To ask about autism(22 Posts)
I really don't want to offend anyone so hope asking this is ok. My partner has a few autistic cousins and I was diagnosed with dyspraxia as a child (struggled horribly at school) but have a professional job, uni education with no extra support etc just totally useless at map reading and a bit disorganised. Second baby had benign neonatal sleep myoclonus and was misdiagnosed at primary hospital before being referred to GOSH as brain damaged as seemed to have a long, prolonged series of seizures - ever since we got the all clear from GOSH I've been waiting for something to go wrong as can't believe we got away with it if that makes sense, have had medication for anxiety shortly after birth. Anyway autism has always played on my mind, mostly because of me being dyspraxic and have read there seems to be some sort of link with autism. Anyway ds is now 19 months and is clingy but very social, good eye contact, has a few play mates at nursery and adores his brother, he is very keen on making us laugh but also has a temper. He's putting two sometimes three words together and has about 100 words, he's very clear about what he does and doesn't want, very giggly and affectionate and mimics a lot of his brothers behaviour. He's also very proud of himself if he does something clever of even wears new clothes! My only concerns are he is very clingy to me and can be quite shy in group situations, although very boisterous with close friends and family and sometimes he gets a bit stuck on a word so will say cat for example over again whilst we do the school run, but is easily distracted from that. Is it possible that this could all disappear and he might be autistic as I've read about regression or would there be some stronger signs before a regression of autism? I've read a few articles recently that sound like children have met all milestones and then lost everything, does this happen often? Thanks and sorry for such an essay, hope I haven't offended anyone.
He also eats fairly well and enthusiastically but is a little fussier than my first child.
I'm not sure why you are worried. I've never personally known an autistic who appeared completely neurotypical or on par with peers right across the board who then regressed to autism. Yes, autistics do often regress at around 18ish months of age but they don't tend to go from appearing completely 'normal' to suddenly being autistic. There is usually something beforehand. That's my personal experience though, as a mum to a severe autistic who knows lots of other autistic kids and teens.
I think you need to stop worrying so much. He sounds like he is doing fine
Speak to your health visitor about your concerns. They may be able to advise you on your concerns.
Thanks @triptrap so much for replying. I really appreciate it. I think because he initially was given such a poor outcome I've just really struggled to relax and see him as alright. I feel like I'm wishing his childhood away waiting for him to reach milestones so I can relax. I think I have the fear of having that kind of fear again... In my heart I think I know he is fine but my anxiety takes over and I I find something new to worry about.
Just talk to your health visitor. she'll know him and can see him so can either rest your fears or advise otherwise. But don't worry yourself so much
TripTrap I don't want to tread on your toes as the mother of a child with Autism, but I find your use of 'an autistic' or 'autistics' really uncomfortable . The Autism shouldn't be the defining feature of people who live with it.
Maisy the main things that would be red flags for autism at this age would be limited or abnormal eye contact, indifference or little response to hearing their name called, disinterest in care givers' attempts to interact, not trying to show a care giver what interests them (eg. Pointing to a toy), lack of pointing, lack of two way communication, repetitive non-purposeful movements, rigid routines, restricted diet, etc.
Your DS sounds (right now) to be a perfectly typical toddler who is learning about the world around him.
Only speaking from my own experience (my ds was diagnosed at 3.6, and classified in the 'hf' area, ie not 'classic' or profound autism), but it doesn't sound like anything too much to worry about from your description.
Things that would be red flags at that age are lack of reciprocal communication (non-verbal as well as verbal), lack of or impaired interaction, restricted areas of play. Possibly some stereotypical or repetitive routines (eg my ds loved switching light switches on and off, also could spend hours tipping sand over and over again). Lack of interest in age appropriate toys but over-interest in more unusual things (my ds loved spinning things like plates).
The main 'triad of impairments' is basically impaired or unusual interaction, communication and imagination.
You could google the m-chat questionnaire which might be helpful. But if it is just how you describe, and more stemming from your worries re your own dyspraxia and family history, doesn't sound much worrying in your ds. The only thing I picked up from what you say is the repeated words. But that alone, if there's nothing else, wouldn't be a red flag to me.
but of course if you have a niggling feeling don't ignore it! And remember that none of us know him.
Does he understand what you say? Interact with games? Play with other children the same way they do? Does he share things with you - eg bring things to show you, look at you to see if you've seen something? That kind of shared attention is key, as it shows theory of mind, even at that very young age. So things like pointing (or lack of) is very important. Shyness alone isn't an indication (my dd was very shy at that age but she's now 6yo and nt). The differences are subtle at that age, so if you really do see something different to other children don't ignore it, but equally, hope you can relax.
As I said, my ds is dx at the 'high functioning' end, but I did know deep down from about this age he had it. First started worrying around 13 months when he wasn't pointing.
lougle just to throw a spanner in the works (sorry ) my ds always had 'normal' seeming eye contact, and his diet wasn't particularly restrictive. Just to illustrate that no two people with autism are the same!
My dc who has HF Autism always seemed 'different' from a few months old. The otherness was always there and continues. If things seem OK then they might just be OK The repetition of words might be an interest in exploring language and practising sound formation. Or a comfort thing. My NT dc frequently used to repeat phrases over and over just before going to sleep as a sort of calming mantra.
Thanks everyone, he's different to my first son, but obviously he's a different person. He does bring me things to show me, points at things and says 'what's that?' and is interested in babies and adults. It's just a few little things really, he seems to get upset over some things very quickly and I find myself catering to him to ensure this doesn't happen to quite a high degree and he had some repetitive behaviour when younger (mainly turning his head side to side to get to sleep) the words he seems to get stuck on change, so he might repeat car on the way to nursery over and over again but I think it's because he wants to see one and then might repeat peppa over and over at home as he wants to watch it, the words do have meaning to him. The other thing that used to worry me is he is a bit weird about poo and went through a stage of only doing it in that bath, I think he was constipated, but he's grown out of that. I've been told by HV he's fine, and am very aware I spent the first few months of his life convinced he was brain damaged as per initial diagnosis of had a congenital disorder so don't have much trust in my own perception. Dh is tired of my worrying but had no concerns other than my anxiety levels. Thanks all so much for responding
Also just to also note I was completely adamant he wasn't brain damaged in hospital it wasn't until he was diagnosed with an immature nervous system and discharged that I began to worry.
I have aspergers.
I too spent a lot of time worrying about Ds. Dd was a breeze hit her milestones early. But Ds progressed much later. He wasn't speaking that much at almost 3.
He sounds like your son. Gets frustrated, a bit of temper, clingy but confident in a group he knows. Odd toilet habits etc. I am 100% sure he is NT. He is five now.
If you are concerned speak to a professional. But nothing you have said has made me think he could have autism. Obviously I could be wrong, but maybe it would be easier to revisit it when you have dealt with your anxiety.
We have several autistic young people in our family and there was always 'something' different about them from the very start. In my experience that 'something' is best described as 'intense'.
Asd is a huge spectrum and people can present v differently. From 18 months of age you can use the m-chat screening tool to try to work out if there is a real risk. It helps assess a risk of asd and doesn't diagnose. There's lots of stereotypes about regarding what an autistic person would be like - ignore. Some health professionals can have outdated views - ignore them too if you have real concerns that are bring brushed aside. Good luck.
Honestly, there sounds like nothing to worry about in your description of your son.
Have you had any counselling/support to help you with what you went through when he was born? It must have been absolutely awful and I can completely understand why it has left you feel anxious.
If you are worried, speak to a health professional. Are you still in contact with GOSH?
The basic rule of thumb is if you are concerned it best to speak to professionals.
And to contradict some people on this thread: it is my easy, fast developing child who is the one with a diagnosis of ASD now. You really wouldn't have spotted much at 2 outside the "normal".
Thanks again everyone, we did have a contact at GOSH for if he ever had a seizure while he was awake as what he had was a sleep condition, but that was the neurology department. He is due for his 2 year check soon. Weirdly I get worried at night and when I see him in the morning it eases again. I think this is probably related to the experiences after birth but a part of me also thinks there could be something going on - would hate to dismiss concerns because of anxiety and be right. Thanks do much everyone, can't tell you how much it means to hear from you all.
I have three sons with severe dyspraxia and the severest also has atypical autism. So I have some experience of both conditions and their overlap.
Years ago a consultant paediatrician who specialised in this kind of area, said to me that you have to think of the dyspraxic child as having a sense of touch that is as impaired as a visually impaired person's hearing, or a hearing impaired person's hearing. This causes things you might not immediately ascribe to the dyspraxia, including being food fussy (because it's the textures of certain things they might find repulsive) and touch sensitive (Finding perfectly normal clothing 'scratchy' for example). So you may be describing a child wit dyspraxia there.
19 months is early - too early, honestly, for diagnosis. But looking back, my three dyspraxic sons did display some behaviours, developmental difficulties, etc that in retrospect we could see were caused by the dyspraxia. It would have been inappropriate to jump to diagnosis so soon.
One son could only eat white and dry foods. One would only eat gingerbread men and yogurt! One wants to throw up if his hands or feet touch... pebbles or hard, small stones. Silly things like that. One son never crawled - he just writhed along the floor like a slug and then one day, walked. (The same child could sit holding his own head up, the week he was born - the midwives commented on it and that they'd never seen a baby do that). Two had significant - I mean significant - speech delays. (The son with autism and dyspraxia). My two eldest sons could ot speak til they were around 5 - one of them later went on to have his IQ measured at somewhere "well above 160" so don't confuse developmental delays with intellectual and cognitive difficulties. Comparing the 3 dyspraxic sons to the 2 non dyspraxic, I can see the dyspraxic sons had whole varying constellations of small or HUGE difficulties, the non dyspraxic two never faced.
I'd get all the info you can from the Dyspraxia Foundation, but also maybe start getting some info from the Autistic Society as well.
The spectrum probably doesn't overlap so much with dyspraxia - any autistic kids have no dyspraxia. But some of the ways both may manifest, may share similarities.
One of my sons was diagnosed at 2 and 1/2 and I was told that was the youngest child with an educational statement in the LEA. And we were living in the UK's largest LEA. But I understand his early diagnosis was rare for these conditions. Later it took half a day of standardised tests at what was then the foremost clinic for diagnosing autism, (I happened to live 2 streets away so pure good luck my GP could refer there!) Then they could get a clearer picture of my son's autism and dyspraxia and how each condition affected him, as it was complex. In some areas, severe dyspraxia can be even more dramatic, I was told, than autism. Depending on the severity. To reassure you, this son despite his difficulties and leaving school with no GCSEs, is currently at university and doing very well there.
I'd say it is a bit too early to get going and what you're seeing is by no means at the far end of either the autistic spectrum or dyspraxia, but get yourself armed with info so you know what to look out for.
My ds wasn't diagnosed until he was five but he was flagged by the Dr at 18 months. He displayed several traits but not enough for them to diagnose definitely until he was older. He also has global development delay so the Dr waited until he caught up before looking into the autism angle. Keep an eye on him and talk to the Dr if his behaviour still concerns you.
Might be worth watching the BBC drama series about autism The A word on iPlayer.
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