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Old 12-18-2009, 09:38 PM   #1
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Is my nephew autistic

I need some advice...its about my nephew. I am concerned about him and have a nagging feeling that he may be autistic. From the day he was born, "something" was different about him. I mentioned it to my other sister, not his mom, and she got the feeling too. Here's a little about him: he was born at 33-34 weeks gestation, large for his age actually. He did have problems latching on (oral motor problems perhaps?) and my sister had to use a latch assist for a while. He started developing just fine, rolling over and babbling and such right on target. My son is 2 months older than him and I even thought he beat my son to some developmental stages. He seemed not completely "there" if you tried to engage him, eye contact/talking/etc. We expected some developmental delays since he was premature, but the older he got, the delays were more extreme. He started saying single syllable words, or attempting to anyways. He actually said more than "ma and da" before my son did. Then it seemed to halt. He never progressed passed single syllables. Even at 2 yrs and 4 months of age, door was 'da', stop was 'ta'...he screeched in high pitches, threw fits and became unbearable to be around. He would hit and pinch and his behavior was mean, never loving. He couldn't communicate his needs or desires so he would whine, if anything at all. If he tried to say something, it was the first syllable of the word, ending in a high pitch. He would hit and just take what he wanted. IF anyone told him no, he would throw a tantrum of high pitched screaming and crying and throw himself down until my sister would give in. I just thought it was the way he was being raised, or lack thereof. Well I became the most concerned after being around him this past Sunday. He has knowledge of more words than before (he is 2 yrs 10 months old), but they are still one syllable words and absolutely no sentences. He smiles when he feels the desire to, but not in response to a smile. There is NO conversation with him, I used to think it was because he "couldn't" because he couldn't talk, but now I see that he has no desire to talk to people. He will somewhat engage with people but to screech at them and do a funny dance...or try to take their toy, but not to actually listen. He focuses on "fixing" a wheel on a car or "screwing" a screw with a tool, and NOTHING can break his concentration when he is doing that. My dad accidently knocked him in the head with a shovel handle while he was "fixing" something and my nephew never budged...no scream, no hand to the head, he never missed a beat, he didn't even feel it. My dad said, "he's tough as nails, he never gets hurt and never cries at pain". I remember them saying he had no fear and felt no pain. If my nephew is walking somewhere, he is focused on that...he will knock over people if they are standing in his path, whereas my son and niece will walk around obstacles, its almost like he doesn't "see" them or care that they are there. Also, he doesn't eat much. I remember my sister saying "all he wanted for dinner was a piece of cheese" and I haven't seen him eat around the family in awhile. Also, sometimes he acts as if he doesn't hear you. I know that alot of these are signs of autism...and some are signs of a kid. He laughs, he plays, though not really "with" anyone, he'll make eye contact, but its not meaningful, he can't communicate or conversate. I used to think he walked around with a smirk on his face, and I remember saying "its like he is thinking of something really funny in his head" but now I would say its more like he is in his own world, yet conscious of this world. His pediatrician FINALLY voiced concern over his speech development (my sister never asked her about it or even seemed concerned). The pediatrician set him up for hearing tests and for a speech development eval. I asked my sister if she ever mentioned autism and she said "no he doesn't show signs of that". Well to me he does, so she either isn't portraying him to the doc in a truthful manner, or she's in denial, or the doc doesn't want to get my sister worried, etc. Well turns out he can hear just fine and his development is just on the line so the state won't pay for speech therapy. So instead of getting him a therapist on her own dime, she justs brushes it off and hasn't done anything because "the state won't send someone out". (But she buys him HDTVs and chairs and movies, etc.). Sunday really opened my eyes. He will be 3 in March and cannot communicate verbally, just single syllables and usually nouns only, he still screeches and throws fits to portray emotion, he is NOWHERE near even INTRODUCING potty training, etc. Am I just looking too into it. Maybe he doesn't engage appropriately because he doesn't have language skills? Maybe he feels pain, but can tolerate it? I think I would have behavioral issues if I couldn't communicate what I thought and felt...I need help! Also, if I am totally seeing what I need to see and he DOES show signs of Autism and not just a developmental delay, how do I approach my sister. She really seems like she doesn't care that he can't talk and doesn't even notice him in his own world and not feeling things or acting "appropriate" socially (she has said before "oh he's just a boy and boys will be boys, he'll grow out of it"). I talked to my son's ped about it, who happens to be her son's ped's partner (he doesn't know that) and he gave me some numbers to get him evaluated with an ST...I don't want to cross the line, but this little boy needs help NOW, not later. Suggestions?

 
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:23 AM   #2
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Unfortunately your sister is the mom and whatever she says that is what will happen and nothing you can do. Sorry but like anything else you need to just find something else to occupy your attention when the child is around or you will loose a sister because a mother being accused of not doing the right thing ...well you might as well shoot yourself in the foot. Sorry ...you told her of your suspicions and now as hard as it seems it is time to look the other way...bite your tongue or whatever it takes to keep yourself from going crazy over this. If he truly is autistic then it can still be treated later. but better to just be a good sister/aunt and keep the peace and know in your heart you tired so later you can give her information should she ask. Good luck ...it is hard to not say anything but that's what you have to do is nothing. Sorry.

 
Old 12-20-2009, 02:53 AM   #3
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Hi...I really think that your nephew is autistic.I have a daughter who is autistic,she is 4 and your nephew has a lot of characteristics that she has.Im from Australia and we dont have very many doctors over here that deal with autism as you do over there-you are so lucky to have DAN DOCTORS who pretty much get the job done of fixing these kids alot and the younger they are the better the results so i think your sister is very lucky that you have picked this up while he is still so young,the older they get the more stuck in their own world they become and it gets harder to get through to them and get them out and into our world.I think you should maybe get some information on this and show your sister and it might scare her into doing something-she might see the longer she does nothing,the harder it is going to be for her and her little boy and belive me..its a very hard and long road dealing with an autistic child-you say that she thinks he will grow out of this but its the complete opposite-the older they get,the worse it gets unless you start treating it.I commend you on noticing this and wanting to help but im sure deep down she has to know that something isnt right-you say you have a child around his age...she has to notice the difference between them and she might be in deep denial-is this her first child? I know that i was in denial when a doctor first suggested that my daughter might be autistic and i cant even describe how low and horrible i felt-it took me a while to get out of my denial and i have a friend who is going through the same thing now-I tried to offer her advise and any information she needed but she would not accept that her son might be autistic-i had to back off and hope that she would soon come to me for help and she eventually did-the thing that brought her around was finding out that the longer she left it and the older he got the harder it would be.Another thing about us parents of autistic kids are that we feel a lot of blame,that maybe it was our fault and we also feel that nobody really knows how we feel and how hard it is but with support,understanding and with you not judging her-she will get through this-the most important thing about dealing with autism..is having a great family -loving,helping and being a backbone for her-then she hopefully feels she can make a big difference in her little boys life and her own.Keep up the good work and im hoping that you get through to her-I hope your little nephew one day shines and becomes the best he can be and he will have you to thank for helping-god bless...from mell

 
Old 12-20-2009, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Thank you both! My sister is a very defensive person, by nature not because of this. I think that is why I haven't asked again. My middle sister is thinking and feeling the same way about him. We both know how my sister attacks back when she feels she's being attacked, so we have refrained from really talking to her about it. My heart is absolutely breaking for him! I got very angry at her (inside) when she wouldn't get him help if the state wouldn't send it. Here's another element, she works for a company (home health) that has a full time speech therapist. I mentioned that she could always talk to the speech therapist about the situation. Perhaps get ideas of how to work with him if she wasn't going to pay for someone else to work with him. She said "that's a good idea" and never did it. She seems so disconnected. She is constantly sending my nephew over to my parents' and grandparents' house to spend the night/day so she can have personal time alone or with her husband. She nevers watches him if ANYONE else is in the room. She just assumes someone else is watching him. He's home with her maybe 30-40 percent of the week...and most of that time is while he's sleeping. I really do wonder how she feels about him and if she does notice how different my son acts (and my niece who is 2 months younger than her son). She gets "tired" of him very easily. She posts comments like "FINALLY he's asleep!". Oh and she hasn't kept him 4 days/nights in a row since he was about 6 months old. They took him on one of their vacations for 3 nights and the day they got home they sent him to spend the night with my grandparents. The thing is he really doesn't seem to notice or care who he's with. He appears apathetic. I love him so much and I love my sister too. I'm afraid for him if he is diagnosed with autism. With her being so disconnected with parenting, I don't see him getting the help he needs anyways. As a side note, my sister is married. Her husband has 2 grown kids and didn't want anymore, but my sister had my nephew. So needless to say, he is just as uninvolved as she is. Poor baby boy!

 
Old 12-20-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

yes it's clear that this little boy needs help and that your sister is in immense denial. she knows that if she starts with evaluations and therapies that she will have to lose the denial but what she doens't know is that when you begin the therapies and see progress in better communication skills and better behavior you feel like you've gotten onthe right track.

i think i would take the leap of faith and give her the phone number that you dr. gave you. this kid really doesn need help and maybe you giving her the number will be the starting point. hope so. keep on top of things; he has a good strong advocate in you and someday hopefully for your sister too.

 
Old 12-21-2009, 05:53 AM   #6
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Hi there,
My sister knew something was wrong developmentally with my son and did not tell me when he was very young. I found out later that my sister told my father , and he said to her to not tell me , because thiswas not he child, and to just butt out > well I was a single mom , and worked as a preschool teacher.
My experience was that DENIEL, FEAR , and their is a a loss of not knowing what to do , not wanting to know the truth , thst keeps some parents from seeking treatment for their child.
THis is a very frightning time for the parents . YES, clearly , their are behaviors that are very significant that may point to autism. Early intervention is so vital for a child, the more severe the autism , when worked on early the brain can relearn so many new and correct behaviors .
If the label AUTISM is what is scary to your sister , or that her child is not developmenting correctly , she needs support, so she can have her son be seen the right specialists and get him into a autism program ASAP, if this is what is going on.
I would drop the labels for now, and try to help your sister get him tested by the local school district, since he is 3 , he is old enough for services.
autism is a lifelong disability , but propper early intervention can break so many behaviors in a child , and teach a child new behaviors that will be lifelong .
Your nephew will qualify for so many more services as soon as a diagnoses is made , your sister just needs a lot of support right now , I think she is very scared .

 
Old 03-06-2010, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

he may have Sensory Integration Disorder. That is not autism. Sometimes it is included on the Autism spectrum or can stand alone as a nervous system condition.

SID children can be misdiagnosed by well meaning therapists as autistic. The treatment for SID is similar but not always the same. That is why you have to know.

Occupational Therapy desensitizing him to what is causing the problem is necessary.
From observing him play and trying to interact with him, the therapists can spot what the problems are & go from there.

His hearing could be holding him back!

HIS HEARING MUST BE CHECKED. mY grandson could not hear well, because his adenoids were huge and his ear tubes were clogged. after surgery he was a new child.

Also, concentrating on a task or activity or program even when hurt is classic SID.

Sensory kids are either trying to bring the world closer for stimulation or pushing the world away because the world creates too much stimulation. That is why your nephew focuses on something and excludes voices and sounds. It's too much.

My gs would also do this at times. I thought it was so weird.

Then some SID kids need to jump on a trampoline or have a big activity after school to be stimulated because they can't experience the world ENOUGH> Daredevils fall into this category.

sometimes they hand flap or jump up and down and be disruptive at home or in class, because they are trying to work off that feeling of Anxiety.

Last edited by golfhat; 03-06-2010 at 02:58 PM.

 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:38 AM   #8
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Valuable advice

 
Old 03-24-2010, 08:56 AM   #9
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

I live in Mn and there is a state law that requires pre-school screening from age 3-5, before the child enters kindergarten. I don't know what it would be where your sister lives. It is free and is done in the school district where the child lives. You can probably check on the childs districts web site if there is such a thing and let your sister know about it. I copied and pasted some info from my childs district below. Your sister is in denial and is not coping well.
________________________________________ _______________________

What Is Early Childhood Screening?
* A check of vision, hearing, and developmental progress

A review of immunizations and family information
*
An individual review with parents of child's progress and needs
*

It identifies needs that may require special attention before a child enters school

Is There A Cost?

Early Childhood Screening is FREE for all ISD 279 children who are 3 to 5 years old.

When Should My Child Be Screened?

State law requires screening before a child starts kindergarten. It is recommended that children be screened when they are 3 years old.

----------------------------------------------
Hope this helps.

 
Old 03-24-2010, 01:43 PM   #10
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cheese for dinner?

Ho hum, red flag there for me with the cheese for dinner comment. Yep seems to me that the little guy has autism; many of the worst symptoms can be relieved by cutting out the dairy and wheat in the kids diet. Very often these kids are addicted to that which drives them crazy. My autistic child demanded 6 petit suisse (like fromage frais with sugar) per day. That was before I knew anything about autism. Cutting out dairy has a very quick effect - she only has to try it for 4 days to see a difference!

Try to approach this sensitive issue from a food allergy perspective- if your sis cuts out the dairy the screaming will probably stop. Sometimes parents of autistic kids are a bit on the spectrum themselves. Dont get too high and mighty with her because she fails to see that which is glaringly obvious to you. If she cuts out the dairy and gluten, (but especially dairy) then she will probably halt the damage that is being done to his brain. Hopefully the other stuff will fall in line afterwards, especially once he starts school;

Food allergies are much less scary diagnosis than autism, maybe you can start there. If the kid has red ears, or one red ear from time to time then this is a tell tale sign that he will react very well to eliminating some or all of dairy, wheat, soy and corn.

try to be the best most loving and gentle sister you can be, because that is the route to helping your nephew.

Best of luck;
Siobhan

 
Old 03-25-2010, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: Is my nephew autistic

Oh dear, he certainly does sound autistic. The high pitched squeals, loss of speech, hitting, all sound so familiar.
I'm wondering if your sister isn't a bit autistic herself ... it's hard to tell from your description, but if she doesn't "get it," is she not able to understand that someone besides her has needs? Some people might consider that selfish but then again, it could be the way she's wired.
Just a thought. You would know her pretty well, I assume.

Anyway, yes, I agree that he has serious issues. Doesn't sound like there's a lot you can do about it at this point, though. Sometimes I'm really good at confronting and other times I'm lousy at it. Wish I could offer more suggestions on how to approach your sister.
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Married 31 yrs, 18-yr-old NT daug in coll, 13-yr-old Aspie, adopted 2 days old. Poss mood dis. LD but only 1 gr behind; priv school; wheat/gluten-free, milk-free diet; Adderall, Imiprimine, Clonidine.

Last edited by TerryJ2; 03-25-2010 at 06:57 PM.

 
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