I'm new to the boards and am considering the fact that my son is showing characteristics of autism. I hadn't picked up on it until I was watching Scrubs (the tv show) a couple weeks ago and one of the doctors was evaluating a child as being autistic. That was when I realized that my son was showing similiar characteristics. It's a tv show, I know, but I did more reading and think that he really may be.
We're going for a developmental evaluation in about 10 days, so I'll have a better grasp on the situation then, but was hoping to get some advice from parents who have an autistic child on what their children were like when they were younger or what it was that turned on the 'lightbulb' to parents that their child/ren were autistic.
My son was born 9 weeks early, after a very difficult pregnancy. I had to give myself daily injections of blood thinners, had extremely high blood pressure and was dangerously close to having my kidneys stop functioning. I was on bedrest for the last 13 weeks of the pregancy. I was not on any meds except prenatal vitamins and the Lovenox (blood thinners).
He didn't even try to walk until he was about 17 months old and didn't begin trying to say words until closer to 20 months. (He turned 2 in November 08.) Just now, he is only beginning to put two words together and the only time is when he says "Elmo please" because he wants to watch his Elmo DVD. He is an only child and he tends to prefer to play alone, but I don't know if that's because he is an only child. He tends to prefer to play alone when he's at daycare too. He has no grasp of pain, but has had a couple of incidences where I thought he should have been screaming in agony. He's perfectly symmetrical in everything - must have a toy in each hand, makes sure cups and silverware are split equally on each side of his plate, blocks are stacked evenly.
He obviously understands everything we say but he doesn't communicate back to us. He can pick my car - an Altima, which is a dime a dozen in our area - out of a line of same colored cars or out of a group of Altimas, like he can read the license plate to know which one. He can pick small details out of large groups and is very particular about having things in a certain way. He doesn't adapt well to change. Loud noises startle him badly. His vocabulary is less than 20 words.
As I said, we're going for the evaluation at the end of next week, but I have a feeling that I already know the answer.
Parents, do any of these actions sound like what you experienced with your children? What was it that made you take notice that there may have been a problem?
impossible to say just based on these things you mentioned. I see why you want to know early and that is good. Everyone is thinking autism these days.
however, only children tend to be isolated, but it doesn't last long once they get in school. they usually find at least one pal. Your child is still young and many children prefer parallel play to interaction at age 2 and 3... That will change.
My brother was very articulate and liked everything just "so" as well. Very much an in-depth child and curious, etc. Liked things to be balanced. Everything in his room had to be just perfect. He came along late to my parents and was raised basically as an only child.
He is now a radiologist, married has two kids....so not autistic.
So it takes a lot more than what you have described to start talking about Autism. Always remember it is just a label for a neurological condition and there are many levels of these neurological problems.
Some are very minor and some kids are severe, with never talking and having seizures, etc.
Just calm down, relax and wait for the report. If they say yes, your life will change and you will need to find the therapy and medical interventions that will help your child recover from autism or at least manage it so that he can have a full life.
Many autistics are able to "fool" people because of the helpful therapy and behavior modification they have had. parents who are on top of this have my admiration.
My brother had some autistic traits. He was homeschooled, and my parents never really noticed them, but I did (I'm his older sister). He had hand waving behavior, and selective mutism, and a few other quirks that are hard to explain--like sometimes, he just seemed out of touch or didn't get the point of conversations around him. He has a highly developed internal life that competed with schoolwork (thoughts and things rushing through his head and distracting him). He loved repeating certain words over and over again when small. Sometimes the words were made up. I was very socially outgoing as a kid, and I was homeschooled and had most of the same experiences he had, but he was always kind of shy and had the above listed quirks. He did start talking limitedly at about age 1 (a few words) and by three was a normal talker, but that's kind of beside the point I'm trying to make; he did have a number of the markers of Asperger's or mild autism when small.
Anyway, he's starting college now and is a success. He has problems like everyone else, but his life has been pretty much normal. He has friends and his teachers love him. So he's a success--and I guess that means he wasn't autistic or didn't have autistic traits? Or does it?
I think different children develop at different rates and some mild autistic traits are within the range of normalcy. If your child is talking and developing, that's the important thing. I personally could not remember crap as a kid, and didn't get the multiplication tables down until I was about 15--but I'm a physics/mathematics major today with all A's at a major university.
Einstein supposedly didn't talk until he was four, and I know a number of people who say they have a family member who was like that.
Your child is probably developing at a pace normal to your child, and as long as he or she is developing, that's the important thing.
I agree with Tiger girl. Some repetitive traits that were thought to be weird or dorky 30 + years ago are now being labeled Autism Spectrum. But are they really? When traits go away eventually, I think they are just dorkiness.
My gs didn't walk until he was two!! he is 6 now and you would never know he walked late. he talked constantly by age two. He has always retained every skill he learned. that is not typical of autism.
He did go thru the hand flapping for awhile when he was excited and repeated other's comments. These two things have subsided. He is now 6 and in Kinder and doing well. But he is pretty shy.
his ENT doc said he has a condition called Sensory Integration Disorder.
SID CAN be part of autism but can also stand alone. he has been in OT since he was 12 months old to help with muscle strength and tone and balance. It is hard for me to believe that he has any muscle problems...
he is so happy and is such a joy to be around. Most of his quirky behaviors have subsided! So does this mean he Was autistic and is recovering?
Who can say?
SID is a neurological problem and it can be managed thru special meds and desensitization. Viruses are responsible for a lot of problems with the nervous system.
He was now on anti viral meds, anti fungal, for awhile, and now on special neurotransmitter combos and other mega vitamins designed to help the brain. All of these meds were administered ONLY AFTER much blood work and analysis.
One thing that showed up thru testing, ---His hearing was way too sensitive. they have worked for 8 months to bring his hearing back in line.
This ultra sensitivity to sounds causes kids to ignore you and everything in the classroom, etc. because they can't seem to focus on just the sound or our voices.
They can't filter.
sensory problems affect the nervous system and can mimic a lot of other conditions.
A lot of therapy and natural drug intervention is necessary for SID kids. jenny mcCarthy uses a doc similar to my gs doc and her son has rec'd similar therapy. I understand that he has mostly recovered from his condition.
If you get an SID or autism diagnosis, don't be scared. Find the ENTs who specialize in children with developmental issues or those who help people affected by ADD, ADHD, ASD, and strokes.
These docs concentrate on remedies to build and heal the nervous system so the child can slow down, concentrate, hear properly and learn. From this healing will come social skills.
Friends said 'No, he's fine..' when I raised my concerns about my little boy, didn't get him looked at till after 3 - now he's in an autistic unit at school, as autistic as they come, but not particularly tantruming, speech developing but 'quirky'. Friends wanted to reassure me that everything was ok...sometimes its not!
Glad you are getting your little one looked at, it's not the end of the world if he turns out to be autistic, you'll adjust to the idea. Not sure I would change my boy into neuro typical if offered- he's gorgeous as he is.
There are definitely people out there with autistic traits, but you've got to have the whole package to be autistic. A friend of mine has a little boy who has traits that are much harder to deal with than my autistic boys, I find him quite difficult, but he certainly isn't autistic. It's a funny old thing...
Early intervention is the key to recovery and a return to a normal social life. It may take 5 years of therapy and supplements but it will happen. don't wait.
Our brains work on chemical and electrical activity. Some people need extra help with those functions, such as ASD, Sensory, ADHD, stroke victims, and ALZ and dementia patients.
Talk to your friends. Even if they don't have the same problems they probably know someone who does! You would be shocked at the number of kids in therapy for one thing or another. And from these people you find docs who help.
....It takes a special mind to be able to focus on one field such as science or math so exclusively. If you have ever known mathematicians or scientists, etc they are many times darn quirky and not very social.
Hi, my son is 6 and I had an "idea" that there was something different about my son from a very early age. My son was late walking (16 months) late talking (over 2 years old) although he has nothing wrong with his speech now! he was very clingy towards me and didnt like to be left with anyone else. He is very obsessional (likes same knife, fork, spoon etc) and he has certain topics that he will go on and on about for the last 3 years it has been Star Wars and the Army/guns etc he has very few friends at school and prefers to play alone. Hes still not toilet trained and his behaviour we lets say hes "very angry" when things are not done as he would like. I saw several professionals from him being around 18months, and finally got my diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in April 08.
Try not to worry too much and when you get your answers take it from there. Hope this helps a little.
Hi, I have a 7 year old grandson who is non verbal; although if he is prompted he will say single words. Have you had information shared with you regarding the possibilities of increased speaking of childeren with non verbal autism.
You speak of supplements. I have been reviewing a treatment called byonetics because my grandson has non-verbal autism. From what I understand their treatment helps eliminate toxins such as metals from the child with autism. Do you have any thought on this treatment?
Last edited by grandmak; 01-20-2009 at 04:42 PM.
Reason: I entered a sites name and remembered I should not have.
Hi - A few questions that I'll throw out to you that the evaluators will no doubt ask too: does your son make eye contact with you and others that he knows or does he avoid this and even look at people out of the corner of his eyes? does he do repetitive actions, such as spinning the wheels of a car, "stimming" his hands in front of his eyes, lining things up instead of really playing with them?
Does he get extremely upset and have temper tantrums that last and last when things are out of order for him that he can't get back into order?
I think these questions can help you get a feel for the symptoms of autism but the evaluators will really be able to take a close look and give you the answers your seeking.
For me, I would say that the light bulb moment was when my son (now 21) didn't lie in his crib and babble and babble before falling to sleep the way my older child did and did not seem interested in using language early on for communication. Through speech therapy and school programs and just development, he eventually became verbal, but it didn't come naturally.
There are many intervention and therapies now and if needed, I'm sure the evaluators will make the referrals. Keep us posted.
Don't forget that preemie kids have an "adjusted " age. They tend to develop at the age when they should have if born full term. This is not the case with every kid, but it is a thing. Mine was 4 weeks early (same with me blood thinners in the belly) he seemed to develop normally but we still have some speech issues. His pronounciation isn't great, though he says a lot. Mine is an only child too and plays alone a lot. But he does crave attention from us and loves when we play with him.
From reading your post, it sounds like their could be some delays but not necessarily autism. My son is not autistic, he is 2 but he is sort of obsessive about some things. His daycare teachers joked around about the fact that when he was learning to walk he always had to have one of each object in each hand. He still likes to line things up, stacks blocks well, has a weird memory for stuff and was able to identify letters and numbers early, as well as do puzzles like a pro! Instead of being proud of him for being so smart I started worrying maybe he was autistic. also he loved to stare at fans (still does) and became obsessed with them for awhile.
My nephew was diagnosed with PDD (autism spectrum)at the age of 3. He didn't talk until 3 and half. He had a lot of tantrums. He spent a lot of time doing self stimulation behaviors, such as running a car back and forth over a bump in the floor for long periods of time, obsessed with watching DVDs from an early age, liked to watch spinning things, such as the wheels on the stroller. HE never played alone and didn't play with toys appropriately. Makes perfect eye contact, loves affection and hugs, is not withdrawn but has social phobias and anxieties (he is 9 now) sensitive and takes things personally.
I babysat a little boy in the late 90s who was 2 and who had just been diagnosed with PDD. He didn't say a word, grunted and made weird sounds in the back of his throat, hummed, had a sort of monotone sound to his voice, screamed very ear peircingly loud, tantrums, pulled on your arm if he wanted you to get something, looked at you out of the corner of his eye (though did make eye contact if he felt like it) Was obsessed with videos, mainly Thomas, tigger and pooh, was scared of sesame street. Begged for videos all day. Played with toys in unusual ways, such as dumping things on the floor and putting them back in a crate. Never used toys imaginatively. Sleep problems. He had a reaction to a vaccination around 9 months and had a seizure and was never right since.
Other early signs of autism may be holding ears a lot, unusual way of walking or running, hand flapping, repetitious behavior, repeating words over and over, not responding to name, imitating animal or machine sounds perfectly and constantly making those sounds (self stim) speech may not be meaningful, not following directions. Other signs can include an amazing gift in one area such as numbers, puzzles, music, memory etc.
I hope all this helps a bit. I am an education major with much experience working with kids of all kinds. I agree with another poster that autistic kids are not necessarily the most challenging children I have worked with. My nephew has ADHD and that is way worse than his PDD symptoms. But I am not trying to downplay the situation either. Go with your mommy instinct and get it checked out and let us know how it goes.