Autism signs?

Crystal - posted on 05/28/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I have a 2 yr old son who shows some signs of autism. His doctor has scheduled a comprehensive evaluation and we are definetley concerned and worried. Samuel is a very smart, handsome, good little boy, but he is not speaking yet as a normal 2 yr old would and not putting two words together at all. He also has some quirky obssessive behaviors and he seems often time to be in his "own little world". I guess I feel like I'm on the fence and teeter-tottering "not knowing" what's going on yet, and I cant get this out of my head. I guess I don't have a question.Maybe I just need some encouragement and support from other mom's and maybe the sharing of your stories of how "you" first found out the early signs of autism in your child(ren)? I know its not going to change the love we have for our son whatsoever, but I guess its just a hard time to think something might be "wrong". It's just scary.

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Kim - posted on 06/10/2009

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Its kind of like taking a trip to Italy....you're really excited you get on the plane and you finally land and you get off and you are in Greece? It isn't what you expected, it isn't a bad place but not where you thought you would be. Its a day by day thing. It can be hard and scary and overwhelming but then there are those wonderful melt your heart moments that you wouldnt trade. I think all parents "know" when something isnt quite right, you may try to ignore it or rational why your child does certain things but deep in our hearts we know. Take a deep breath and get all the help & support you can find for your family. Its a family condition. Rather than try to adjust your child to your world you must adjust your world to your childs. You must be an advocate for your child because he cannot speak for himself. You know what they say about the "squeaky wheel" Good Luck and know that you arent alone. Good Luck

Sarah - posted on 06/07/2009

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hello there my son jamie has aspergers he is 11 now i knew something was wrong wen he was about 18 mths old he started with a obsession with houses drawing then to detail and building them with the really small lego he used to get really stressed if we tryed to change his routine he also started with bad tics it took me till he was 5 to get a diagnoses and till he was in last year in primary for any funding for his schooling my advice is if he has got aspergers u need to get on a chair and shout for the help u need of u just get fobbed off but on a lighter note my son is doing really well at high school he has had a glowing report and is achiving higher grades than were set for him good luck

Melissa - posted on 06/06/2009

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the doctors arent sure about my 2 year old but they think he has autism. he hand flaps, lines things us, hordes, groups things, insane melt downs, spining things and himself, rocking, toe walking, no real talking just babbling etc. he is scheduled to have testing here soon.

Amy - posted on 06/05/2009

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I will add my story to the rest-- I know right now, getting as much information as possible is one of the most comforting things. My son is 3. We had him tested last October and received his diagnosis in early November of High Functiong Autism.

My older sister is a teacher and first noticed the signs in Mason. I just thought he was quirky and maybe a little stubborn. He is my first child, and my angel, of course I did not want anything to be wrong with him. However, at the age of 2 and a half, when he was still not talking, wouldn't play with other kids, had obsessive behaviors, and the temper tantrums with head banging started-- we got him tested. It was the best and worst news I have ever received. The best, because now I knew he wasn't just "being bad" or "spoiled", the worst, because I didn't know where to go from that point. He has been in therapy (both speech and o.t.) every week since! He is making huge leaps and bounds and, although it is very difficult to stick to, I am happy knowing that he is overcoming all these obstacles. Early Intervention is the best, and easiest for the child. I wish you the best, keep your head up! Keeping loving that precious little boy with all your heart and soul, and know that he was given to you because you are the BEST parent for him! If you need to talk or questions-- this is a wonderful place to start! And it is helpful to know you are not alone in this terrify and hard journey! My email is acopeland76@yahoo.com if you need anything!

Carrie - posted on 06/05/2009

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hi...

I noticed some of the same signs in my own child. He has been diagnosed with high functioning autism ... meaning he is very smart and often likes to play by himself because he does go into his " own world" . What he doesn't have is social skills. So , my advice or encouragemnt is this... definatly get the testing done... and get some books on the different types of autism . The more info you get the better you will be. Remember you are doing what is best fo your little one. Goodluck!

[deleted account]

I also went through a sort of grieving period with my daughter. You grieve for your child and you grieve for yourself. After that period, you just do what you have to do to go on and be the best parent you can be for them, because life goes on.

I worked with more severe autism as a teacher's aid and unfortunately some children will never be helped by "early intervention." My daughter, for example has triggers that set her off and there is absolutely nothing that we or medicine can do to change those behaviors. Finding ways to deal with situations can help, like avoiding if possible large crowds, finding out-of-the-way seating in restaurants, whatever you have to do to keep the experience as calm and quiet as possible. Redirecting sometimes helps too, but I've found that once the behavior has started it's very hard to change that pattern.

In my situation, some older behaviors are happening less often, but new ones come along and I'm thrown off guard again.

Sorry to ramble on but this subject can never be talked about enough. This is so hard for parents but I just keep reminding myself that this is my responsibility to give her the best possible chance in life. If my husband were alive today, we'd still be discussing all of this on a daily basis, trying to come up with answers and better ways to deal. We all need people to lean on who will understand and be there for this lifelong challenge.

Patty - posted on 06/04/2009

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I am a mother of two children with autism and I am also a speech language pathology assistant. From what you are describing, there is no way of telling whether this is just a language delay or whether there is more to it than that.
From my own experiences, I will tell you that there is no point in being scared or feeling desperate (I know it's easier said than done). You need to make sure that your son is getting all of the early intervention opportunities available in your area, start setting up a strict household routine, and once you have done that, relax. If your son does turn out to be autistic, is it going to change anything? It really doesn't change anything. Yes you will go through a rough period emotionally in the beginning, but it will pass and become just another part of what makes your family who they are.
I understand your desperation and your need to understand the disorder, I think that is a natural reaction to what you are going through. I did the same thing. I put myself through hell trying to decide whether or not my son was autistic, one day I was sure that he was, the next day I was sure that he wasn't. All of that studying was good for me though, because it helped me to understand my kids' disorder and I learned how to deal with it and help them deal with it from the beginning. When my daughter was finally diagnosed last month, it confirmed what I had known for years, but I still cried a little when I was finally alone. I guess you just have to have a good cry for closure.
When you go to the evaluation, the psychologist will ask you to fill out forms about Sam's adaptive behavior, expressive abilities, etc. These will be the best way for you to determine what's going on with Sam's development. From my own personal experiences, I would recommend you offer to have a second person who is well-acquainted with your son fill out the forms as well, giving the evaluator two response booklets will reassure you that the results of the eval were accurate. Even after the eval is done, you will have moments where you question the results, this will take a little bit of that pressure off of your mind.
I hope that my reply is helpful to you. I totally understand what you are going through. It's a hard thing to live through, but as a mom who has been through it twice, I just have to say, it doesn't change anything to worry. Try not to watch Sam and think "Was that an autism thing?" Just think "That's my Sam." Because whether it's autism or not, it's still Sam and he's going to keep on being Sam.

Deanna - posted on 06/04/2009

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Everything you all are saying sounds very familiar to me. We are also in the process of trying to get our son diagnosed. We have kind of had our suspicions for awhile. Today he had his 2 year checkup and the doctor said it looks like he has autism. He is finally going to get the help he needs. He just turned 2 and he does not say any words. He use to say mama and dada but he doesn't even do that anymore. He also has a lot of the symptoms you all have mentioned. We are still not sure how bad it is because he is very smart, and obviously understands what we say, he just can't talk back. He has very intense meltdowns very often and very violent behavior. It is scary because he is very big and strong for his age and we don't know if we will be able to handle his outbursts as he gets bigger. On top of everything we just moved to texas from california so we also had to change health insurance and find a new doctor for him. I just hope he can start getting the help he needs.

Carla - posted on 06/03/2009

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Crystal,

Hey there.... I can appreciate the uneasiness and worry that you must be feeling right now. My son had a reaction to his 4 month shots and was reaching his milestones of sitting up, however his sspeech was delayed. It brought some concern, but we were told not to worry. I continued with his immunizations and believe that he regressed bt. 15 -18 months because of his MMR that he received at 12 months. He displayed 34 out of 36 classic autistic characteristics from flapping his hands, walking on his toes, waking up in the middle of the night for 1-5 hours at a time, very little eye contact, peripheral eye gaze, sensory issues (lights, food adversions). He did not play appropriately with his toys.. for instance, he would spin the wheels on a car, but not play with the car on the ground and make it go. He lined everything up, ran around in a circle when he stimmed, had insane meltdowns and stopped talking. One of the last things that he said was "Mumma" for the first time on my b-day and it was shortly after that he regressed. I didn't hear it again for almost 3 years. It was on his second b-day that I got a referral for a speech eval, but had already made the appointment for the neurologist, just because I KNEW, I just KNEW. My "mummy gut instinct" told me so.....Early on came in and evaluated him at 27 months. At 28 months, he had his neurologist appointment and got diagnosed with PPD. We then had several tests done- hearing, bloodwork to rule out Fragile X, and saw a pychologist. After 3 months, we went back to the Nerurologist. The testing came back negative and his doc and the psychologist both agreed that Gabe had autism. I joined a support group and got into the biomedical therapies, along with the outside therapies (speech, ot, music, pt) and early on, started on my quest to recover my son. Gabriel is now 6 1/2 and this past year started in a regular gen ed kindergarten! He does not have an aid and has pull out speech two times a week. He also attends therapies every week (speech and ot). To look at him now, you would not think that he has autism. He no longer displays 34 characteristics..... maybe less than 5, and they are so minor that only I reconize them.

It is a very scary... it was very scary for me....... i can tell you though, that I wouldn't change anything about it for the world though. Being Gabe's mummy has brought me the most excellent experiences and memories......... I am a far better person than I was before and I don't take things with my kids for granted because I know what it is like to have them go into their own little world, never knowing if they are going to come out of it.... will he ever let me hug him, will I ever hear his sweet voice again, will he ever look me in the eyes? I always wanted a "normal life" after Gabe got diagnosed and life flipped a 360 and became exasperated by autism......... But I realized how completely rad and just totally excellent "our normal" really is everyday when I see my two boys interacting........ If the diagnosis is autism, just know that there is hope.....

[deleted account]

To Deanna from Deana (pronounced the same, I'm sure) - what a great piece of advise. I've lived with this for over twenty years and I still get frustrated and bitter but in the end, you've summed it up. Our children need to know that we love them no matter what.

[deleted account]

Hello,
I'm glad to see so many people have responded to your post. I do not have a child with Autism but I do have two brothers with it. I am also a Preschool teacher for children with Autism. The piece of advice I want to pass on to you is love your son for who he is and do as much for him now as you can. Access every service that you believe will benefit him. Early intervention is key regardless if he has Autism or just a minor delay. Hug your son, tell him you love him, and know that you are doing everything that you can.

LeeAnn - posted on 06/02/2009

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Hello! I know exactly how you are feeling! My oldest dauther was diagnosed in March 2009 of Autism, and is 2 1/2 now. We have known that she is severely delayed in Social, Speech, Physical, Gross and Fine Motor areas since she was a year old. My husband didn't want any part of it, he refused to beleive that there was anything "wrong" with our little angel. We fought about enrolling her in services to help her. I persisted, and basically, went against his wishes, and began therapy. We started out with no diagnosis, but I just knew in my heart that she was Autistic. There are not many private practices around where we live, so she was only recieving PT for a while, and then in the summer, when school was out, an OT began to come and see her. When summer was to end, she would be without OT again. I applied to have her enrolled in a Day Habilitation/Daycare center in our hometown, where she could get all of her services at once, and not have to do without. She started going to Forrester Davis Development Center in July 2008. We still had no diagnosis, and I began to research testing for Autism. In most cases, I had heard that there isn't a test until after age 3. I found a few that were approved for use as early as 18 months. One in particular was the MCHAT. I made an appointment to discuss this with her doctor, and ask about being referred to Arkansas Children's Hospital for a formal evaluation. We went in March 2009 to the Dennis Development Center at ACH. While there, I met with a speech pathologist, a pediatrician, and a social worker. They evaluated my daughter, and asked me to fill out several questionaires. The social worker asked me questions, and answered my questions, and then we had a meeting to discuss results. I already knew the answer, and she was indeed diagnosed with Autism. I thought that I would be relieved, that I wasn't crazy, and that I had been right the whole time...that there would be something more to do now that we knew for sure what was going on. There wasn't. I had already done everything that they would have suggested to me. My battles with my husband had been the best thing. I sobbed, because now I REALLY had to deal with the fact that my daughter was Autistic. I don't love her any less, and I couldn't ask for a more precious child, but I felt a little like she would miss out on things. They told me that she wasn't the most severe case they'd seen, but also not the most promising; she MIGHT be able to work/live on her own....and she might not. Only time would tell how well she could do. The pedatrician suggested that we have genetic testing done to see if it was a symptom of a larger disorder. I agreed, grasping at anything that could answer all the questions flooding my mind. We later got the results that she has Velocardiofacial Syndrome, which is a deletion of a peice of the 22nd chromosone. There are several characteristics of this disease, and Autism is often diagnosed in those with this disease. Our little girl has been extremely lucky, and doesn't have any of the serious complications to this disease. Her biggest "symptom" is her Autism. She has struggles, and some days are very difficult, but she is thriving, and happy, and making tremendous progress. The beginning is rough, and it takes time....some days I still cry and get upset, and others I wear this "badge" of a mother of an Autistic child with immense pride. This disease doesn't define your child, and they are still the same magical child you have always known. Things may come at a higher cost, but that makes them all that much more special, and worth it. I wish you all the best, and hope that I have been of some help to you.

Somer - posted on 06/02/2009

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Hi Crystal, Samuel might just have a speech delay. My daughter at 2yrs old only said mama. She grunted for everything else. I was scared she might have a slight case of autism, because she lined everything up..her dolls,chairs, shampoo bottles etc. I had her evaluated through our counties regional center and they diagnosed her with receptive speech delay. She has had almost a year of therapy and you would never know she had a delay. Good luck to you and your family and God Bless

Donna - posted on 06/01/2009

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hi crystal, i am in the same boat as you. my son who is two. is under investagation for suspected autism. i have three children, so when my little boy didnt development like my other two i knew something wasnt right, but just didnt know what. he was always late to reach his milestones and he cant talk properly, like your son he couldnt put two or three words together to make sentences. he has a vocabarly of about 20 words. he copies what people say and in the exact intonation. he has a short fleeting attention spam. he screams when we go into shops, or crowd places or places he is unfamaliar with. people who come to my house he doesnt know he will scream and kick off. he only ever plays with his thomas the tank engines and cars and bricks. he always lines them up and anyone knocks one out of place and then there is hell to pay. he is delayed in speech and understanding,pretend play, social skills. he doesnt really play with other children including my other two children. i am lucky because he is affection with me more then my husband or other children, but he will hug them when he wants too.i have seen a peadiatrition and she has said that she thinks he is autistic.he will start a special nursery on the 11th june for all his assessments. this is just some of the issues he has, as too long to put them all down. but to reassure you that you are not going mad, cos i thought i was going crazy and i needed that reassurance too.as it takes a long time for a diagnosis. the best bit of advice i can give you is that mother always knows best. i hope this has helped. wishing you all the best

Allison - posted on 06/01/2009

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Hi Crystal, my five year old son was diagnosed in March with 'high functioning' autism. While it is hard and scary to hear that there is something wrong, I think the unknown is much worse! I would say trust your instincts, the sooner ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) are diagnosed the sooner you can be on the road of getting help for your son. There is so much that can be done through early intervention. I do not profess to be an expert, this is all new to me too, but I think it helps to share what we have learned. I wish you and your family all the very best.

Rae - posted on 05/28/2009

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Hi, Crystal. I was in your shoes just over a year ago. My daughter was developing appropriately and was even a little advanced in both her fine and gross motor skills and her 1st words came on schedule. Then around 18 months she started getting sick alot, her development stalled and her behaviour turned negative. It turns out she had a few health issues going on (recurrent ear infections, profound temporary hearing loss & obstructive sleep apnea). We still proceeded with all possible evaluations just in case she had Autism. I certainly didn't want the diagnosis but I wanted to make sure that if she did we were intervening as quickly as possible. After she had a myringotomy (tubes in her ears) and her tonsils and adenoids removed we were able to see that she still exhibited some of the symptoms and received the diagnosis just after her 2nd birthday.





Her symptoms, in case you are wondering, are delayed speech, behaviour, inhibited receptive language and dimished eye contact. She's been in treatment for just over 9 months and has gone from between 50 and 75 single word labels to a word count too high to keep track of, consistent 2 word initiations and up to 5 & 6 word combinations with prompts. Her behaviour, receptive language, and eye contact have all improved as well.





I guess what I'm saying is hope for the best but prepare yourself for the possibility so you can be ready to do everything in your power to help your son. There's so much that can be done with early intervention. If he does get the diagnosis, fight this thing from all angles and never stop fighting!

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My daughter started having seizures at age 13 months. Because of this, she was placed in a special ed preschool classroom. She was described at first as being unique and robotic. She could memorize very easily and had higher than average word recognition and reading skills...but comprehension was very low. At home, she would line up her Barbie dolls and books and videos instead of playing with them. She was very repetitive with everything. Chairs had to be pushed back in their place, etc. We attributed these behaviors to her seizure meds, not knowing anything much about autism. I began working as a teacher's aid in a school for the severe/profound and saw all of the signs but didn't want to admit the reality. In first grade, she was given the label of behavior disorder and placed in a school that specialized in that. Tragically, during a field trip, she wasn't properly supervised and fell 6 feet off a bridge and broke her hip in 3 places. Upon returning to school after months of surgery, traction, therapy, etc. she returned to school and magically received an award for "most improved student." They knew they had screwed up and didn't want to deal with their mistake. From there she went into multiple LD/EMH classrooms with a one-on-one aid but ended up in a school for multiple handicaps. My point is that it is so hard to pinpoint exactly what is the best placement for our children. I know it's so hard to accept and then deal with what you know in your heart to be true. Whatever the diagnosis/prognosis, we still love our babies the same. Good Luck.

Shawna - posted on 05/28/2009

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Hi! I know how u are feeling. I knew my childs development was behind since he was around a year old. A health nurse who was monitoring his development at the time was mentioning to me she suspected things we not right. I wouldn't listen 'cuz as parents it is very hard to hear these things. A caregiver at a daycare my son was attending took me aside and told me "I think Ethan has Autism" . Also the nurse thought this too, So i was thinking well if 2 people are thinking this then maybe just maybe it is... so i did research of the signs and i did notice alot of them in my son. Hand flapping, lack of eye contact, no interest in kids, spinning of cars when he was at the age where he should be playing with them properlly (3 yrs old) He was also delayed in fine motor and gross motor.
Now my son is about to turn 4 years old June 9th and i can say he is doing much much better, I do notice he is slightly different form his peers but you wouldn't really know if u knew what u were looking for.
He was diagnosed in aug 2008 he was 3 and he has been having some therapy off and on due to lack of english educators in out area and them falling pregnant. This is another story...
Hang in there... Get a diagnoses and get him some help. He will improve. Stay positive. Take care

My son had speech delay also and now at almost 4 he is talking ALOT and very well, he still has trouble understanding some directions and echolia which kids with autism have (Repeating back what u say to them Ex: Do u want some milk, child will say "Do u want some milk.)

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