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Autism vs. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

LRP75's picture

The BM to my skids is saying that the SS10 falls in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is total and utter bull.

My bio-son16 has autism. I am a social worker that has taken several classes on recognizing and diagnosing autism, and have done a ton of personal and academic research on the topic. I'm not claiming that if "you've seen one case of autism, you've seen them all" or that I am some sort of ASD expert, but I do feel confident in claiming to be a little more informed about the topic than the average Joe walking around in the world. I know full-well that it's called a "spectrum disorder" for a reason and that it can take years to accurately diagnose some children with ASD.

This kid has NONE of the behaviors that fall ANYWHERE on the spectrum. I repeat, NONE. N-O-N-E.

My SS10 does NOT have any form of autism.

However, he DOES have all of the physical characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): wide-set eyes, epicanthal folds, upturned nose, smooth philtrum and thin upper lip. His ears have the "railroad track" appearance. I don't normally touch the kid though, so I don't know how to look at his hands and fingers to see if there are abnormalities there as well. I will do what I can - maybe when he's sleeping... I'll be honest and say that I noticed the characteristics the first time I met him. His features are just a little "off."

He does not struggle academically (gets great grades actually) and is very athletically inclined (at all sports). Behaviorally? Holy smoke. The kid has so many behavioral issues it's hard to list them all. None of the behavioral issues are autistic behaviors though. They all center around and look more like ADHD (always moving around and making noises) and ODD (becomes super aggressive when he doesn't get what he wants). When he was a baby, he had delayed speech and cried non-stop.

BM did drink alcohol and do cocaine while she was pregnant and while she was nursing. My DH tried to get custody (spent $12k in legal fees in the process), but the judge over-ruled the FOC decision to give him custody. The judge justified his ruling by saying, "What is a home? A home is where the mother is..." I shit you not. But that's another story altogether.

My point?

Well, I know the BM well enough to know that she lies about almost everything. If her lips are moving and sound is coming out of her mouth - she's lying. Usually it's easy to figure out what she's trying to gain by her lies: sympathy, money, attention, etc.

When I first saw that she was claiming that SS10 qualifies for ASD, I was stunned. Um, NO. Not even close. I repeat, not even close.

Then I started to really think about it. WHAT could she possibly gain from lying about her son having Autism?

Then it occurred to me:

He has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. By saying that he has ASD - she can deflect attention and deflect anyone from looking at what is REALLY going on with this kid.

I've asked DH to (please, please, please) get something, ANYTHING from the BM that says that SS10 is Autistic. I want to see what kind of testing was done, by whom, and when. My guess is she has nothing, because testing was never done, because he doesn't have ASD.

I don't know what would be gained from proving that she is lying. One of my biggest concerns is that this kid is walking around and telling people that he is Autistic. I laughed at him the first time he said it. I didn't laugh on purpose. It just came out of my mouth. I said, "Uh, no. You aren't." Then he became really upset and yelled at me, "MY MOM TOLD ME I AM!" I just shook my head and said, "Ok, whatever."

I mean, what do you say to that crap?

I'm going to look into it and figure this thing out.

For the first time, I mentioned the FAS to my DH. His response was as expected: overwhelmed and sad. I knew that it was going to be difficult for him to hear it. But I showed him the pictures of FAS children and compared them to the SS10. My DH saw the resemblance.

I suppose that I just feel that it is really important to not let the BM lie about this. My DH asked what he could do. I suggested that he email the BM, and "CC" the school social worker and the special education teacher (that is already involved with SD10) asking the BM for the results of the testing that was supposedly done on SS10 to say that he has ASD. Then, when she can't produce said material, he could ask for it to be "stricken" from the school records until testing is done to confirm.

I honestly do NOT feel that this lie needs to be in this child's school records.

Also, I will go so far as to submit that ALL of the problems (academically, socially, cognitively, and behaviorally) that the SD10 is having is also a result of FAS. She doesn't have the physical characteristics so much, but she meets, across the board, all of the behavioral characteristics.

I wonder if the fact that they were twins has something to do with how one looks FAS and the other acts FAS? Interesting. I think I will have to research for twin studies on FAS.

The BM is such a dumbass.


Disneyfan's picture

If it's true, there's a paper trail. Dad has to dig for the info. Start with the kid's primary doctor and the school.

Who carries insurance for the child? If dad does, he can call and find out who billed the insurance company.

LRP75's picture

"If it's true, there's a paper trail. Dad has to dig for the info."

You got it.

My role in all of this? I can lead the horse to water, but I can't make him drink.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the SD10 is having so many problems right now that I think my DH is finally willing to come out of his comfort zone to help her - be damned the BM when she makes his life a living hell because of it.

There is no paperwork for it. I would wager a million bucks on it.

LRP75's picture

The fact that SS10 is on the ASD is mentioned in school records, but my DH has not received ANY paperwork or results stating that testing has been done and a real diagnosis given. The SS10, upon inquiry, has never been tested (not able to describe any type of experience in a clinical setting that would even come close to being appointments [note plural] to test and diagnose for ASD). Instead, the SS10 says that, "Some Dr told mom that I might have a touch of Autism."

My guess is that the conversation really went more like this:

Dr, "I notice that your son has the physical characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. How much alcohol did you consume while you were pregnant?"

BM, "Oh no, I never drank while I was pregnant! I would never do such a thing!"

Now that it's years later and people might start asking questions, because the physical characteristics haven't lessened over time:

BM, "The Dr. said that he falls on the ASD."

Just FYI: the BM later admitted, in court, to doing drugs and drinking alcohol while she was pregnant and while she was nursing.

Soooo.... yeah.

" deflect how her children are eternally affected by her dumbass choices to ingest cocaine and alcohol while nursing and pregnant."

This is constant behavior for her. She has ZERO self-awareness or ability to accept responsibility for her behavior and/or choices. She, literally, is a dumbass.

LRP75's picture

The SD10 does have an IEP.

The child in question, the SS10, does NOT have an IEP. Which is another one of the reasons why I do not believe, at all, that he is ASD. There are no documented issues with this child. His current grades are 4 A's and 2 B's - no meds and no accommodations. There have never been any concerns expressed by teachers regarding abnormal behavior, nor have their been recommendations to have him tested for anything (not even ADHD). So although he looks FAS, he does not act it.

The SD10 acts FAS all the way.

frustrated-mom's picture

Doctors are reluctant to diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome if the parents are still in the picture. They'll find whatever other excuses unless it's absolutely obvious. If the child is a Russian adoptee, they'll get the diagnosis immediately.

LRP75's picture

You are probably right about that. I never considered that.

Although, I highly doubt my DH will ever attempt to get either of his children diagnosed with FAS.

However, from a clinical/social work perspective, it sure is good to know what's really going on with these kids. It makes it pretty interesting, you know, them being twins and all. Also, just putting this all together should provide us with some fairly clear, well established paths to take in regards to helping the daughter.

Oh wait, she would have to live with us for that...

Pfft. Whatever.

Once again, I am over it. I feel that I have spent way too much time and energy invested into some children and a situation that I will never be able to participate in any positive way. I just get to watch the train wreck from the outside.

I hesitate to predict the future of these children, just in case I'm going to be right. Yikes.

Rhyleighblue's picture

One twin may indeed be FAS, but since they are fraternal twins, then it it not impossible for the other to be FAE. That would account for much of the academic differences between the two.

As for a definitive diagnosis... She might be trying to get ASD because the skids could be eligible for lifelong SSI if she can make it stick.

I know that Bitchie has been working the ASD angle for all three skids because she wants to live off of that money. So far, every effort has failed because my skids also don't have ASD. They are all on IEPs because Bitchie smoked and did drugs while she was pregnant.