Thursday, March 30, 2006

Does not play well with others :-(

I am struggling with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on my youngest boy Zac. We casually dismissed thoughts of him being autistic until his first week in Kindy. If he had have been born 40 days later than he had been, he wouldn't even be in kindy until next year. However, his behaviour in a group setting has stuck out as being the odd one out. Stuff like lying on his back facing the other way while everybody else dances to the wiggles music, climbing adventurously by himself while everybody else is doing an outside group activity. Reacting to instructions of a change in activity by screaming (loud). Talking in gestures and single words rather than sentences. We just thought he was a little bit behind and a little younger than the others, but the other evidence is starting to become a little compelling.
The thing that is frustrating me the most is that the diagnosis was rather forced on to us by what I can only describe as special education economics. Every diagnosis of ASD is a ticket for more funding for the Kindy, special education units, parents etc. If I could have helped it, I would have avoided the diagnosis because it does come with so many attachments, including possible stigma. However, denying the diagnosis would have denied him and us the best possible outcomes and supports. I am struggling with this whole concept. Ten years ago, there would have not been this kind of economic push for a diagnosis.


Dr. Clam said...

There you have 100% of the explanation for the 'mysterious' rise in autism over the past few decades, about which people have spent good money investigating the posisble role of antibiotics, pesticides, daytime television, etc. :( The idiots at my son's school wanted us to have him see a psychologist, because if there was something wrong with him they could get money.

Dr. Clam said...

After more thought, I think you should get a second opinion. All that stuff sounds like normal small boy behaviour to me. Our son showed all the traits except the last one, and the childologist said it was just because he was an Alpha in a world of Deltas and Epsilon semi-morons and wasn't interested in Centrifgal Bumble-Puppy and other games of the proles. As for talking in gestures and single words, my little brother spoke mostly in truck noises for the longest time, and then he turned out to be the smart one when we hit uni.

Jenny said...

I was talking to a teacher who was frustrated that the childologists would not diagnose a form of autism for a kid who she and the parents thought had it. Not because the childologist didn't think the kid had it, but because it would label the child at a very early age.

In the mean time, the teacher had no support at school for this child & so had to stint the other students of her time, & the kid didn't get enough support either.

Of course it would be nice if they could do a "watching brief" diagnosis that permitted funding and support to help with development of social skills and then could be confirmed or rejected as a diagnosis when the child was older and the symptoms were more obviously autism or kid is smarter/socially less mature than class mates

Marco said...

The strange thing is, our situation (compared to peers) is almost perfectly ideal. The aid at the kindy has been the aid for all our children. The childologist is familiar with all our children and their various behavioural traits, and can separate that which is learned behaviour and that which is inborn. We agree with the kindy teacher that they need an extra pair of hands just to account for Zac's needs. We agree that regardless of the merits of the diagnosis, that the best outcomes would be had by him going to kindy as well as other playgroup or special education sessions. The childologist even told me straight out that he needed our permission to make a diagnosis, and that it was reasonable for him to withdraw it in the future if based on our say-so it would be better. I talked to a friend with an autistic child, and she couldn't believe that Zac was diagnosed, when the childologist in question had refused diagnosis in several other cases she was aware of. This doesn't change the fact that the science of these disorders is almost irrelevant in the face of the hidden hand of the economy of special education.

Donni said...

I have a 12 year old child who I believe could be ASD, 2 schools (principal, 3 guidance officers, teachers, special needs aids) believe he is, he currently attends 2 hours a day and I homeschool... it has been a frustrating journey for us as we need help with dealing with specific issues... so guess we are other end of scale. I balked at any diagnosis for fear of labelling for a long time and have now come round to seeing it as a means to an end. Another perspective. Good luck with your precious one... Donni