Tag Archives: ASD

Autism or attachment?

My son is 3 and a half. He came here at a year old, and until now we’ve had a reasonably comfortable time. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all been easy, but the tough times were relatively expected given the moves that this child has had in his short life.

Now though…
He doesn’t want to play, he wants to help with the housework.
He likes to line up his cars and animals, rather than play with them, and gets really cross if they get knocked out of line.
He isn’t very affectionate.
He repeats noises over and over.
He won’t make eye contact with either me or my husband.
He gets really upset if we have even the slightest change in routine.
He hates us saying ‘No’. It’s not just a toddler tantrum that ensues, but instead a full blown meltdown.

Naturally, I started thinking about Autism. These all seem likes traits to me but my health visitor thinks I’m wrong. She’s observed him at his nursery and said he has great social skills with the other children so can’t possibly be autistic. But equally, she won’t say that these symptoms are ‘normal’ or could be of something else.

I started looking online, and now I see that some of these quirks can also be signs of an attachment difficulty. They’re very similar to autism and it’s hard to make the differentiation. So what now?
The health visitor doesn’t know much about attachment disorders, but is quick to rule out autism. My GP won’t do anything as she says the health visitor knows us best, and he’s so young to diagnose with anything.

Have you experienced similar? How did you get a diagnosis of autism or attachment? If you can suggest anything for this mum to try, please leave a comment below.

Living with Adopted Children with ASD – an Interview

As part of Autistic Awareness Week we bring you an interview with an adoptive parent from The Family of Five, who has three girls, all with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).

How Many adopted children do you have that have ASD?

I have 3 adopted daughters, all of which have an ASD diagnosis. Eldest has a full diagnosis of Autism, Younger 2 both have a working diagnosis of Autism. Were they diagnosed at the same time or separately? My eldest daughter was diagnosed first, and my younger 2 were diagnoses together sometime later.

When were they diagnosed?

My eldest daughter was diagnosed in September 2012 and my younger daughters were given their diagnosis in July of 2013.

Do they have similar behaviour traits from the spectrum or are they different and could you describe some of them?

My youngest and eldest daughters have very similar traits, with my middle daughter being quite different all together. Social skills are rather lacking with all 3 daughters. Youngest and Oldest both find it difficult to not be in control which makes playing with peers quite difficult. Middle daughters social difficulties stem more from a speech and language perspective, she finds communicating more difficult and therefore finds ‘groups’ quite overwhelming often choosing to play alone or with a single child. Sensory issues are also quite an issue for all 3 girls, but in very different ways. Eldest has difficulties with certain foods and finds the textures difficult to manage and can find some forms of gentle touch tricky, for example twirling her pony tail is a no no. Middle finds some clothing and items she needs to touch such as books quite tricky and isn’t very tactile at all. Youngest is a bit of a mixture, she loves water play, yet cant touch a wet door handle, she loves to make noise but doesn’t like hand driers, she is very tactile but can struggle with people brushing past her or tapping her on the shoulder for example.

How does this impact on your home life?

Having 3 girls with very different needs is very tricky indeed. The relationship between the girls can be quite fraught at times with neither understanding or even wanting to consider, why the needs of a sister might be different to their own and each of them continually striving for control.

How does this impact on School life?

The biggest impact upon schooling is their lack of social skills which often cause conflict and upset.

Are you able to access additional support due to their diagnosis?

Yes, since their diagnosis we’ve been able to access much better support both in school and at home. The local Autism Outreach team have been able to support all of the girls with their specific needs in school supporting both us as a family and also helping school to understand how they can best upport their needs. The girls have also been able to access a weekend social club specially designed for autistic children and their siblings, this particular club allows parents to stay with their children whilst allowing them to explore new and exciting social interactions in a safe and understanding environment. We have also been able to benefit from specialist training courses and workshops for both me and also the girls.

A Survey for World Autism Awareness Week


In a couple of weeks time the will be a full week, internationally, dedicated to raising awareness of Autism. We are planning to do some related posts during the week which is March 27th to April the 2nd. If anyone out there has a story to tell or would like to contribute we would love to hear from you.

We feel it’s important to highlight this week as it is not uncommon for adopted children to be diagnosis on the autistic spectrum. We are interested to know just how many of your children have had a diagnosis and what you think about it. So we’ve devised a short survey for you to complete which hopefully will give us a little bit more of an insight into adoption and the autistic spectrum.

PLEASE PLEASE fill in the survey even if your child does NOT have a autism diagnosis, that way we can see more realistically what percentage of people are affected.

Go to Survey

Thank you in advance for your participation, please share and encourage other adopters to also complete the survey.

The Family of Five – Me and my Blog




I’ve been asked to write about Me and My Blog by The Adoption Social, I feel totally honoured because I’m not a writer, I’m not even particularly articulate or intellectual, I’m just normal, ordinary, I’m just me. I’ve been writing my blog for 2 years now. I’ve been an adoptive mum for 3 years. My husband and I adopted our 3 girls in the Summer of 2010.

Adoption is/was something I’d always wanted to do, I recall as a child telling my friends it was something I was going to do. It wasn’t necessarily the first choice for my husband, but once he’d learnt more about it he knew it was the right path for us.

We started our journey January 2009. We later spotted our girls in the children who wait magazine 4 months after we were approved to become adopters. 7 months later we bought them home. 19 months from filling in that first enquiry form with a voluntary agency to becoming a mum of 3.I knew quite early on that the girls were going to have some problems. I knew ‘something wasn’t quite right’ I just didn’t know what. In the Summer of 2011 our adoption order was granted. I hadn’t realised that this would also mean all of our social worker support would be withdrawn. The regular contact we’d had from social workers abruptly stopped. That’s when things started to get even tougher, only this time I had nowhere to turn for advice.

I found my self searching for advice online. It was this that prompted me to speak with our GP, school nurse, health visitor etc. By February 2012 all 3 girls had CAMHS referrals. I’ve blogged about CAMHS a lot, we do a lot of talking at our meetings with them, but I don’t feel we’ve actually done anything yet.

Getting support has been and still is the hardest fight I’ve ever fought in my life.

We also have the added complications of having adopted our girls from outside our local authority, in fact we adopted them from an authority over 200 miles away. If I’d known the difficulties and complexity’s this in its self would pose, would I still have done it? I honestly don’t know.

We don’t have the ‘regular’ issues that most adoptive parents I’ve met struggle with. We don’t have violence or aggression, we have compliance. Compliance is harder for some people to understand as you can’t ‘see’ it, they don’t want you to see the real them, they’re too scared. My children don’t scream ‘I hate you’, instead they smile, a lot, from ear to ear, and keep all of their real emotions locked away inside. We don’t know what’s going on inside, the worry’s fears and thoughts they’re having, which makes it so difficult to help them. We have very subtle levels of defiance, subtle enough to go unnoticed by the world but enough to control, manipulate and keep themselves safe.

They see everything, they hear everything, they give nothing.

We’re 2 years and 8 months in to our journey. It’s not what we expected, we’re not the family we thought we’d be, and we’re not the parents we’d planned to be. Its been a roller coaster journey with so many highs and happy times, but there has been more low’s than we could have ever imagined. Throughout our journey we’ve had ASD diagnosis, SALT diagnosis and attachment difficulties. At various stages throughout our journey we have been and are being seen by community paediatrician’s, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, ASD counsellors, GP’s, Mental Health counsellors, family therapist and psychotherapists, and yet we’re still working towards getting some real support for the girls and for us as a family.

We’ve lost many friends on our journey but we’ve made so many new ones, we’ve been welcomed with open arms by the world of adoptive parents who have been a great support to me this last year. Through all of this, we’ve still managed to ‘be a family’, we’ve shared happy times and made lasting happy memories, we’ve laughed and cried and grown, and as my baby girl would say ‘we love each other to Spain and back cause we a family aren’t we mommy and that’s what family’s do don’t they’.

Read more about The Family of Five on their blog  HERE
 Follow The Family of Five on Twitter @TheFamilyofFive