Signs of autism?

(19 Posts)
mudsweatandtears Sat 06-Jun-15 11:09:12

Was just at a football class with my ds who has just turned 3, he has been attending this class for about 6 weeks. It became apparent to me that he is fine when no children approach him but when another child comes within touching distance he braces himself then runs away.
I have always thought he is just an introvert and is not comfortable with loud or rough play, but today he was repetitively touching his face and the badge on his shirt and rocking. He moves away from other children when they come near him, doesn't like any physical contact from the nursery workers, has a problem with some textures of food and labels in clothes. On the other hand he adapts well to new situations as long as he is with me, shows empathy, and presents as a very easy going little boy.
I'm really confused whether to talk to the health visitor (who thought he displayed symptoms of ADHD) or to just go with the flow and try to socialise him in situations where physical contact isn't necessary. Any advice would be greatly received!

SaulGood Sat 06-Jun-15 11:13:47

There is nothing to lose talking to the hv and everything to be gained if he does have any need for extra support.

Autism doesn't mean no empathy or disliking new situations necessarily. Your little boy is your little boy and even if he is on the vast spectrum, his behaviour will be unique to him.

strawberryshoes Sat 06-Jun-15 11:16:18

What do nursery say about him? Any concerns?

I think it is always worth getting things checked, so no harm in seeing the HV with a list of your worries.

At 3, professionals often take a wait and see approach anyway, but for your peace of mind its good to talk to someone about it

mudsweatandtears Sat 06-Jun-15 11:22:43

Thanks for the replies, nursery just say that he keeps himself to himself and won't sit with the others at story or snack time. They disagreed completely with the health visitor about him showing signs of ADHD even though he is very active. Maybe I will request seeing the other health visitor in the area, for a fresh view.

Goldmandra Sat 06-Jun-15 22:41:58

Your concerns sound quite significant and could be a good reason to think your DS will need support in school.

I know school probably seems a long way off but, in terms of a neurodevelopmental assessment and then an assessment of educational needs, it really isn't a long time at all.

I would go straight to the GP and ask for a referral to a community paediatrician, developmental paediatrician or CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), whichever service can trigger or carry out a neurodevelopmental assessment in your area.

Lots of children with ASD are very empathetic, in fact there is a theory that they may be over-empathetic.

Autism is a very complex disorder and children can have quite spiky profiles, i.e. great difficulties in some areas but not at all in others. It's a difficult condition to rule out or diagnose although a lot of people think they can do so on the basis of one conversation or a few minutes observation.

Early intervention makes a difference and so does decent levels of support in school. You'll probably face a long wait before he is seen anyway so I would get things under way ASAP. If your concerns disappear before the first appointment comes around, you can always cancel it.

peacoat Sat 06-Jun-15 22:43:35

How is his language development?

mudsweatandtears Sun 07-Jun-15 13:36:00

Yes I would rather he got help sooner rather than later if he needs it, I think maybe I've been ignoring the signs and blaming it on shyness. He has a vast vocabulary but not the clearest speech. He tends to latch on to phrases and repeat them over and over again.

Goldmandra Sun 07-Jun-15 14:43:42

He tends to latch on to phrases and repeat them over and over again.

That's called Echolalia. It can be very hard to live with. My DD2 used to repeat phrases from adverts until I was fit to scream. Luckily she grew out of it eventually.

retrocutie Sun 07-Jun-15 14:46:38

He might just be a bit nervous. Also, the repetitive things… lots of children do these. Please do not be too eager to put a label on it.

Goldmandra Sun 07-Jun-15 15:20:03

Please do not be too eager to put a label on it.

The OP doesn't get to put a 'label' on anything and her eagerness to do so wouldn't make a difference to the decisions made by professionals.

Autism is diagnosed by teams of professionals after weeks or months of neurodevelopmental assessment. If they feel that a diagnosis is appropriate, it will be the key to this child to getting the support he needs.

Fear of labeling is based on ignorance and should never prevent a child getting much needed understanding and support.

peacoat Sun 07-Jun-15 16:26:03

Goldmandra without being too nosy - what do you do? I'm interested in doing what it sounds like you do.

Goldmandra Sun 07-Jun-15 16:54:53

Without going into too much detail, I'm an Early Years practitioner with experience of working with young people with disabilities, two children with Autism, too much experience of battles for SEN provision (my own and other parents') and a voluntary role in promoting parent participation.

Not very exciting or well paid I'm afraid.

peacoat Sun 07-Jun-15 17:51:21

Ah! You sound like you would be an amazing advocate for parents.

mudsweatandtears Sun 07-Jun-15 20:04:28

I am certainly not eager to label him but equally if there is something I could be doing to help him then obviously the younger this is started the better. As I said above, he is an easy going little boy and I have no trouble managing his behaviour, but I think I need professional advice whether to expose him to these social situation that cause him stress or avoid them.

peacoat Sun 07-Jun-15 20:30:00

You sound very sensible OP. I think it's wise to take him to the GP, explain your concerns and ask for an assessment.

Goldmandra Sun 07-Jun-15 23:30:27

OP, a neurodevelopmental assessment should help you to understand the reasons behind your DS's behaviours, even if he doesn't end up with a diagnosis. That should, in turn, help you do decide when to challenge him and when something would cause too much stress or upset.

Peacoat, thank you. I'd love to be paid to work as an advocate for the child in these processes, especially the SEN battles but that's not likely in the current economic climate. Instead the system has to rely on parents taking that role which doesn't always make it equitable.

peacoat Mon 08-Jun-15 20:20:33

Goldmandra can you not set up a charity or do some work through IPSEA? Pardon my patronising, you've probably thought of all that already.

Goldmandra Mon 08-Jun-15 23:11:35

I have been very close to applying to volunteer for IPSEA and I probably will once I've got my DD2's educational provision sorted properly.

It's not patronising at all. Thank you for the compliment.

NotCitrus Tue 09-Jun-15 07:41:40

My ds and dn were similar. Now 7 and 6, dn has struggled with school as he coped less and less well with jostling and contact with other kids, whereas ds went into preschool as the smallest and youngest but with advanced vocabulary, was taught useful assertive phrases, and has thrived in school - so could go either way. Ds has recently had an assessment where he was deemed to have a number of traits of autism but to generally be doing well, so we're only referring to a dietician - will revisit if necessary. Many academic geeks have traits of autism, many grow out of problems, especially at preschool age.

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