Possible Autism

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Possible Autism
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 11:19pm
Hello everyone! My name is Stacey and I have been on here before. My question to you is how do you really know when your child has Autism. Noah's OTA is starting to see a bunch of signs of it and his ped hasn't tested him for it. He has been tested for seizures, CP, I think that is it. She didn't do some test with him @ he and his sister's 18 month check up. I grabbed the DSM-IV and went through the symptoms of it and here it goes:

1. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.

Noah does this. He plays by himself 95% of the time

2. Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment interests, or acheivments with other people.

Noah only brings you his bucket of blocks. This is it, nothing else period.

These are the two from group A

2. a) delay in or total lack of the development of spoken lang.

Noah has 5 real words(he and Beck turned two yesterday)

b)lack of varied spontaneous make believe play or social imitative play app. to dev. level.- he does this but only if shown- not spontaneous

3. a) apparently inflexible adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals

He like it his way and if it differs, I am in deep trouble.

b) persistent preoccupation with parts of an object. Wheels on Hotwheel cars he always makes them spin.

I know you can't dx any one but this really makes me lean towards a high functioning austic kid. If anyone else has this experience please contact me because If I hear the words from my inlaws- oh, he's fine one more time. Thanks for all your help!!!

Stacey Campbell

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-17-2003
Tue, 08-12-2003 - 4:38pm
hi jennifer, my 3 1/2 year old son does the same thing with strings. Especially a shoe string or the seat belt from a stroller. we are also struggling with diagnoses. some say pdd (mild), no one has said sensory (i have done that research myself). i think most of matthew's problems are sensory, but we are doing as much as we can for him and only time will tell. his speech is starting to develop, we still struggle with tantrms (i think from not being able to communicate). sorry to ramble, i just have never encountered anyone whose specific behavior was like my son's. i worry everyday about him, but like i said we are doing as much as we can, the worst is just not knowing what the future will be like. jeninne (mom of nick, 5; matty, 3; sara 17 mos.)
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 12:31am
Lurker here. I'm looking for possible disorders that my 5 yr. old may/could have. I also thought autism since he was very little. But, he is affectionate, makes eye contact, etc. He does this thing (similiar to the thing your son does-it's repetitive)with a string. Any string. A shoestring,etc. I can't remember exactly when it started but it was long ago. He does it a little less than before but he still does it. He also does this thing where he puts his face really close to an object like a table and then taps it with his fingers. He also has serious tantrums and did prefer to play alone w/ things--he's gotten much better with this though. I talked to his doctor about the string thing and she either didn't get it or wasn't concerned about it. I talked to her about my concerns about autism and she said she didn't see any real signs of it. Anyway, at his 4 yr check up she said he didn't seem to be communicating w/ her as he should be for his age and sent him to a speech pathologist. He was diagnosed w/ a language disability-primarily expressive-I think this is seriously related to his tantrums. He goes to a preschool that has a speech therapist on hand and a special ed teacher. I love it. He does wonderful there. He also doesn't throw fits there--he's only there 3 hours M-Th but out for summer now. He's 5 but will go another year to preschool and then kdgtr. I'm still worried about him. He still does this thing with the string. You know those little play telephones w/ the red receiver and the eyes in the front that roll when you pull it on the string? That's his favorite string toy. He will go get it and sometimes be at it for awhile if you let him. He just sits in front of it and curls the string up, puts his face close, and then pulls away over and over. My MIL was here and she always gets up in his face about it and frankly, it pisses me off-but that's another story. Anyway, he seems embarrassed by it. I don't know what to think. I just found out that my dh's nephew has been diagnosed w/ sensory integration sort of ADD. I don't know much about it but was thinking this could be what is wrong w/ my son. My SIL also said that they don't give their ds medication but a small cup of coffee in the morning and it gets him through the day at school. She said his teacher thinks he's on meds. He's doing great in school now.

Oh my, sorry it got so long. Just looking for a little help. TIA

Jennifer, ds jimmy 8, ds corey 5 (expressive language disorder)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Thu, 07-31-2003 - 9:19pm

I was reading this discussion because I used to be so afraid that my son, Alex now 20 months old would develop autism. He was lone tone and displayed many of the self stimulating behaviors that accompany that disorder. Although he has always been happy, easy and loves to interact with people, I still worried. But now we have seen a developmental ped and she has suggested that his issues really are sensory and to get some therapy for that.

Angela- I almost fell off my chair when I read your post. I may have to send you another post if you don't happen to see this. I would love to email you. Alex does the eye thing that your son did!!! He follows lines visually and also when he is walking. He turns his eye to their corners and turns his head....it gives me a headache! I don't know what to do about it and wondered if you let it run its course or did you redirect?

Thank you.

Kate and Alex

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-07-2003
Fri, 07-11-2003 - 11:19pm
I would give your son some more time before you get too worried. My son turned 3 last month and did many of the same things you are describing. He did everything very late for his age. From the age of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 he was obsessed with spinning things. He would spin anything he could and those seemed to be the only toys he liked. If he had a ride on toy/car, he wouldn't use it that way. He would merely flip it over and spin the wheels. He was never really around other kids and would act like they didn't exist if they were near him. If he was building blocks or lego's they had to be the same size straight up in the air. If you built them another way, he became very upset. When he was 22 months, our daughter was born and I started staying home with both kids. He really started some strange behavior then. At 27 months, we went to a family party with relatives we hadn't seen in awhile. About a week before this, Sam started focusing on anything with straight edges and lines and would walk back and forth staring at the item. At the party, he wanted to walk around the tent poles constantly and stare at them. We didn't stay long because he hadn't had a nap and was throwing terrible fits. Later that evening, my mom called me and said my cousin took her aside and said we should really have Sam tested because he appeared to be Autistic. This upset all of us greatly but we weren't sure what to do. During the next week his line obsession increased dramatically. He would spend at least 50% of his day walking back and forth staring at the banister spindles, chairrail molding on the wall, corners of walls, poles, etc. It got to a point where it was like a game to him. He would walk straight ahead, turn his eyes as far to the side as he could and walk fast, over and over past the object. After another week of this, we decided to call the doctor. He always played by himself even when he was around other kids, he spoke only a few words and most people couldn't understand him, etc. What confused us was he was extremely affectionate and loving, and I know many autistic kids are not. My cousin has a five year old who is austistic and until recently they could hardly touch him and he is just starting to speak in the last year. We too thought, maybe he was high functioning if he was autistic. We took him to the doctor in mid-Sept. We explained our concerns and while he was there he did fixate on the cabinet edges of her office. She gave us a referral for the Autism center at our Children's Hospital. The waiting list was so long that his first appointment was not until the last week of December. While waiting the 3 1/2 months, his line obsession decreased drastically. He was doing it occasionally, maybe 10% of his day. His evaluations from Speech, Psychology, and the Pediatric Dr. finished up at the end of January. They told me he was not Autistic but displayed the signs of Language Development Disorder, and Oppositional Behavior which they said was probably a result of his inability to communicate. They recommended we contact Early Intervention Services and enroll him in Speech Therapy. He began both in later March. Immediately his Speech Therapist and EI Specialist both said we should have an OT evaluation done because they both felt he had Sensory issues. In April, the OT evaluator diagnosed him with Sensory Integration Dsyfunction. We now think this is the root of most of his delays and problems. We have seen dramatic improvement in our son since therapy began. He is currently in Speech and OT, each once a week and has home visits from Early Intervention about twice a month. Last week he began an Early Intervention Transtion group to help him get ready for preschool. He had enough of delay in speech, fine motor skills, and adaptive behavior to qualify his transfer to the School System Preschool since he turned 3. In the last 5 months his speech seemed to explode. He has an amazing vocabluary now. He is using sentences that are 3 to 6 words long. Most people can understand a majority of what he is saying now. He has a great memory and his very good at telling you things and describing things to you. He is still having problems with processing questions you ask him and has to really think about it. He is now beginning to interact more with children and doesn't completely ignore them. He tends to like the children who are 1 to 2 years older than him. He is improving with his transitions, but still needs help with maintaining his attention and focusing on designated activities. Our private speech ends in August and OT ends in mid October. When January comes around we will definitely enroll him in our insurance approved 20 visits for each again. Beginning the end of August he will start preschool 2 hours 45 minutes a day, Mon - Thurs, so we are really hoping this improves his social skills. Our son is a Visual Learner and one thing that really seemed to help him was following a picture schedule. This really seemed to help with language and transitions because I could show him a picture to let him know what we were going to do or what his choices were. You can find the picture system info usually under Autism categories. His EI person got us started with a board and many picture clips. I recently found a few inexpensive CDs that have great pictures with words that I print and laminate myself. Well I didn't mean to ramble so much but I wanted to let you know how much of an improvenment we have seen in our son between 2 and 3 because your son sounded a lot like mine.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2003
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 12:23am
Hello unfortunatly I cant be much help Im kinda at the same point you are. My son is 21 months. Isnt talking yet. Is very content to play alone . REally dosent play with toys for their intended use, ect. And he also spins things constantly...wheels on cars, ect.

That little evaluation you are talking about is more like a survey than anything . It simply says wether your child has a high chance of developing autism or not. We are seeing a psychologist next week and a neurologist on aug 6th. From what Ive been told so far its to early to diagnose him with anything since he is only 2.

As someone recently told me. Try not to consume your self with worry as worry does nothing for anyone. *Hugs* feel free to e-mail me lissymail2@yahoo.com