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Old 07-26-2009, 03:44 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2009
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7474bobby HB User
Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

We have a 3.4 year old boy and twin 22 month old girls. We suspect one of our girls (cara) may be autistic and wanted to get some feedback from others.

As a stay at home dad, I have no doubt my communication skills, or lack thereof, has contributed in some way to our children being behind. That and them being a few weeks early and watching too much tv with their brother.

Our son is/was a bit behind, but is coming along since starting preschool. The girls have no real vocabulary (not even mama or dada). They do sign for more and make a m type sound when doing so. Sara, the other twin, does make other sounds for words like hat and so forth, and seems to be a bit father along then her sister cara. We have had them in weekly 1 hour therapy, but they (the people at the therapy place) seem to think it's more of a sensory issue.

Our daily routine is very loose. They wake up when they wake up, play, eat at some point, play, snack, nap around 2 or 3 or whenever, snack, play, eat, play, bedtime is sometime after 8:30.

Here's a list about cara -

Eye contact -- She does make eye contact, but it's limited. When we have close up face to face time, she does look at me, but seems more interested in my mouth then my eyes. Sometimes it seems hard for her to make eye contact, but she does do it.

Stacking -- She does NOT stack or line things up abnormally. Not an issue.

Language -- As stated above, she has none. Therapy is geared towards her lack of language being a sensory issue. She does babble a bit. More in the last few weeks.

Hearing and responding to her name -- If I scold her not to go up the stairs, she will listen. But she has very selective hearing. She sometimes will respond to her name, but normally she doesn't unless she wants to or I'm getting after her for something. Will not look up if we call her, but will jump up in a heartbeat if she think she hears the theme song to one of her TV shows.

Bouncing and spinning -- She LOVES to bounce on the couch and recliner. This is her thing. Will bounce and bounce with a big smile on her face. Will spin in front of the Tv from time to time. Not everyday and not for long stretches of time. This may be her just dancing.

Interactive games and smiling -- She does not do peek-a-boo herself, but loves it when when we do it or play cows in the meadow, or itsy bitsy spider. She will smile back at you.

Sensory and oral -- She will chew up ANYTHING. Most of our kid books have no spine because the chews them up, wooden ledge in the rec room is chewed up, and so on. We give them toothbrushes and they love them. Cara likes to turn hers over and chew off the plastic on the bottom.

Wanting things -- The biggest thing would be the sippy cup. Her sister will bring me the cup if it's empty, but cara won't. We just learn to know what they want.

Touching and cuddling - She doesn't have a problem that I can see. She is a wiggle worm though. May sit with you for a short while cuddling while watching tv. She sometimes will give you a kiss if you force her to by holding her head so she can't turn it. Her kiss is just a open mouth stick out the tongue kind of a thing.

tantrums -- She doesn't really have one unless she's super tired. There are two things she has seen on TV that she freaks out over (part of a weekly show and one kids show she's scared of), but other then that she doesn't have tantrums.

Sleeping and eating -- Diet is somewhat limited. Fruit, cheese, crackers, fries, chicken nuggets, toast, more carbs, more fruit, mac and cheese, and at least 16 oz of milk a day. Sleeping is not a problem.

Hand and arm flapping - will do so only if she's super excited at something on tv or if she's super tired and can't reach her milk or if we are not picking her up fast enough.

Books -- she loves flipping through books (when she's not eating them)

Spinning and light -- have not seen an issue in these areas.

Bathtime -- loves bathtime. Loves the shower. loves to lay down on her tummy during bathtime.

Playing alone -- Seems to play alone a bit more then her siblings. Her brother and sister seem to play together a bit more.

Pointing -- Doesn't point.

Imaginative play -- Her sister loves to play dress up. Cara does like to put on hats, but not as much as her sister. Other then that, she doesn't really play like tea time or mommy baby stuff.

Other people who visit -- warms up fast to visitors. In the past, her and her sister would freak out to new people 50% of the time. Even with people who came over a few times a month. But now, both seem to warm up to people much faster.

Waving bye-bye -- will sort of wave bye bye. limited.

Does it sound like autism to you or just a sensory issue?

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Old 07-26-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Mira11 HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

it's hard to really say because her symptoms are pretty mixed but it sounds like there's a language delay going on and the best thing you can do at this point is to get her into speech therapy. i would suggest twice a week to get her up and running and believe me, the S.T. will be able to do evaluations for autism all along as they do the therapy. it was actually my son's S.T. that first saw the ASD symptoms and we pursued further diagnosis from there.

so whatever she does have, the really important thing is to get help for it and S.T. is a good place to start. also, occupational therapy with an O.T. who specializes in sensory integration would be very helpful and also diagnostic as well. she might be eligible for services thru early intervention programs in your community. ask your ped. about this and call the director of special ed in your school district and see what services she might be eligible for as well.

with getting these therapies, you'll know soon enough what the issues are.

Old 07-27-2009, 09:46 AM   #3
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Cathy01 HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

Keep in mind that there are a lot of levels of autism. Can be very mild to severe. My son has Aspergers, under the "umbrella" of the autism spectrum disorder. He is always been very verbal, never any of the "classic" signs. But has always had sensory issues, mostly sound, extremely sensitive hearing. There are also many variances within the Aspergers spectrum of functioning. It took til my son was in third grade for a teacher (who was familiar with Aspergers) to notice things and ask me to have him evaluated...I knew he was different but knowing why has been a great benefit in me understanding him and helping him. He graduated H.S. B honor roll and is enrolled in college.

I have also heard that twins sometimes take longer on the verbal. I don't know if this is true but have heard this. Maybe your OT is familiar ? Maybe they have their own language. Do they communicate with each other?

Last edited by Cathy01; 07-27-2009 at 09:50 AM.

Old 07-27-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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7474bobby HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

No, they don't really communicate with each other that I can see.

Two other things from today.

I'm trying to teach her eyes, nose, ears, and so forth. And I did get her to point at my nose twice and my ear once.

Also, I did see her flipping though a book and pointing to different things while making sounds (as if she was imitating me reading to her). This went on for 10 seconds or so.

In addition, I forgot to say that she loves to put rocks in her mouth. Everything she comes into contact with must first go to her mouth. When we go outside, she heads straight for the pebbles.

Old 07-27-2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

At 22 months what your describing, are sensory issues. Mouthing books, placing objects in her mouth are her way of exploring them. Since she is non verbal right now, this is why she is mor enclined to this behavior.
I know severely affected kids who are in middle school who are non verbal who still are placing objects into their mouths. Leaves, sticks, rocks> As your daughter starts obtaining language this will open up a whole new world for her. She needs speech therapy, however I do not know how old they start early invention on this. This is something you need to look into.
I like the fact that your spending a great deal of time reading to her. Try getting some interactive books , books for toddlers, that makes sounds, farm animal nosies, anything that might catch her attention for a little longer. At her age she is not going to want to sit for too long. Music and dance is anther fun way to get her to play with you. Little toddlers like to move , take her outside , and show her the flowers, point to them have her smell them. Use her senses to gain her attention > Take to to the Zoo.
Be a goo example to her and use your words , simple short words , before giving her a cup of milk or juice , say the word juice, or milk .Let her see the milk too , or juice .
I also agree that she might be a bit language delayed. However, that will come in time.

Old 07-28-2009, 10:06 AM   #6
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dream77 HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

What you describe .. most of it seems like my kid (now 2 years and 7 months) when she was close to 15 months old.. mouthing everything and all
She still won't respond to her name.. unless she wants something.
though it does seem like she may be a bit behind in speech alot seems like personality trait...

Last edited by dream77; 07-28-2009 at 10:07 AM.

Old 07-29-2009, 07:48 PM   #7
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7474bobby HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

* link to commercial website and related info removed by hb-mod, moderator * She does some nice pointing close to the end. The first part is back in april, but most of it is from this week.

* link to commercial website and related info removed by hb-mod, moderator *

And here are a few more things I've noticed in the last few days

1. We played peekaboo and she attempted to say the word

2. My wife and I made razzberry sounds at the dinner table and she imitated us.

3. She does have little liquid puke-ups every few days. Not even 1oz and very random.

4. Took a sock and tried to put it on

5. took a hat off her head and gave it to me to put back on her head.

6. Came to me with arms raised to be lifted up

Last edited by hb-mod; 07-30-2009 at 04:01 AM. Reason: Please don't post commercial websites or information, as per the Posting Policy. Thanks!

Old 07-29-2009, 08:43 PM   #8
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Mira11 HB User
Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

hi - can you please repost the website.

Old 07-30-2009, 02:16 AM   #9
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Re: Is our little girl autistic or does she just have a sensory issue?

what a sweet movie!! first of all your kids are adorable!! so cute and lively and fun. and you seem like such a great dad - like you really understand what your kids needs are and how to encourage interaction.

i am certainly not an expert in autism, have just seen quite a few kids over the years, and your daughter doesn't even remotely look like she has autism to me. granted it's a short movie, but i don't see any signs. i think she probably has some kind of developmental language delay but she clearly makes attempts to communication in the way that you're showing her how to (ie sign, pointing).

is cara in intensive speech therapy? that would be SO helpful for her. it's what she needs and i'm sure the speech therapist will do lots of evaluations along with therapy and you'll get more answers but i would say, i don't see autism. but DO get S.T. going for her at least twice a week and see what kind of early intervention language services your school district offers.

keep us posted. they are darling kids!

Last edited by Mira11; 07-30-2009 at 02:19 AM.

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