Denial and gut feelings

Sleeping beauty

New Member
Hi! I have a bit of a predicament and I am not sure what to do. I have a ss who is 5 who we only see a couple weeks a year due to living across the country and him not doing well with long stays. The denial comes from the mother of the child. He was assessed for pre K and was told he needed a special education school. She told me that was not going to happen and nothing is wrong with him. Now the gut feeling is mine. Everytime he is with us I feel like he is a little off. Some of the signs I see, rigid hand movements. When he eats with one hand the other fingers are making the movements. He also does the 'I love you' with his fingers all the time (not to say I love you that is just what it looks like). He will put them on his face or just does it, a lot. He speaks very slowly in a raspy voice, almost like it is difficult saying every word. He cries whenever we have taken him to places with a lot of children and we have to remove him to be by himself. He makes eye contact sometimes but not all the time. He is also very behind for going into Kindergarten.

I'm not really sure what to do about it because his mom is not willing to even address the issues. Does it even sound like he has issues to address? My neighbor just said he was quirky.


Well-Known Member
The school will bring it to mothers attrntion.

Since father is non custodial and far away I cant see how he can make a difference in his child's life. Maybe move near him??

To me it sounds like it could be autism of a higher level, but you and hub have given his mother all.the power by granting her legal custody and not remaining close to him. I always think it is a bad idea to be far from ones child and to not ask for 50/50 custody, or one has no say in his child's life.Will he go back to court? will father move closer so he can participate in childs day to day life? if not, well, he is in his mother's care and, good or bad, she is the one who will naturally make decisions about him. She sees him every day and that gives her the power.
Last edited:

Sleeping beauty

New Member
They have joint custody with primary residence being with her. We are moving closer this year after he fulfills his military obligation. He didn't have much of a choice when she took the child and moved and he couldn't leave. He did go to court and fought to see him that much. Trust me, we understand how important it is to be in his life... We are doing what we can with the situation we are in.


Well-Known Member
School should be starting soon, can your husband contact his sons teacher and open the door to communication? Hopefully, it is an experienced teacher, and if the boys mom is in denial, maybe with the teachers help, your husband can press the issue of further studies so he can get the help he might need.

Hang in there, and tell your husband thanks for his service.



Well-Known Member
If this were my SS I would also suspect something to be wrong. From what you have described it sounds like autism possibly combined with either a learning or intellectual disability, however, without educational testing by a trained psychologist, there is no way to know for sure. Some kids do have odd mannerisms when they are very young which fade over time.

I agree that your H should call your SS's school and express his concerns. Even without his call, the school should notice if SS is having trouble keeping up with his peers either academically or socially and should reach out to his mom and dad at that point.

Good luck


Well-Known Member
Waiting until school to see how he functions there seems like a plan, with a drawback. It is to wait until your stepson indicates by his inability or difficulty functioning, which means he would experience distress. While I agree that your husband should try to be in the loop for input: that is, establish a direct relationship with the teacher, the mother will have control. There is no going around this that I can see.

I think it is a set-up to knowingly send a child to a school situation that he cannot handle. I have done it. And I have had the kind of denial that does his mother. On the other hand, for a potentially high-functioning child, that seems in some way off, to be sent to a school program that is wrong--where there are low-functioning children, and he is not--is very wrong.

It matters if a 5 year old child experiences a train wreck at school, and it matters if he can be helped to avoid it. This is about a child, not about who is right or wrong.

But I would approach this as: How can he be best integrated into and prepared for life, in the setting that will maximize that. Not, What is wrong with him. Of course, the diagnosis matters, but only to the extent that it illuminates the remedy so that he can be helped in the specific way that he needs--as I see it nobody yet knows what is going on. How do they know how to deal with it properly if they do not know what it is.

There are Child Developmental Psychologists who work in large regional children's hospitals. Nearly every medium to large city has a children's hospital. He can receive a battery of tests by a neuropsychologist and he will meet with a psychiatrist. My son did this when he was about 3.

Can an appointment be arranged to take him to be evaluated by a neuro-psychologist at a Children's Hospital on this trip to see him?

Many parents are motivated to do this because they disagree with the schools. Schools can be wrong, too. Or guess at what is going on. Your husband can tell the mother: We need to have him assessed so that we can advocate for him effectively with the school. It is not taking a position one way or another that something is wrong. It is saying: how can I help my son.

As I remember the very basic screening they do before kindergarten, is not very high tech. The placement in the special education school might be exactly the wrong thing to do. He could have one need, and receive the exactly wrong intervention--unless somebody who is expert knows what is going on and tells the parents. So they can do the right thing.

I hope it works out for the child and that he is helped.

Last edited:

Sleeping beauty

New Member
Thank you all for your replies, we have a great relationship with the mom and I will discuss with my husband how to move forward with this after reading everyone's input. He will definitely be contacting the school to be informed on everything going on. They live in a large city, so I don't think getting an evaluation with a neuro-psychologist would be an issue, if it comes to that.