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Our Stuggle with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Personal Experiences

My Son was first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum at the age of 7 (in fact it was his 7th birthday).  This was with no help from the school system, or the psychologists that met with my son in the 2 years prior to diagnosis.

I am creating this website in the hopes of helping other families to not have to go through what I have.

When my son was a baby he developed quite normally.  He was 9lbs, 3 oz.  He was aware, he was happy, he was almost to good to be true.

By 18 months he had developed this "stubborn streak" that I just couldn't understand.  We brushed it off to his Sicilian/Dutch heritage, made some jokes about how he will grow out of it. etc...

When he began preschool, his father and I had just split and I was living with my mother in law.   She moved around alot and so I had to also.  This was difficult for my son to move from school to school because he was never in one place long enough to get close to anyone, or for me to get any real feedback from the schools.

At home he was stubborn, threw frequent temper tantrums, would hit or lash out, sucked his thumb, refused to do things when asked, screamed when things didn't go his way. We frequently had to leave stores without checking out, leave restaurants before we had finished. He was also a very picky eater. This behavior continued till well after my return to California.

I moved to California when my son was 2.  He entered a preschool shortly thereafter where he was allowed to run amoch, getting into the bathroom water, etc.  I pulled him out after 2 weeks.   He was then being watched by my stepsister, who had problems dealing with him, but there was little or no specifics as to his behavior, and what would set him off were different from one moment to the next and also it was a home setting so while he misbehaved, the structure wasn't there to really get him going.

My sister started having some personal issues that were effecting her being able to take care of kids at home.  So I enrolled him in a daycare close to home.  He stayed there for 6 months.  Knowing that he had some problems, I always asked the school how his day went.  "oh, fine" was the continued responce.  Never a word about problems.

I thought, Great!!!

Then my hours at work changed and I again moved him to a new school, a Christian daycare that had him for 2 weeks before they told me he could not come back, they refused to deal with such an unruley child.  WHAT????  ok well he was fine at the other school, I will just move him back, right?

"Oh, no, we won't take him back" was the responce I got.  Apparently the teacher had filed report after report on my son without ever telling me or talking to me about it!  Now what???

During all this time I had convinced myself that there was really nothing wront with my son. Nothing that wasn't correctable with the proper discipline, and a good school that kept me informed of how my son was doing.  After a little while I found a school who was willing to work with my son, and me, and he was able to stay there (with some problems) for a year and a half.  I rarely had to go pick him up for bad behavior, and that was a relief for me.

Now we enter Kindergarten. This is where the real problems began. My son had difficulties almost from day one. He had violent outbursts, tantrums, he would "tune out" of the activities, he would remove himself from group activities, and he still sucked his thumb. His teacher was beside herself trying to get him to conform to the school routine, and he was always saying "no, I don't have to" and other defiant statements. He would get sent to the principles office fairly regularly.

At home he had almost no toys left, becuase we had taken them away, one by one as punishment for school behaviors... he didn't care. He didn't get treats, or get to play at friends houses, he spent most of his time in his room. None of it made any difference.

We had begun assessments for placement in a Special Education Program, when the school finally decided it had had enough and listened to us that something had to be done. But they found that he was to smart to qualify for placement. (by the way families, this is a farce. A large portion of children in special education are accidemically superior to their peers, but socially is where the difficulties lie, and they can qualify based on developemental dissabilities as charachterized by lack of social skills) Anyway, so we went with a behavior modification plan and contract, they didn't except any of our suggestions for classroom help or changes, we took him to a psychologist, who didn't help any. And the school year came and went, and he passed on to first grade.

In first grade his situation only worstened. He had violent outbusts in his class room, would become sullen and withdraw under his desk, he still sucked his thumb, had few friends, and the teacher was without consistency or knowlege of how to deal with a child like him. She seemed to do whatever it took to set him off and get him removed from her class room as soon as she could, probably so she wouldn't have to deal with him.

He was either suspended or on "in house suspension" every other day, untill finally we agreed to medicate him. We started with Adderall.

Now Adderall, which is mainly prescribed for ADHD, and should NEVER (in my opinion anyway), be prescribed for aspergers, caused his rages to increase. When we finally got him diagnosed and on his current medication, Luvox (flovolux) which is prescribed for OCD and anxiety he has done much better. And he has been getting steadily better ever since. He still has issues and battles, and we have him in a new school now. The one time he had a rage at his new school, he tried pushing a desk over on some of his classmates, and they pinned him to a mat on the floor till he calmed down. and he hasn't had a rage since!

I honestly believe that our children have a much harder time because schools have no disciplinary measures for children with these problems. there is no consequences at the school. and any thing we do at home is already to late to be effective. They need imidiate gratification and imidiate consequences.