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Old 09-15-2011, 02:00 PM   #1
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Asperger's Screening?

My ODS' teacher wants to discuss having him screened for Asperger's Syndrome through the IU. I am not really sure what to think and I kind of feel like her basis for wanting him screened is a little whack. He is fairly shy and quite content to play alone, but he will socialize with others when he wants to. He has been at school for 3 weeks now and she is concerned that he is really having trouble socially and that this may be the reason. Honestly, it seems like such a big leap to me so I thought I would ask around and see if anyone has had the screening or has a child with Asperger's and could tell me if they think we should do the screening or not worry about it.

Her reasons for requesting the screening:
*Unusual vocal pattern (his voice is pretty pitchy...kind of reminds me of someone whose voice is changing but he is only 5)
*Doesn't seek out other children to interact with (he will interact with kids if they come to him, but it definitely doesn't bother him to play alone)
*Focuses on one thing (he goes through phases where he will be extremely interested in one thing and then will move onto something else within a few weeks...right now he is interested in drawing in general and spends a lot of time creating artwork)
*Large vocabulary

I am really on the fence b/c I know these things are all considered indicators of Asperger's but they are also present in other children at times. I know it won't hurt anything to do the screening, but none of his other teachers or his speech therapist (he has a slight speech delay...about 20%) have ever mentioned anything like this to me. He just had his new IEP written in March and it was just focused on speech with no behavioral concerns and they asked for feedback from his teachers at that time.

Anyway, if he does need help I would love for him to get it, but I am just not sure what to think. The main reasons I am confused are because he is very empathic (he is sensitive and notices & reacts to how people around him are feeling) and he is really good conversationalist...every once in awhile he will want to tell a long story, but generally he is really great about not interrupting and good at reading cues to tell if he should talk longer or keep things short. I know no one can tell me anything without him having the screening, but I would just be interested on some feedback about what I can expect from the process and what types of things they will do for him.

Sorry for the novel!

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Old 09-17-2011, 07:38 AM   #2
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

Well, my 11yo has Aspergers but he's been in the early intervention program since age 18 mos & his initial eval for services was broad based, so it might not apply(and your son is already in speech services, so you may have already went thru this anyways).
Teacher observation. They'll put him in various situations to see what he does. "Typical" kids act in certain predictable ways & kids with certain disorders act in certain predicable ways. They fill out a form(called a "Conner's evaluation") during this time & then score it at the end based on what the teachers saw & give you a statistical probability of him falling in the Asperger's range. All kids have some average kid traits & some quirks, but more of this & less of that, coupled with innate reactions & behaviors over various situations gives them a pretty accurate judge of whether or not he needs those kinds of services.
But it just isn't once & done. They re eval once every so often(3 years here), to see how far your child has progressed & what services to continue to provide. So he may very well test "in" for services in the Asperger's range now, then after the initial period, may not test in the range next time. It isn't that he did have it/then didn't have it, more of where he had issues before, he either overcame them thru therapy & assistance, or outgrew them & it worked itself out.
Based on what you wrote, I could see where she is coming from & wanting him to get early intervention in these areas when he's still young & socially, kids grow the most & can benefit from a little assistance when socially things aren't so hard. Trust me, once they hit 3rd grade, it all becomes a whole other ballgame completely! If they don't have him tested for this, they probably can't help him because he wouldn't qualify for services under just his speech delay. So I would think it's just a formality for them. A hoop they HAVE to jump thru just to even address it.
Asperger's is complicated & involves a huge range of abilities.
Honestly, the only way to really know(and even the testing is subjective) is to have him tested. And even then, kids can change & grow in many ways. Here, they test & retest every so often & my son has had many of them, falling into severly Autistic, delay at initial testing of an 18mo child, he tested as the verbal ability of a 4mo & the physical ability of a 10mo child & the social ability of a less than 1mo child to his eval just last month of a 10yo child with the verbal ability & comprehension of a 12yo child & the physical ability of an 8yo child & the social ability of a 6yo child.

Sometimes you get the 6yo reaction & understanding & sometimes you get the 12yo reaction & understanding. It's complicated!!!

It really is up to you if you want to test him. It's one teacher out of many who have observed your child. You'd think you'd have heard rumblings of it before, but maybe it just wasn't the right environment to see it? Dunno.

But the evals aren't scary. They normally have you fill out a Conner's form as well. For my son, we had 4 people participate. Me, his main teacher, his SNs teacher, & his psychologist. My son finds the testing fun as they just play with him & interact with him one on one for some of it. You give that boy your undivided attention & he's in heaven!!
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

My yds is autistic. My ods has some issues at school so we did de die to do aspergers screening, he was in kinder last year. My son has similar social issues, he gets really into a particular things. What he has a hard time with is an conflict bat school, he can't handle it and cries. He gets anxious. The testing showed some aspergers like issues but not enough for a diagnosis. It did show that he does have higher than normal anxiety and we did develop a good plan for him. As parents we filled out questionnaires and the teachers did too. I never regretted doing it
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

Thanks for the feedback! I have been reading on some other message boards and it seems to me that the biggest indicator to me that it is more shyness vs. Asperger's is that he is very flexible with our routine/schedule and rarely has any type of serious "meltdown". He may cry about something for a few minutes, but he is easy to calm. Those both seemed to jump out at me in posts from others about their children.

I am definitely going to go ahead with the screening though b/c it can only help and not hurt anything. I think his teacher may have already mentioned her concerns to the Speech Therapist b/c there are quite a few "social skills" notes in his report from her this week (normally it is just speech focused). They mostly seemed to be positive and said things like ''good imaginative play-used toys appropriately", "asked peers what toys they were playing with", "easily followed directive to clean up", but then it says "Noted: played beside peers" so I think that sounds like what the teacher was mentioning.

We had a birthday party today so I was watching him closely and it was a toss-up. Only 2 friends from preschool were there so he didn't know the rest of the kids, but he played with everyone and engaged two boys in a game of tag and showed some other kids some "dinosaur bones" he had found. But when it was time to sit and eat, he really wanted to sit with us (most kids were at one table, but a few of them sat with their parents) and he stayed with us during the gift opening & singing of Happy Birthday. He did cry when we left but the birthday boy hugged him and they decided that he would go to his house a different day and play with the new toys so he was okay after that. (We had to leave really fast b/c his little brother peed all over his pants in the bathroom so I didn't really even get a chance to give them a 5 minute warning or anything beforehand.)

I guess the other things I should mention are: 1) It is his teacher's second year of teaching so I wonder if she is more actively looking for things...I know I did that a bit more in my early years of teaching. 2) His class is only 5 students, all of whom are boys, and I sort of wonder if the other 4 just naturally pair up and Cole plays alone more b/c of that?

I am meeting with her on Monday afternoon so I guess we will make all the decisions then. I am really hoping that maybe they can provide us with some strategies even if it is just shyness so that he can feel really confident at school. He absolutely loves going and is always super excited each day so I would hate for that stop.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:19 AM   #5
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

Talk to your pediatrician. A proper diagnosis involves many different types of therapists, nurses, and docs and is done after hours of observation and tests. I would not rely on the 'expertise' of the IU.

As for your son loving school, it sounds like he already does. Why do you think that would change? My son has PDD-NOS and has some social issues. I remember talking to my sister about being so worried that DS doesn't get invited to play dates with his friends from school, etc. and my sister reminded me that I shouldn't make my problem with how DS acts with his friends become DS' problem. DS has a great time in school and enjoys recess and his free time. He doesn't care that he's not invited on play dates. So as long as he is happy, I'm not going to worry.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

So, ALL children have some characteristics of Aspergers/Autism, it's really a matter of DEGREE. If his SLP isn't concerned, I might question the teacher on that, or talk to his SLP about what she thinks. On the other hand, a screening won't hurt anything, and early identification typically means better outcomes. Also, even if the screening does come out positive for Aspergers, then there's a whole evaluation process that he will have to go through that usually involved a diagnostician, an SLP, and in some places a school psychologist, as well as information from parents, caregivers, and sometimes the pediatrician as well. And you have the right to refuse that evaluation. Sounds like he's doing fine in the classroom, so I would personally oppose moving him into another setting unless and until he needs it. Good luck
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

My daughter was thought to have Asperger's but the screening I assume is going to come out negative? I'm not sure what they are going to call it, but I assume she doesn't have it.

From what you said, it doesn't sound like Asperger's to me. He just sounds like a Quiet child. Consider yourself lucky. lolMiranda Very much has some traits. But she's been diagnosed with Severe Anixety and ODD, not Asperger's.

when the teacher first brought this up I thought she was nuts. Completely crazy, my kid doesn't have asperger's, but the more I let it sink in, the more I read, the more I saw what she was talking about..Miranda is very much obsessed with certian things. The last couple months has been dinosaurs.

I don't mean she likes Dinosaurs. I mean EVERYTHING has to be dinosaurs. She won't watch tv, she won't play games, she won't draw pictures that aren't dinosaurs. Her lunchbag has dinosaurs on it. her food for lunch is cut up like dinosaurs, she'll play with the kids at school, but only if they play what she wants to play, and what does she want to play? everyday?! all day long?? Dinosaur games. When other kids seem less interested or don't want to play dinosaurs, she doesn't pay any attention and will continue to talk about her Thing until the person basically walks away.. You can't get her to change topics. Bedtime stories and the books at school are ALWAYS dinosaur stories.

saying she likes Dinosaurs is a understatement of the century. lol I know more about dinosaurs than anything else. lol

Miranda freaks out with change in her routine. You couldn't so much as bring her to school one day because she normally rides the bus and will freak out the entire way there. You can't just "go for a drive" we have to have a destination at all times. She can't spend the night at someone else's home, she needs to be in her bed at bedtime, she can't even come to our room and sleep if she has a nightmare or something.
Miranda has MANY meltdowns everyday. Last year at the end of the year she actually hit the teacher because the teacher wanted her to do some schoolwork.. she was spending her time hiding under the desk last year or drawing dinosaur pictures.. I would get 501 things of schoolwork at the end of the week and they were hardly ever actually done, they were just drawn on the back.. Dinosaurs.

What I'm saying is your son doesn't sound like he has Asperger's. I took miranda to a Psycholigist over the summer, (duh. lol) and we did the screening, but we haven't heard back on it yet.. but the doctor is sure it's the Anxiety that was causing all the problems.. not Asperger's. We now owe that doctor 400 bucks, so we're waiting to pay that off before we can return to him or find a doctor to perscribe her a low dose of anixety meds.

I think any shyness will wear off over the course of the year. Other things won't.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

Well, it was an interesting appointment. I met with DS's teacher and an IU coordinator (not his speech teacher) and the IU coordinator doesn't think there is any need to do the assessment at this point. I am fine with that b/c I was really surprised by the whole thing in the first place. At least now I know what the teacher's concerns are and also how the IU views the concerns. I will be keeping in touch with his teacher and his speech teacher to see if we need to revisit this, but I feel much better knowing that more experienced special needs coordinator is not concerned. Thanks so much for all the opinions and experiences. I do have some concerns with this shyness and this year his speech issues seem to be a little bit worse so I am definitely going to be keeping a close eye on his behavior/behavior issues throughout the year.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #9
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Re: Asperger's Screening?

I wanted to update this to see if I can get some more feedback. Although the IU coordinator and DS' speech therapist both did not feel there was a reason to do further evaluation, his classroom teacher pushed for it and I agreed to the screening. Everything went well and he was at or above age level in all areas except for gross motor where he showed a 6% delay (must be 20%+ to qualify for services)...it was a very comprehensive screening and encompassed all areas of development. So I thought we were done...everything looked great, speech therapist is thrilled with him and his progress, all other areas (besides gross motor) were fantastic. We had a mid-year conference with his teacher at the end of January to discuss his progress report (which he did a wonderful job on as well!) and she dropped the bomb that she STILL thinks he has something going on and that we should get a private evaluation?!? Nothing on the screening by the IU showed any delays and her own input only showed a couple areas with borderline behavioral issues. I talked to a good friend who is a behavioral pyschologist and she said she is not/would not be concerned, but now I am kind of freaking out. Why is the teacher so insistent that something is going on with him? Would you pursue this further or just say "You know what, I am not concerned about his behaviors at this time especially after the results of the testing that we have had, if you see any additional red flags or his behavior worsens, please let me know so we can re-evaluate this decision." I am concerned b/c she is in very close communication with his future K teacher and I am worried that this will continue on and on since she is so insistent. I have not been at all concerned about him (other than his speech delay and being a little shy) up until this point and now my head is just spinning.
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