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suspected autism/asperger's syndrome in two year old boy

(8 Posts)
studentmummy Wed 22-Jul-09 18:53:43

My little boy has always been a bit different. Some of his tendencies may be an inherent part of his personality but others appear more symptomatic such as severe speech delay and no infant babbling, obsessions with household appliances such as the washing machine and preference for turning on and off taps and lights exhaustively. He has also been prone to making and repeatedly following circuits since he was a baby. He has episodes of facial passivity and can be inclined to disappear into his own little world. Apart from all this he is very affectionate and loving and does have episodes when he is more sociable. Hearing problems have now been ruled out. Has anyone experienced something similar and has it been diagnosed as autism or something else?

jemmm Wed 22-Jul-09 19:10:19

Hi,

You might want to head over here mumsnet.com/Talk/special_needs

There are lots of people in very similar situations over there who will help.

Out of interest how old is DS and has he been seen by any professionals?

studentmummy Wed 22-Jul-09 19:27:49

Thanks for the tip - didn't know this facility existed! DS is two and a half and he has been seen by a fair number of professionals after referral by doctor, myself and his nursery. However, none of these professionals has been an autistic specialist. There is agreement something is not quite right but a reluctance to label although as a parent some clarity would be instructive with regards to both helping and understanding him.

jemmm Wed 22-Jul-09 19:45:24

Has he been seen by a paediatrician or was the doctor your GP?

It's a really tough call - and you'll get far more experienced people over in Special Needs - our DS is 2.2 and we've had a verbal diagnosis of autism. BUT, I think there's generally a feeling that the sooner you start getting professional intervention, the better the outcomes, and often to get that intervention you need to have a formal diagnosis.

There's something called the CHAT that you can do - Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - it's supposed to be for professionals I think - but we found it instructive - www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=128&a=2226 - you may find browsing around the rest of the NAS site useful - we did.

The other question I'd ask and I think others would too - is does your DS point at things? Can he communicate in other ways - if he wants something specific can he let you know?

Hope this is helpful.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 22-Jul-09 19:49:56

It does sound similar to my boy, who is autistic, and some of my friend's children - esp. the obsession with washing machines and turning on and off taps/lights. It is a bit of a myth that autistic kids are not affectionate (old-style 50s thinking) and my DS is totally loving. I would ask your GP for a referral to a paediatrician with expertise in this area. It may be that your DS has only a very mild version as autism is a spectrum - but if he is on the spectrum then the sooner you start working with him the better as you can really change his brain at this age. Try getting him to make even a token sound to get, say, a biscuit - even a "b" or a try at the whole word. Then reward him every time he makes even a noise that is close. That way he starts to see that different noises (eg speech) get different rewards and he becomes motivated to talk. The classic pattern is that autistic kids lead mum's hand to what they want, or mum becomes an expert at predicing what they want, so their natural lack of desire to communicate is reinforced and they don't bother. Also, a mini trampoline and swing really helped my DS get some energy out. Beware of people being "reluctant to label him". This may be the council's way of saying they're reluctant to pay out for extra help in the educational system if he is diagnosed! A lot of us on special needs mumsnet have become quite cynical about the fact that councils avoid giving an autism diagnosis (sometimes just saying it is "unidentified delay", or "social communications difficulties") as an actual diagnosis could pin them down to having to pay up later! Good luck. If it's any help, my DS was non verbal and forever turning on / off taps and running around at that age (it drove me half mad) but is now reading , writing, talking more (though still delayed) and functioning well at mainstream school with a 1-to-1 helper (which he wouldn't have got funding for without a diagnosis!).

studentmummy Wed 22-Jul-09 21:10:03

Just a quickie - not much time now cooking supper! Thanks for feedback very helpful.
Jemmm - yes pointing now but not until quite recently - certainly never as a baby or young toddler. Thnaks for the CHAT link - will check this out.
Sickofsocalledexperts - Know the feeling - it seems to be a long hard slog!!
This sounds like a carbon copy of my son.
Seems a strange collection of traits to share if it is just 'social communication difficulties' as one expert told us and obviously you too at one point. DS loves swing and trampolines so I may need to consider this for garden - great idea - he is totally hyperactive!! He has nearly flooded the house a few times through turning on taps and will sit for hours with all things electric or mechanical. Also - another thing do your sons have a chronic dairy allergy as mine does - I wonder if there is a correlation here?

Haribosmummy Wed 22-Jul-09 21:30:25

Hi,

Sorry to but in.. my son is 14 months old, is obsessed by household appliances and loves turning taps on and off (though, to be fair, loves water and happily has a bath without bothering the taps!)

He babbles very well, but doesn't speak as such yet (just mama / dada etc)

Just looked at CHAT and I can honestly answer yes to all the parental questions...

But, he has started doing this really weird thing of staying bolt still and looking at the ground when a stranger (adult, not child) comes close to him - I'd put this down to shyness.

He is awfully affectinate.

Really sorry to barge another thread, but would appreciate advice on whether this is something I should watch out for.
thanks,

HM

studentmummy Thu 23-Jul-09 17:23:55

Haribosmummy

Never heard of the staying bolt still thing -hopefully someone can help you with this!

On the positive side - my son never babbled. He was totally silent as a young toddler and only managed five single words by the age of 24 months. So your little boy is not doing too badly!

With my DS and the taps/lights on/off etc it has been fairly intensive (i.e. he could keep going for hours!!) and he has to eat all his meals sitting next to his toy washing machine - so pretty obsessive too! He also opens and shuts doors all day - of any kind. However, some level of mechanistic focus might just be a boy thing.

The CHAT thing might be indicative of something. I am certainly no expert (only of my own child's idiosyncrasies) and hence my request for help - wonder what the other mums have to say?

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