I’m publishing an article that I had sitting in my drafts since May 2021. I didn’t quite know how to finish it and it may come off rough. I wanted to publish now anyway to remember. It’s about my observations on my son at age three, and how we noticed he was a bit different.
We have since visited the doctor and have a more proper diagnosis which I will write about soon. I don’t want to hold anyone in suspense, so essentially he has mild autism traits along with signs of giftedness. I’m still digesting the news myself, and thinking about what it means.
No worries, he is a happy kid and doing well. My concerns are mostly around how to bring out his potential and adjust him for primary school. Nothing has changed, and he is still my son.
We have noticed that our kid is different from other kids. In some ways he’s advanced, and others not so.
Some negative signs are that he isn’t as talkative as other kids and prefers to play by himself. He can be unresponsive or ignore when someone is speaking to him. He was the latest in his class to be toilet trained, and only recently begun to go to the toilet himself. My son doesn’t tell stories or engage in conversation like how I have observed other kids do. He wanders off by himself while class is in session. His speech can be repetitive and “babbling”.
One of the words his teachers used to describe him was “alarming”, and they had advised me to bring him to the doctor to check him out. Never a good thing.
But there are conflicting signs too. Teachers have remarked that he is pretty intelligent, and knew numbers, shapes, and words a lot earlier and comprehensively than other kids. The most recent development is that he started reading by himself, at age three and a half. It’s quite clear, and he can read words that he hasn’t seen before. He’s doing addition with his fingers. From what I understand, these skills usually doesn’t happen till a year or two later. He has seemingly limitless energy and requires less sleep, other signs of giftedness.
And there aren’t the classic autism signs that I have been reading about. He gives and enjoys receiving affection, makes eye contact, and there aren’t noteworthy behavioural problems e.g. aggressiveness or bad-tempered.
I have done a lot of reading by myself and I can’t find anything that quite fits him. He puzzles me.
I’ve weighed it and decided against bringing him to the doctor at this stage. The most likely outcome is that they will diagnose him as being on the autism spectrum. Doctors usually have to give some kind of diagnosis, and it’s seldom good. I think there is a high chance of a misdiagnosis as his intelligence isn’t obvious on the surface, and the teachers didn’t notice he could read as they don’t teach it at his age.
Since there is no medication, they will likely recommend him for some kind of therapy. I’m unsure of whether this would really help. I want to observe him for a while more. It’s good that I’m at home and have a lot time with him.
While I’m worried, he is a joyful child who laughs easily and often. We won’t love him any less. And even if there is something up, he is still my kid and I’ll have to learn how to adjust to it.