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Possible autistic traits in friend's DS

(67 Posts)
twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:10:51

My close friend's DS is 2.5, and each time I see them (every month or so) I notice small behaviours that could be signs of being on the spectrum. I have no experience of autism but having read a few guides about the symptoms, I am increasingly certain friend's DS is matching many of the signs.

I haven't mentioned any of this to my friend, I have no idea if she has the same thoughts/concerns. My friend has been struggling a bit with controlling her DS's behaviour and gets increasingly frustrated and cross with some things he does. My only reason for suggesting she investigate this is so she finds new, positive ways of dealing with her DS. She has told me more or less that she often feels like she's failing in her parenting sad

Would you bring it up in conversation, or butt out?

DeadCert Mon 05-Jan-15 13:13:41

Butt the fuck out.

momnipotent Mon 05-Jan-15 13:15:21

No good can come if you saying anything. You need to keep squirt until she's asks your opinion. And then be very very sensitive!!

momnipotent Mon 05-Jan-15 13:15:55

Keep quiet that should say. Have fat fingers on phone!

MrsCakesPrecognition Mon 05-Jan-15 13:18:37

I think that a lot of normal toddler behaviours can look odd to other people. Probably why diagnoses usually have to wait until children are older.
Suggest that your friend contact your local Children's Centre for parenting support to help her cope with her DS if she feels she is struggling (most parents struggle at some stage), don't muddy the water by trying to make an ill-informed diagnosis.

KatoPotato Mon 05-Jan-15 13:20:16

Jeeeezz. Please do not say ANYthing! I work in CAMHS and I still would never ever 'diagnose' a child on a playdate (or anywhere)

Trust me, if you see 'small behaviours - once a month' I reckon the child's mother may actually have a better clue than you!!

Please, shut up.

twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:20:56

Keep squirt grin OK thanks all - I definitely don't want to barge in with my ill-informed diagnosis so will keep this to myself.

LingDiLong Mon 05-Jan-15 13:22:42

No, no, don't try and diagnose. Autism isn't as obvious and easy to diagnose as many think! Suggest she speaks to her HV for advice about the issues she's having. If there are any concerns about his development it'll be picked up then.

TheFriar Mon 05-Jan-15 13:23:06

At 2.5yo, she wouldn't be able to get a diagnosis. The reason is simple, some a lot of the symptoms that could be related to autism are also part of a normal developmental phase. So really trying to evaluate whether it's ASD or not will be a pointless exercise.

It would be easier to support her in finding other ways to parents her dc, wo thinking 'is it ASD or not?' or 'would that work if this child is on the spectrum?'. 'Normal' parenting techniques such as this one here work very well for 'NT children' as well as some children on the spectrum.

If she is worried about her dc behaviour, then by any mean, tell her to go and see her GP/HV to talk about it. But please don't mention autism and your worries as you can't have enough eveience for that.
(I'm talkimg from the perspective of a mum whose dc is probably on the spectrum but still hasn't managed to get an evaluation from overstretched NHS....)

twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:24:04

One other thing - if there was a history of ASD in the close family would that make any difference to the replies I got here?

twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:25:55

I have that book TheFriar so will dig it out and have a read for myself too!

MulledLairyFights Mon 05-Jan-15 13:25:57

No. It's not genetic.

TheFriar Mon 05-Jan-15 13:28:12

twos what I would suggest though, again having found myself as the mum of a child 'with issues' and as the friend whose child was diagnosed with ASD, is to support and listen to her as much as you can.
Let her talk about her worries and her struggles. Offer advice if she wants you to. Talk about your own struggles as a mum.
And most importantly NEVER EVER judge her.

It can become very isolatig to have a child who has meltdowns, can't cope with noise or wil be ahppy to wear jsut 'that one Tshirt' and nothing else. Knowing that you haven't run away will help if this child has uindeed some signs of ASD. And if he hasn't, then you will have made your friendship flourish anyway smile

zzzzz Mon 05-Jan-15 13:30:11

Of course you can get a diagnosis at 2.5 confused. There are lots of children diagnosed before that age.

I would wait for her to ask your opinion and the mind boggles at being able to diagnose one specific neurological condition without any training on a play date (this is akin to diagnosing in grown toenails from watching someone walk across the street in welly boots).

TheFriar Mon 05-Jan-15 13:30:12

Not genetic as such but there seems to be some genetic predisposition in some families.

If this is the case, then I suspect that your friend will have a inkling as to what is happening (or not)

zzzzz Mon 05-Jan-15 13:32:06

If there is a history of ASD in her family surely she will have far more understanding than you do as you have no experience of it?

TheFriar Mon 05-Jan-15 13:32:18

zzzz sorry but where I am, there are very few children who are diagnosed with ASD at that age. The consultants here prefer to wait until the children have reached 4yo to have a formal diagnosis.

twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:32:22

Thanks for your post TheFriar - that's helpful. I definitely don't judge her, I know how difficult dealing with a 2.5 year old can be.
I posted here just to gauge whether it would be helpful for her to investigate ASD sooner rather than later. But PPs are right I'm sure, it's too early to tell.

zzzzz Mon 05-Jan-15 13:34:31

How convenient for them friar given that any intervention/support would then come out of the education budget. Early identification and diagnosis are in the best interest of the child.

twosmallbuttons Mon 05-Jan-15 13:34:49

I don't just see her and her DS on random playdates; the time we spend together is often over a weekend, full days out, shared holidays etc. I've been there since before he was born, my friend and I discuss our DC very regularly.

zzzzz Mon 05-Jan-15 13:37:43

What "traits" are you seeing?

CheeseBuster Mon 05-Jan-15 13:38:32

I think they diagnose things earlier in some other countries but a lot of the time this is to push drugs and therapist costs- I know a us mum who had her son diagnosed with ADHD at 2.

marne2 Mon 05-Jan-15 13:42:34

'At the age of 2.5 she would not be able to get a diagnosis'

Not true, both of my dd's were diagnosed early, dd2 was 2.5, children are being diagnosed earlier.

I do agree though that you shouldn't say anything, I see traits in a lot of children but there is no way I would say anything to their parents. 2.5 is a funny age and some behaviours can be tackled and then vanish. My friends little boy was referred for assessment due to a few behaviours and lack of speech at the age of 3 years, after a few sessions with the speech therapist he was a totally different child, he started school in September and is doing great ( no more talk of him possibly being on the spectrum ). For us it was obvious that dd1 was on the spectrum, she was very hard work and I thought I was failing her, it was a relief when we were told she has Aspergers as I could stop blaming my parenting skills and get advice to help her. Dd2 was not so obvious other than the lack of speech, out gp referred her after her 2 year check up as he felt she did not react normally to being examined and didn't follow instructions, we were shocked but turned out she had more severe autism than her sister.

My point is, if there is a problem im sure the parents of will pick up on it, if not it will be picked up at nursery or school.

judypoops Mon 05-Jan-15 13:43:22

My child's peadiatrician told us that they're pretty sure it's at least partly genetic, so obviously there are different opinions on this. I wouldn't say anything to her op, but as pp suggested perhaps direct her to the hv about the behaviour issues.

53Dragon Mon 05-Jan-15 13:46:32

I think you could offer 'helpful advice' without mentioning autism. For example 'If you're concerned about his behaviour, why don't you ask your HV for help?'

I did once mention (tactfully I promise) to a very close friend that one of her twins showed signs of Dyspraxia. She didn't do anything about it for about 18 months but when she eventually did a professional diagnosis soon followed. I used to look after her twins for her once a week so it was noticeable that one of her sons behaved very differently to the other and my son who was the same age.

But it's a minefield - I agonised for ages over whether I should say anything. Luckily she was pleased that I had the honesty to say something - after all e knew that I loved her family very much.

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