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Friends DS aged 2 and a half...is it too soon to worry about him?

(16 Posts)
SilverCharm Tue 16-Oct-12 15:58:13

He's 3 in March...she has expressed some worry about him because her sister pointed out that he won't reply, interact or look when people talk to him...she asked me what I thought and I said that I wasn't sure...which is true.

She asked me to list his behaviours here to get some opinions from people who know what they're talking about. I will begin with the worrying things and then go on to the positives...

He's never played with things in an imaginative fashion...pretend cooking or brumming cars....doesn't bring things to anyone to show them or point or wave....he watches hours of tv if allowed and plays obsessively with friends phone and ipad...(very good at managing a touch screen)

He seems to have odd little episodes where he stares blankly at things like leaves...sort of "goes away" for a while.

He has some issues with certain textures and if he inadvertantly picks up something that has a particular texture, he will wildly brush his hands and pull a disgusted face.

He has words but they are only repetition...so phrases from tv shows...though he can sing a nursery rhyme or two and will if asked sometimes.

He will play games such as chase with my children...and laughs when doing so...he knows his numbers to 20 and can point particular numbers out...he hugs his Mum sometimes and also loves his Dad...has a very good relationship. He is genreally pleased to see my DC too.

For me, the man thing is that you can say his name over and over and show things but he simply ignores you....even if he sees you waving a toy or item at him...he only comes to you for food...so If I say "X...come and get a biscuit" he will.

My friend wants to know, is it worth taking him to the GP or is this just 2 year old boy behaviour? At his 2 year check, he wouldn't do any of the requests...my friend says the HV was rude and she didn't feel that she could ask her and questions and it was as though she couldn't be bothered.

I have two DC who were both quite verbal at this age...so not sure if the main problem is simply that his language isn't developed or if the ignoring thing is a real issue.

insanityscratching Tue 16-Oct-12 16:05:15

Speaking as the mum of two children with autism I would say there is more than enough there for your friend to be concerned about. I would advise her to go direct to the GP (hv's know nothing IME) and demand a referral to a developmental paediatrician asap.

insanityscratching Tue 16-Oct-12 16:07:07

As for it being too early..... no definitely not dd had a diagnosis at two and ds at just three.

SilverCharm Tue 16-Oct-12 16:58:13

I don't want to upset her but it does seem worrying. I was hoping you might say that he's only 2 and a half and that boys are more self contained. He does seem to enjoy playing with my DC...which I thought might indicate that he was sociable?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 16-Oct-12 17:39:20

Blimey, you could have been describing my DS2 at 2.5, except he had less speech then. When he did develop some speech it was very echolalic, repeated phrases, either delayed (from a favourite TV programme, for instance) or immediate (copying what was said to him, eg 'Do you want a biscuit? He'd reply, 'you want a biscuit.' without correcting the pronouns.)

Does that sound familiar? DS2 was DXed with ASD at 3.5. sad

TBH, I agree with Insanity. I'd be recommending she gets a referral to a specialist developmental paed. We can't DX by internet, we are only parents ourselves but it will do no harm if your friend's DS is fine, but early intervention is very helpful.

SilverCharm Tue 16-Oct-12 17:51:40

Ellen that sounds familiar. If I say "Bye X" then his Mum will say "Say bye bye x" and he'll say "say bye bye X"

He repeats phrases using the exact intonation. sad

there's no spontanious "Hello Elephant!" or "Bye bye SilverCharm"

I am afraid to tell my friend what you've all said tbh. I think I will just say that you suggested a trip to the GP to ask for advice.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 16-Oct-12 17:57:04

Softly softly. It's easy on an anonymous board to give hard hitting advice, much more difficult in RL with a friend. Maybe let her know that we saw some red flags but think she should see her GP with a list of her concerns. My worry is that GPs are very variable and many know nothing about ASD. She really needs to be referred on to someone who does know what they are talking about. Be her supportive friend, it's all you can do.

bialystockandbloom Tue 16-Oct-12 19:07:24

He sounds very similar to my ds at that kind of age (he's now 5yo and has HFA, diagnosed at 3.6). Especially the ignoring his name being called and lack of pretend play.

ASD does not preclude being sociable or affectionate, so sadly, just because he shows both of these doesn't mean he doesn't have ASD.

Ellen's suggested approach sounds perfect to me. The fact that she has asked you of her own accord might mean she's open to discussion. But of course the very real fear that your child has autism is one of the hardest possible things to accept. Probably best not to use that word but something on the lines of delayed development or difficulty with communication (that kind of phrase was a bit more palatable to me at the time of dx as it pointed more to the actual difficulties which need to be helped, rather than the big scary label).

lingle Tue 16-Oct-12 19:19:53

he's definitely got some problems with his communication hasn't he?

tip for her: when she goes to the GP/whomever, she musn't say "he doesn't talk" - they won't take that seriously. Instead she should say "he doesn't seem to understand his name/that I am showing him something/etc". That will get more attention.

He sounds very similar to my DS2 when he was that age. DS2 is blossoming now - am about to start a thread celebrating his parents' evening. DS2 also loved playing chase games, playing with brother/parents and seeing children he liked and adored numbers. When I was seeing health professionals they tended to downplay those things because they weren't on the checklist. But those little positives have been the seed of all his success since. So don't ever stop celebrating the lovely strengths that this boy has - a great role you can have as a friend is being the person who gets to talk about the strengths of the individual child smile (but do let her know she is right to seek help about the weaknesses).

ArthurPewty Tue 16-Oct-12 19:21:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SilverCharm Tue 16-Oct-12 19:28:53

I can't seem to get up the nerve to tell her that I've asked the questions on here and that she needs to see the GP. I sense that she's hoping that his problems are just because he's a boy and still little....I will say that the suggestion is that if she has concerns, then it's best to seek advice sooner rather than later. Thanks for all the help people.

lingle Tue 16-Oct-12 19:43:19

How about if you tell her then that we said to see the speech therapist - that might sound less scary and the gp may refer to speech therapy anyway. She may even be able to go to a drop-in speech therapy clinic.

But totally agree with you that once you've passed on the message your advising role is over. Follow her lead. One of my neighbours is a consultant paediatrician and the reason she was a source of strength was that she just accepted DS2 as he was in her home, gave him lots of time to bounce on the trampoline with her kids and never ever gave me advice - and crucially never gave any expression of surprise or distaste about how DS2 was.

By the way, she should get his hearing tested asap - that won't scare her!

As to the "just a boy and still little" thing, I could say that in a way about DS2, but what I'm absolutely sure of is that he would be much more anxious and afraid than he is if I hadn't given this a lot of attention.

The best non-scary book is "It Takes Two to Talk" published by Hanen. That will help her refine her techniques and I promise it won't freak her out.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 16-Oct-12 20:02:52

www.winslow-cat.com/it-takes-two-to-talk.html

That's a fairly cheap source for the Hanen book, but shop around. There is an ASD specific one which is better if ASD is the problem, More than Words, which includes sensory issues as well, such as his dislike of certain textures, but that may be a step too far at this stage. sad

You are being a really good friend. smile People that accepted my DS2 and still invited us for playdates etc, were like gold dust. BTW, he's 13 now, at a mainstream secondary, with a statement of special needs and 1:1 support, and he got 4's and 5's in his Y6 SATs. He's lovely (sometimes!) and I couldn't imagine him any other way.

SilverCharm Tue 16-Oct-12 20:13:34

God thanks ellen but I actually love him...she's a very old friend and more like family really so to me, he's very important. My friend is already worrying about his behaviour amongst other kids his age and thinking people are judging.

He is, I don't doubt a very bright boy...he just is...but it's like there's only a small portion of him showing at the moment.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 16-Oct-12 20:23:44

I do understand that. My DS is bright enough, but not very communicative. Away with the fairies, for sure! grin He had a word processor in Y3, called a Neo Alphasmart, because his writing and fine motor skills were poor. Suddenly I felt like I had a window into his mind, he would take it to bed and write plays, recipes, made up music playlists (his obsession was CDs at the time) and it was the first time I could see what was going on in his head. smile The novelty wore off and he's back in his own world again, but I know there's lots going on in his head!

bialystockandbloom Tue 16-Oct-12 20:27:33

the strengths of the individual child smile (but do let her know she is right to seek help about the weaknesses

^ That is absolutely crucial imo. A label (or even diagnosis) isn't the point. The thing that matters is if he's having difficulties, not whether those difficulties fall under this or that diagnostic label.

Oh your poor friend. If she's anything like I was at that stage (which it sounds like she is a bit) the worry you see is only the tip of the iceberg. It is very hard to be in your position. I was livid with anyone if they dared to suggest there was anything wrong with my ds other than "being a boy". At the same time, frustrated when other friends agreed with me that he was "just being a boy".

You could try asking her if she's still worried about him? And if she is, then maybe suggest she could ask for advice from GP about the specific difficulties. Probaby the most useful thing you could do, actually, is to point her in the direction of this board smile

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