Is my nephew autistic?

M - posted on 12/17/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have a 2 1/2 year old son. He is a great kid. My husbands sister also has a son, who is a few months older than our child. Ever since my nephew was born I knew something was different about him. But I really noticed after my son was born. My son was very responsive. He was born 5 1/2 weeks early, when is due date rolled around he was ready 10pds. He would coo and smile. My nephew wouldn't. If you held him up in front of you he would turn his head to the side refusing to make eye contact. As the boys got older I noticed my nephew would smile, not often..and when did his eyes didn't show any emotion to go along with the smile. I notice he runs kind of differently. His body language all in all is just different. The one thing that bothers me the most is: he doesn't stop moving he is into something, and after being redirected he darts off and is into something else...over and over the entire visit. All while showing no emotion. He pisses everyone off during family functions. We have to hide the vacuums..he is overly obsessed with them and wants to drag them all over and he trips people up. So the vacuum gets put away, split second later ( not exaggerating ) he is going after knifes. It goes on like this constantly. My father in law finally says "how many times do I have to tell you no!!?" The kid doesn't care.
He scares me around my own son and I feel so guilty. I fear he will hurt my child so I am always right there in the midst of their playing. I shouldn't say I fear he will, because he has. My son has finally started to tell him "NO! Be nice". He won't let my son play with his toys, constantly taking them from him and sometimes hitting him. This child is so smart! It's amazing. I just want to if he is normal? Why doesn't his mom see it? He honestly scares me.

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Beth - posted on 01/02/2013

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M.R........I realize you posted this question because you are scared and many times fear can be masked by anger. I know you are concerned about your nephew but I think you need to be aware of your "tone". While reading your post it appears that you think your nephew is doing this on purpose or that he should just stop the behavior. I have a 7 year old daughter who was on the spectrum and because of therapy, patience, love and a whole lot of applied behaviorial analysis my daughter is no longer autistic. She has been declassified. Because my parents, and brother and extended family loved and accepted Julia unconditionally and educated themselves about this disorder I was able to actually bring her to my family get togethers knowing that they weren't thinking " she doesn't even care".and her child is such a behavior problem. You can be sure that every day for her is a struggle filled with shame and humiliation that you can never understand unless you have been in hers hoes. I think you need to be really empathetic and get educated for your nephew's sake because she needs all the help and acceptance she can get. Good luck!

Erin - posted on 12/31/2012

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M R-, First of all I think you seem like you really love your nephew and your sister in law is lucky to have you go to the classes w/her, I wish I had someone who was as supportive as that. And it's great that you are willing to learn w/her. Check out the book "10 things every child with autism wishes you knew" I'm always recommending it to people on here and I think your sister in law might find it helpful as well.
I think what got Danielle upset was not so much the question just the way it was put like when you put that "he pisses everyone off." It is a sensative subject for parents of children with autism. My son can be sweet as pie one minute and have a meltdown over something he'll randomly remember that made him mad a year ago the next. I constintly feel judged by strangers family and friends.
But I'm glad you asked and you care enough about your nephew to ask. Good luck to your family.

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Tasha - posted on 01/27/2013

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My son has Autistic Spectrums and shows slight signs of OCD behavior at times. He does well now, but was the same way...with out the violence. There are sooo many types of Autism and Autistic Spectrums that it can't be pin pointed without a full examination. Share your concerns with your sister, she may be in denial that her son has a neurological disability. ADHD can be part of this as well. If you correct him make sure you are making him look you in the eyes when you speak to him. Don't yell they don't respond that way. Good Luck!

Danielle - posted on 12/31/2012

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I don't even know where to start.
I didn't mean to attack you.
This post doesn't drudge up emotions from my past. It happens every time we leave the house..glares from strangers, ect; which I took personally when your overall tone in describing your nephews personality negatively.
Yes, you came to an Autism forum to ask a simple question, but that still requires you to be sensitive about it. All these woman on here have Autistic children, and at one point, or still do, feel isolated and judged by people who don't understand. So yes, I had some urges to say some mean things, because wither you we're intending to or not, your colloquial language in your post displays a general negative tone. A negative tone toward my son, and people like your nephew.

And I didn't say you were the problem with this world.. Please don't put words in my mouth. I said this is what's wrong with Autism Awareness. And I don't appreciate you saying that "I" was the problem with this world (because I felt the need to protect my son, and people who your seemingly negative description depicted). I feel like if you do not have an Autistic child, then yes, this is a subject that any unknowning person should tred lightly!

And like I said - Autism is a subject that affect these people's children; our vulnerable children about a condition that is central to their lives. Yes!! I'm going to be sensitive about it.

I am sorry that you felt attacked, and I appreciate that you are attending classes with your sister.
Please don't post me back, I did not post to start a fight. I just wanted to say my piece about how I read your initial post.

Good luck in your future.

M - posted on 12/30/2012

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No experience should shut their mouths? Seems like another great way to spread the word. Just an FYI ..my nephew is the first in the family diagnosed. Doctors are saying it may have been the mothers age. They don't have any real answers on "why". Which none of us care. We just wanted him to have a fighting chance in this life. The comment amongst the family was "I don't want to bring it up to her, a teacher will say something when he is in school" ....I thought that was mean. It's not my business (unless it involves my child getting hurt) but in my mind, and maybe I'm wrong, I thought by the time he is in school, would it be harder for both mother and child? Stupid question maybe. I just thought the sooner she knew and could gain knowledge, the sooner she could be able to gain patience and supply him with the structure and anything else he needs. It's new for all of us in my family.

M - posted on 12/30/2012

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First of all I never claimed I was knowledgeable about autism, which is why I asked a question on this site. My description was to give a straight forward idea of what's going on so I could get my question answered. I think you are personally taking what I wrote defensively, when I'm asking A QUESTION! It's not just me, it's my husbands entire family. And by the way, her mother and father finally sat down and talked to her. She had no clue, so there for, was not in denial. She took him to see a specialist and found out he has aspergers. Now she is taking class's (because she isn't knowledgable either). Please in the future when a question is ask, try not to make it about you. I love my nephew. I have also attended the class's with my sister in law and will continue to do so when she asks. I as well as the rest of my husbands family just want the best for him. Don't make me out to be a stupid un knowledgable, cold hearted person. Because you don't know one single thing about my life! I watched my sister die from cystic fibrosis, I've watched diabetes kill off almost everyone in my dads family, I've said "goodbye" to my brother three times as he is taken overseas to fight, I've seen both my grandmother and mom both fight and fight to cure their cancer. So excuse me for not taking the time out of my life to become knowledgable about something your child has. Excuse me for thinking this was a safe site to come and ask a "un knowledgable" question. I thought that is what I was able to do here. Me not knowing, so I ask women that would. To gain knowledge about anything in this life, you either experience it, or you ask questions. That's what I did. You say you found offense because "he pisses everyone off"? I was, like I said, trying to be straight forward in my description, hoping someone would be able to say "no this isn't what the world deems "normal" or "he seems like a kid just being a kid". ASKING A QUESTION to gain KNOWLEDGE! Maybe you shouldn't try and answer or comment on questions on this site if its going to trigger your pain from the past. I as well as others on this site, don't know anything about you. So intentions of upsetting YOU or anyone else, was not something I set out to accomplish. It wasn't intended to be about you. A simple "I went through this, I was the child's mother." And in your situation, maybe let me know in a none attacking approach, what would of been the way you would of liked the "outsiders looking in" to handle your situation if you could change the pain from the past. To supply someone like myself, with your personal (yet, not obligated to be to personal) experience and knowledge, could possibly be a great start to spread the word about autism.

By the way: I never said I was going to give her advise. How can I do that when I don't have the knowledge. And how he behaves isn't my business? It is when MY child is in danger! Just like you, I will protect my child!

You urge to name some things about me? You don't know me. Don't come to this site and treat people asking a question like shit because you are mad they didn't tip toe around you and your feelings! Was I suppose to ask "is my nephew autistic?" And leave it at that? How is anyone able to answer my question without a reason and description to back up my question? People like you are the problem with this world, NOT just me. You think your pain and struggles are greater than someone else's. You think everyone is out to hurt you or someone you love. When instead you should be taking your experiences and teaching us that don't know. If you cant read what I asked or how I asked it, without getting angry, then don't read it and don't comment. I may not be his mother and I may not understand the true sacrifice and struggles you have to go through on a day to day basis. But just like you and your child, I am a person and deserve compassion and patience. We all have pain and struggles in life. They may not be the same, but we still all have them.

Danielle - posted on 12/30/2012

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This is ridiculous, and I feel sorry for the mother, and the child.
As a mother of an ASD child I think everyone who doesn't have any experience having a child with ASD need to shut their mouths.

Reading this post has made me very emotional.

First, the child is only 2.5 ( gauging from the similar age to your son).. Which means ASD or not, there is going to be sharing issues, and tantrums.
Secondly, I resent the fact that you stated he "pisses everyone off". Maybe you should research how hard it is to actually raise a child with ASD so you can have a better understanding and maybe more patience with your nephew. I feel like that statement alone represents everything wrong with this situation. Maybe the problem isn't with the child, but with your family and a general ignorance towards Autism.
Thirdly, if he is Autistic and the parents have trouble accepting this fact you need to understand that there is a lot of pain, and denial that is associated with having a child that is different.

Your post demonstrates everything wrong with Autism awareness. My child is exactly how you have described and I have an indescribable urge to same some hateful things about you for reminding me how many people probably view my child in a daily basis!!

And by the way: how he behaves is none of your business. If you think he has Autism and feel like its your responsibility to advise the parents then I'd strongly recommend you do some research before you say anything. You seem very unknowledgable, and oblivious to the actual struggles these parents probably face on a daily basis.

Are Autism parents over sensitive-maybe. But you are taking about our kids-our vulnerable kids-about an issue that is central to their lives. Of course we're going to be sensitive about it.

M - posted on 12/17/2012

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He is clumsy. He runs and walks with a strange hop and its seems he is on his tippy toes. Speech wise, he speaks but that's only been in the recent year. And he ignores you and is quiet. My son will be talking to him and my nephew will not interact back. His voice when he does speak is high and low high and low. But usually when you talk to him you'll get the deer in the headlights stare and then he is quickly off to target an animal or object. He grabbed a table cloth at a family dinner and before we could stop him he pulled all of the food to the floor ( he is quick!) then as quick as he did it he has darted off to attack the vacuume! I am getting to the point where I feel if there is nothing wrong with him and its just him being a brat because he isn't disaplined (which I'm not around his mother enough to know these days) I would rather just keep my distance. Because I'm afraid that his sneakiness will ultimately endanger my child. I know me well enough that my reaction will make my husbands entire family dislike me. So I guess the real question is: is he just an only child of two parents that don't live together and both work for great paying jobs, a bit on the spoiled side, maybe never disaplined? Or is he having a more serious underlining issue? I couldn't be the one to tell my sister in law. She already feels I stole her thunder for getting pregnant 4 months after her.

Anaquita - posted on 12/17/2012

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The always on the go I'd say would be potentially more indicative of ADHD, though he's REALLY too young for that diagnosis. As for autism, maybe, with the lack of eye contact, and vacuum obsession. Maybe though. Remember they are awfully young. Does he stim? How's his language? Is he clumsy or not? Other potential red flags. If he's higher functioning he's not likely to be diagnosed until older.

As for the more aggressive behavior, that's NOT typical autism [by itself] behavior. But more of one of the other disorders that some kids on the spectrum [Or even non-spectrum kids] have. A co-diagnosis, as it were.

Or it could be due to parenting, or lack thereof, maybe. I don't know your sister, at all, so I have no idea how she parents. However if he IS on the spectrum, or something else, she's likely in denial. Maybe try to gently broach the subject with her?

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