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Is my friend's child on spectrum?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by Lena_131309, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Dear All,

    I would appreciate your feedback on the below situation.

    I have a very good friend, who I am really close with. We know each other since years and our children (both 6 years old) were basically raised up together. I suspect and have suspected for a long time already, that her son is on spectrum, however, when I tried (once) to approach her and talk about that, she was immediately shutting down the discussion and being extremely angry at me, asking what made me think that I can diagnose her child.

    The reason why I tried to talk to her was, that the behaviour of her son has stronger and stronger, and unfortunately negative, impact on my daughter. He has speech delay (which, due to the fact, that he is raised up in bilingual environment, was treated as normal to some extent by his parents), he was using few single words until he was 4, and currently he is using very simple sentences (few words each) and usually when replying to simple questions only ( “Do you want to do that or that”, “Do you want to eat something”). He is usually never coming first and initiating the conversation, explaining us what he did or what he saw. When he sees trains he is always raising up his voice and screaming “Mama, look, train!”. When I am alone with him, I have sometimes the impression that he doesn’t understand what I ask him for, even though he has pretty good eye contact. My daughter does not really understand why he “doesn’t” want to talk to her, even though I try to explain her that he likes her very much but is just not as talkative as she is.

    He is often pretending that he is a plane or a car and when we walk outside he is running with his hands up and making noises of the machines he is currently pretending to be. When we are in a restaurant or any other public place, he is always having his busses/trains/cars with him and loudly playing with them, making constant noises and "driving" them on our and other people's tables.

    When we meet outside he is always racing with my daughter (getting very frustrated when she is driving her scooter faster than him and screaming very loud at her “stop! wait”). Few times it happened that he was driving his scooter over the red light, just to be in front of her, which freaked me (and his mum) out. She took his scooter away and explained him that he cannot do that, but this just helped for a limited time only.

    Recently, I am simply avoiding going out with them, differently than just walking. That doesn’t help too much, as recently he started running for most of the time, just to be in front of my daughter (and other kids). In order to avoid that, his mum has to hold his hand all the time, and whenever she does that, he gets frustrated and tries to avoid that in any possible way.

    Whenever we are waiting for something (e.g. ice creams) he is not respecting the queue and pushes himself in front of other kids (what is usually commented by his mum as “he will always find his way if he wants something”, so obviously as nothing negative). When the kids play in a public playground, he is getting frustrated whenever someone is on a slide in front of him or using the public toys/equipment that he usually plays with (e.g. water fountain or digger).

    If we are travelling somewhere by public transport he always wants to sit next to the window, and if the train/bus is packed, he is immediately crying and forcing people to empty "his" place. He does not really pay attention if we are close to him, as long as he can sit at "his" place, we could be even at the other side of the train. Once, his mum wanted to check if he would react, if he would lose her from his sight, and there was actually no reaction of him. He was playing alone (in a public playground) for at least 10 minutes, and only then realising that she was not next to him.

    Whenever we (with more kids) play in any game that requires competition (e.g. searching for the Halloween sweets in the apartment), he starts to get frustrated immediately and cries, whenever any other kid is finding sweets before (or more than) him. When the kids have one-to-one play date, he is usually playing with his trains and my daughter tries to follow him, just to get involved in the game. However, recently, she is refusing to meet with him as she prefers to meet with her other friends (mostly girls) that she can interact more easily.

    His mum was going to few places in order to understand what is the reason of his “differences”, but she told me that he was not diagnosed with autism/Asperger, and the only help that was recommended for him was speech support classes and some motility development classes ("neuro-therapy", she explained me that he is mostly playing there, learning coordination, being on a swing etc.). He is attending regular preschool and other than the teacher reporting that he is very easily frustrated, there was nothing concerning detected as far as I know. The only situation his mum told me about was that his teacher approached her, as there were few mums complaining that he was chasing their kids, which was fine at some point, as they played like that, but when the kids asked him to stop multiple times, he was still forcing the play, thinking they are joking and want to continue. His mum said that for her it was normal behaviour, as he was “just so much in the game that it was obviously normal that he didn’t want to stop it”.

    I need to point out also, that he is very lovely and cuddly boy, and I would really like for both of them (kids) and us, mums, to enjoy the time spend together. But it is getting more and more difficult, and it is more and more difficult for me to pretend that "everything is fine", especially if his behaviour upsets and makes my daughter cry...Does his behaviour seems familiar to you? Am I really overreacting and trying to “diagnose” him or am I right with my concerns? How can I address that to find a good solution for all of us, as, I am afraid, otherwise I will be “forced” to limit out contact to some extent. And I would really like to avoid that.

    Thank you very much in advance for your help.
     
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  2. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm no expert but many of the child's "issues" might be resolved with some consistent and firm parenting. It sounds like the mother indulges him. Please don't make your child play with him if she doesn't want to because that is not fair to her.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi,
    We are mostly just people on the spectrum, or friends/family of such. Not mental health professionals trained or able to diagnose. If it was your child I would suggest you see a professional as the child does exhibit problematic behaviors. But since he is not and the Mom doesn't want to discuss it there is not much you can do. When the boy starts school the behavior may prompt the school staff to reccomend an evaluation.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  4. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Since the mother has already sought help and been told by (I assume) an expert that her son isn't autistic, I would take that at face value.

    Once someone is diagnosed with ASD, any treatment plan or therapy will revolve around getting to know that person, their specific needs, and what works for them.

    If you are concerned, you can skip the diagnosis step and just start learning what works for that boy. What types of interactions does he respond well to? What explanations can you give him ahead of time to help him remember how he is expected to behave?

    You might have to try a few different approaches and see what works best. Most of the time, this trial-and-error approach is called "parenting." Every child is different, whether ASD or not, and every parent, teacher, neighbor, and friend will find that each new child they encounter comes with a whole new set of delights and challenges.

    You can do the same for your daughter - use a little trial-and-error to see what strategies will help your daughter set boundaries or expectations to improve her interactions with the boy.
     
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  5. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member

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    I have a son with Downs syndrome and this is what he does occasionally.

    There do seem to be some issues but what is not clear to me. If his mother does not want to recognise that her son is different then that is a hard one to deal with.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    No matter how large a wall of text you write, nobody but a psychiatrist can diagnose your friend's son.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    If someone made my daughter cry, l would not want them to play with my daughter. I did deal with a younger child who seem to not be disciplined by the mom. I refused to let her go to his house by herself because he would get frustrated and l saw him hit her. The mom did nothing and said boys will be boys. After that, my daughter had very limited interaction with him. So as a mom, l am distressed that you allow your daughter in this situation. I understand that you like his mom and so on but your priority is your child always. If this child negligently causes serious harm to another child then there will be repercussions. Sometimes parents are blind to what their child is doing or they think it is perfectly acceptable for the son to act totally disrespectful to their sister or other females. I don't and won't tolerate it. My daughter was bullied by a 2nd grader in school. The principle took his side in the matter, (he said he was going to kill my daughter). I withdrew her and homeschooled her up until Jr high.
     
  8. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your feedback. I need to clarify one thing, as I believe I created a bit wrong picture of my daughter - his friend relation. She likes spending time with him, only some of his behaviour she is not comfortable with. I have never "forced" her and never will "force" her to spend time with anyone she doesn't like. They see each other maybe 2-3 times per month and most of the time they are happy being together (even though their interaction is sometimes limited, and they rather play "next to each other"). It is only the range of behaviour, I described above, that makes (I guess more me, than her) concerned. On the other hand I also want her to be aware that some of her friends may behave differently, because of wide spectrum of reasons (Down syndrome, autism, extreme shyness etc.) and that she should learn how to approach and spend time with them, additionally to her other friends. She has many NT friends as well, and they are also misunderstandings and different point of views between them, they argue sometimes as well and make each other cry if they get frustrated if the things are not going as they want....So no, I am not differentiating him from the other kids and expecting that my daughter will always spend lovely time with him, holding hands and smiling all the time, I would just to work together on some of his behaviour (like this extreme racing thing) to make it, first of all - safe for them, and second - pleasurable, rather than frustrating.
     
  9. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your feedback, please refer to my previous answer, it is also applicable to your post.
     
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  10. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    I know, and I am not asking for a professional diagnosis of him, rather than advice how we could solve it between all of us, mostly me and his mum.
     
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  11. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Yes, you are right. She does not want to talk about that at all. First, she was very open about her attempts to diagnose him, but once I asked her, if his doctor has been considering Asperger's, she simply exploded and was, gently saying, very unpleasant to me. After few days she apologised and our relation came back to normal (it took few months though), but since then the whole subject seems to be a taboo. She knows really well that his behaviour is different than his peers, but she always says "Why people cannot just accept him as he is and allow him to be different".
     
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  12. Lena_131309

    Lena_131309 Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your answer and wise words. I would definitely follow your advice, but we see each other (with kids) 2-3 times per month only, so my "influence" and work I could put in to help him, is, by default, very limited. Whenever we are together and any "problematic" situation occurs, I always try not to interfere with him and leave the space for his mum to react (not to get in her "authority" zone). Unfortunately, her actions always take place after the situation takes place and have limited result only for a short period of time (usually couple of minutes). After that, with the same conditions, the same situation happens again and that is the frustrating part - it seems that there would need to be a lot of proactive work done with him to influence the situation before it happens, rather that punishing him after and repeating "Don't do that, she doesn't like it", "I told you not to race" over and over again....
     
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  13. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    As others have stated, we are not qualified to confirm a diagnosis of autism.
    If he is autistic, here are some considerations.
    1. I don't know which nationalities are involved in his case, but some tend to be more ashamed of autism than others. Such are convinced (by a now-discredited theory) that autism is a consequence of having a "frigid" mother. Proposing autism to them is taken as an insult; that they are an "unloving" mother.
    2. If you are still willing to have him visit and you still (unofficially) believe that he might be autistic, see Autlanders, Thriving Outside of the Box: Finding Support Resources in the USA...
      • None of the advice recommended for autistic children is harmful, if you turn out to be wrong.
      • And it can be helpful, if you turn out to be right.
    --
     
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  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    This seems bigger then you can handle. You may have to be realistic- if mother is unwilling or unable to talk about it- not much you can do.
     
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