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Featured Breakthrough with my son, but where to now?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by Cosmophylla, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    My seven year old son was given psychometric testing at age four because we had been told by many people that he was unusually bright. I was also concerned about some aspects of his behaviour. We had originally thought his development was pretty "normal" but I should've noticed sooner that none of the advice in parenting books reflected his behaviour, let alone worked on him. I had been concerned about his behaviour for a while because he seemed to be overly excitable, and socially/emotionally out of step, among other things.

    A couple of months before the testing took place he went through a weeks-long depression. It was definitely depression, not just some fleeting sadness. Nightly he would cry before sleep that it was the end of the world, and at kindergarten every day he would wander from activity to activity not really engaging at all. He would want to play with the teachers, not the other kids. It was awful watching such a small child go through that isolation and despair.

    The testing placed him in the top 2% of kids his age, and the psychologist said the behavioural issues were just part and parcel of being exceptionally bright. I wasn't quite satisfied but felt I had no choice but to take her at her word and tried to implement the discipline method she suggested: namely, telling him about rules/expectations once and then when a misdemeanour occurred to take away something important to him (such as time at the park, or reading time, etc.). That didn't work.

    It was a couple of years later that I found Asperger's for myself, when desperate to understand why I am such a grumpy grouch, intolerant of my kids' noise, etc. After that had sunk in, I started thinking about my son in a new light... It made sense in a new way. Something in my gut, some instinct, has always told me something is going on with my son. I just don't know what it is... I can't work out what he is thinking and he has learnt to avoid opening up to us because he is continually getting in trouble over his behaviour...it's understandably hard to open up to your mum when she is such a grouch and is prone to exploding. I was the same with mine.

    I've wanted to do more testing for a couple of years, but my husband has been putting it off as not important, despite the psychologist saying our son should be retested at seven years. I understand how important it is to follow up and see where he is at as he grows, so we can adapt with him...but I've been talking to a brick wall. :rolleyes: I guess it is hard to understand when I struggle to explain it in words... It's not very convincing when I say my gut tells me he needs help.

    I've noticed long term problems with our son's executive functioning, although my husband has explained it away as typical boy behaviour. Our son struggles to get to school on time because he is always getting distracted and can't understand that he needs to get ready before he can play... He doesn't notice things such as the fact he has daily problems with finding his school socks, and that it would make his life easier to make sure they are always set out the night before...and he doesn't pay attention to my several reminders a day about the socks. Verbal instructions get garbled up in his mind and he makes loads of mistakes with them, doesn't remember that throwing things inside is dangerous, etc. And he doesn't seem to get the big picture: the reason why we do these things the way we do. He is so caught up in his own thoughts that he doesn't really engage with the world.

    But I think I've made a breakthrough with regards to his disengagement.

    This morning I caught him trying to sneak toys to school again. I gently told him I understood he really wanted to take his soccer ball and sports quiz set but that it was against the school rules. Naturally he protested and whined and became teary about it. I rubbed his back, reassured him I got it, that it's hard when you can't do what you want because of the rules. He stood in the corner, facing away from me, so I offered him some time alone, which he accepted.

    When I looked in ten minutes later, he had tears in his eyes and suddenly the truth came out: he needed something to do at recess and lunch because he has no one to play with. He is bored and lonely. Here we were thinking he was fairly popular thanks to being a sporty type, but it transpires that nobody else wants to do what he wants. I remember going through exactly the same thing: day after day with nobody to play with, pretending I was enjoying myself but really just sad and bored and desperate for company.

    I did my best to reassure him I knew how he felt and how hard it is to be abandoned by friends and to spend all break times alone. I held him for ages while we talked (he is not a huggy type) and we connected for the first time in years. He answered my questions about school and friends and how he feels different from everyone else. My husband had always warned me against reinforcing his difference from other kids but I've always felt it would at least help him feel he has an ally in me... It just feels right to tell him how I have always felt different to everyone else, so I can emphasise the positives in being different. Hearing our son agree just confirmed everything I thought. I knew something was going on, and I knew he felt alien.

    Does anyone have some advice about what to do now, what to say to him, how to help him cope?

    We've never fully explained the testing he had when he was four, either. But i feel it is time to talk about that openly and explain that we will go through that again to find out more about how his brain works and how we can all be happier at school and home. I think he is old enough to know all this. He certainly is smart enough to understand. Does anyone have thoughts about this?

    Thanks for reading this far. I really appreciate any advice. It feels so good, yet painful, to have made a breakthrough and I want to seize this chance to make life better for us all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  2. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    Let me start off with saying your a wonderful mother, your son is very lucky to have you as his mom. Yes I my opinion you should be completely honest with him about the testing he has when he was four. It's also very important that you explain things to him in such a way that he understands without speaking down to him. I can relate to feeling alien from everyone else. Explain how you also feel/felt differant from everyone else like he does. That could be a good place to start a conversation with him. I'm diagnosed with level 2 autism. My mother's way of helping me cope was to Punish me for my autistic traits. My mom was ruthless she would tear me down to nothing emotionally, for the longest time i was terrified of my mom. Believe me the last thing you want is your son to be terrified of you. It is quite diffuclt to help give you advice sense my relationship with my mom isn't good so I'm not sure what advice to give you. I hope I help you somehow.
     
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  3. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Thank you, Rayner. I really appreciate your comments.
     
  4. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    No problem hope I could be of some use to you. I'm only 17
     
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  5. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Yes, and that is really helpful because your comments about your life with your mother are reminiscent of my own childhood (so long ago!). I need to be reminded of what being a child with an unkind mother is like, because I have been guilty of many (unintentionally) unkind words to my own children... I've found being a parent extremely hard. But I have a duty to treat my kids better than I was treated, not least for the fact that I know more than my parents did about why I am the way I am. Hope that makes sense! :)
     
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  6. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    It makes completes sense. I have 4 month old baby niece I adore (her name is Lilly) she means the world to me. I hope I can play the role as a good uncle. I want Lilly to be treated better than I was and I'm doing everything i can to make that possible.
     
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  7. Lealea

    Lealea All that we see or seem is a dream within a dream.

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    Im an aspie mum who also has an aspie son, hes five now. When hewas a baby he was ahead in crawling and was toilet trained before he was two (he skipped a potty, one day before a bath he decided he wanted to use a toilet and that was it) but was slow speeking and putting sentances together.

    He is so clingy and wont go five feet away from me, never runs off and constantly holds my hand when we're out and about, he shys away from people.

    I've home schooled him now for around four months due to the school he was in (which his 8 year old sister is also in) not being able to cope with him, he threw chairs at other children and staff hit them, threw stones and put up barracades to keep people away from him. But at home he is such a lovely boy and often randomly stops what he is doing to come up to me and tell me he loves me. Of course when told he cant have some thing or told he has to stop playing ect he will lash out and hit or kick, i find fair warning usualy helps, such as "after i finish putting the cleaner over its time to turn the tv off" this helps.

    All people on the spectrum are different as im sure you know and as his mother you know him best and as you are autistic too he has someone to relate too and you can understand what he is going through better then any dr or pshyc and for me realising this has helpped so much. Where as my mothers first intrest was 'hes missing out on education and social interaction' mine was his mental welbeing, obviously he has anxiaty around other people and i was not going to prolong that needlessly so i pulled him out and he is progressing well i have taught him more in four months then the school could in a year, and he socializes when he wants usualy after school with the kids that live in the street.

    He hasnt been diagnosed yet, but after a lot of being passed back and forth we are getting somewhere, so after he does get a diagnosis the school can get more funding and he can have more one to one support which will make him more comfertable.

    Letting him know and helping him understand that he isnt alone and that you understand how he feels and what he is going through will help. just like your son i spent many playtimes by myself, maybe talk to the school they can persuade other children to play with him, or give him the option to take a game in and stay indoors and maybe see if another child would stay with him, this might help him build more friendships.

    He is old enough now and maybe invole him in and take on his opinion on decisions that will affect him personaly this might persuade him to be more open to you and to respect your opinions on things too. I dont know for sure if it will help you and your son but this is how i try and relate to mine.
     
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  8. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Thanks Lealea for your story.

    Although our sons' developmental journey has been almost the opposite (mine spoke grammatically correctly very early but didn't walk until late; mine was toilet trained very late and still isn't dry at night; mine has always been really gregarious (whether he connects with others being irrelevant) in public - he used to say, "Hi!" to everyone he met walking down the street, and so on) I have found similar things as you have. Giving prior notice before making a change or stopping an activity he likes helps. Allowing him to take some control in his life helps (offering him choices rather than just punishing).

    I'm planning to try to work with his teacher and the principal (head person... Dunno what to call her. Headmistress?) on this because I think his loneliness is one reason he has been having behavioural issues at school (for the first time), and I'm hoping he'll be allowed to bring some things in to do. However, he was adamant that he didn't want to read in the library or do indoor activities. He needs to run and be active at lunch time. As he put it when he was upset, "That's the whole point!" (Of lunch time).

    I do think that testing will make negotiating with the school easier, but it won't make a huge difference in what he will get... Only something like an extra hour of one on one time. That isn't enough for anyone with special needs, no matter what those needs are! One measly hour...
     
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  9. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Another things I'm wondering is are there any books people can recommend for gifted or twice exceptional kids? I have one that I've been holding onto that I will finally give to him this weekend. It's the Survival Guide for Gifted Kids. Anyone know others that are worthwhile?
     
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  10. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure of any books that he could read to help him out. When I was your sons age I would read Chilton and Haynes mechanical repair guides. I'm 10 years old than your son but I still love to read books on my special interest.
     
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  11. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    I am glad that you were able to connect with him. For some of your other questions:

    Go ahead and tell him about his testing and how he is different than other kids, but DON'T tell him his actual IQ (at this age). He is not mature enough to process it productively. DO see if you can get him into a gifted program at school and/or a local chapter of Mensa. He will meet relatable peers in either venue and that is one of Mensa's main purposes.
     
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  12. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    I just told him a short time ago and did exactly as you said, so I'm glad I did that right! :) I told him about the testing when he was four and explained we would do it again. His response was, "YAAAYYYYYYY!" Which was funny because he doesn't even remember the first testing, but I suppose he sees it as a quiz of sorts and he loves quizzes and tests.

    I showed him the report from the old test where it showed his percentiles and age equivalents for the subtests, but didn't explain about IQ because I didn't think it was important at all. It's just a number anyway.

    And I gave him the book I'd been saving for a couple of years. He was excited to have a look at it, especially to see that it has a chapter on Social Smarts and how to make friends. Fingers crossed he finds it useful.
     
  13. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Find that your way of doing this with your son is really nice Cosmophylla, so glad that he's told you what was going on at school. He's aware and is secure enough to tell you how he feels about things happening to him. Something I could never do with my own Mother, who would have made it my fault somehow. Perhaps an exception might be made at his school, so that he has some things with him that he might play with. Instead of it being all common property, with certain groups of children monopolizing the toys, and deciding who plays with them, and excluding some. Maybe more organized games, in which everyone is included.

    In fact, I do some of those things with my husband and he's sixty. It makes for a relaxed and peaceful existence, when I give him pre-warning of the things we might be doing. Instances of, "let's leave in half an hour" so, two thirty, he nods and he's at the door ready at two thirty. It also works for me too, don't like being rushed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  14. Vinca

    Vinca Speaking through Pictures V.I.P Member

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  15. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Mia, thanks for your ideas. I was thinking this morning that I'll work with the school to see if there is a group lunchtime activity we can organise; cricket or soccer or handball or something. There are kids who play soccer at lunch but they are the big kids and they won't let my son join in. I asked him about it. And he is still adamant that he wants to run around at lunch and not take breaks during class to get that pent up energy out because he doesn't want to miss out on stuff in the classroom (and I'll hazard a guess that he doesn't want attention drawn to himself).

    Vinca, thanks for those helpful links. If he is diagnosed at the next test I will definitely be showing him that video. :) It's great.

    Something I'm worried about is that I may be pathologising his normal gifted behaviour. Rather than seeing his overexcitabilities, I may be turning them into something they aren't. He definitely has Aspie traits, but many of those traits are quite normal for bright people. When he did the testing at four, his processing speed deviated by exactly 15 points (more than this is a flag for further investigation), but the psych said it was not because his processing was slow; it was because he didn't have the fine motor skills to hold a pencil and circle the shapes on the paper.
     
  16. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend a cyber school for your child. He can go at his own accelerated pace and can take some/all the electives they offer. His socialization can come from outside of the academic environment where he can go to events hosted by the cyber school if applicable and you can do events within your general community too as long as you have the resources to drive him around or if you are in the big city, to walk around instead possibly.

    When you take your son to events outside of the whole institution of a school, a lot of these kids who act out might not even be able to afford to get out and if they could, many of them would not come out to these events. Your child can then try to develop socially in this manner, and hopefully over time, he'd be able to deal with the realities of society as he gets older and more acclimated to the world. By removing this social aspect initially in this manner, he can just start with what he is good at rather than "throwing" too many things at him at once.

    Socialization directly in a brick and mortar school I think is way overrated. Each individual is different, and if we can give motivated children different environments to learn in where they can be successful, they deserve the opportunity and not another political, traditional minded, hold back.
     
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  17. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for this idea. It is actually something I have been pondering over the past couple of days... If I had only one child I would have chosen homeschooling automatically. One child is easy to devote one's full attention to. :)

    From what I have seen the virtual schools have certain requirements such as being a minimum distance from a local school or other particular circumstances. The rules are vague and I'm struggling to take it all in. I don't know who to ask for help in figuring out the best course of action, other than a psych.

    There seems to be only one online school in my state. :/

    I'm meeting with his teacher after school today to talk about how he is doing in class and how we can differentiate a bit more, plus I'll ask about bringing activities for lunch times. If I can I'll try for a referral to the education department's psychologist, but I think seeing one that specialises in gifted education is probably a wiser idea. I also signed up for garden volunteering on campus as I feel I should give back to the school if I'm asking them to do extra for my son. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  18. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    I used to teach at a cyber school, so I know quite a bit about it. I'm sure a child as motivated as yours should catch on to all the online lingo and important functionalities astutely. The rules in the US are generally by state. For cyber school, I don't think a psych is necessarily the best person unless they know about cyber schools themselves. I don't think many psychs would be 100% honest with you about their knowledge of cyber schools not because they are psychs, but because it is human nature to do that because they want to continue to sell you their services. You should ideally ask staff from cyber schools themselves and get a tour if you can of what it can be like to be in a cyber school. You should also try asking on a general forum to try to get multiple opinions pro and con for cyber school so that you don't get something that is too one-sided.

    Feel free to ask me about something specific you're not sure about too in regards to cyber school. If I miss it in a few days or so, PM me the link

    http://www.k12.com/schools-programs/online-private-school.html
    has the k12 International Academy, Keystone Academy, and George Washington University Online School. They are all private, so they would be expensive. I'm not sure if private vs. public schools are very different where you are, and if you have charter schools in your country or some other strange conglomerate that I am not aware of. The way you describe your child reminds me of a show being shown every now and then called "Child Genius."
     
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  19. Cosmophylla

    Cosmophylla (coz-MOFF-illa) V.I.P Member

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    I don't know that show so I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not. :)
     
  20. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Basically it is a huge compliment! If your child can get on that show, and especially if they can win at that show, your child's future is probably set for life!

    http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/child-genius
    If you can see that link, that is the show I speak of.