Thursday, February 28, 2019

An Assessment of Need Conclusion | My Son Is Not Autistic ♥

Following on from my post about Tyler's assessment of need and our experience of why he needed the assessments in the first place and what they entailed, I'm back with an update.

This week at our feedback session (the final piece of the assessment of need process in Ireland) we were told that Tyler is NOT autistic as he does not meet the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder or Asperger Syndrome diagnosis.

To be honest, I was expecting this conclusion. To meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism a child has to have issues with aspects in three areas - learning, social and behaviours (obsessions, etc.). The only issue Tyler had was with his obsessions so I knew that it would be very hard for them to give him a diagnosis of autism.

While I'm delighted with this outcome, I still feel like we're a bit in the air with everything. He isn't autistic, yet these obsessions of his are unexplained. It could just be what he's into, a little quirk of his... but when I think back to a time when it was almost impossible for me to communicate with my son due to his obsessions with washing machines and every conversation, game, interest of his stemming back to them, I'm filled with fear that we could go through this phase with him again and have absolutely no explanation why.

One thing that was highlighted in the feedback report (which parents receive a copy of), was that he has some sensory issues which he will be referred to an occupational therapist for.  To be honest, I wasn't really aware that the things he was doing were 'sensory issues', I just put them down to him being his normal, happy and very active self.

Examples given to me of his sensory problems were covering his ears when the noise levels in his classroom get to much - I've questioned him about this since and he says he doesn't do it, so perhaps he's not even aware? He also applies pressure to tables, etc. and lift himself up on them with his arms in a jumping manner when he's trying to control his activity levels - and there I was telling him to stop swinging off the radiators!

He also has a need for movement and will get up to 'go to the bathroom' multiple times during school, but doesn't actually go to the toilet, he just needs the movement.

It was said to us that it's great that Tyler's already self-soothing and is regulating these sensory issues himself - so much so that we weren't even aware. I actually feel bad now for having loud music on in the car (we're heavy metal fans), and although he never complained about the noise, I'm now more conscious about not turning it up too loud.

As he wasn't able to avail of speech therapy due to waiting for the conclusion of his assessment of need, Tyler will also be referred to a speech and language therapist, however, I don't think he needs any help with it now - he never stops talking!

So that's it, that's the result that almost three years of waiting took to get. I feel like we don't really have many answers, his biggest issue, is washing machine obsession, is still unexplained, but at least we can finally confirm he is not autistic and it's good to have a definite answer on that. Although, I had stated that whatever the outcome, he was always going to be my angel man and I was always going to be incredibly proud of him.

I've shared our story and the process on social media and so many people have been so helpful, supportive and kind. Other people have said that perhaps he has Sensory Processing Disorder, but to be perfectly honest, I really don't think he has and I don't want to label him with anything - at least not until we meet with the occupational therapist and they expressly tell me he has.

I think that perhaps people are to quick to judge people and their behaviours nowadays. After all, this all started by Tyler's pre-school teacher insinuating that he was perhaps autistic and that I should have him referred. It's now been proved that he was just an active and boisterous three year old instead.

I also think we're too quick to label every single quirk everyone has. Maybe all of these things are just what makes us individual to each other? I'm constantly trying to reassure my son that it's okay to be different and it's okay to like what you like, but it's becoming increasingly difficult in a world where anyone who is slightly challenging, active, loud, etc. as a child, must have 'something wrong with them' (words I've heard in relation to my son, not my own opinion about children).

If you're child is going through an assessment of need or your have any questions in relation to it please don't hesitate to reach out. I'll be as helpful as I can be.

And if you're a mother like me who spends countless time worrying about their child and what others have said about him or her, please try to stop because honestly, it will all work out in the end and diagnosis or no diagnosis, they will always be your baby.


  1. This is a lovely read. My mum follows your blog and told me about this post. My 5 year old boy is currently going through assessment, but unlike Tyler, he does have issues with learning, social, sensory and behavior (his obsession is Hoovers, Henry being his favourite!)I was the one who first suspected he had autism, pre-school and family and even health visitor disagreed with me! However, now that he's older the signs are very clear and obvious. I completely agree with you when you say we are too quick to judge and get labels attached, some children are just a little quirky, a little different and that's ok, cos they're children at the end of the day! Thanks for sharing your story.

    Laura xx

  2. My daughter had a assessment when she was 3 (she is now 5) and they said she didn't have it either, although she has some quirks. She has speech therapy as she has distorted speech and we like to think of her just being unique as she really is x


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