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Bit worried about toddler DS, unnecessarily so? (sorry, long)

(25 Posts)
NapOfTheDamned Wed 31-Oct-12 14:23:18


This is my first post in the SN board. I'm very new to the area although I've been reading like mad last few weeks and I apologize in advance if I write anything that is upsetting or inappropriate.

I'm a bit worried about my DS who is 2 in December. He's my first and because of my age may be our only DC.

I'm unsure as to what is normal toddler boy behavior and what is something to watch so I was hoping people here could help me.

DS was a very tricky baby, which I put down to tongue tie and reflux. He only slept through night at 17.5 months and prior to that woke every few hours wanting BF.

He is still very into BF and asks all the time.
He does not make eye contact when BF and does not make eye contact as much as other toddlers his age do with me or his dad, is often in his own world.

He does not play with other children and in a baby singing group will run off and do his own thing, often going to the door and pushing furniture about. He can sit on my lap and sometimes will do the actions for songs though. On a playdate he will play on his own or next to another child but not greet or wave bye to them.

When out in park he runs off and does not stay close or play near other children. He would rather go up and down stairs and in lifts. He loves lifts.
His first word was mama then Hoover. He is obsessed with apeppa Pg and tantrums when not allowed to watch it and would watch it all day - when he was unwell he DID watch it all day whilst BF all day.

He does point, he does laugh and smile and talk. He does kiss me. He doesn't walk on toes much or flap his arms or line up toys. He doesn't respond to his name much. He loves letters and numbers and knows lots already.

He is not very interested in eating and prefers me to put food in his mouth whilst watching Peppa. I'm trying to limit this and get him to eat but it requires a lot of toys and distraction.

When I get him out of his cot he says 'yellow' and points at light, not mummy or hi. He doesn't make eye contact with me,just asks for milk.

I could go on but am I over thinking a normal young toddler boy's behaviors or should I be a bit concerned?


Shayo Wed 31-Oct-12 14:42:01

Just to let you know that your in a good place there are lots of supportive people here this is my first mail as well but I do look and read and the people here are GREAT.
I was in a similar position and I think that you could be right and wrong.
Its hard to really determine as each child is difference but sometimes as was in my case I knew somthing wasnt right .....I was told all is fine by the professionals I just knew this was not the case so i started early intervention privately and started pulling strings and shouting and all that. the loudest seem to get a lot.
If you really think there is somthing wrong talk to the health visitor, GP and insist you want another opinion thats what I did and now a lot has been put in place.In saying this you might just be worrying over nothing and all might slot into place he is rather young .
Best wishes

bialystockandbloom Wed 31-Oct-12 15:13:38


It is obviously so hard for us to say, but I can see why you would be concerned tbh. He sounds pretty similar to my ds at that age (high functioning ASD). There are some things on your list that would ring alarm bells (easy for me to say, with hindsight of course).

I do think it would be worth going to GP or HV with the list of behaviours exactly as you've written it (and take ds with you) and asking for a referral. It will likely be a long wait before you see anyone, by which time either your concerns will be allayed, or they'll remain in which case you've got in early.

Stick around this board too, as whatever happens, if you need advice on helping him with anything (communication, play, interaction etc) this is the best place to find it smile

bialystockandbloom Wed 31-Oct-12 15:15:03

ps I'm sorry, my post comes across as a bit blunt and black & white; I wrote it in a rush - hope it hasn't upset you.

HotheadPaisan Wed 31-Oct-12 15:39:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coppertop Wed 31-Oct-12 16:26:21

Welcome to the SN board. smile

At this age I don't think there's generally all that much interaction with other children, so I wouldn't pay too much attention to that at this stage. I think the general rule is something like playing alongside other children at 2ish and playing with them at 3ish. I sometimes venture out to singing groups with my 2yr-old, and I'd say that there are always at least 3 or 4 children who find something more interesting to do.

Obsession with TV programmes can also be fairly typical. My dd2 is mad about Mr Tumble. Dd1 used to watch Lazytown repeatedly. <shudders at the memory> I think the big difference between them and my two boys with ASD was that the girls could eventually be distracted with something else. The boys went into flailing meltdowns that went on for hours.

When he points, does he do it to show you something, or is it more for his own benefit? My ds1 sometimes stuck his index finger out at things, but didn't really care whether I was looking or not.

Have you had a look at the CHAT test yet? (CHecklist for Autism in Toddlers)

I would say that if you're worried then it's better to ask for a referral to see a Paediatrician. The waiting lists tend to be quite long, so if you think your ds doesn't need an appointment anymore you can always cancel.

Ineedalife Wed 31-Oct-12 16:43:40

Hi nap and welcome to the board, I agree with the others that we cant diagnose your little boy on this board but I think there are some red flags in what you have said about him.

If I were you I would take what you have written about him and go and see your GP. Ask him/her for a referral to a developmental paediatrician.

If you are worried and you do nothing, it is going to eat away at you and you will always be wondering. I think it would be better to get him seen even if it is just to put your mind at rest. Like copper said, you can always cancel the appointment.

Good luck whatever you decidesmile

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Wed 31-Oct-12 18:16:13

Hi nap I'm new too. No specific advice, only wanted to say that every medical professional we've seen re DD's chromosome disorder has said that early intervention and the parents involvement are the most important factors in mitigating the effects. SO if you think something is wrong then trust your instincts and badger the GP until your DS gets the help he needs.

Good luck.

NapOfTheDamned Wed 31-Oct-12 18:42:53

Thanks so much for the replies, really helpful just to be able to articulate nagging concerns as DH is quite closed minded and has stong reaction to the idea that DS is 'not normal' or 'weird' so panics and will not talk about it or read up on it.

(This is probably because DH himself was teased as a child for being 'not normal and weird' - he was geeky, didn't have many friends, didnt find himself able to fit in socially and read social cues, extremely bright and bored at school, very detail orientated etc etc and possibly has high functioning traits himself....)

I'm not based in the UK but I can self-refer (and pay) to see a paediatrician through not sure if there is one here on this island who specializes in ASD and Aspergers. There is a private school here with SALT staff which I can look at.I've only just started thinking about this and trying to face up to my fears so not done much to explore next steps, just wanted to tentatively sound out and talk to other parents in confidence...

I have looked at M-CHAT and DS is's hard to know as he's so young. I do think watching tv is really bad for him, he loves it so much but kind of shuts down and lack of eye contact, speech, huge tantrumming, all gets MUCH worse afterwards and during watching tv time, did anyone else find this? The more TV he watches, the more he shuts down.

Thanks so much again. I'll keep reading and looking at these boards,it has helped so much already just to get some partial understanding.

SallyBear Wed 31-Oct-12 19:11:25

Where are you? Is there such is thing as Portage where you are? If you can maybe start doing some work with Portage (early intervention play therapy) then you are on the radar of professionals.

Welcome by the way. smile

NapOfTheDamned Wed 31-Oct-12 19:51:07

Googling Portage where I am ...doesn't look like it. But found this.

Am in British West Indies.

I guess first steps would be to mention this at two year check with GP/paediatrician and then if they are not much good, seek out this foundation on the islands for further help.

Thanks again for the welcome. It means so much just to be able to read and talk about some of the things I am grappling with. I just can't even mention it to anyone here and family are so far away.

NapOfTheDamned Thu 01-Nov-12 01:11:30

Hmm,thinking about this more and more and I think both DH and I have Aspie tendencies. So not that surprising that DS is a bit different to other toddlers.

I read fluently at 2.5, wrote letters to people aged four,had a 16 year old reading age at 7 and was in my own world for all of my childhood.

I can't remember any friends but I can remember and picture quote every book I read, and I read thousands, often under the desk when i was meant to be doing lessons. I had the ability to repeat back verbatim whatever the teacher had been saying,complete with inflections, remember strings of random numbers even if i didnt understand the sum, so I could always make out I had been paying attention when I hadn't.

I never easily made eye contact with people and as a child I ripped out my eye lashes, chewed my cheeks raw and bloody and stuck pins in myself because I was so stressed at school. I was there but not there IYSWIM? Socially it's always been like I didn't get the rule book with all the pages. But I've learned and it's much better now, I'm shy but nobody knows because I pass as confident.

I was so very unhappy and disassociated as a child.

I dont want DS to go through that if possible, feeling like an alien on a strange planet. School being like going into a war zone.

Sorry, I'd literally blocked all this until now.
I hadn't expected all this to bring up such strong feelings.

I will do my best to make sure DS has all the tools and help I can get him.
I just want him to be happy and able to cope easily.

SallyBear Thu 01-Nov-12 08:30:23

Ahh bless you Nap. It's funny how things that you've bottled up come to the fore. I was a lonely child who was packed off to Boarding school, where I never really fitted in. I think I learned my swan like behaviour then. Looking graceful above the water but paddling furiously below. It's taken having kids to give me a different perspective and just chill out a bit. You've identified that he has some issues, you are pretty sure you know what they are and you are here to ask for support. smile

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 01-Nov-12 08:54:41

Hi Nap. This is my first post on SN too. smile

My heart jumped when I read the first few lines of your post. My DS2 is also 2 in December. smile And has a lot of the behavioural traits you outline for your own son. Like yours, he is also pretty keen on bf, but then I bf DS1 (who is definitely not ASD) for 2 yrs 2 m. DS2 doesn't 'ask' for milk verbally or by sign though - he jumps on me if I sit down, pulls at my clothes and grunts. confused I'm getting towards being fed up of bf by now, but it's pretty much the only thing he 'asks' for consistently that I can always give him...

He has no speech at 22 m. Well, ok, he says 'daddy'. He says it in lots of contexts, not just if he sees his daddy - in fact, he doesn't often use it in the 'right' context. He babbles and does lots of consonant-vowel sounds, like dadaba booo da. He also just 'sung' the first two lines of Row Row Your Boat to me (his favourite song, I suppose) in babble-talk - it was pretty note perfect! grin It's very hard to know what he understands. He's pretty compliant about going upstairs to change nappies if I tell him, but that might be because he loves to climb the stairs, and they aren't normally accessible to him. I try to remember that just because he isn't talking doesn't mean he can't understand what's being said, so I do try to commentate to him. He doesn't follow instructions, like 'bring me the ball,' at all. I know he 'should' by now. The only thing he ALWAYS responds to is any mention of 'milky' - I can practically murmur that across a crowded room and he'll drop whatever he's doing and come running. hmm Nothing wrong with hearing either, we had it tested.

He isn't bothered by looking at himself in the mirror. He is just getting into books but is still more interested by the flaps and holes and mechanics of a book than the pictures, and isn't really at all interested in me reading to him. sad He loves cars and trains and anything that brums on wheels, but isn't at all bothered by 2D representations - it has to be a toy. For that matter, he's not that bothered by real cars or tractors much. Things that ought to hold his attention, like animals, often don't - the other day he was with his GPs, who have dogs, and was playing within a few inches of one of the dogs, who was desperate for him to notice her. grin He did, eventually, with a funny start, and then was very smiley and laughing. But his attention wasn't caught by a lively dog a few inches from his face. confused Same at music group, which is taken by a very animated woman. He just isn't bothered by watching her and her puppets. I look round - all the other (younger) babies and toddlers are.

He doesn't kiss, but he likes being kissed (thinks it's funny) and he does like cuddles, in the right mood. He used to clamber onto laps for cuddles but hasn't really done that recently. sad He hardly ever responds to his name being called. One exception is a recent thing - if we're outside and he's running away from me (he thinks it's a game) if I crouch down and call his name with arms open, he'll turn, giggle and run back to me with his own arms open, and cuddle. smile I can't tell you how much I love this, because it feels like affection and some sort of reciprocal understanding between us. I think, from his POV, it's just a game, though. sad

Written like this, I can see it looks very like he has an ASD. DH is a psychologist (academic) and though ASD isn't his thing, he knows enough to keep on saying 'any variation in speech is viewed as normal until 2'. But this isn't just speech, is it? DH has his head in the sand, I think. It makes me feel so lonely.

In some ways, he might do ok at preschool - he loves being in large social groups. He doesn't play with other toddlers (you wouldn't necessarily expect that at this age, either) but he thrives in just toddling off and playing with toys in large groups. If we're stuck at home, just him and me, he gets very clingy and I think it's because he's bored. confused But how can I send him to preschool when he can't even communicate his needs to other people??

HotheadPaisan Thu 01-Nov-12 09:15:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NapOfTheDamned Thu 01-Nov-12 13:58:10

Hello Reshape, I remember you from December 2010 postnatal thread, I was on it too with a different name.
Am sorry to hear of your anxieties about your little chap.

Like you, I've just started thinking about it all and it is a tense time.
I deal with uncertainty and stress by reading and researching obsessively and finding out as much as I can.

I found this link from Dr Sears very helpful.

Have also downloaded the Tony Attwood book. What he said about ASD girls triggered my memories of childhood. I had no idea that onsessive reading, escaping into books and magical worlds was something to do with ASD!...I knew and still know very little about it but am tring to learn as much as I can as I unashamed that early intervention and help for parents and children can make a big difference.

Your little boy running away as a game and then running into outstretched arms when I crouch down and barrelling into me for a hug is just the same as my DS and I love it too.

Reading this forum and the links posted has been very helpful indeed. I think one of the hard things is even starting to think about it and look at links and other parent experiences and being open to the idea of ASD, even so well done for doing that.

I am comforted by the fact that there is such a lot of good advice and ideas and would rather know early so I can help DS. I am around on PM if you want, although DS is getting over a bug and not napping - not eating much and getting up at 4.30am so I am not online as much as I'd like!

Best wishes

HotheadPaisan Thu 01-Nov-12 14:13:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bialystockandbloom Thu 01-Nov-12 15:13:45

Hothead I agree that allowing them to "be" is very important. But we all know how beneficial early intervention is, and it's possible (with the right support) to encourage, develop and increase engagement (or communication, interaction or other skills) while still allowing a child to be him/herself iyswim.

HotheadPaisan Thu 01-Nov-12 15:30:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bialystockandbloom Thu 01-Nov-12 15:38:30

Yes I know what you mean - actually I look back at when we started ABA two years and ago and realise I was kind of expecting it to almost cure ds. There is a balance to be struck between teaching skills/eliminating barriers to learning and expecting conformity. A child with asd will always have asd. But if you have the right teachers, and the right approach it is possible to teach things you never thought possible. And that includes things like interaction.

Two years ago I thought we would never be able to have a two-way conversation with ds, even for 10 seconds, or that he would want to interact with other people. He is currently upstairs with his aba tutor acting out a complex scenario with lego figures in the most fantastically normal way smile

Having high expectations, and finding the right support to reach those expectations, is key imo.

lingle Thu 01-Nov-12 17:19:15

It does sound as though the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree and that his intellect and emotions are a bit "tilted" - as yours were as a child.

Having said that, he will tilt at his own unique angle, so whilst it's useful to recognise one's own history, it's equally important to remember that his story will be different to yours. With understanding parents, he may suffer far less than you did.

There were quite a few things in your OP that made me think "ooh yes that's worrying - hold on a sec - he's 1 not 3" so perhaps the first thing to do is get a really good sense of the order of the milestones you are expecting so you can work at the right level - as someone else said, you don't need to think about interactions with other children too much yet - more interactions with a trusted few adults.

My belief with the dads is that time they spend interacting with their chip-off-the-old-block sons in a relaxed and joyful way is what counts and that should be encouraged at any costs, even if that means that we have to sneak off to mumsnet to discuss our worries in private for while!

good luck!

osospecial Fri 02-Nov-12 19:48:24

Hi reshape and napofthe damned
I can identify with what you are both saying. I felt something was up with dd, lack of eye contact, not responding to her name, no speech etc at 2 yrs old, when DP kept saying 'she still young, there's nothing wrong etc' it made me feel like i was being paranoid. I seemed to be the only one who saw anything wrong.
One thing I can say is I'm glad I followed my instincts and spoke to hv at dd 2year check as she was put on the waiting list to see paed for RG assesment and referred for salt, 7 months later we saw the paed but she said she wanted us to come back after DD had started speech therapy (which we waited for for 9months) and was 3 to see how she was then. now she is 3.2 and we still have no answers, we are due to go back in a couple of weeks to see paed and have had 5 sessions of salt so far.
I guess what im trying to say is if you are worried, get a referral, it can always be cancelled at a later date if you are no longer worried but even when you start the ball rolling, the help can be so slow. I am still at that point where I'm still not sure if DD has asd or not a year later.

desprodad Fri 02-Nov-12 21:12:37

i have been agonising over my daughter since she was 8 months old. now she is 3 and a half and i'm none the wiser. she was delayed in most areas and when seen by the professionals at 2 years old was told she was severely delayed in speech and language and nothing else. at present she tip-toes, hates the hoover noise, repeats what you say to her (not all the time), asks the same questions often over a short period of time (when excited about a trip) and lines things up. she's affectionate and enjoys playing with other children. i have kept myself well read around the topic of ASD and believe she is on the spectrum. however, i'm the only person that sees it. my wife totally disagrees with me and states that this is norm. it is also true to say, most consultants would say that we r all autistic in some way. at present my dilemma is that my wife insists that she has the measles jab and i'm still concerned whether it might be a trigger that worsens her condition. i know the government stance is very clear that the measles jab (MMR or the single) doesn't cause autism but in susceptible children like my daughter who is showing traits, would the jab make it worse??? i have been struggling with this question, since she was 8 months when i noticed she had poor eye contact, but with age this has got better. please, if there is anyone out there that could help, please respond, especially as we r seeing pockets of measles across the uk and europe.

osospecial Fri 02-Nov-12 22:17:03

Hi desprodad, i know its hard when you and your OH don't agree on something like this. This site has helped me so much as its given me a way of discussing my fears that i wouldnt have otherwise. I don't know if there is a link with the mmr, I think having the jabs separately instead of the 3 together in the mmr is a possibility if you pay for it privately? I'm sure you would get some more help and advice if you started a new thread on this topic as people may not see your question here.

desprodad Sat 03-Nov-12 00:07:11

hi osospecial thanks started new thread

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