NEWBIE - Borderline Kid/School Trouble - Questions


New Member
Thanks in advance to anyone who can stick with me! I'll be as brief as I can :smile:

I have a 6-year-old boy in first grade. He was evaluated at 3.5 by a neurologist because I was convinced he had Asperger's. The neurologist would not diagnose him because his symptoms were not severe nor consistent enough. However, he received Occupational Therapist (OT) for about a year and a half (for sensory and motor integration problems) as well as speech. While his behavior has been challenging at times - he's been involved in ALL KINDS of activities from swimming to choir, camps, Sunday School, etc., - and preschool with no major problems. No one has EVER spoken to us about bad behavior. The only "negatives" behaviorally were at 3; he had trouble organizing himself during free time at preschool - and at 4, he "tended" to be bossy with some of the other kids at times. At 5 we sent him to a small private Kindergarten where - I kid you not - they had not one negative thing to say about him all year.

Academically, he's always been significantly ahead of other kids. He reads and does math at a 3rd grade level (perhaps 1/3-1/2 of the way through 3rd).

For first grade we made the decision to put him in a public charter school (with 17 kids in the class). I thought that going to a slightly larger school rather than suddenly emersing him into a class with 25+ kids would be a good thing - given his sensory issues.

Anyway, things started out well enough. However, he made friends with this other boy in class who is a true Jekyl & Hyde. This little boy can be so nice one minute - and then he is beating someone up the next. He has been physical with my son 4 times. The parents do nothing about it - and the school tends to then focus on the kids whose parents are *not* in denial ... if that makes sense... His class is run in a pseudo-Montessori style, so there is often disorganized (I volunteer in there too 1 day a week).

My son has been, apparently, having outbursts in class (THIS ISN'T FAIR !!!) stuff like that. His teacher tells me that he plays the "victim"; blames others; defies her; argues with this other child I told you about in particular - and occasionally others (he's defied her 2x according to her). The teacher says my son's behavior is escalating.

The thing is, while he can be challenging with us, he will respond to appropriate discipline. The kind of behavior she describes I SEE NO WHERE ELSE - NOR DOES ANY OTHER AUTHORITY FIGURE COMPLAIN ABOUT SUCH BEHAVIOR.

The teacher wants my husband and I to have a meeting with her, the Principal, and the "Learning Consultant" - nice-nice talk, I think, for the resident psychologist.

I have talked to my son's language teacher who also taught him last year at the other school - and she is baffled by the whole thing. She thinks that his main teacher is trying to get ducks in a row to possibly have my son tested and labeled; she can see no other reason for having the Learning Consultant involved. I get the feeling they are trying to move us to have him tested for ODD.

While I can see *some* presentations of ODD-like symptoms ... I honestly feel that if he had that, you would see it in other venues and on a more-consistent basis. Some of these venues - he's had these instructors for over 2/3 years.

in my opinion, I believe that my son, as soon as he gets into this classroom - is on guard with respect to this other child. He does not know what to expect (be it verbal or phsycial interference) so therefore, he's always edgy.

Does this make sense? What should we do with this meeting? Any suggestions or comment appreciated -


Well-Known Member
This is my recommendation. I have a son I also suspected was on the spectrum, and professionals told me he wasn't, at least when he was young. The thing is, HE IS on the spectrum. Aspergers/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified tend to be diagnosed late and after the best times for early intervention, and I trust "mom gut." Why not get a private evaluation done? I recommend a neuropsychologist. I do NOT trust the school and ODD is rarely a stand alone diagnosis anyways. School personnel are, unfortunately, usually not the best and brightest at diagnosing and they also have an agenda. I would go to the meeting and say you are having him tested privately, and then I'd do it. You may also want to consult a private Child Psychiatrist (with the MD). Together, with a neuropsychologist evaluation, they can give you a somewhat accurate picture of the differences in your son and what you can do to help him, without the agenda. My son wasn't defiant either, yet his first diagnosis from a psycologist (I personally don't like regular psycologists, therapists, social workers--too many have no clue how to diagnose) was ADHD/ODD and my son has neither. I'd especially NOT trust a psycologist/learning consultant, whatever-they-call-them from the school district. However, it never hurts to check things out on your own. Good luck! Welcome here and others will pop in too.


New Member
Thanks MWM. I know what you're saying about the doctor's. Psychologists (most of them) only have Master's Degrees so they can't diagnose officially. The Neurologist we took him too also has a top reputation for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) evaluations.

I would be open to a new evaluation, except his therapists (who work for one of the best clinics in our state) say they see no reason for him to get another one (his last Occupational Therapist (OT) apt. is next month - he's been going 1x per month for the last 6) because he has done nothing but get consistently better with no backslides and no behavior issues.

It is *only* in THIS school atmosphere that he has a problem. His therapists, language teacher, and I think that he is just on "high-alert" when he's in this school and classroom. Having just come back from my volunteering duty, I am realizing again how *loud* it is in that classroom too. Even when the kids are "working" on different projects - there's waaaayyy too much talking going on. And all the kids are trying to talk OVER one another.

I just think the combo of being with this other boy and the loud/unorganized atmosphere in that classroom has my son's anxiety level in high gear.

But my real concern is dealing with this appointment. Not so much how it affects him there (because there's only 2 months left - and we WON'T be going back) ... but how they will portray him in his records. THAT's my biggest concern.

Do I have a right to see ALL his records before they are transferred?


Mom? What's a difficult child?
You should be able to get any medical records... are you talking from his Occupational Therapist (OT)??? Sometimes you have to pay for them.
I have copies of all of difficult child's records from everyplace. Sometimes it was hard to get them but I just pushed and told them I personally needed them for insurance forms!!! they were better after that.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> my guess is you're's a combination of the classroom atmosphere & the challenges this other child presents. i'd think he's not feeling particularly safe in this venue.

i do believe you can see the records before the transfer. check on the Special Education forum for specifics. if they portray him in a negative light you can always right a response letter to be added to his records presenting your views. the trick to that would be presenting the facts & leaving your mamaBear reactions out of the letter.

nothing has to be decided at this meeting. i would go, listen politely, take notes, & tell them you will get back to them in a few days about whatever recommendations they make. if husband can't come then i'd ask a friend to come with. that extra set of ears can become invaluable b/e your emotions will be running high & you could misinterpret something they say. as a matter of fact bringing a friend might be better than taking husband because they would be more dispassionate. oh & don't sign anything at the meeting. if they want you to sign an attendance form make sure that is all that it's for.

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New Member
Thanks WarriorMom. My son's Occupational Therapist (OT)/ST are more than happy to talk to the school authorities; I have no reason to need their records.

I was concerned about the school records and how they will portray my DS when he transfers to a new school next year. I don't want his new teacher(s) meeing him with a preconceived notion that he is somehow a trouble-maker, considering he is a problem virtually nowhere else.


New Member
Thank you Kris! I have been toying about whether we should take one of his therapists with us. Don't know if husband will go for that. We still have 2 weeks to get our ducks in order.

Thanks for the heads-up on not signing anything (unless it is an attendance record). My husband is pretty savvy when it comes to that kind of thing. I will definitely check with the Special Education board for more suggestions. And yes, we had been thinking about the possibility of having to add our own written thoughts to the record - sans emotions :mad:. Thanks again!

Interesting - checking with my son today, he said that he argued with the teacher once, and said "oy vey" when she asked him to push his chair in. He gets no consequences for this?! So I suspect the fact that he's not getting any tangible consequence might just account for some of this continuing behavior!?. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/sleep.gif


Active Member
Age 3 is too young to rule out Asperger's. Did the doctor use a formal assessment tool?

It's very common for AS kids to get along fairly well until they hit a point in school that gives them more problems than they can compensate for. Often it's a change such as to a new school or into middle school that is the brick road for them. My difficult child cruised through preschool and kindergarten and then things feel apart during first grade. What you may be seeing is a problem with the teacher, a problem your son is having with a major transition in his life to a new school, and/or to the increased demands over first grade. I know the latter can seem unreasonable when academically he's ahead but there's a lot more to first grade in terms of writing demands, attention to detail, etc. that wasn't there in K. I'd go into the meeting with an open mind that there could be all sorts of things going on here: teacher, child or both.

If you saw symptoms suggestive of AS and he is having difficulty now, in my opinion it would be worth having him reassessed by a neuropsychologist or developmental pediatrician to know where you stand. You don't have to let the school know that though.

The only school records that should be transfering are report cards, especially if he's going from private to public.


Well-Known Member
We always saw my son as "quirky" but he was at the top of his class in kindergarten. Things got harder for him around fourth grade and he started to fall way behind because he learns differently. He is a very good rote learner, but not a good abstract thinker, and he wouldn't have any social skills at all if not for early intervention. I would try to get another evaluation. You can't rule anything out at such a young age. I agree with SRL.


New Member
First of all, I would like to welcome you to the board!! I know it is sort of bittersweet, because most of us didn't WANT to have to seek out this kind of help for our adorable little difficult child's, but at the same time, this board has been more help to most of us than anything!

The one thing that keeps popping up in my head when I read your post and your responses and the information you have provided. All children in general have a certain threshold of what can and cannot be tolerated without a negative reaction from them. It seems that our difficult child's have a much more fragile threshold than some other kids. But as you mention his sensory issues, it makes me wonder if he is being "overstimulated" in such a disorganized, free environment. For some difficult child's that have problems in school, they may blossom in such a free atmosphere, but if your son is really advanced in his intellectual development and is ready to learn, he may benefit from a more normal, organized classroom environment. My difficult child is 12 now, and she, like your son, has never had problems at school but has been challenging at home. I am not sure what a public charter school is, but from the things that you are saying, I gather that it is a school for children with special needs. Whether it be developmental issues or behavioral....
The old statement "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" seems to be appropriate. If your son was not having any problems at school before, that would lead me to believe that he may do better in a regular school, whether public or private. Children his age are very perceptive. They see a lot of things that most adults don't think they see, and sometimes they interpret things inappropriately. In addition to what I mentioned above about environment, I think there are two other battles you may be fighting. For starters, your child is plenty old enough to take notice of the problems his classmates have, and if he thinks that he is there because he has "problems" he may act out in his frustration for having to go there. Also, if this school is geared towards kids with "problems", the staff may be trying to make something of nothing, just because they expect to have problems.

Our difficult child is 12 and attends public school, as like your son, never really had problems at school before. And she does very well with it. I think if we tried to put her in a different school, she would act out just because of her frustration at having to be there.

Just some thoughts, but I agree with most of what the other parents have said about the meeting, I would get your own evaluations and things done, rather than using the school's system as again, if they are used to working with "problem children" they may also be trying to read more into things than what's really there. Good luck and again, welcome!


New Member
Thank you everyone for your replies.

NeedNewTechnique said: "The one thing that keeps popping up in my head when I read your post and your responses and the information you have provided. All children in general have a certain threshold of what can and cannot be tolerated without a negative reaction from them. It seems that our difficult child's have a much more fragile threshold than some other kids. But as you mention his sensory issues, it makes me wonder if he is being "overstimulated" in such a disorganized, free environment. For some difficult child's that have problems in school, they may blossom in such a free atmosphere, but if your son is really advanced in his intellectual development and is ready to learn, he may benefit from a more normal, organized classroom environment. My difficult child is 12 now, and she, like your son, has never had problems at school but has been challenging at home. I am not sure what a public charter school is, but from the things that you are saying, I gather that it is a school for children with special needs. Whether it be developmental issues or behavioral...."

I think you hit the nail on the head.

Honestly, I would reconsider getting my son re-evaluated - but his therapists do not believe he needs to be (some of the best in the state), and this school is the *only* venue that I have out-of-round behavior problems with him.

This school is a public charter school. Charter schools are like Magnet schools (they specialize in a theme, like math/science - performing arts, etc). Ours' specializes in Green/Sustainability. The theme was NOT our first choice for chosing the school. I liked many things about it though. It was small and homey; they do community service during one day each week - stuff like that. What I have learned increasingly throughout the year, is that this school has a reputation, apparently, for attracting atypical kids. At least 1/2 of his classmates are diagnosed with something and on medications - or should be - but the parents are "live and let live" types and won't do anything to help their child!

I also agree with you NNT, that the school officials may be reading more into what's going on than what is really there. From what I hear that's going on; what I've seen with him while there; and being in the atmosphere during the day - I believe DS is definitely on over-load between the dynamics of the class and this other boy.

DS will definitely be going to a traditional school next year. If he winds up having behavioral problems again - then I think revisiting an evaluation will be a real possibility.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
It certainly does sound environmental.

What someone said about a spectrum kid reaching a certain level and then falling apart happened to us.

T was adored by all school staff. In first grade they wanted to bump him up to the 3rd and send him to a school like you've described. I said no because I think it's hard on a kid to jump grades like that. (should've heard the school's reaction lol)

Good thing I did. By fourth grade T was rapidly falling behind his peers. T had no dxes except the visual disability. He wasn't a true behavior problem, but there were already social issues (personal space), developmental and acedemic issues. It only got worse from there.

Although my Mom gut told me there was something seriously wrong with T, and we took him to loads of specialists, he didn't receive his dxes til he was in Jr High.

If it were my son in this position I would probably be making the same decision to change schools. There is no way T could have ever functioned in a wide open setting like that.



There have been several charter schools opening in our area. Neighbor/friend sent her kids there the year it opened. difficult child and her daughter would of been in Kindergarden then. I looked into two of them, this is what I learned:

I asked the director if they have any counselors, special education available (now difficult child wasn't even in school yet). She told me No. i asked her what would happen if a child was in need of special services. I was told they do not have that. My response was many people do not realize there child has a Learning Disability (LD) until they begin school.

neighbor now has been working at the school for the past 5 years. No sports, no extra curricular activities. One class per grade..Personally speaking for me and my difficult child, that would never go over. If you have an issue with a teacher, you are stuck.
No library, they walk to the public library. No computers.
Heard neighbor talking with another mom from charter school. They had witnessed difficult child having a meltdown. Friend said, "lucky that kid doesn't go to OUR school. We'Learning Disability (LD) have to tie him up and beat him down!"
You have to apply on a lottery type situation to get in. They have 172 kids K-8. My son's middle school has over 1000. yet friend makes comments about how "good" her school is vs. the middle school. How good her kids are. I told her that her kids have NEVER went to school without her. Nobody is going to pick on them when MOM is there. And 172 kids TOTAL??? Anytime you get 1000 teenagers together you will have issues!!
According to her, they pretty much pick and choose who they let in, even though they shouldn't. This is a PUBLIC charter school.
Also learned that Charter schools do not have to have lisenced teachers. All do in our town, but they are not required to. some checking regarding the charter schools.


My experience with checking into Charter schools have not been good.

A charter school opened the year my friend/neighbor (easy child) and my difficult child started kindergarden. She swore by this school. I called the director.
No special education. No counselors. No library - they walk to the public library. No computers.
I stated to her that many parents do not know their children have Learning Disability (LD) until they begin school. Still she said no services. This is in the Public School District.
There are several charter schools in the town I am in, researching, some seem to be rated better. However none of the charter schools are required to have lisenced teachers. They all do, but are not required to.
Neighbor/friend has worked at the school now for 7 years. both her kids go there. No sports, no extra curricular activities. I over heard her and another mom from the charter school talking (at a sporting event) they witnessed difficult child having a meltdown. Friend said, "Lucky that kid doesn't go to OUR school, we'Learning Disability (LD) have to tie him up and beat him down!!!" I stated to friend that her children have NEVER gone to school without mom. Nobody would ever think of picking on them because MOM is always there.
Friend also makes comments about how "good" her school is compared to other middle schools. Well, charter school has 172 total students K - 8. difficult child's middle school has over 1000 just 6, 7 and 8th graders. Anytime you get 1000 teenagers together you are going to have some issues.
Charter school also has one class per grade. That wouldn't work with difficult child. If you have a problem with the teacher you are out of luck. difficult child has made several teachers unhappy, then they tend to treat difficult child not so well. We have had some wonderful teachers, after a switch from not so wonderful.
Just a word of caution. Check it out. Ask questions.


New Member
KJS: Yes, what you describe is NOT uncommon in charter schools. Ours however; perhaps it is the law in NJ, it is run exactly like a local school. It has Special Education services, tenured teachers - everything you get in the district they have there.

Unfortunatly, I think (obviously now) I made a BIG mistake sending him there!

My son's language teacher actually had DS in language at his other school (a private K) last year. She is very involved with volunteering at this charter school. Anyway, she told me that if the school gets ahold of a parent who won't do anything with their child who obviously needs help - they then go after the parents who "will". This appears to be what's happening with us. The other child that is such a problem in class? The parents basically told the school to stick it; their son is who he is. This apparently happened 2/3 weeks ago, and this is about when the pressure was wratcheted up on us.

What really stinks though is that I can't really pull him out NOW with only 9+ weeks left of school.


New Member
Just updating what happened with the meeting.

husband & I met with teacher, Principal, and 1-Man-Child-Study-Team a/k/a "Learning Consultant".

Started out ... Teacher thought DS had a diagnosis - she was surprised when we told her that he did not and a Neurologist only diagnosed him with low muscle tone. Went on to tell them that DS does fine in all other venues ... including team sports. This "shocked" the teacher (I've told her this several times and she pretty much blew me off). Teacher continued to be very negative, saying that DS "saps the energy from the class". I told her and the others that I thought the boy who had been violent toward him (and they VERY WELL know about this other boy) was likely making him feel on guard all day and that he probably therefore reacts like a hair-trigger to anything that might even appear threatening - even verbally.

I also went on to tell them that the other parents say that their kids have not said anything notably negative about DS - only the other kid. Therefore, it can't be all THAT[/] bad.

The Principal noted that DS is gravitating more and more to the 5-8th graders (he's in 1st). Learning Consultant remarked that DS is a "very bright kid" and can understand that if he were uncomfortable that it might exacerbate a tendency to be more rigid in behavior. My husband contributed that if DS balks at something (like having to do something he's not in a mood to do); that they should convince him that he could do what he wants later, but encourage him to do what's needed now (sounded VERY Basket B to me, lol).

Anyway, the Principal and LC were quite satisfied with the meeting. The teacher was not, apparently. Not sure why. We have the standard Teacher/Parent conference this week. I guess we'll find out why then! in my opinion, I don't think she believes us when we told her that DS has no issue anywhere else. My husband is not looking forward to this conference. I hope she doesn't press this issue too far - he's likely going to tell her to stuff it if that happens.


Active Member
OK, I've got a few observations, but please bear in mind that for us, things can be different Down Under.

For us, we NEVER go to a neurologist for diagnosis for something like this. Our neurologists tend to look at charts, dials, figures, results on a sheet of paper. If they can't stick an electrode in it or X-ray it, it doesn't exist. I have enough trouble with my neurological disorder because it has been so hard for neurologists to quantify. I have had two good neurologists (including my current one) and all the others have been lousy.
I would never have sent any of my kids to even my good, current bloke because it's simply not in their field.

I know a lot of you don't think much of psychologists, perhaps because they are for you what neurologists are for me. But for us, they are an important stage in the process of getting a diagnosis for any one of a number of learning disorders. If that psychologist is working with the child later in the piece, and has access to past reports from other specialities such as speech, Occupational Therapist (OT) and maybe neurology, THEN the psychologist CAN make a diagnosis but only based on prior multidisciplinary efforts. For us, not even a pediatrician can make a diagnosis on his own for certain, without the extra information.

My understanding of neuropsychologist - they CAN do this because they personally cross several specialisations. But having reports from others is always helpful to add detail to the picture.

difficult child 3 was diagnosed as somewhere on the autism spectrum, probably Asperger's, at age 3. He'd been assessed at 2 as having "significant language delay". This report was vital for later accurate assessment.
At three and a half we saw a pediatrician who used all existing information to diagnose autism. Because by that stage we had been carting ALL of our kids around to see people, because we knew that what we were told about them was grossly inaccurate, the same appointment where we were told of difficult child 3's autism, we were also told that difficult child 1 has Asperger's and easy child 2/difficult child 2 is borderline Asperger's, plus the three of them have ADHD. They were started on medications as soon as the government authority came through and we saw immediate improvement, especially in difficult child 3. It's kind of weird that medications for ADHD hep him with his language, but if you think about it it does make sense.

At 4, difficult child 3 was seen by a multidisciplinary clinic who confirmed the autism diagnosis. I later had a psychologist do another evaluation and she also agreed - autistic, not Asperger's. To say this she made it clear she was using prior reports from other experts, plus her own observations.

We're a family of greenies, but we're not tree-huggers. We know tree-huggers and feel very impatient with them sometimes. difficult child 3's best friend's family are tree-huggers. His best friend also is autistic (high functioning, mild) but he NEEDS the medications. He does a lot better when medicated but his mother was too anxious about using the medications, for years. Now, five years later, he gets medicated most school days but if he's having a good morning before school she won't medicate him "because he is having a good day so far". She has no idea of the damage she is doing to him by chopping and changing - one day he copes, the next he doesn't. He's up and down like a yo-yo. I volunteer at the school and often see it. She does not, because she only sees him at home when the medications have either not kicked in, or have worn off. What happens in between is beyond her knowledge.

You said, "What really stinks though is that I can't really pull him out NOW with only 9+ weeks left of school."

Why not? Changing to another school at this point might be a problem, although it shouldn't be - but what's wrong with teaching him at home for the last few weeks?
I agree with your assessment, it's this other kid who is the problem. Your son is showing signs of anxiety which are tipping over into difficult behaviour (which is his way of coping, of warning this kid to stay away). The history you gave of your son being a bit bossy in the past - boy, does it fit with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids! I think your instinct was spot on. Our kids like rules to be followed. If they don't know all the rules they will observe and assess then determine for themselves what the rules may be. For example, difficult child 3 WAS TAUGHT that you don't hit other kids. But because the school didn't do a darn thing to stop kids bullying, pushing, shoving and beating up, difficult child 3's observations didn't back up our teaching. He was told, "not hitting," but SAW that other kids hit all the time, so he did it too. of course, HE got caught. Or got dobbed in. The school attitude was to blame the kid who can't defend himself, because it would be too hard to actually DEAL with the problem kids. So difficult child 3 would come home bleeding, he (and his friend) would tell me what happened, I would tell the teacher and he would ask the perpetrator, who would of course deny it. Then the teacher would go to difficult child 3 and say to him, "Adam says he didn't deliberately trip you up, you just fell. So it was wrong of you to blame Adam wen he didn't do it."
difficult child 3 would come home and say, "I was SURE Adam had tripped me up but my teacher said he didn't, so I must be wrong."
This only served to heighten his anxiety, which made him even touchier, more likely to lash out physically. The worse his anxiety got the harder he was to handle at school. Then he began getting sick, to the point of throwing a low-grade fever and vomiting, so of course we kept thinking there was something physical wrong. In the meantime, he would be home from school, doing schoolwork at home. And feeling well, and working well. I would send him back to school - he would be vomiting by recess.

There have been several times when we pulled him out and kept him home, sometimes for several months because symptoms would return. Not only did he NOT suffer academically, he improved socially.

Your son sounds like he's at the wrong school. I can see several choices:

1) Pull him out.

2) Leave him there but ask that he be accelerated into a different classroom. Point out that your son is not safe around this other child and that the school is therefore responsible for any harm that comes to your son as a result of their failure to protect him after they have been formally advised.

3) Get your son assessed. Although I don't see this as an option, I think this is essential. A label of autism (or similar) will not hurt him, it can only help. Make sure whoever you take him to has access to all previous reports including the neurologist and the Speech Therapist. The poor muscle tone can also be a pointer for related disorders in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and ADD. Both my boys have poor muscle tone. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is dyspraxic (and yet she walks on stilts!). She cannot catch or throw a ball with any accuracy, and yet she taught circus skills last year.

4) FYI, and perhaps to help you sort out how your parental instinct is working, do the online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on It's not officially diagnostic but you can print the results (whatever the score) and take it to any specialist you are taking your son to.

From what you have said, I think you have hit the nail on the head. MWM & I both have a lot in common on this sort of topic - our boys are very similar.

difficult child 3 was discussing being different this morning, he was feeling very different from the rest of the world. easy child 2/difficult child 2 pointed out that in our family we are ALL weird, or different. In good ways. I added, "IQ, for example."
He replied, "I have an IQ?" (sounded like that wonderful line from "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" when Prince John says, "I have a mole?")
We pointed out that although we know his IQ is high, it is the same as every other family member. We just happen to be a family with high IQs, whatever that means.

So if your son also is very bright (which is not the same thing as having a high IQ - difficult child 3 failed his first IQ test at 4 because he was severely language-delayed at the time) then chances are he's learning to adapt to whatever-it-is and mask it. Trying to get a diagnosis later on requires far more access to early history (and professional assessments) because simple observation of the individual will not be as helpful. And just because someone appears to function normally, doesn't mean they ARE normal. At some level, there is more stress than normal, as they paddle desperately to present a semblance of calm, like the swan on the lake.

As difficult child 3 said when he was 8, "I'm getting better at pretending to be normal."

difficult child 1 is now 23. He has adapted beautifully. His girlfriend has a hard time accepting there is anything wrong with him at all, but he says he knows it and lives with it every day. He enjoys knowing that he can fool other people into thinking he's normal, but he also enjoys the 'gifts' this has given him, including an ability to concentrate really intensely on one item, even shutting out sound. He can't multi-task without a written list, unlike difficult child 3 who is brilliant at it. difficult child 3's gifts include being able to look at a problem or technological device and assess it simultaneously from a multitude of different points of view. He's uncanny. In this respect it's like the boys are opposites. easy child 2/difficult child 2 also has an eye for minute detail. Their supposedly normal older sister also has a good eye for machines and tools. Both girls are skilled with their hands, although easy child can't sew for nuts and is a lousy cook. But as an Occupational Therapist (OT) she can see exactly what sort of device needs to be made to suit a particular patient for a particular task.

Our difficult child kids need our help in various sometimes surprising ways, but they also have gifts which the world needs and which will help them find their niche, if we can support them on the way.

You are off to a great start. Your instinct is a great asset and you are determined to see your child given every chance.

Go for it!


by the way, I do have a few other practical suggestions but I felt this wasn't the right situation. Besides, you seem to be so in tune you mightn't need them and I didn't want to cloud things with too much detail.


New Member
Thanks Marg! Oh yeah, I've done the Childbrain thing - starting at age 3 every six months until the age of 5. He's scored on and off (a lot more off than on). Seems to track with what the neuro told me. That's a really good assessment tool in my opinion. Another board I'm on - the parents use it and say the same thing ... results very close to what they're told.

In the US, it isn't quite so much the type of specialist - but the experience and reputation of the specialist. The neuro I took him to was a well-known-to-autism one in New York. He spent 2 hours with DS - most of it evaluating play/social skills and cognitive. He was evaluation'd at 3 years 8 months.

The psychologist on staff at our Occupational Therapist (OT)/ST clinic told me about a year ago that it wasn't worth going for another evaluation because he was getting all the therapy he needed. But because of his anxiety, my Occupational Therapist (OT) decided to kabitz with the psychologist to see how we can get him to cope better in similar situations.

I've had some talks with DS, trying different angles and it seems to be working ... at least he feels more comfortable which is all I care about. I still toy with taking him out and may just do that if things deteriorate.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Our children have very different issues it sounds like... but my difficult child went to a Montessori from 26 months until about 5 yo. Now for the past year she has gone to a Waldorf program.

While at Montessori she had issues in school, I had to pick her up, she got in trouble for hitting, bitting, having emotional breakdowns etc. Some of it was her age, some of it was her sensory issues... but a HUGE part of it was this boy MAX... he was the "Jekyll and Hyde". She gravitated to him for some reason, she still seeks out boys like this!!! But he tormented her and pushed her to the breaking point and she is socially clueless and was unable to voice or control herself and it would end up in rage or violence. Of course it was only ever seen at the point when difficult child was exploding, so she was at fault!!!
The school was really good actually, but for our difficult child something about this boy, and the whole environment upset her on many levels.
We went in and observed a couple of times and actually saw boys tormenting her, and noone noticed, they were hitting her and she did not know what to do, she finally freaked out and bit one!!! But we were able to say, exactly what had happened!!!

I think the school was good but they were not that good with kids with issues and the boy and our difficult child had many issues...
Now at the Waldorf it is a lot calmer, small class... our difficult child has had no problems!!! When we started there she was having psychotic episodes and talking of wanting to die and raging for hours at home, this was pre-medications, not once has she freaked out at school... Her and the teacher have been able to work out everything, and work with the kids.
This program is not good with issues either... but they are good with my kid. For now. They are even teaching her how to sew!!!
I went with my gut on this school, instead of public, due to difficult child's sensory and social issues and until we can find an adequate public school this will do.

So you do have to trust yourself. I knew that the Montessori was good, but not for her... sometimes a school just doesn't fit and if there is an option it is nice.

Our neuro evaluation was great... it ended up being about 10hours!!! I look at the difference in my 2 girls and how they are in these 3 years, 3 to 6, and I would want another one done.

I was told so many times when difficult child 1 was 2-5 that no way anything wrong with her!!!
You should push for whatever you think you need or will help.
Good luck