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Do NT children hand lead?

(19 Posts)
sleepcrisis Fri 03-May-13 10:36:29

Hi everyone, hope someone can help. Don't think I've been on this topic before.

Just a quick question really. Have had concerns over DS and autism but mainly down to my own anxiety issues rather than any concrete symptoms. He passes mchat fine and is pretty good at communicating despite having few actual words (he's 22 mo)

The last few days, while tryin to get something, after several attempts at pointing an shouting at said item, he's taken my hand and dragged it towards the thing he wants. I've read this is unique to ASD children. Is this the case and should I be concerned

Many thanks in Advance

zzzzz Fri 03-May-13 10:47:21

I think it's normal, especially if you've tried all avenues. At 22months if he still has so few word you could self refer to SALT (speech and language therapist) for a thorough assessment of his communication.

There are lots of things you can put in place to help a language/speech delayed toddler (and their parents) have a much happier and less frustrating life.

Has he had his hearing tested?

MummytoMog Fri 03-May-13 10:58:35

I don't think it's unique to ASD children. My NT two year old does it all the time. He is speech delayed, but has no other impairments. I worry about him, mostly because of my older child who is severely speech/language delayed and has delayed social skills and a few other unusual characteristics. Everyone who has seen DD and DS together says that there is nothing to worry about with DS, he's just a slow talker.

SALT are useful and most of them will give you a clear 'there's nothing further to be worried about' if you ask.

thewarmestowl Fri 03-May-13 12:01:28

Lurker here rather than a regular, but I have a 2 year old who does this (and always has, since he could walk). He points (he pointed fairly early, IIRC by about 8 months), asks verbally, then if ignored / refused will take my hand and try to drag me to what he wants. Now that he's older it has progressed to trying to do parts himself so e.g. he'll shout "toast mummy!", point to the toaster, if still ignored / refused will drag me to the toaster getting out a plate and the margarine and handing these to me on the way. I always assumed that it was normal, he seems absolutely, utterly NT in every aspect of his development (unlike his older sibling, which is why I lurk here occasionally blush).

megandraper Fri 03-May-13 12:02:48

My children (aged between 2 and 5) do this a bit (all NT as far as I know) - but I think it's because I am partially sighted, so they are trying to help me find the thing IYSWIM.

My youngest is four and still does this on occasion, he has no additional needs, though his speech isn't all it could be (which is probably why he resorted to dragging me to the thing he was on about)

At 22m he had virtually no words, then between 22-26m his vocabulary exploded and he is a right chatterbox now.

zzzzz Fri 03-May-13 12:10:52

Can you link where you've read it I unique to ASD children?

It certainly has never been flagged as such to me and since we have spent years "is he/isn't he"ing it would be helpful.

coppertop Fri 03-May-13 13:46:01

My 2yr-old does this sometimes. It's mainly due to impatience if she thinks I'm not moving fast enough for her.

As far as I can tell, she seems to be NT.

WilsonFrickett Fri 03-May-13 14:05:29

I think it's unique in that speech-limited children will do hand leading long past the age that an NT child will, but I don't think it's unique at a pre or early verbal stage. What I mean is, you wouldn't expect a 5 yo NT child to do this, you would expect them to verbalise. But an NT 22 month old, no I wouldn't think it's particularly concerning.

That said, if you do have concerns at all I would get them investigated by a SALT.

sleepcrisis Fri 03-May-13 14:34:10

Wow so many replies. It's a total mad house here right now but I will be back later this pm, I need 5mins to myself to read then all and reply, thanks so much for replying!

zzzzz Fri 03-May-13 15:46:59

So really it's just another sign of communication developmental delay if it is used regularly over say 3????

What do deaf or mute children do?

sleepcrisis Fri 03-May-13 18:21:10

Thanks again for all the replies. So it seems to be just another means of communication rather than a sign of something bigger.

He is quite behind in talking but probably not worryingly so. He has some words but can only say half of them for example, and gets the sounds wrong. For example he calls an apple an a-o.

The more I think about it, the more I think he does it as a last resort thing. Like thewarmestowl described, its usually if I am ignoring or declining a request for something he shouldn't have or is being particularly impatient for, like another biscuit!

As for providing a link, zzzz, I'm afraid I can't as a) I read a million and one things about child development and have done for months, some of which is most likely to be rubbish, and its not a recent thing but something I remember reading a while ago. And b) my wording was probably misleading, sorry about that. What I remember reading was that the presence of hand leading is used in diagnosis of ASD and a 'red flag' rather than unique to ASD.

The thing I read was something to do with leaving a biscuit tin out and watching for the response - an autistic child would lead the adults hand rather than looking to the adult and asking.

I am a bit OCD and a bit of a worrier. DS has been challenging from the word go and I have been through phases of being desperate to find a reason or excuse for it. Hence all the reading/checking his behaviour.

Thanks for the reassurance everyone.

WishIdbeenatigermum Fri 03-May-13 18:40:19

DS is nt but was very late talking. He would hand lead me and was excellent at picking up visual and spoken clues and responding non-verbally.
For example when I went to the fridge he'd sit up at the table. It took me a while to work out what was going on!

This is making me wonder again whether I should try taking DS to the SALT drop-in just to be checked. He uses lots of different words and expresses his random and bizarre ideas really well, but he is quite difficult to understand to people who don't know him well - I had to translate for him yesterday when he was interrogating chatting to the lady in the chipshop shop.

But are they likely to suggest anything other than modelling correct pronunciation to him? I am already doing that. His nursery don't feel his speech is a concern but he has been going for 2 years so they know him well ( staff are long term) and are used to him.

He is 4.4 BTW and starts school in September

sneezecakesmum Sat 04-May-13 10:48:56

My NT two did this, I thought it was quite usual.

ilikemysleep Sat 04-May-13 11:39:25

I think there are two slightly different forms of hand leading.

Leading a person by the hand to a desired object in a not yet very verbal toddler is absolutely fine - for example, my not autistic son used to take me by the hand and lead me to the kitchen to then point at some object he wanted that was out of reach while looking at me saying 'uhh uhh uhh' or some such to indicate desire for it. This then faded once he could speak.

What is of more concern is using a parent's hand as a tool, as if disembodied from their body, to do something without using eye contact or making a request of it. For example picking up a parent's hand and putting it on a lid that the child wants to open without looking at them or requesting, just as if the hand were a tool. That is a red flag if a child also has other unusual social and communication development, but not diagnostic in itself smile

megandraper Tue 07-May-13 08:23:53

That's a very helpful distinction ilikemysleep, thank you.

magso Tue 07-May-13 13:25:24

I would agree with ilikemysleep, my (NT) nephews have all lead me by the hand (stupid aunty who doesn''t understand their emerging words) as very young children. My son who does have sn (including ASD) still does this at 13, and often using my hand as a tool.

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