. He has a great personality, adults love him, but kids his age just dont get him. He doesnt seem to "get it" or even care that he doesnt really have friends his age, although he does have a few good friends who also have aspergers who he gets along great with. School is a struggle, everything is a struggle. He is very literal and wants to correct every thing anyone says, we always thought he was argumentative and the pediatrician said he had ODD. He does have ADHD and is on adderall which helps a bit, but he doesnt pick up on those verbal cues and cant make eye contact with others to build those friendships. He has 2 younger sisters which can be very challenging in the home. He really has no interst in sports or anything unless its legos in which he can build multiple lego titanics... or computers so he can google titanic... or anyone that will listen about the titanic. He knows more than the writers of the books and movie I think! We got him into Dek hockey, although he isnt very good and is very awkward, he is at least finally showing some kind of interest in a sport for the first time ever. His vocabulary is amazing, I just cant beleive the similairities with Conor and Mitchell. Im sure there are many others as I am just new on this site and just read your post. I just was so taken back when I read about the Titanic. The pictures on the fridge, oh can I relate, they are all over the house, and then we will even have some of the Carpathia if I tell him enough of the Titanic already!! I am glad that this site exsists and it is good to know that we are not alone. I feel so overwhelmed some days I dont know where to turn!!

Seija - posted on 08/30/2011

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My Aspie has to walk so he rubs up on walls or fences all the while twisting his fingers into shapes that don't look possible :). He was obsessed with Thomas (knew all the trains, all the parts of steam, diesel and electric trains, all the types mono rail etc), moved onto Ben 10 (aliens, space) and now it is star wars. I love the way he needs to learn everything about the new obsession, the way he wants to explain if you don't know (i know not everyone appreciates that in an Aspie but I thankfully have understanding family and friends and he has a wonderful teacher who is willing to listen to him too). It breaks my heart how ever when he is totally confused by his friendships and which children are not his friends (the way schools call all the kids in the school 'friends' is so confusing for the literally minded). I wouldn't change him for the world. He is smart, funny (not always when he is trying though, still working on the joke thing), loving, caring, a wonderful big brother; just quirky :) gotta love them don't we.

Maura - posted on 07/13/2011

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Lindsay,

In readinng about your son, my son who is now 14 had many similar behaviors at that age. Instead of banging into walls, Brian paces. He has been doing this since he was five. I do not discourage it, it is part of him; however his father does. I feel that it helps him sort stuff out while he paces back and forth and work off some of his nervous energy. My husband just doesn't like the noise it makes. As far as families go, I would just give them time to adjust. I remember when I took Brian to a neurologist when he was six, he diagnosed him with ADHD, my mother said that was wrong. He was not correctly diagnosed until 5th grade when he began having problems in school. Brian also has no friends. Right now during the summer, I try to keep him busy with activities so he doesn't just play computer all the time. It is a struggle, but some days go smoothly and some are not. Right now Brian is on depokote for his Asberger's and ADHD. It seems to be working pretty well. He still gets upset at times, but it would be far worse if he were not on the medicine. Good luck and I hope this site is helpful to you!

Shannon - posted on 07/12/2011

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Leslie - My son is 11 and is obsessed with Star Wars and Disney World also.

Shannon - posted on 07/12/2011

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Hello, reading your reply. My son just turned 11 and will be going into 5th grade this yr. I started him a yr later only because his sensory issues. I would love for you to send me information on what you have encountered with your son with puberty starting and how he has handled middle school, my Asperger son will be starting middle school next year and I am very very worried about it.

Shannon - posted on 07/12/2011

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I just want to let you know he sounds exactly like my son, Devin! Devin was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was 7. He just turned 11 and I still catch him spinning around or dancing behind me in the grocery store. He doesn't really care if he has friends either, when I ask him who is his friend he always replies "everybody". He has gotten better with unexpected things at school. You need to have an Individual Education Plan "IEP" written up for him in school if you haven't already. You can have untimed tests for him and the teacher needs to know. You can even request extra time for tests with his IEP, even for end of grade tests. My son is obsessed with Star Wars, ever since he was 4 and got a Star Wars happy meal toy! He collects everything he can get his hands on with Star Wars. He also prefers to play with children younger than him or adults. Children with Aspergers are aware that they are being judged by their peers and know that younger children or adults will not judge them the way children their own age do. When he was in preschool he never played with another child, not even once. If a child approached him to play he would walk off. He mainly would walk beside the fence around the perimeter of the playground at preschool the entire recess and mumble to himself. Devin is also very polite, well mannered, and extremely smart. They call boys with Aspergers "little men" or "little professors" because they are so well mannered and smart. Devin also has the "fist" thing and still does at age 11 when he gets really frustrated. Devin was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was 5, then they said he also had ADD at age 6, but then that one was changed to Aspergers at age 7 when they collected more information with a series of counseling sessions. Feel free to e-mail me at any time shannon.street2@yahoo.com

StacieTerry - posted on 07/12/2011

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Hi Lindsay, right there with you. My son Tyler was officially diagnosed a few months ago with Aspergers. We have been praying since he was in pre k for us to figure him out. Of course he has so many of the same "quirks". When he was 2 he could read and he also got into Thomas the Train....oh I am so glad that one has ended. Now we are on to blocks. We did try medicine for him(adderal xr) but it just wasnt right for him. I feel I have reda every book I can get my hands on to understand this.
He will be 8 in a few days and we have just gone to a place called Brain Balance, which my husband and I think will be very helpful to him. The only thing is it cost so much.The test they did there was so much more in detail than the ones the school did. It gave us so much more understanding! So now we are trying to prepare our selves for the up coming school year. Since the test we now know he will need much more help 1 on 1. He has been in speech since 1st grade and it hasnt helped much but we found out he only hears 7 out of the 15 tones. Its amazing he definately can hear music, which he learned how to play my moms piano by himself. Good luck!

Maura - posted on 03/25/2011

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Hello Lindsay,
You will find that the more people you talk to, there may be a lot of similarities and differences as well. In reading your story about your son, I can defintiely relate. My 14 year old son was diagnosed in 5th grade with Asberger's Syndrome. he was put on a variety of meds but now takes depokote and is doing much better. He started pacing back and forth at age 5. This pacing has not stopped. I know he will probably alway do this. On the playground other children would be playing together and Brian would be on the outskirts, pacing. He was teased and it made things very hard for him. At present, he is enrolled in an online school and is doing well. He needs asistance while test taking, I usually sit with him and talk to him while he is taking the test so He does not get worked up. This works out very well. The support from the teachers is very good. I plan for him to continue in this school throughout High school if he is ok with it. Next year, I will try and have him join some activities so he can meet kids his age. He has made friends in the past, but his closest friends are his cousins, who accept him as he is. Sometimes it is very difficult dealing with his situation, but talking over with his pschiatriast and pediatrician help. Brian doesn't fit all the paremeters of Asberger's; maybe Mitchell doesn't either. It sounds like Mitchell is very high functioning and it sounds like you are handling it very well!

Michelle - posted on 03/25/2011

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Hiya again Lindsay, You asked where i was from, I'm from Co Derry in Ireland (Northern Ireland). Autisim is only just being recognised here over the last 2 years so in a way i guess we were very lucky when we were trying to get John assessed i was only fighting for about 3 years, recently i'v been talking to other parents who were trying to get help for at least 5 - 6 years before anyone would listed. I have heard of other children by the way doing things like you were asking about (rectum problem) is not unheard of so don't be stressing yourself out, just do what your doing as you sound like you've got all under control.

Michele - posted on 03/25/2011

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Pleased to meet you and I agree with Theresa. Asper children are all different, different things upset but change is a big thing. My son was diagnosed 2 years ago. He is not on any medication because his aspergers is the learning side of autism. My son does have stress attacks when school work gets too much for him. He sits in his quiet little corner and chills for awhile then starts school work again. Hope this helps, aspergers children are the most loveable and well mannered children.

Cindy - posted on 03/25/2011

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Hi Lindsay,
The issue you talk about with Mitchell ( ingesting his own BM's) is a condition called Pica and can absolutely be present with kids on the spectrum. I have worked in Developemental Services for the past 24yrs and have found this is a common thing among those with in the Autistic spectrum. It is most likely part of OCD ( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Alot of Aspie's have 3 or more diagnosis's that fall within the spectrum disorders. You should talk to his Dr. about the behavior and do some online research to find ways to help him with this. I hope that helps. My son does not have Pica, but he still wets the bed at almost 11yrs old and after taking him to a Pediatric Urologist to rule out any bladder issues, I myself am a bit stumped to find a solution to the problem. I think it has to do with his rigid thinking, but I'm not sure. Does anyone else have the same problem? It's so much more difficult when the child is your own, than when your working with someone else's child. Any suggestions would be helpful. You sound like your doing a wonderful job as a Mom, he is a lucky kid. Hang in there :)

Carol - posted on 03/24/2011

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Lindsay,
My son (almost 22) was our first and I felt the same way you do now. Our daughter is a 17 yr old social butterfly. Hal just seemed like our quirky kid and I just didn't see the differences between him and other kids. I just liked him! When he was 10, I read an article about AS and it fit perfectly. I think exploring body parts and what they like or feel is common for all kids. Have you seen a kid eat his SNOT? Not much different, really, body discharges and neither seem very pleasant to us! The difference is you have to tell your AS child many, many times, to do that in his room. It took us about a year or 2 to get our son to go in his room to play with his anatomy! Just keep lovingly leading him to his room and what he does, you don't have to know about or watch! Hang in there. You seem like a wonderful mom, accepting your quirky kid.

Lindsay - posted on 03/24/2011

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And I'm really comforted with all these posts....makes me feel like I'm not alone in this!! :0)

Michelle, are you from Ireland or Scotland? I only ask because my cousin married a man from Scotland (he was a foreign exchange student here in the States) and has lived near Edinburgh for the past 13 years. I would love to see it!

Lindsay - posted on 03/24/2011

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I read on one of these about the shirt chewing....he did that! All the time in 1st grade he would come home with school clothes on because he had chewed on his shirt to the point of stretching it out halfway down his chest! :0) I'm so grateful for these responses, they make me feel better about things.

We had our first after diagnosis meltdown today. Lots of tears. We are going to TN for spring break in a couple weeks and the Titanic museum is one of the things that we're going to visit. For some reason Mitchell thought that we were going this coming Monday as opposed to the Monday after. He just broke down into tears and cried for about 10 minutes. Most kids I'm sure would've been disappointed, but not to the point of crying about it for a while. :0( Anyways, I've been noticing all these things that he does now that I've never noticed before. We just never noticed because he's our first and he's just him. But I get intent on watching him during conversations with others now. He definately makes very little eye contact and very little expressions too. He makes a little half smile when he's answering somebody. I'm always thinking, "Wow. Never ever noticed this before." But when you've had this baby from day one and you've accepted him for who he was, it's hard to see what the world sees when talking to him!

Another thing I want to ask and I'm so nervous about asking it. It was an absolutely disgusting thing Mitchell did for about two years and it took nearly that long to break him. We've never told anybody about this. But Mitchell started this thing where he would put his fingers in his rectum and eat it. I know, I'm so sorry that this is disgusting. But it was REALLY troubling for us. We never told the pediatrician, and that was our threat to get him to stop. Every time we caught him doing this we threatened to tell. He stopped for quite a while when we started putting incentives behind it. (You stop for a month and we'll go to the museum.) We knew that if he quit for a month he would stop all together. Have you EVER heard of this? Is this even "normal" for an Aspie? I'm so sorry that I'm talking about this, but this is one of the great unsolved mysteries revolving around Mitchell. We had no clue why he did this and still don't. But if this is a sensory thing it may explain why. ??? He no longer does this, but it was very, very troubling during the time that he did.

Well, now that I've got that off my chest....lol!

Carol - posted on 03/24/2011

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Well said, Michelle! ("the best thing as parents is to know how to recognise the signs of when the bad things are about to happen and do our best to either prepare them or just to be there for them so they know they can depend on us to help.") With our son on the threshold of independence, we try to anticipate the difficult times. We can't choose the path he will take, but we can help him be prepared and to work his way through the roadblocks.

Michelle - posted on 03/24/2011

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Hi Lindsay,
Mitchell sounds like a fantastic wee boy, and the one thing i've learned over the last couple of years is that there doesn't seem to be any two children with identical issues, they are like everyone else in the way that they are individual and as you put it 'quirky' which is the perfect word. My son John was diagnosed almost 2 years ago and even in this time he himself has changed his rituals but the best thing as parents is to know how to recognise the signs of when the bad things are about to happen and do our best to either prepare them or just to be there for them so they know they can depend on us to help. I don't know if thats any help for you but , i wish you all the very best. God Bless

Carol - posted on 03/24/2011

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Yes, Theresa, Hal is looking for a job in video game design. Interviewing is hard for these kids. With his literal thinking, he was surprised that no one offered him a job when he was walking out the door of the school for the last time. It was a 3 year Bachelor's Degree (made Mom happy), going year round at a local technical college. Most of the company's have internships and/or a university program for recent grads. I know that wherever he goes in this field, he will find that others understand him. With the job skills he has learned, he could work in television station, movie production studios (loves Pixar), or developing medical training animations. And yes, he loved collecting and building lego sets.

Lula - posted on 03/24/2011

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I have a 15 year old with asperger and he has never been real violent. He has had melt down with changes but I would not call it freaking out. My 14 year old who is bi polar is another story. Just remember what you read is a guidline not what always is all kids with or without their problems are different and will progress different. I say this as a mom of five from 18 down to 18 months, three of which are special needs and also I have 16 siblings, countless neices and nephews. I have been trained in early education as a preschool teacher and some montisouri training. Do the research hopefully you can find great strength in it as I have and just remember quircks and all your little man is a great blessing. I wish you the best. I am sure you will do just fine. With my young man who has asperger I have treated him like I do my ones with no problems, I expected the same things out of him and he is turning our great all except the organization and getting his school work done. But everyone is different and you need to find what will work best for your family. good luck

Theresa - posted on 03/24/2011

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Carol- your son is in video game design? Very awesome! I have always said that my son will probably head that direction. Either that or a Lego Creator... either way, I would be very proud and he would be VERY good at it! :)

Jennie - posted on 03/23/2011

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My son is 8 yrs old and in 2nd grade. He was diagnosed with adhd in kindergarten. School is finally doing testing on him. In this past year and a half I've noticed odd behavior. Well I've always noticed it but I thought maybe its just boy behavior? He loves collecting rocks, sticks and empty boxes. He also loves picking up stuff from the ground... bottle caps, paperclips anything that catches his eye. If I throw any of that stuff away he will be very upset. So after a while I will get rid of things a little at a time and he never realizes it. Well I talked to the school psychologist today to see how testing is coming and so far they are leaning towards aspergers. My son will only eat certain foods, {only broccoli, carrots, green beans, apples, strawberries,....fruit and veggies. The only other food he will eat is spaghetti {only if me or daddy make it} and plain McDonalds hamburgers. And if that hamburger bun has any indents on the bun or if its shiny he will not eat it. He doesnt eat ANYTHING else besides junk food and even that has rules..{certain brands only}. He will only drink out of certain cups and use certain plates. He is also very polite and fair. Hes a very loving little boy. He does freak out a little if the classroom routine changes. When I say freak out I mean he will tell the teacher were suppose to do.....Then the teacher has to explain why the change. Then everything is back to normal. He doesnt have good social skills..he does have friends at school but doesnt go find them at recess. He will just sit and draw instead. He definitely thinks out of the box and that is ok. I tell him all the time we all think differently. Im on this journey right along with you, and many others.

Leslie - posted on 03/23/2011

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Hi Lindsey! Welcome! Had to Laugh at the Titantic! My 19 year is obessed with Disney related. He keeps wanting to go Disney cruises and vacationing at the resorts. Wish we had that kind of money! Anyway you will find all kinds of support here and learn lots as well. What's normal anyway? LOL
I think kids have ways of drving paretns and caregivers nuts--called talent. nothing unsual about that.

Angel - posted on 03/23/2011

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Hi, Im Angel. My son is Michael, 7, 2nd grade. As a baby I knew something was different.. He wouldn't crawl till 11 months old, and it was a army crawl, they said it was hip, he didn't talk sentences till 4, and they blamed it on hearing.. hit walls like u described at 2, but he didn't walk till 18 months.
At 5 in Kindergarten he started having issues.. threw chair against room at teacher, bit a girl, beat up a boy. First grade wasn't that bad, it was mostly couldn't sit still and hyper. By then he was on Metadate CD... for hyper activity. I could tell he was still different.. I kept asking about possible other things.. it didn't add up why my girls perfectly, and yet he had adhd odd epilepsy and etc.. finally at age 7.. we have asperger syndrome adhd odd ocd insomnia chronic abdominal pain anxiety/depression chronic vomiting.. and now being checked for Factor X disease, and Chrome 22 issues, and other genetic/metabolic disease.. Dr at UNC said usually when u have that many issues, especially with other siblings healthy that its a genetic issue. We won't have any news for 6 to 8 weeks.. Its good to meet u. I am on Facebook as well. The meltdowns Michael has is usually evolved around his sister.. Her voice is a bad sensory set off for him... He can't stand her voice at times/days.. if she keeps talking and he can't get away.. he will flip. Its a hard thing to deal with. For every child its different. I have seen several post on the facebook forums that they never have had a meltdown.. I think its a child to child basis... : )

Laura - posted on 03/23/2011

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As others have stated, hsi behavior is normal aspie, if there is a normal! My son is now 11, in middle school, which has been challenging socially. He is an excellent student but struggles with all of the "gossip".
When you mentioned Titanic, that brought back memories! My son went through his Titanic phase in 2nd grade. At age 1 it was vacuums, then cell phone towers, by age 4 trains, 5 tornadoes, 7 Titanic, then all things Roman/Gladiator, currently we are at WWII and airplanes! Each obsessions has been interesting, the conversations can be exhausting (as you knnow!)
He has gotten more emotional this year, partly mixed with oncoming puberty, hoping this will settle down in a few years. My husband has been the hardest to come around and accept a "label". But we both love him very much and wouldn't trade him for the world!
P.S. He is taking his first flight alone this weekend; going to visit cousins back east by himself! He is very excited and feels very grown up!

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Hi Lindsay! You are so awesome for sharing your story of your beloved son! I saw a disconnection, actually my daughter was just not interested in other kids. I hate to categorize anyone. We all have different characteristics and behaviors that are so called, "not normal." My thoughts is that we are all gifted, it is not a weakness it is a matter of finding where your child excels. My daughter is very artistic and refuses to follow the crowd. I say Amen for God giving her the strength to not be like others. Dont get me wrong, she yearns for friendships, but can not relate to children who are trying to live wild lives, drinking, cussing the sex stuff. Speak blessing over your son always. Point out only his strengths in love. We are Christians and I believe all things work for the good. If we believe his word, all things work for the glory of God. God's timing is perfect, everyday is a new day. He is perfectly made.

Carol - posted on 03/23/2011

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footnote: My son's college degree is a BS in Video Game Design! He will probably be creating Pokemon games for all the little boys!

Carol - posted on 03/23/2011

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Just hang in there! You will do fine and remember all kids are unique, even if they are considered "normal". Whatever that is. You son is also probably quite literal, meaning words are taken at face value and can't have any other meaning. Your description of your son is so much like my son at that age. He is going on 22, has finished college, is very artistic, was reading at 4, and has lived away from home for 2 years in an apt. with other boys (and 1 girl; he said "chill Mom" about that). He would not wear shirts with buttons for a long time. We enrolled him in Boy Scouts and he was so happy to have a uniform that he proudly wore the required shirt (over a tshirt!). In high school he made straight A's because we told him he needed a "B" average to get his driver's license. He was very literal in middle school and was 25 homework assignments behind because the teacher didn't write HOMEWORK on the paper. Once that was solved, no problems. Try to be his coach and just keep telling him how to react to certain situations. e.g. "Hold the door open for the little old ladies and wait for them to get in first! Don't run them down with enthusiasm!" At 21 now, he has empathy finally. He enjoyed collecting things and loved having a complete series and was upset when he didn't. Loud noises scared him, he wouldn't sit near speakers at school. BUT, he played trombone 5-12th grade and sat in front of the crashing cymbals! I am not really fond of these titles. Yes, he has asperger's, but there's another kid with anger problems, etc... p.s. Our son gets together still with high school friends often, but he was just like your boy when he was that age. He says, "no girls yet, Mom, until I get a great job". He works for UPS, and worked for Arby's for 2 years of high school. He's unique and I wouldn't change a thing. Enjoy him! He sounds like a really cute, smart boy!

Paula - posted on 03/23/2011

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I completely get it!! I could swear the makers of Pokemon designed the games in such a way so that Aspie kids get hooked... no matter how much Dougie tries to show me and tell me things about the game.. and I pretend to be interested, as any loving mum would do..I cannot for the life of me understand it and I find it extremely boring...but he just LOVES it SO MUCH!!

Paula - posted on 03/23/2011

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That's so adorable :) My little guy is 12 now soon to be 13... In grade 4 and 5 Dougie LOVED the Titanic and I know EXACTLY what you mean about the drawing pictures.. one more detailed than the last. My eldest was usually more artistic, and Dougie really didnt tend to draw much but once he started liking Titanic he would draw and draw... He eventually lost such a close interest by grade 6 now he is obsessed with Pokemon and Legend of Zelda :)
So many people now look at me when I say my son was diagnosed with Aspergers in Grade 4... but just like most of you I'm realizing that I thought he was quirky.. until problems at school started happening.

Dianne - posted on 03/23/2011

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Theresa: Your comment about family hit it right on the nose and I laughed so hard. Glad to see that I am not going crazy. I too was told you buy her too much, she is just spoiled.
My daughter is now stuck on Ponies...every conversation, every set of clothing she wears, every picture she draws, every homework writing assignment she does.

Glenna - posted on 03/22/2011

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Your son sounds very similar to my son. He was diagnosed when he was 3 with mild, high functioning autism. His behaviors have lessened and he doesn't really have any fits. He really wants to be social, but kids his age tend to find him weird. The autistic specialist says she thinks he has aspberger's, but they didn't officially diagnose him with that because he was too young to say.
Welcome to our group!

Erica - posted on 03/22/2011

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My son has ADHD and Aspergers. We can't use any ADHD meds. We tried Intuniv and it cause the same problems that the simulants caused. When he was on adderall he was extremely violent, we tried different stimulants and they all caused aggression. He was hospitalized for a week and a half because he was overly aggessive and continued punching me. They took him off the adderall and put him on Risperadone which helps with his anxiety. He was like the happy child I remember when he was 4, all happy and loving. About 2 weeks ago we tried Intuniv which started the aggression again so we took him off of it. While he was coming down from the build up in his system he ended up punching 2 kids and got suspended. He is doing much better now and we are looking forward to a happier week.

Most Aspies have an obsession with something or a few things. My son likes to collect things like small dinosaurs, pokemon cards, gogo's crazy bones, and stuff about birds. His biggest obsession is birds. Feeding them, watching them and reading about them. I notice that if I give him rewards related to his obsessions he responds a lot better.

There is nothing exactly typical between any aspies child. At his age (as I am noticing with David, he is going to be 8 in May) our therapist said that there are hormonal changes and it causes changes in their behaviors and routines so it makes it very difficult for us who have been doing everything to keep their world in sync.

I have a blog that you are welcome to read. I find that reading everything I can about autism and aspergers helps put things in perspective. My site is http://sonsbiggestfan.blogspot.com/

Best of luck. If you have any questions let me know.
Erica

Sarah - posted on 03/22/2011

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Lindsay--YES!! the cloth chewing thing is a sensory thing too. I am going to guess that his mouth is not as sensitive as the *norm* and that is his way of getting the input he craves. My son ( now 15) still occasionally mouths things he shouldn't, including his fingers. As an elementary aged child, it was the collars and cuffs of his shirt! he would literally chew holes in them!! One thing you can try is http://integrationscatalog.com in the oral-motor section. they have a variety of different things that kids can mouth--including something called "soft chewlery" that is terry cloth material made into a child-safe necklace.

Lindsay - posted on 03/22/2011

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Wow!! Our boys are so much alike! And I'm grateful that they started making tag info on the shirt...saves me headaches trying to figure out which shirt is what size! :0)

Elizabeth - posted on 03/22/2011

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I just have to tell you that Preston will also only wear Old Navy socks. That is just hilarious! He is actually excited about getting a box of Old Navy socks for Christmas. Tags in shirts are also an issue, but now that they are printing the tag info directly on the shirts, it has been better.

Lindsay - posted on 03/22/2011

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Oh wow, thank you guys so very much for posting to me! I have been a bundle of tears and nerves over this. Not at all because I think he's "damaged", in fact, quite the opposite. My husband and I always knew he was destined for great things, but just never knew quite what!

It's funny that you posted that family members don't think your son has Aspies. I have some family members that said, "We knew something was up for years." then others that say, "There's nothing wrong with him--the obsessions and quirks aren't THAT much!". But then I want to scream at them that they don't live with him, they don't know how obsessed he is, and they don't know how much his rituals/tics take up his life! I never even considered that Mitchy may have Aspies until this year. I kind of knew something was up, but just thought he was studious, or had OCD or something with the wall taps.

I'm having a hard time not blaming myself for this. Was there something I could've done different? Did I cause this somehow in my pregnancy? Of course I know the answers to these, and I get GREAT comfort by knowing that I did exactly everything by the book, (him being the firstborn!) and with the girls I was more lax on things. I was dead set against putting him on medication at first for the ADD, but now, I am soooooo glad we did. He functions far better than he did, and his self esteem has really improved too! I feel really bad for sort of punishing him for the things that he was doing and couldn't help himself before we knew he had Aspies. He lost three coats last fall at school....still haven't found them. He was grounded for that. (His Egypt books were taken away, that was the Egypt stage!) Twirling in WalMart would consist of me telling him to stop and that he was twirling like a fairy (I guess I was trying to get him to "act like a boy"). I don't know how many times he was told, "Mitchell, why can't you remember?" or "Mitchell, stop hitting walls!!!" I mean, I would give him time to do it after school, but after a while I felt it was necessary to stop. I will forever feel guilty that he got into trouble for things that he couldn't help. We just didn't know.

He was into the solar system for a while too! But while he's had definate stages (meaning that you can pinpoint exactly when he switches obsessions), his intensity towards these are getting much worse. Before I could distract him a little with something else. But now the child eats, breathes, and lives for his obsessions. He just went on a class trip to the circus. The only thing I was told about his field trip from him after he was home was, "I laid on the bus and imagined that I was in a third class bunk from Titanic, all small and snug." Nothing about anything else! :0) Another thing I am constantly amazed at is his details in his drawings. He draws far better than any adult I've ever seen, down to counting every last window on each level of the ship (Titanic). Since researching this, though, I heard that details are their forte!

As far as sensory things go, the only thing that bothers him are tags and socks. Tags have to be cut out, and socks have to be Old Navy brand socks. They're thin, he loves the way the ribbing in the toe is just so, and he loves that they don't "move on his feet." (his words!) Food wise, he's willing to try anything once, and is a good eater. Oh, but he chews on blankets and pillow cases to the point of getting holes in them or soaking it beyond use. Don't know if that's a sensory thing too?

Again, thank you so much for posting to me!! :0) I appreciate this...makes me feel like I'm not alone.

Theresa - posted on 03/22/2011

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Pleased to meet you!
I have to comment on your last comment first... Is that normal? YES! The beautiful thing about Aspies is they almost have their own spectrum, too... each one is so different, yet so similar. Your son sounds so much like my own.
My son was diagnosed almost 2 yrs ago in 2nd grade. I took him in to see about depression, when in fact it was Aspergers. My sister, who teaches LD children had suspected it for awhile, but I was in denial, because he seemed normal, just quirky to me. When the diagnosis came, I wasn't surprised. Actually, I was welcoming it to explain away all the quirks to his teachers and family and such.
Isaac is very polite, too. Quite often gets compliments. He only comes across rude when he is brutally honest (as I don't think he is capable of lying!) For example- my sister gave him some fun socks with Transformers characters on it for his birthday. He hated them because they were socks and not actual action figures. I try to teach him to be gracious anyway, but when they ask him if he likes them, he says, "No- actually I hate them, but thank you." Awkward situation there!
He isn't on any medication. They gave him a test and wanted him to have some ADD meds, but I refused. The test didn't keep his attention. I'm sorry, it wouldn't keep mine either! If it had Legos or Transformers on those letters bouncing across the screen or a bit more action, then you'd have his attention! He does just fine in school. The teachers RARELY have an issue with him, and if they do, it is usually for just cause, like a bully or a sudden change in the daily routine.
He is very smart, too. Above the averages in his grade. He taught himself to read before he could talk. At age 3 he started seeing a speech teacher to prep him for Kindgergarten, since he couldn't form words yet. Within about 6 weeks, he was talking perfectly. Then the books came out and we discovered he was READING! This is a typical sign of an Aspie... one my sister picked up on.
Isaac has one friend. A different sort of kid, I think he might have issues too, but they accept each other as they are, and I love the friend like my own. They play well and share the same interests. Occasionally, my son gets overwhelmed by him and we send Adam home, but in a way that he knows to come back to play later. When they play together, other kids look at them like they are little weirdos, but I see 2 good friends lucky to have found each other. Sometimes I have to ward off the other kids when the teasing starts, but it ends well.
Meltdowns don't happen with us either. RARELY if ever. He knows to leave a situation if he starts to get overwhelmed. School is a blessing, as they accomodate this need when necessary. Usually, unstructured activities might make him need to leave the room for a bit, but then he comes back and dives right in. Every day he gets better and better.
My son's obsessions? They change every few years... right now it is Legos, legos, legos. It amazes me as to what he can build. The other thing he has always loved is to draw maps or racetracks. So detailed and perfect. When he has to do them in school, the other kids are just amazed and want to be his partner for the project. Funny how that works, right?
Our biggest challenge right now is family. People who don't live with him don't think he has Aspergers because they don't understand it. They see him as rude, or weird. One sister told her kids that Isaac was special and they should ignore him. So they sit and stare at him at family functions. I just try to educate them as much as possible. Its very difficult. Another sister said that she thinks my son is normal and that I spoiled him and that is why he doesn't eat certain foods or can be rude. It is or worst struggle, but I blame it on ignorance. My son is a gem. He is going to make a wonderful man someday. Caring, affectionate, smart, empathetic, talented... did I mention that he is a whiz on the piano? He memorized his lessons each week... playing level 2 within 3 months!
I like to brag. Sorry.
Nice to meet you, too! I hope you can see that your son is as normal as can be! Keep in touch! :)

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