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Can someone help me understand autism?

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 I am the first to admit, I don't understand autism. What made you seek a diagnosis for yourself or your child/ren? I know I can look up a million sources and articles on the internet, I would rather ask real women who have it or have children who have it. Please can someone educate me (and maybe others)?

ETA- I really want to thank you all for sharing your stories, struggles and triumphs.

by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Replies (41-50):
tscritch
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM

 Ha ha ha!!! Good for the cashier!!!

Quoting cjsbmom:

Oh the stories I could tell you about people who just had to put their two cents in about why my child was a brat in public. The one that sticks out the most is an older lady at the grocery store, who was watching CJ have one of his overstimulated meltdowns and told me loudly "that's nothing that a good spanking wouldn't fix." The cashier, who knew my son was autistic, looked right at her and said "he's autistic. What's your excuse for your poor behavior?" I've never seen anyone bolt from a store so fast in my life. 

Quoting tscritch:

 I admit I am guilty of seeing a "difficult" child and thinking man why aren't those parents doing anything. Then I catch myself and tell myself that I don't know their story....I give myself a talking-to in my head lol.

If I don't ask and put my own ignorance out there then how can I learn? I think waaaay to many people are afraid to ask...they don't want to look stupid...me, eh, I don't mind looking stupid :-)

Quoting specialwingz:

I appreciate you wanting to understand it.  So many are quick to judge and blame rather than to attempt understanding.

Quoting tscritch:

 Thank you for sharing that!!

I do know that there are so many factors and no two people are alike. For me it's just that I read posts and whatnot about autism and I just don't get it. I have no personal experience to relate it to, but I want to understand. :-)

Quoting specialwingz:

My twin boys are ADHD/Asperger's Syndrome.  Asperger's Syndrome is on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum.  For them, it was the inability to focus on ANYTHING!  They are incredibly intelligent with a bit above average IQs.  But, in school, they could never finish things.  They couldn't focus on the teacher.  They would find their "happy place" by getting up in the middle of class, grab a book off a shelf and sit down and read.  It was how they escaped the "information overload".

Autistic brains work completely different than yours or mine.  I learned a lot about it, actually, when I researched traumatic brain injury due to an accident my ex-h had.  TBI and autism are very similar.

We tried the "diet" approach.  It totally did nothing.  We finally tried them with different meds.  Ritalin was the one that made the teachers shriek with amazement!  They boys owuld finally look them in the eye and repeat what the lesson was about!  Their grades improved and their social skills also improved.  They still read a lot.  But, it was used as a reward for paying attention in class.  As the years went by, they had to change the type of meds they were on.  Kids outgrow the dosage.  Or the medication didn't last through the day to still be effective for homework and boyscouts.  Tweaking times were hard.  But, we all got through it.

Now that they are in college, they are on Vyvanse.  Which was primarily (at first) designed for adults since an adult's day goes way beyond an 8 hour stint of anything.  LOL.  Now they have it for children as well.

College brought out a lot of their social inabilities again.  And, they are struggling again with organization.  But, we are working with them to help them try to find a new "sweet spot" that works for their brains.

There really isn't a short version to explaining autism.  And, really, all the words in the world don't cover what an autistic child and their caregivers go through on a daily basis.

 


 


 

Cubanmom84
by Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Autism is a neurological disorer that affects social behavior, speech and other various things that you can't really find in a damn article lol. Yes, my son is non verbal, and yes he has no idea what to do in a public place, he can either take off his clothes or just sit by himself, depends on his mood. What articles don't tell you, is the quirks they have, my son can work an ipad better than his grandparents and much faster, we didn't even have to tell him what to do, but tell him to sit in the potty and he will look at you like you were from another planet... no basic understanding of normal things, they think differently, I have magnet ABC's on the fridge, he put the S aside because it wouldn't fit where he wanted it to fit, I tried helping him and no, sense it doesn't go where his head tells him it goes, then it doesn't go anywhere at all.... every kid is different, not all have the same things, you just go with the flow of things, at least I look at it that way, they have OCD, and it depends the level of it, mine is going to hand you the phone but he has to tap it on something at least three times before giving it to you.... I just get the phone and walk away lol. 

Anxiety is huge in autism, mine chews on stuff.. I buy him toys soft enought that he can chew on, and it calms him down. Its hard to understand because you don't live with it, but when you do, is easier to look at, and you find it normal after so many years...

MrsImperfect
by Bronze Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:21 PM
We are still in the process of finding an exact issue but so far my child has a mild form of tourettes. His is seasonal. Which means like every summer he gets these "tics" and habits that are offensive to others. Under stress it will also get worse. A tic disorder (which is hand in hand with tourettes) blinking eyes excessively, body movements, grunting and sniffing. Some are again offensive to others. Many people find him gross and weird. He had ptsd but that has turned into regressive behavior (he talks and acts like a baby instead of a preteen). Adhd/add combined type. He can not sit still to save his life. Always wiggling like he has to pee, cant stand still, cant concentrate on anything, wont stop talking, in school he will tap his pencil constantly, play with erasers or paper or anything other than work. Hes distractive to other kids. He was just diagnosed with aspergers. He flaps his arms, hes very intelligent but only cares about the few things that interest him. He will know everything about one thing in particular and thats all he talks about or wants to associate with. He falls apart in school. If hes stressed he bursts into an emotional fit and hes been constantly sent home cause he "cant control his emotions in school". He does that anywhere really. He will have these crying fits. It all started after he hit 2. He didnt seem right. He use to be violent but has calmed down. Everyone complained about him. The school was having issues daily. And I had very little control over him no matter what I did. Its hard.
Eta I forgot to add the social part. They are socially awkward. Wont look you in the eye. Wont answer you or acknowledge you. They seem rude but they just dont get it. He has a hard time with other kids cause he wants games to go his way only. Doesnt seem to understand it csn go anyway other than the rules.
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tscritch
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

 Thank you! How old is your son?

Quoting Cubanmom84:

Autism is a neurological disorer that affects social behavior, speech and other various things that you can't really find in a damn article lol. Yes, my son is non verbal, and yes he has no idea what to do in a public place, he can either take off his clothes or just sit by himself, depends on his mood. What articles don't tell you, is the quirks they have, my son can work an ipad better than his grandparents and much faster, we didn't even have to tell him what to do, but tell him to sit in the potty and he will look at you like you were from another planet... no basic understanding of normal things, they think differently, I have magnet ABC's on the fridge, he put the S aside because it wouldn't fit where he wanted it to fit, I tried helping him and no, sense it doesn't go where his head tells him it goes, then it doesn't go anywhere at all.... every kid is different, not all have the same things, you just go with the flow of things, at least I look at it that way, they have OCD, and it depends the level of it, mine is going to hand you the phone but he has to tap it on something at least three times before giving it to you.... I just get the phone and walk away lol. 

Anxiety is huge in autism, mine chews on stuff.. I buy him toys soft enought that he can chew on, and it calms him down. Its hard to understand because you don't live with it, but when you do, is easier to look at, and you find it normal after so many years...

 

tscritch
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM

 Thank you for sharing that. Does tourettes and autism usually go hand in hand?

Quoting MrsImperfect:

We are still in the process of finding an exact issue but so far my child has a mild form of tourettes. His is seasonal. Which means like every summer he gets these "tics" and habits that are offensive to others. Under stress it will also get worse. A tic disorder (which is hand in hand with tourettes) blinking eyes excessively, body movements, grunting and sniffing. Some are again offensive to others. Many people find him gross and weird. He had ptsd but that has turned into regressive behavior (he talks and acts like a baby instead of a preteen). Adhd/add combined type. He can not sit still to save his life. Always wiggling like he has to pee, cant stand still, cant concentrate on anything, wont stop talking, in school he will tap his pencil constantly, play with erasers or paper or anything other than work. Hes distractive to other kids. He was just diagnosed with aspergers. He flaps his arms, hes very intelligent but only cares about the few things that interest him. He will know everything about one thing in particular and thats all he talks about or wants to associate with. He falls apart in school. If hes stressed he bursts into an emotional fit and hes been constantly sent home cause he "cant control his emotions in school". He does that anywhere really. He will have these crying fits. It all started after he hit 2. He didnt seem right. He use to be violent but has calmed down. Everyone complained about him. The school was having issues daily. And I had very little control over him no matter what I did. Its hard.
Eta I forgot to add the social part. They are socially awkward. Wont look you in the eye. Wont answer you or acknowledge you. They seem rude but they just dont get it. He has a hard time with other kids cause he wants games to go his way only. Doesnt seem to understand it csn go anyway other than the rules.

 

MrsImperfect
by Bronze Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:32 PM
I dont think they do. Im just learning about it myself. I could never explain why my son acted the way he did. He just wasnt.....normal. and with ao many complaints from the school I was forced to see a doctor about it cause the school wanted him medicated. I asked my doctor at an early age to have him tested cause he was off somehow I just didnt know how. They brushed me off as a new mom that couldn't handle my child. Finally they listened 10 yrs later when he was almost out of control. But I dont think they go together.

Quoting tscritch:

 Thank you for sharing that. Does tourettes and autism usually go hand in hand?


Quoting MrsImperfect:

We are still in the process of finding an exact issue but so far my child has a mild form of tourettes. His is seasonal. Which means like every summer he gets these "tics" and habits that are offensive to others. Under stress it will also get worse. A tic disorder (which is hand in hand with tourettes) blinking eyes excessively, body movements, grunting and sniffing. Some are again offensive to others. Many people find him gross and weird. He had ptsd but that has turned into regressive behavior (he talks and acts like a baby instead of a preteen). Adhd/add combined type. He can not sit still to save his life. Always wiggling like he has to pee, cant stand still, cant concentrate on anything, wont stop talking, in school he will tap his pencil constantly, play with erasers or paper or anything other than work. Hes distractive to other kids. He was just diagnosed with aspergers. He flaps his arms, hes very intelligent but only cares about the few things that interest him. He will know everything about one thing in particular and thats all he talks about or wants to associate with. He falls apart in school. If hes stressed he bursts into an emotional fit and hes been constantly sent home cause he "cant control his emotions in school". He does that anywhere really. He will have these crying fits. It all started after he hit 2. He didnt seem right. He use to be violent but has calmed down. Everyone complained about him. The school was having issues daily. And I had very little control over him no matter what I did. Its hard.
Eta I forgot to add the social part. They are socially awkward. Wont look you in the eye. Wont answer you or acknowledge you. They seem rude but they just dont get it. He has a hard time with other kids cause he wants games to go his way only. Doesnt seem to understand it csn go anyway other than the rules.

 

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TugBoatMama
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

My son is just barely on the spectrum and was recently diagnosed with Aspberger tendencies. He is 8, soon to be 9. Its effected him enough to the point that its interfered with his academic and social skills. He seemed to develop normally as an infant, walked and talked on time, was interactive and everything. At around 2 he began to have aversions to several different types of foods. It was to the point that he wouldn't eat hardly anything. I tried serving the same things over and over until he ate it, but not even that would work. This child will choose to starve before he will eat certain things. I thought it was just a toddler phase, but he's in 3rd grade now and still doing this. He hates noise, he doesn't pick up on sarcasm or when other kids are being mean to him, and he can only seem to dedicate full focus on a few topics, while ignoring all others. His intelligence surpasses his peers in certain ways and he falls behind them in others.

I never suspected autism or aspberger's at all until the principal asked me if he was autistic in kindergarten. Then this year they approached me about it again and wanted to get him evaluated. That was just a few weeks ago. His teacher remarked on how he can't seem to focus on his work unless he sits in the orange bean bag chair in the corner of her class. And it reminded me of how he has a specific chair he likes to sit in for his homework. All the other chairs can be identical, but he wants the one chair. I'm still quite new to all of it, but I always just thought he was an odd kiddo like I had been at his age.

The counselors at the school are now hinting around that my dh may have undiagnosed aspberger's. There would never be any convincing him to get evaluated, but it really would explain a lot of his personality.  His teachers told me that they notice very similar behavior in my dh when they see him and our son together. Idk. My dh has always been a character but has never had very much empathy for people, and doesn't seem to pick up on when he is rambling or being too loud.

tscritch
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

 That is really sad that you were just blown off. I'm sorry that you had to go through that and wait so long.

Quoting MrsImperfect:

I dont think they do. Im just learning about it myself. I could never explain why my son acted the way he did. He just wasnt.....normal. and with ao many complaints from the school I was forced to see a doctor about it cause the school wanted him medicated. I asked my doctor at an early age to have him tested cause he was off somehow I just didnt know how. They brushed me off as a new mom that couldn't handle my child. Finally they listened 10 yrs later when he was almost out of control. But I dont think they go together.

Quoting tscritch:

 Thank you for sharing that. Does tourettes and autism usually go hand in hand?


Quoting MrsImperfect:

We are still in the process of finding an exact issue but so far my child has a mild form of tourettes. His is seasonal. Which means like every summer he gets these "tics" and habits that are offensive to others. Under stress it will also get worse. A tic disorder (which is hand in hand with tourettes) blinking eyes excessively, body movements, grunting and sniffing. Some are again offensive to others. Many people find him gross and weird. He had ptsd but that has turned into regressive behavior (he talks and acts like a baby instead of a preteen). Adhd/add combined type. He can not sit still to save his life. Always wiggling like he has to pee, cant stand still, cant concentrate on anything, wont stop talking, in school he will tap his pencil constantly, play with erasers or paper or anything other than work. Hes distractive to other kids. He was just diagnosed with aspergers. He flaps his arms, hes very intelligent but only cares about the few things that interest him. He will know everything about one thing in particular and thats all he talks about or wants to associate with. He falls apart in school. If hes stressed he bursts into an emotional fit and hes been constantly sent home cause he "cant control his emotions in school". He does that anywhere really. He will have these crying fits. It all started after he hit 2. He didnt seem right. He use to be violent but has calmed down. Everyone complained about him. The school was having issues daily. And I had very little control over him no matter what I did. Its hard.
Eta I forgot to add the social part. They are socially awkward. Wont look you in the eye. Wont answer you or acknowledge you. They seem rude but they just dont get it. He has a hard time with other kids cause he wants games to go his way only. Doesnt seem to understand it csn go anyway other than the rules.

 

 

tscritch
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM

 That is really interesting about the chairs...do you think the food issue is a texture thing or a taste thing?

Quoting TugBoatMama:

My son is just barely on the spectrum and was recently diagnosed with Aspberger tendencies. He is 8, soon to be 9. Its effected him enough to the point that its interfered with his academic and social skills. He seemed to develop normally as an infant, walked and talked on time, was interactive and everything. At around 2 he began to have aversions to several different types of foods. It was to the point that he wouldn't eat hardly anything. I tried serving the same things over and over until he ate it, but not even that would work. This child will choose to starve before he will eat certain things. I thought it was just a toddler phase, but he's in 3rd grade now and still doing this. He hates noise, he doesn't pick up on sarcasm or when other kids are being mean to him, and he can only seem to dedicate full focus on a few topics, while ignoring all others. His intelligence surpasses his peers in certain ways and he falls behind them in others.

I never suspected autism or aspberger's at all until the principal asked me if he was autistic in kindergarten. Then this year they approached me about it again and wanted to get him evaluated. That was just a few weeks ago. His teacher remarked on how he can't seem to focus on his work unless he sits in the orange bean bag chair in the corner of her class. And it reminded me of how he has a specific chair he likes to sit in for his homework. All the other chairs can be identical, but he wants the one chair. I'm still quite new to all of it, but I always just thought he was an odd kiddo like I had been at his age.

The counselors at the school are now hinting around that my dh may have undiagnosed aspberger's. There would never be any convincing him to get evaluated, but it really would explain a lot of his personality.  His teachers told me that they notice very similar behavior in my dh when they see him and our son together. Idk. My dh has always been a character but has never had very much empathy for people, and doesn't seem to pick up on when he is rambling or being too loud.

 

jamamama00
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:40 PM

By four years old, she was still not talking, she walked on her tip-toes everywhere she went..she would not walk normally. She would not potty train. If we touched her head/hair she would become extremely upset. She would sometimes sit and stare at an object for hours on end. She would fixate on certain things...like a Scooby Doo VHS she had...she would watch it for eight hours straight and if I turned it off she would scream until she would throw up and stuff. She was unable to feed herself properly and couldn't bathe herself, either. Everyone kept saying stuff like "Well she is just spoiled" or "Well you just haven't taught her." We sought testing on her first day of kindergarten when her teacher pulled me aside after school and pretty much politely said, "Um, what the fuck??" Her teacher was astounded that docs had not sent her to a specialist sooner (thank you, shitty military doctors!) When I had my second daughter, I realized that everyone who made comments about her problems being my fault were pretty much a bunch of damned idiots. You should not have to teach kids to eat, bathe, talk, walk, etc...these are things children are supposed to do on their own, normally.

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