View Full Version : Advice on poss autism please?

16-05-2014, 02:21 PM
Hi. i'm concerned about a child in my care and could use some advice please. He's been in my care for over a year and has always been "quirky", he doesn't interact well with other kids, uses literal speech, as in "I think you need to think about your behaviour" "OK. i'll think about it", his co ordination can be poor, tripping over his own feet,is very sensitive to the sunlight has little spacial awareness, sometimes needs time to "process" things he is told and most recently over sensitive hearing is causing him probs at school to the degree he is getting upset at noisy plays etc
These signs have built up over time, he is only 5 and finally i mentioned to his teacher i had concerns he was displaying traits of autism to see if she felt the same. She smiled and nearly punched the air and said there had been concerns since pre school and she also felt there could be something there. I later that day talked to Dad who was not best impressed i had talked to the teacher first and was seeing the teacher the next day to discuss the hearing issue. He felt i was wrong but wanted it ruling out.

I left it over the weekend for them all to get back to me. Mon morning Dad dropped him insisting all was fine, no concerns. I saw the teacher who has now backed down saying "we are all on the autism scale somewhere" and is now just listing his "quirks" for his next teacher, passing the buck.

What should i do next?

16-05-2014, 02:41 PM
Its a really hard thing to speak to parents about potential delays in development or anything that seems to flag up. I had a very similar experience with a child who only came to me in the holidays.
I knew as soon as he came that he played differently to the others, nothing wrong with that but I wanted to share my thoughts with Mum but didn't know how to tell her. I did suspect mild Autism but wasn't qualified to diagnose.

I had a few sleepless nights actually before I was all geared up. The morning I was due to have a chat with her she told me that school had flagged something up....I was relieved in every way.

He had tests which took forever (about 18m) and was diagnosed with SPD. Sensory Processing Disorder Explained | SPD Foundation (http://www.spdfoundation.net/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html)

This made sense to me because of his co-ordination and not liking a lot of noise.

Maybe you should have spoken with the parent before the teacher as parents can get quite defensive. Parents are usually the last to admit that something isn't quite as it should be with their own child. Its hard to take in. The teacher shouldn't be passing the buck as early intervention could help a lot.
I would try (as hard as it is) to have a chat with the parents again stressing that they shouldn't leave it, as an early diagnosis for anything is the best thing. It could be that he is just quirky as a lot of us are :D but I would definitely try to advise parents if you have concerns.

16-05-2014, 03:32 PM
well done for picking up on a potential issue :), its great that you care so much about the child. If the parents do agree to contact the relevant professionals and seek support, unfortunately the process ahead is a long and frustrating one for everyone involved. I think Dad may be reacting defensively and may feel betrayed that he was not involved in any discussion before you spoke to the teacher, just out of interest did you have parental permission to do this? If so he may just need a gentle reminder of this once he has calmed down a bit :)
In regards to the child's behaviour, I am in no way a expert but I have been a SENCO for over eight years and have lots of experience, and whilst the behaviour would have me concerned I would be very cautious in labelling the behaviour before a assessment has been carried out as you may find that the parents can become focused on the initial label and will either obsess that this is what the child 'has' or will reject the final diagnosis if it does turn out to be right.
A educational psychologist I worked alongside was working on a project regarding sensory and attachment disorders and I was involved in some research and I have to say some of the behaviours may link to either of these, however they could also be used to diagnose a hundred others!
It is such a difficult thing to go through with a family, however the most important thing I have found to keep myself focused is that I am only part of a huge process and can contribute towards the process, but in the meantime it is important to keep the child feeling happy, safe, secure and keep their self esteem high.
Sorry for the long rambling post, I hope it helps in some way :)

08-06-2014, 11:42 PM
Well i have let things settle down as i felt i offended Dad. Sadly nothing is being done and as i am not an expert i feel powerless to do anymore. Hopefully if in the future he is diagnosed Dad will remember my concerns.

jackie 7
09-06-2014, 07:00 AM
It is so hard to tell a parent you have concerns. They don't want to think there is a problem. I have a child who I have concerns for. Parents think he is wonderful. Except for his tantrums his dislike of change to his routine his dislike of people touching or being close to him. I had started to drop hints in his book. Was getting ready to do his 2 yr check but they gave notice as grand parents are going to care for him. Not much you can do but write what happened as a concern. Keep a record of what was said.

09-06-2014, 07:44 AM
Well done for picking up there was something not as it should be. I find it very sad that they have known since pre school and no one has done anything now the boy is in school it will take longer and the parents will have to fight so much harder for help than if he had gone into show knowing what the issues were.

My first mindee 20 years ago concerned me. It was very very hard approaching the parents and it was mum who took things on board Dad clammed up and almost went into denial which I could so understand. This was his first son and he was the world to him and perfect. Now people were suggesting he wasn't perfect. Anyhow I kept talking to the mum and she when to see her GP and HV. He was due to start Pre School and fortunately the one nearest to him that he was down to go to was well known for dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. He was assessed within weeks of starting and was diagnosed as Asbergers and things were put in place to help him and his family well before he started school.