Elizabeth - posted on 12/27/2010 ( 29 moms have responded )
I posted a conversation a few months ago regarding my son who was 8.5 months at the time. I was noticing some quirks that I thought were early signs of autism. He was not eating solids, not consistently responding to his name, staring at his hands often, and not babbling. We had him evaluated by a developmental pediatrician, a child neurologist, he started seeing a 0-3 worker (an OT) and was also evaluated by a speech pathologist who all said their "autism bells were not ringing" and to give him time to grow out of these quirks.
Well, here I am 5 months later and my son (now almost 14 months old) has made progress, he babbles, is now tolerating solids and self-feeding with his hands, beginning to drink from a sippy cup, responds to his name 95% of the time, smiles reciprically, and gives great eye contact. He also seeks me out constantly after a few minutes of playing alone and wants to be picked up. He loves to be held (mainly by me) and gets so excited when we praise him) He is just learning how to wave hi however sometimes he confuses waving hi with clapping imitating clapping and vice versa).
However our concerns are that he does not point, is not showing us objects, barely imitates, does not play the way a 14 month old should be playing, instead he plays repetitively for example, he likes to open and close doors, spin anything that can be spun, plays with strings, likes to pick up objects like a bottle top and drop it over and over again etc. I read that autistic children play like this when they have motor planning difficulties. He also takes objects like a spoon and will wave it back and forth in front of his eyes. He also sometimes looks at things with his head turned to the side and continues to stare at his hands (he will stop when redirected) all signs of undersensitivity to visual sensation which is an autistic trait. He is also beginning to have tantrums because it is obvious he cannot communicate. He has not said one word not even Mama or Dada discriminately, once again a sign that he is having difficulties with motor-planning.
We have an appointment with a developmental pediatrician on Jan 12, at which time we expect that he will be diagnosed. However his birth to three worker does not think he will be because he has made progress over the months and will continue to make progress. I don't understand how he would not be diagnosed with all of the above symptoms. So if a child shows autistic traits but is able to make progress does that mean he is not autistic? Trust me when I say, I am praying that I'm wrong but in order to get him the services he needs he needs a diagnosis. She also thinks there is a good chance he is NOT autistic. Am I the one overreacting hear? or is this another classic case of "lets wait and see." Does my son have to be at a point where he is unresponsive before he qualifies for services?
With that being said, we are looking for what services we can provide IMMEDIATELY for our son even if he does not have a diagnosis. I don't want to wait until he is 4 before he gets diagnosed to get him the help that he needs. We already have 0-3 services, but that is only for a couple hours per week. I took a leave of absence from my job as a school counselor after his 0-3 wrker said his daycare was not a good environment for him because the other toddlers his age who have stronger communication skills were getting all of the attention. With only two daycare workers and 8 children, my son was not getting the 1:1 attention he needed to learn new skills. Now that I am home with him, we can have services in the home or bring him daily somewhere. We are looking to have intense intervention, since everyone talks about the earlier the better. In the meantime we are reading a book called "More than words," that is teaching us ways to teach him how to improve his communication. We are also engaging him in an activity almost constantly with the hope that if we keep him engaged he will not continue to slip further and further into the disease.
I am writing because I was hoping for some suggestions from someone who has been there. What services are out there that might give our little boy his best chance for progress? We will be willing to pay if necessary. Are there provate consultants out there that will do just as good a job as birth to three? Should I watch out for scams? If for some reason the developmental pedi does not officially diagnose him on the 12th and instead just says “red flags”, we still want the intensive treatment IMMEDIATELY.
Thanks in advance for any help.