To ask you your experiences of autism signs in your toddler?(28 Posts)
Long time lurker of MN and posting here for traffic as I'm worried.
The nursery my son goes to recently mentioned that my son walks on his tip toes a lot, I didn't think anything of it but I just googled and this can be a sign of Autism, he has a few other symptoms as well but I thought these were just behaviours a toddler displayed anyway.
So as not to drip feed I'll try and give as much detail as possible, my son is 20 months old and has been saying a few words and seems to have a really good relationship with everyone he comes to close contact with regularly, he's a bit unsure of other children to start with but soon gets on with things.
The nursery also mentioned that he gets upset when his key worker leaves the room as he is closer to her than the others.
DS also spins around in circles and laughs and is quite clumsy and he doesn't seem to have any concept of danger or body limitations (I.e just keeps knocking into things and climbing on things) (apparently these are more signs of autistic behaviour)
I just thought he was being a little boy and was just a late starter speech wise but now I'm worried about a possible autism diagnosis about how I'd cope, I've spoken to a few mums who have autistic children and they are physically and mentally exhausted and I'm not sure how I could cope.
I'm sorry if this comes across like I wouldn't want an autistic child because I love him to the moon and back and I would never love him less because of a diagnosis but I just worry about how well I could cope.
Does anyone else have any experiences with this kind of behaviour?
You need to visit your health visitor and explain your concerns.
Just on what you have put here, everything could be within normal things a lot of toddlers do. You have to keep in mind lots of people do lots of things that people with autism also do. However, the fact that the Nursery have started mentioning things to you could be quite key.
What I would suggest is that you ask the Nursery if they would fill in a developmental profile for your ds, and if you can then arrange an appointment with the key worker and SENCo to openly discuss any concerns they have. Most Nursery staff would not be willing to suggest autism, as it is not their place to diagnose, but if you say you have been googling things and are anxious that he might have autism, then they will feel much more able to speak a bit more freely. I mean they still can't diagnose, but they can be more poopen in their discussion.
Once you have had that chat then you can either (if they agree it is worth him having a fuller assessment by experts) get them to refer you for an assessment, or you can go to your HV and express your concerns and tell her that the Nursery are / aren't concerned too.
Nursery might suggest getting their Area SENCo or Local Inclusion Officer in first to give them some advice.
If you are worried speak to your HV.
My boy was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine at that age. It was all he talked about. He has autism but he's actually really easy to parent. He likes rules and sticks to them, so as long as he can work out or be told what the rule is, he does what is expected of him without pushing against it.
As a toddler he didn't sleep through, co-slept, was very attached to me and didn't like change, eg moving to a new room in nursery. He was breastfed and he absolutely would not take a bottle - he'd starve rather than use one. I'm not talking your usual toddler preferences. He was so stubborn it was unreal, which I now recognise was his ASD.
Autism can 'range' with so many signs and symptoms that I think watching any toddler play could tick many of the boxes.
Walking on tip toes :- quick google search has just showed that it could be a sign of a toddler playing and experimenting, an issue with the muscles in the back of the leg, foot problems or a early sign of autism.
If you are concerned I think it would be a good idea to speak to the health visitor
Autism is a massive spectrum. Some autistic kids can be difficult to manage and some aren't. I have an autistic child who I manage with absolutely fine 99% of the time and
Although I'm aware that this is not always the case autism doesn't always been a super difficult child.
Mostly for us it was just a case of understanding the more challenging behaviour and working out a way to deal with it. It was also working out what the triggers were so we Could minimise every day distress.
What works is different for each child and you may have to try a few techniques. We have found things that work for us. We have a way to manage meltdowns which mostly works and a way to stave off meltdowns
After school. We are currently trying different ways to manage the nervous finger chewing. We also have support through school.
The most important thing you can do is try and get him assessed as soon as possible. The earlier assessments are done the sooner support can be put in place if needed. The piece of paper makes a massive difference in how much support you can access at a school level. Even if there is no diagnosis they may still be able to help if there is some behaviour you are struggling to manage.
There are a few signs in what you say but mumsnet can't diagnose your child. If you need help and support dealing with some
Of these specific behaviours then I would advise posting in the special needs section. They have lots of great ideas for helping kids and parents alike.
My autistic child is honest, polite, well mannered, has a phenomenal imagination and is a joy to our family.
Grimm, you aren't my boy's other parent are you? You've described us to a tee!
My DS was obsessed with a few things until he was about 4. Of course you worry about autism, but he's fine.
At 20 months I don't think you can really measure it unless there's severe developmental delay. But by all means speak to your HV.
If you have any concerns its important to talk to your hv about them, everything you have said could be within typical toddler behaviour. If its something more getting that extra support early is really important.
Also speak to nursery, tell them you are concerned. They will be able to help you with a referral.
Doesn't sound like autism to me but obviously get anything you are concerned about checked out.
Early signs with my ds was that he had speech but it was rarely aimed at other people. He would label things and chat away to himself but only really communicate with others if he wanted something or wanted to know something. He didn't say things like hi or bye, he didn't point at things to show others etc. He also didn't like to shift between different things so he didn't like leaving to go to the shops but then he didn't want to leave the shops to come home.
He was also afraid of loud noises.
Even if it is autism it's not all doom and gloom. Like most things you tend to hear more about the extremes. My son is delightful, doing well at school and has a few good friends. Hes never going to be a massively sociable party animal I don't think but everyone doesn't have to be like that.
Everything you have mentioned could be ordinary toddler stuff. A lot of it (tip toe walking, spinning, knocking into things etc) sounds sensory related and can be found in children with autism but also in children with other additional needs and in NT young children. I would keep being open to what the nursery are saying and speak to your HV or GP if you are worried.
Hmm...my son didn't do the tiptoe thing but I was starting to wonder by this stage. He was obsessed with anything to do with wheels and would turn his little truck upside down and just stand whizzing the wheels humming to himself (for 30-40 minutes at a time!). He was also Thomas the Tank Engine mad, and collected things. He also couldn't understand pointing, so if you pointed to a train he would look at the end of your finger. He also couldn't do imaginative play very well - so didn't pretend that something was something else.
We didn't get a diagnosis (of Aspergers - he also very bright) until he was in his teens and started to struggle at secondary school, but even before that I was seeing signs and parenting as if he was, which was very helpful - because I changed my expectations of him and the way I approached problems with him. For example, he struggled to listen whilst looking at me, so I accepted that he was actually listening better if he had his back to me. He also couldn't cope with tasks in a list like "Put all the track in the box and put the box on the shelf." So I would tell him the first, then when he had done it, the second.
As others have said, talk to a health visitor, GP, or someone.
If it's any encouragement to you, he is now a very charming, socially competent and fully independent adult man with a job and a girlfriend.
Of course your son cries when his key worker leaves the room. The whole point of a key worker is transition into nursery. He's not even 2. That's his bond. It will settle. My daughter was the same. She also used to work on her tip toes (just like her dad)
Have the nursery actually said they are concerned?
If he's forming good relationships I wouldn't be worried. Autism is a huge spectrum and takes a lot to diagnose
Just remembered he often used to confuse 'I' and 'you' and 'him' and 'her' as well but this is apparently a normal part of developing speech it just lasted longer with ds. A lot of things listed as traits of autism only really become traits when older children are still doing them. So a toddler playing alone, without much speech, tiptoe walking, having tantrums etc could be perfectly normal but when a child is still doing those things at 3, 4 or 5 it is more concerning.
My son (now 5) happily chats to care workers, teachers, and other children one on one, but doesn't automatically take part in group activities. Nursery flagged up potential assessment needs (they were very firmly not hinting at any diagnosis themselves as he was flapping his arms, and not engaging much with his peers, always preferring looking at a book on his own instead (a behaviour that could describe me still!). I was quite resistant when they brought it up, but when he started at school his difference were more noticeable. He's no harder to parent than my younger one (who is a dynamic ball of mischief), but a diagnosis is helping me look at holiday care, etc, explaining why he can find new places a bit difficult because of his diagnosis rather than me being a 'special snowflake' parent.
Remember - no one can tell you anything about your child that you don't know. They might be able to put a name to a set of behaviours, but that's it. Have they even brought it up as an active concern?
DS is 8 and recently diagnosed.
His symptoms are nothing like you describe, but it's a spectrum. Just keep an eye. With DS he was obsessive, has problems with noisy environments, and while his speech was advanced, it was "strange." All still true at 8!
Try not to worry. DS is fine, he is no more difficult to manage or parent than any of our other kids, we just needed to adapt a bit. He is wonderful and I wouldn't change him.
Some of the things you mention are normal for the stage of development. Usually concerns are raised when the toddler/child doesn't "grow out of it". So on its own, and with your child being so young, there is still time for him to move on to the next stage and be within "normal" parameters.
Here is a link to the M-Chat questionnaire , you may well find that your toddler falls within low risk category. To be honest as your child appears to be sociable and engaged with the people at nursery (and autism is primarily a condition of social communication difficulties) it will more likely be just a phase he is going through. But of course make appointments if you continue to have concerns.
mine stood and waved coathangers back and forward for ten minutes at a time.
when he was a baby (around 12m) he would be facinated with the wheels on the pushchair and with the wheels on the ride on cars.
how are his sensory issues?
tip toe walking can also be due to hypermobility. helps give stability when walking.
my autistic child did not tip-toe walk and was very competant physically. still doesn't and still is.
never lifted hands to be picked up, never waved goodbye
DS is 5 and was diagnosed in November. The symptoms he displayed:
- reduced eye contact (eg at baby music class)
- no interest in soft toys, would take trains or cars to bed.
- delayed speech (was explained away as him being bilingual and having had ear infections)
- little interest in playing with others, though lots of parallel play.
- difficulty in playing with others
- very particular about his feet - wont go in bare feet, trousers must be tucked into socks if he is wearing wellies.
- limited interests - cars, trains, balls.
- no interest in role play, limited imagination (food in play kitchen was always what it is, never became a cake)
- habits like he must always eat his porridge with the red spoon. Syrup must be stirred in at the correct speed. Tea must always be in one of 2 mugs.
- reluctance to try new food.
- difficulty participating in bigger groups, max 5 really.
- very particular about systems - danish books on the bottom shelf and english on the top for example.
If you talk to your HV or GP then there will be a record of your concerns. They might not do anything yet as much of what yyou say is considered normal. We found that much of DS' behaviour was normal until it wasnt, by which I mean he didnt grow out of it or develop in the way that he should.
A lot of the things you listed is/was the same as my DS. He's 3 and is undergoing diagnosis now for ASD, we've been told it is a certainty that he is. You really need to get a health visitor involved now, I first approached them when my DS was 18 months, they put me off until he was 27 months then it's been full speed ahead since then. The information they have provided to us and the support they have offered to DS is amazing and I'm so grateful for their time and advice.
The first few times my DS spun and did hand flapping, I had no idea what it was so was traumatised when I googled it and it took me to YouTube videos of autistic kids doing the exact same thing. It just had not even clicked that this was a possibility.
My son was diagnosed with autism at 3.5 years concerns were raised from 2.5 years. He did tiptoe walking, was a late talker and the few words he had were items rather than about people, didn't wave or point at things, played independently, put his hands over his ears when he heard noises he didn't like. The paed when she assessed him said that one very key indicator to tell if just speech delay or autism is if they point at something and then look at you to share the experience. She called is shared attention and if not present by 18 months is a big indicator for an ASD diagnosis. I was terrified when he was diagnosed and it has been the hardest thing I've ever done. He has severe autism and is violent at times. I've had to give up a good job to be a carer. But you when something like this happens you do cope simply because you don't have the option of not coping. I went to a lot of parent carer support groups and have made lots of friends who really get it which has helped enormously. When it was first suggested (by a speech therapist) that my son might have autism I spoke to his nursery and asked them what they thought and they were more open and said they had noticed some autistic traits. I think speak to your health visitor about your concerns and see what they say.
Oh I forgot about the habits. DS has his little rituals. He doesn't have a meltdown if they don't happen, but at 6pm it's definitely tea time, he takes himself to bed at 8.15, has his favourite spaghetti bowl, wears a certain pair of trousers and Tshirt every time he goes to his gymnastics class etc
Things like non-uniform day and world book day stress him out.
He doesn't tiptoe either.
He is brilliant with numbers and mental arithmetic. He recognised numbers really early as they all tied in to the Thomas trains.
Thank you all for your replies.
HV was my plan anyway I just thought I'd see if anyone had the same sort of experiences with their child.
I really appreciate all your responses and hope I haven't come across as someone that thinks of autism as anything 'bad', I guess I'm just scared because if I'm honest I really don't know anything about it.
By the sounds of it all of your children sound lovely and it is a comfort that they have grown to be like that, as the mums I have spoken to have made it sound awful to be completely honest. It's been nice to gain some perspective on things.
BlackeyedSusan sensory wise he doesn't really do a lot else than described although he does get excited when feeling things like for example a box of Lego or water. It's quite hard to explain but he doesn't play with wheels etc like some have mentioned.
It's been nice to take some pointers from you all as internet reading seems so scary. Even just from everyone that has replied I feel better about it if it was a possibility.
I just want to be a good mum and do my best for him.
My daughter always had strange movements from being very small, she'd rock her legs back and forth. This moved onto hand flapping, clenching fists and pushing her hand into her neck when excited which she still does at 5. She always walked on her tiptoes (this has improved), never looks forward so walks into things and very accident prone (this hasn't improved!), she's been diagnosed with hyper mobility. She also had delayed speech and toilet training. I'm only listing all these as she isn't autistic so some of what you mention can be normal.
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