Speech Therapist Suggested Austism, need Advice..

Amber - posted on 11/16/2012 ( 28 moms have responded )

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I have a 28 month old son that was a 9 week preemie, only child, that stays at home with me. So his being slightly speech delayed didn't quite surprise me. He has always done things at his own pace from smiling to crawling to walking late, too. I thought that I should put him in Speech Therapy regardless as it could do nothing but help him in the long run.



Three weeks into therapy she conveyed that his speech patterns were "disconcerting" and his refusal to mimic her with sounds of letters or words was concerning. He speaks 50-70 words very well and has a few "phrases" but none of the words are interchangeable (IE "want wa-wa" but doesn't want anything else, "here you go" but cars don't go, trucks don't go..ect). He says new words all the time and I thought therapy was going quite well before she brought that up. When I asked where the type of issue he was having was usually seen (apraxia, APD, ect) she said "in the autism spectrum" and that he learns word with one meaning and stays very rigid with them and that is "atypical".



I contacted some college friends that specialized in the disorder and my child doesn't have ANY of the red flags for autism (eye contact fine, imaginative play, no stimming, very affectionate, no markers on the CHAT assessment) that would be worrisome aside from the language delay that is obviously, in some way, unique. I am at a loss! I figured he was just a late bloomer that needed a little help and now I am in a full blown panic.



I wouldn't mind if he did or didn't, I just want to get him the best help possible and am just very worried. Has anyone else been through this? Or their child had similar speech patterns? Or has a child in the spectrum that you couldn't see it coming AT ALL?

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Grace - posted on 11/18/2012

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Try to get your "regional center" (different names are called by different states) do an intake and diagnosis. Don't put it off, give them a call. Some states the intake can take up to 3 months. The earlier he is seen, the better. At least you can have a "baseline" and you can chart his progress. Whether or not he turns out to be autistic or not, definitely get services / interventions in early.

Danielle - posted on 11/19/2012

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My son, 7yrs, has been diagnosed as on the autism spectrum, PDD-NOS is his official diagnosis. He can speak now, though he started at 12months with a few words then lost them by 15months (typical for ASD kids) the words/speech came at 2yrs 7 months old and just grew from there. My son's play was atypical as well. He lined toys up and classified them vs. just using them as intended (push cars, stack blocks, pretend with food and plates etc.). Things did not get mixed either (trains and farm weren't allowed to go together though you do see trains go near farms in real life). He was very quirky. He was in EI, though it took them a long time to tell me what they thought. My son also had "fleeting" eye contact (still does occasionally but is much better)

If your son is making eye contact, playing with toys as they are intended, pretending, walks normally on his entire foot not just toe walking (toe walking would have to be consistent not just occasionally to be a symptom), and speech is coming along then you should have nothing to worry about. Yes being a stay at home mom, having no other children around, and being preemie are definitely going to contribute to his speech delay. Remember his chronologically 28 months but developmentally he is 25 months and 3 weeks. That is important because it sounds to me as if he is right on track for speech development. Oh and by the way, I've been teaching children 15months-2.9yrs for the past 12 years, so I've had my share of kids of all different developmental levels. I think you have nothing to worry about.

Shannon - posted on 11/18/2012

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He is still young but, IMO, an autism evaluation by a qualified person wouldn't hurt. If he is on the spectrum, super early intervention is key. If he isn't then, your speech therapist will know and you will too. I have two sons on the spectrum.

Nicole - posted on 11/18/2012

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I have a son that was diagnosed with Autism at 19 months. I was blindsided. I did not even think Autism was what the problem was. To be honest I didnt think there was a problem but like your son he took his time at hitting some of his milestones. Your son to me sounds like it would be very mild, possibly aspergers or PDD NOS. My son unfortunatly is very severe. He doesnt speak at all and never started walking till he was 2 almost 3.

It is absolutly hard news to hear. I went through alot of different emotions. I even tried to convince myself that the Doctor was just trying to play some sick prank because the day he was diagnosed was April fools.

Hang in there! It is a hard fight but it is totaly worth it!

[deleted account]

Many children on the spectrum do learn languages atypically; they often learn whole phrases rather than individual words and the grammar (language structure) that goes with putting them together into thoughts. There is a disorder of language that is called "semantic-pragmatic language disorder" and some people have thought it overlapped but was distinct from the autism spectrum; others believe it is simply a form of autism. My grandson at 3 years old would say, "Don't-chu-dare" if another child tried to take away a toy, but he had no idea what the words meant, only that they were appropriate for the situation. One adult with autism says her language was greatly improved when she got a picture dictionary that showed the one word to item correspondence. Does he have any sensory sensitivities like an aversion to loud sounds? Does he use the pronouns "you" and "I" properly or switch them around? My grandson was diagnosed at 5 with high-functioning autism. Don't panic. A diagnosis, if it is appropriate, will make more help available and early intervention is very important and beneficial.

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Dori - posted on 12/06/2012

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Yes, my son was similar and he was diagnosed w/ Aspergers. Their speech can be very "bookish" or "computer like" and yes they only see black and white. RDI therapy helped a ton with the rigidity (rdiconnect.com). His Aspergers is undetectable at age 9. He was Dx at 3.

Good Speech Therapy is very helpful, too. check out Michelle Garcia Winner (google her site). she has great books, videos and does speak around the globe. It will all click when you hear her.

Jeanette - posted on 12/03/2012

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Join our SPD Community



www.sensoryprocessing.yolasite.com



https://www.facebook.com/sensoryprocessingdisorderparentsupport

Brenda - posted on 12/02/2012

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Have you done any reading about Semantic Pragmatic disorder? It deals with the ability to understand language and extracting meaning from language and it is within the spectrum of autism. Check this link and do some research on it. My grandson presented similar symptoms to this disorder and was finally diagnosed as having high functioning autism. Good luck and keep doing your researching and advocating for your son!!

Amber - posted on 11/30/2012

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Georgi-



see below



I found this just browsing "autism help Michigan" so I am sure there are programs in your area-there are in Texas-it will just take a bit of research and a won't take no attitude. The fact that you mentioned a judge leads me to believe that his behavior is in some way worrisome to you and you need to dig in a get him help as soon as possible. Only you as a mom know whether or not your child is learning and if you feel he is falling behind then find every program you can to help! I have done so much research into this subject and children with Asperger's can have such a healthy and normal life...they just need a little more attention, socialization therapy can help in that area.



As for everyone, Thank you for your continued support and words of wisdom. The speech therapist said after last session that his eye contact is improving and he actually mimicked a letter sound she was trying for and actually said the words, "I may have spoken too soon". This doesn't mean that language isn't something he isn't going to have a harder time with but it gives me a bit of hope that the pragmatic language impairment may not be a lifelong issue. I am enrolling him in a toddler tumbling class so he can be around lots of kids in a less verbal environment than some while still giving him the opportunity to socialize and make new friends. No matter what happens, I am just grateful he is healthy and happy and nothing can change that for me. You are all wonderful people for taking the time to calm down this hyper-panicked mom and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Georgi - posted on 11/30/2012

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Moms, please HELP. I was told my grandson was Autistic(?) at age 3. He is now 11. NO BODY will evaluate him. He is also ADHD and between his 2 meds he takes in the morning, it keeps him calm in school... so the school has no complaints. But he is not learning and he does not know how to socialize with other kids. We took him to a child Psychologist who said he has "Aspergers" We worry about his future !!!! We want to help him now before he grows up and gets in trouble with the law and then a JUDGE orders a mental evaluation.

We have limited income and cant afford all this on our own. We live in MICH, any suggestions on how we can get organizations to listen to us. Thanks !!!!

Claire - posted on 11/27/2012

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Boys seem to start to really talk later than girls as a whole. Make sure he has time with kids his age and a little older to help with this. It does seem like their are better at finding a probelm at younger ages now. Early invention really helps. Good luck!

Diane - posted on 11/25/2012

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Continue with the speech therapy and talk to you doctor. Your doctor can give you more direction and will give you a questionnaire (lengthy) to fill out that can help determine if he has any other issues besides the delayed speech. Don't let yourself get into a panic mode, but don't ignore it either. He is at a good age to determine it there are concerns that need to be addressed and with the proper help if needed he can thrive. My son was about the same age when we sought help for speech issues and his therapist also suggested further screening, He did get a diagnosis for Aspergers (high functioning) as well as ADHD and slight OCD. He began getting "special ed" help starting in pre-school, mostly for socialization and speech. He is now 11 (12 next month) and thrives in a regular classroom. He still receives services for speech and some social skills help and needs a little help on handling his frustrations. He is very smart and gets along with his peers very well, with the exception of a couple of kids that liked to push his buttons. (minor bully issues which have been addressed). He has come a long way and I am very happy we addressed it right away and he got the help he needed. Don't give up. If you feel you need a second opinion then get one, do some research and don't be afraid to ask any questions, there are no stupid questions when it comes to your child. It may turn out to be nothing but as you said he is just a late bloomer. Maybe try getting into a play group or preschool to socialize with other children his age. I wish you the best!

Diane, Mom of 3 wonderful kids

Leigh-Ann - posted on 11/25/2012

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Hi Amber....I completely understand where you're coming from, it's a little scary to hear your precious son may be on the autism spectrum. My son wasn't identified until he was in kindergarten, he's 10 now. He was a 35-week old preemie and had developmental delays including physical needs and speech delays. (He didn't walk until he was 18 months old and didn't speak his first word until about 22 months.)



I said the same thing about my son you're saying about yours: autism doesn't fit. While the school did their evaluations, I sought my own. I found a pediatrician who specialized in kids with developmental disabilities and I got my son into a pediatric neurologist. The pediatrician and school had me fill out a "Connors Scale," both of which placed him on the autism spectrum. The neurologist confirmed the findings of the pediatrician based on the Connors Scale and her own observations of my son.



Here's the bottom line: it's not as scary as it sounds even if he is on the autism spectrum. There are so many things you can do to help your son, speech therapy is a great step! Here's the steps I would take if I were you:



1. Call the school district where you live. The may evaluate him and provide services, if necessary. You'll want to talk to someone in Special Education. They technically can't diagnose autism, they will identify him as having a learning disability that places him on the autism spectrum.



2. If you live in California, contact the county regional center. You will need a medical diagnosis first for them to work with you.



3. Take him to his pediatrician, ask to have him evaluated for autism. (My son's first pediatrician would only test him if I agreed to medicate him if he was found to be autistic. I walked out of the office and found a new doctor to take him to: the developmental pediatrician I mentioned above.) I also made the appointment with the pediatric neurologist.



4. If you're a stay at home mom, make sure he gets lots of socialization. MOMS Club is a non-profit organization which supports stay at home moms and their kids. Look for momsclub.org to see if there's a chapter in your area. MOPS is another good organization I've heard about. I've not been involved with them, but I have friends who have and they've enjoyed it.



Depending on your son's diagnosis and where his deficits are really depends on the type of help you will need. Since he was diagnosed in kindergarten, my son's had Speech Therapy, Adapted PE, Occupational Therapy (both through the school and privately), and he's been supported by the resource center at his school while being in the mainstream classroom. He's also had ABA at home. He's 10 now and we just got his first trimester report card: 3-As and 2-Bs! He's in a regular classroom, doing all the work all the other kids do! We couldn't be prouder of him if we tried!



It may not be the path you thought you'd walk with your son, it may take you a little out of your way, but it is an interesting, learning path well worth taking. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly, I'd be happy to help with anything! My email address is lareid529@gmail.com.

Kristina - posted on 11/25/2012

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Your little boy sounds a lot like my son(16). He was finally diagnosed at the age of 8, we had one Dr and his kindergarten teacher suspected it. He did nearly everything late, very picky eater even to this day, has sensory issue. He does look close family in the eye but will only look anyone else in the face, which makes it hard to tell that he is not looking them in the eyes. He has always been a snuggle bug as a matter of fact he requires a certain amount of touch during the day. He doesn't stim unless he is stressed and even then most people don't realize that is what he is doing. Getting the proper diagnosis is important because you can get the right help. Early intervention is important, it works better then trying to change a child set in their ways. It is good that you have the attitude because that will help you in dealing with all the challenges that come with raising a child but it is more important if the child is special needs.

Heather - posted on 11/25/2012

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Fish oil is good, so is coconut oil. MB12 is best for speech. I saw dramatic changes with these suppliments.

LeeAnn - posted on 11/25/2012

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Did he just have a speech eval to get him services or did he have other evaluations as well? If he did I wonder if anything showed up there. Also the Autism spectrum has a very wide range, from Asperger's to severe Autism. He could just have some behaviors that it would be helpful to address in Early Intervention. The earlier you can identify these things and get help, the better off he'll be his whole life. When they're so little it's hard to tell, we want to give them time to grow out of it and develop at their own pace, so that's why it's so great to have the opinion of experts.

I'm curious about fish oil. I know it's good for just about everything, but is it taken for speech problems, or Autism spectrum problems?

Karen - posted on 11/25/2012

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There are many reasons for speech delays. Normally children with developmental delays fall under Developmentally Delayed. Usually AU is determined when they turn 8. There are some children who get diagnosed at an earlier age, but most of the time it is later if it is determined by the school system. They have to have certain criteria that will determine if he has AU. The category of DD will allow services up until he is 8. You do want to do everything you can do to help him at an early age. That is very important with any delays that are present.

Heather - posted on 11/25/2012

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I began speech with my son at 18 months on an IEFP. He was diagnosed with apraxia - autism - sensory integration disorder. I think autism is thrown out there because there is such little understanding of the neurological conditions that are springing up in our children. My son was saying a lot of what you describe and when he got older I noticed he was switching the syllables in words and reversing the order in sentence structure. I did some digging and realized that he could have a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). They cannot test for that until the age of 5 so I had to wait. He ended up being diagnosed with 90% damage to his Central Auditory Nervous System (CANS) in the right half of his brain. The brain is pliable until the age of 12 and he is now part of the University's research where they are tracking his progression. With the help of non-pharmaceutical (processing filters) aides he has come a very long way. He is almost 9, still in speech but doing great. It takes him longer to process instructions but his academic scores are very high. He is mainstreamed but requires a full time aide to pull him from class because the sensory (auditory/visual) over-stimulation.



I think you are on the right track. Be on the look out for CAPD. There is so much hope out there. Here is my email if you have any questions hxwhite@hotmail.com.

Pamela - posted on 11/25/2012

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Sounds like my son, started speech at 26 months and the speechy suggested it, We had an early intervention assessment at 2.5 and they said no ( apart from the OT). He was then DX with Mixed expressive and receptive language disorder. Then just after he turned 3 that changed to Semantic pragmatic disorder or pragmatic language impairment. At 4 I still suspected Autism and at 4.5 he was finally DX Autism with specific language impairment ( Semantic pragmatic disorder). He developed more red flags over the years he now Flaps and stims, He has a great imagination ( which is a big myth about kids with ASD as all are different). He has no obsession and have never lined things up or played inappropriately, He had eye contact but lost this as he became more aware and is slowly getting it back now, He is not aggressive and very affectionate. He is classed as High Functioning due to his self care skills and the fact he isn't fix to routine and is adaptable. But his language is still very far behind and very different in its development Vocab is amazing communication is very poor. He is in Early intervention kindergarten ( nearly 5 year old) and doing well academically he is = to kids his age. but we have alot o work to do. He talks constantly ( Jargon and scripting) and sings and hums alot. Good luck on your journey I would look more into pragmatic language disorder and ask the speechy about it some believe its on the spectrum others do not and some believe it comes with the spectrum. And get a full assessment some one you trust. Go with your gut ( I went against mine for a long time )

Ilene - posted on 11/25/2012

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Autism is so different from one child to the next. If it was suggested, I would consider the evaluation.....if nothing else, you've marked that off as a "No", and if it is then you can address the issues. In my mind, it's win/win. And your nerves will be eased because you'll have your answer.



My family is living proof that early intervention works when it comes to autism, so I tend to fall on that side of the argument. There really is no right or wrong here, as long as you are keeping an eye on things.

Amber - posted on 11/20/2012

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Thank you all for your wonderful answers, I am literally crying as I read them! After speaking with the speech therapist more calmly (the first conversation blindsided me and I wasn't asking enough specific questions as much as freaking out) I found that she thinks the rigidity of his speech is the same as Kathleen suggested, Semantic Pragmatic Disorder. It is a developmental delay, as Kathleen stated, that some feel is and some feel is not on the autism spectrum. I, personally, don't care either way. It comes with very mild autistic features so it is easy to not notice until the language delay is present and different than your typical late bloomer. As Katleen said, my son learns phrases like, "come on" and that means follow me but doesn't understand that come is a verb and is interchangeable, knows "Here you go" but not that here is a place, ect. Where I thought he used imaginative play he really just memorizes...a toy phone represents a real phone but never pretends anything else is a phone. The pickiest eater on the planet-pretty much only carbs and cheese. Socially, very shy, has to be prompted to say hello/goodbye even to grandparents and friends. So he has had the markers all along I just never knew what to look for!



I wish I could give you all a hug for taking the time to answer my question, it's such a shock and like Nicole Greack, I thought she was just wanted more sessions to bill insurance lol. I am grateful for the suggestions from everyone and Kathleen, I will try the fish oil!

[deleted account]

I agree with the people who posted above but I wanted to add that one thing that has been incredibly helpful for my grandson is to have his diet supplemented with a high quality essential fatty acids supplement--fish oil. We have used two capsules of Nordic Naturals ProEFA or Complete Omega every morning for the past nine years. When he was smaller we punctured the capsules and squirted them into his mouth, then he started to chew them. I cannot overemphasize how important this is. If you cannot get ProEFA into your child, Coromega is another brand that is rather expensive but comes in little packets of creamy stuff that kids often find acceptable. We found this had a profound effect on his speech, starting within a few weeks.

Jenny - posted on 11/18/2012

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Just keep doing what you are doing. Get Early Intervention for him with whatever he isn't meeting milstones with. If it is an ASD, then Early Intervention is the most important thing. If it isn't ASD but some other developmental delay, Early Intervention is the most important thing. He's still very young and some kids with milder versions of ASD aren't diagnosed till they are about ten. That doesn't matter as long as he gets help with anything he needs help with.

Liz - posted on 11/18/2012

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I have been through the same thing. You should get the book "The Einstein Syndrome". It is about bright children who talk late. I would just keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about labels. Even if they were on the "spectrum" it gets better with time when you are working with them. I have had an ot say he was having auditory processing problems, a speech therapist thinks he has sensory issues, and a developmental ped say he has is not autistic at all.Everyone thinks something different. You know your child better than anyone. Just keep working with them and don't worry about labels. We watch a lot of phonics on youtube. Look up learn the alphabet in fifteen minutes. It is a great tool for them. Just keep your head up and know that there is such thing as talking late without other issues . :)

Morgan - posted on 11/17/2012

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Does he point? Does he initiate none verbal communication? Example..bring you a toy and show you?? Give you something that he needs help with?

Janelle - posted on 11/16/2012

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He's only 24 months old. It's a little early but I could be wrong. A lot of people think early intervention is key. My son is now 9. His kindergarten teacher began expressing concerns of autism first. I still haven't gotten any diagnosis to state he's Autistic. After all the testing it was clear he had sensory issues and speech and language issues etc. I couldn't even begin to break it all down. But the description all sounded like Autism to me though no one would call it that. Instead they settled for calling his condition Pervasive Development Disorder Otherwise Non Specific (PDD-ONS). But if you Google that, Autism comes up, go figure.



I heard it once said that from a diagnosis point of view "Clumping" the symptoms together and naming them (Autism) makes scene. But because no 2 individuals on the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are alike that their symptoms are often picked apart (and given a multitude of acronyms that I can't begin to memorize). Simply because a kid may be ADD that puts them on the ASD. Or a kid that might run off without looking for cars or thinking of safety makes him ICD (Impulse control disorder). You see what I mean about the crazy multitude of acronyms.



What I mean to say is my kiddo is so super sweet and funny. But even at 9 he uses words in odd ways or takes more time to say what he wants to say and becomes very frustrated. But I have no doubt he's going to be great in life. I'm not entirely convinced he's on the ASD though many moms with Autistic kids see him, talk to him and think he's defiantly on the ASD, yet with my past lousy insurance I haven't had that confirmed. Usually the pediatrician takes one look at him and asks maybe one or two simple questions then say's "No, he's not Autistic." The school system however needed to put some kind of label on him in order to get him the help/education he needs.



Right now your kiddo is still just a baby who needs a little help using his words. You have time to figure all this out or even hopefully, that you don't have to figure it out. But there is a battle between Dr.'s, insurance companies, teachers and parents over who's going to pay for what, and what our special needs kids really need. So tread lightly and take everything you hear with a grain of salt. I recently heard that a child labeled with Asperger's syndrome won't be covered by his insurance company like he would be if he had been labeled Autistic.



Come to find out, my boy also had Tourette's syndrome. Nope, totally did not see any of this coming. Stinks. But... he'll be okay.



Best wishes ~ Janelle (mom of 3)

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