Christine - posted on 01/27/2013 ( 6 moms have responded )
OK this question would mostly be for moms who have noticed similar behaviors in their own children, as opposed to anyone saying if they just "think" this is normal behavior. Preferably if anyone with some type of PDD, High Functioning Autism/Aspergers or other "different" diagnosis in their own child remembers any of these behaviors when their child was around the same age my daughter is now which is 29 months old. I have a bachelors in psychology and volunteer with special needs kids once a week through my church, so because of some basic knowledge I have in this area I have started to notice some things about my daughter for a while now, and while most people seem to think this is normal, they also don't have any experience with children that are considered special needs. OK first for the most part my daughter appears to be developing perfectly normal, at all of her check ups her doctor has reassured me she is developing perfectly, anyone around her usually comments on how smart she is and nobody has ever mentioned any type of concern. She has a good size vocabulary and knows how to ask for what she wants (though she might often whine about it first) and can say small sentences like "mommy help you" or "mommy fix it" when she wants my help, "more milk" when she wants milk for example. But the things I have noticed that I feel when I put all of these things together there is some concern. First some things that are technically normal but I have noticed a trend in many parents of autism spectrum children saying their child did these things- she slept through the night at a very early age (7 weeks old sleeping at least 8 hours) as well as night terrors which started at about a year old and continue on even now. She learned how to snap her fingers at a very early age (8 or 9 months) but has since then forgot how to do it; at around 9 months or so she started making this type of moaning noise (sort of like "ugghhh, ugghhh, ughhh") and she would repeat it over and over again for long periods of time about half hour or so, but sometimes shorter time frames like 5 minutes, she also frequently did this when she was tired and she would continue to make this noise until she fell asleep. She continued on with this until she was well over a year and to be honest it's hard to remember the exact ages for these things but I do remember bringing it up to her doctor and they weren't concerned. At around 12-18 months she would randomly pull very hard on her hair, I would always try and stop her right away because she would pull very hard and I would think it was hurting her but she never fussed or cried she would just keep pulling, she has since stopped doing it but its hard to remember when she stopped. In addition to the night terrors at about a year old she also started with having what are best described as "day terrors" which is almost the exact same behavior as a night terror but they would occur in the middle of the day while she was wide awake. They are definitely more likely to happen if she is tired for example if she missed her nap, but they are always brought on by seeing a person she is afraid of. It is almost always men and sometimes they have a beard or a hat on. The first time it happened we were at the hospital when my grandfather was about to pass away, a lot of my family and my two uncles were there (they kind of look like each other) and she had been in the same room as them and had no issues at all, then later in the day we all went out into the hallway (being there all day she had missed her nap) and she all of a sudden freaked out and was starting at my uncles in total fear (like terrified) and just started screaming and crying uncontrollably. This lasted for almost half an hour - and before anyone needs to ask no she was not in any way alone with my uncles that day or ever before. The next day we went to my grandpa's house to help clean it out and my uncles were there, the second she saw them she freaked out again and the rest of the day she couldn't even be in the same room as them or she would literally freak out - it was like a panic attack with crying in a toddler. About 6 months later one of my uncles came to my house with his grandchildren (my daughter hadn't seen him at all since the last incident) and the second she saw him walk in she freaked out again with the screaming and crying. She has done this since then handful of times to other people and whenever it happens everyone around her is baffled and doesn't understand what is wrong with her when she does it - it's definitely not just a little crying spell or a fit. Since this first time she has gotten used to my uncle and has been fine around him, but has still done this around others, not frequently but it's happened. At about 18 months she started something pretty embarrassing but I've heard over and over and asked her doctor and was again reassured it's totally normal but she started humping things. She would usually hump thick blankets or larger stuffed animals and moved on to just doing the splits and humping the ground, this never went away she just stops doing it for a while and then starts again off and on- when she's humping she doesnt respond to anything around her or anything we say, we have to physically get up and stop her and she's usually starring off into space while she does it and pays no attention to anyone around her even if I try and get in her face and get her attention. In the past few months she has started spinning in circles and laughs and loves to do it and I would never think it's weird except for all of these other things I have noticed and the fact that I have read so much about other parents noticing this in their autism spectrum children, she also does the hand-flapping but it isn't constant. She does it some times when she's excited about something and other times when she's upset about something, mostly if she is hurt or scared. For the past few months or so I have noticed here and there, pretty much very rarely but I have still seen it from time to time, bite marks on her forearm so I know she's bit herself but I don't know why and I never actually catch her doing it. A major thing I have noticed is that she very rarely responds to her name being called or to us trying to get her attention at all. I know she hears us because I have tested this by calling her name repeatedly and asking her to look at me or come to me and if you were watching you would thinks she might be deaf by the way she doesn't respond at all but if I were to ask her if she wants a cookie or candy she right away looks up and comes over, so I know that she can hear me it's just that she hardly responds to us calling her, she repeats her name to herself a lot so I know she knows her name. More recently she started randomly covering her ears here and there, she doesn't do it constantly but I have noticed it a good amount (at least once a week maybe more) and it's never in response to any sound it's just randomly. She also copies things she hears a lot and in one way she learns a lot of new words that way and she does use them appropriately, but at other times she will just hear something in conversation or on TV and walk around repeating it. For example she might see shoes and say "those are daddys shoes" which makes sense, but she also might just walk around the house saying this when there aren't even shoes in sight, so she does sometimes say phrases she's heard and repeat them when they don't relate to the situation. One last thing which is probably normal but I just think she might be a bit old to do this and I've seen kids younger than her NOT do this, is she does like to play with playdough and color with crayons but she also still eats playdough or the crayons when we turn our head. So sorry this whole thing is so long I just don't know if these are all coincidences aside from these things listed she appears to have a normal development. If anyone has experienced a lot of these things with their child please share, thank you.