Originally Posted By: Eskes
I am concerned that maybe my son was misdiagnosed and could just be showing some gifted traits. He does not socialize with kids at school and does not like recess. However he is able to have friends outside of a school setting. I just can't get his therapist to agree.


Eskes, I don't have experience with autism, but I have a 2e ds who is diagnosed with dyspraxia, which includes some symptoms also found on the autism spectrum. I'm going to share a little bit of his story with you, not because I think that his symptoms/diagnosis are related to your ds, but because I can identify with the questions you've asked and perhaps my journey as a parent might help with thinking through how you want to proceed.

My ds is in high school now, but fwiw, when he was very young, before he entered school, we (parents) had no clue that he had any type of challenge - he fit in very well at home and preschool, he was clearly highly intelligent based on his verbal communication skills, and he was happy. School, starting around 2nd grade when the demand for academic work began, brought a lot of difficulty. None of that made sense to us as parents, because we knew (at home) our ds as this obviously highly intelligent kid. His teachers, otoh, saw a child who couldn't communicate, was isolated socially, and was staring off into the ether as if he didn't have a clue what was up during class. When I talked to the teacher, I was coming from the point of view of a parent who saw my child as high IQ and the expectation on my part was that ds must be bored or a perfectionist or the classroom was a misfit or whatever... the teacher otoh, with experience teaching a wide range of children, saw my ds as a kid who was having severe difficulty in the classroom and based on her experiences felt she was seeing a child with ADHD. Neither one of us was "wrong" - but neither one of us had the correct understanding of how to put together the pieces of what was really challenging my ds.

I wouldn't toss out a professional's diagnosis or report etc off-hand because it doesn't fit what you feel you're seeing - there's value in both what you're seeing and what the professional saw. If you haven't had either a development pediatrician assessment or a neuropsych evaluation, I'd consider one or the other as the next step in better understanding what's going on with your ds. I wouldn't think of that step as a step toward either removing or retaining an ASD diagnosis, but instead look at it as an opportunity to find what tools are available that will be helpful to your specific child.

Our ds was diagnosed through a neuropsych evaluation, and the diagnosis wasn't what either myself or his teacher had anticipated - but it was spot-on, and so very helpful to ds and myself in making a plan forward for remediation and advocacy.

If you've already had a neuropsych eval or developmental ped assessment, and that's the diagnosis you're feeling isn't accurate - consider having a follow-up evaluation if the evaluation was several years ago. We've returned to our neuropsych when our ds started middle school as the age/grade and maturity changes he'd been through meant it was time to re-look at what his needs were relative to his challenges. Since that time we've also consulted with other professionals as needed (SLP, counseling etc) all based on what we learned from the original neurospcyh as well as what we've observed and what ds feels his needs are as he grows. You'll find that there isn't one answer at one point in time - kids grow, demands change (social, academic, fine motor, communication... just about everything!) as time passes.

Quote:
He does not socialize with kids at school and does not like recess. However he is able to have friends outside of a school setting.


Sorry for quoting this a second time, but fwiw, this describes my ds in middle-elementary school. It took a long time and a lot of research on my part in addition to the professional evaluations, but eventually I was able to put the puzzle pieces together (and it helped a lot as ds grew and his communication skills increased). The reason my ds was able to get along in social settings outside of school but not within school was a combination of the dynamics of communication required in each place - at home and in the after-school activities we attended there was a lot of predictable social structure as well as a lack of a specific type of need for communication that was required at school and on the playground. Over time, this inability to communicate and make connections with peers at schools led to a build-up of anxiety. I would suggest not putting aside this lack of friends or solitary time at recess at school as just a misfit situation due to giftedness - perhaps it is, but it's a really difficult situation for a child to be in. I'd want to really understand fully and address what's behind the lack of connections with peers regardless of the cause.

Best wishes,

polarbear