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ASD? Speech delay? Need advice (bit long, sorry!)

(9 Posts)
Queenofthehill Sun 25-Nov-12 20:47:53

Am a lone parent and DS is 18 mo. He is obviously wonderful but for as long as I can remember I've had this nagging feeling something's not quite right.

Every time I meet people with children around his age, it always strikes me how behind he seems. I've just come back from a weekend with a friend whose 20 month old obviously understands almost everything and can talk very well. DS is so far behind - and it has made me think I really need to get some advice. I'm wondering about ASD, speech apraxia, APD. Could really use pointers on how to proceed and get some opinions.

So here's what worries me:
- Doesn't seem to understand what I'm saying a lot of the time - doesn't follow instructions mostly, if I say 'are you hungry?' or 'would you like a banana?' usually just looks at me blankly.
- Can say about 15 words - and knows the answer to some questions like 'what does a lion say?' - but he says many of them repeatedly when he views the subject - eg, we live on a flight path and EVERY time he sees a plane, he says 'plane' loudly and over and over, ditto trains. Never tried to say his own name. Babbles plenty, though. Often v shouty and loud, though.
- Often doesn't respond to his name, sometimes I have to say it 6 times.
- Will switch a light on and off ad infinitum and is similarly obsessed with TV and washing machine buttons. This has been going on for months and months.
- Likes to just watch the washing machine when it's on.
- Likes to look at lights.
- Used to do this jerky, twirly hand thing all the time, but now only does it when watching TV or excited (eg when washing machine is turned on).
- I know he can say 'bye bye' and wave, but when someone does it to him, usually just looks at them blankly.
- Will play on his own for ages, doesn't come looking for me.
- Lines up his toys along the side of the bath, rather than playing with them.
- Drools a lot, bottom lip has always been quite slack and he can't suck through a straw, doesn't lick his lips if he gets food on them.
- Didn't breastfeed well - couldn't latch tightly.
- Fussy about certain foods
- Sat up late (7.5 months).
- Walked at 13 months, but unsteady on feet still. Quite clumsy and a 'floppy' posture for want of a better word.
- Can't sit still, doesn't go in for cuddles really.
- Seems zoned out a lot of the time when he's playing - a sort of 'catching flies' expression.
- Knows the word 'mama', knows I'm 'mama' but never says it to get my attention.
- Doesn't pay any attention if I say 'no' - in fact will do the thing I've told him not to on purpose (this may just be classic toddler behaviour!).
- Fearless, won't check I'm following him if he runs off, tries to get in the duck pond etc.
- Quite a crap sleeper.

But:
- He's a sociable soul and seeks out other children if we are out. He goes to a childminder every day and loves playing with the other kids.
- Enjoys playing peekaboo, hide and seek, chase, throwing/kicking a ball to someone.
- Smiley a good amount of the time.
- Has cheeky sense of humour (eg he likes to pretend to push me over if I'm crouching on the floor or will walk backwards and fall back on purpose because he knows I'm behind him to catch him).
- Likes reading stories (although often wants to turn the pages before I've read them).
- Understands some questions and instructions - 'where's your bus?' 'get me your book' 'where are your shoes?' - and will follow through on them.
- Good eye contact.
- Happy in busy, loud places (although was super-sensitive to noise until about 10 mo - would cry if someone coughed or sneezed).
- Enjoys playing with his cars and makes 'brumming' noises while doing so.

Thanks for reading this far. What do you think? Guess I should go to the GP about this, but in the past when I've mentioned concerns, I've come out feeling a bit like an overreacting PFB mum. This was when he was much younger, though. Also, don't want to be fobbed off if he does need some therapy or intervention. Would love some advice of what to do now. Thanks so much.

mrslaughan Sun 25-Nov-12 21:02:39

I would certainly talk to someone about your concerns..... Because early intervention can make a huge difference.
To me I wouldn't be so worried about ASD, but maybe dyspraxia or verbal dyspraxia......
I think here you would normally start with your GP

Queenofthehill Sun 25-Nov-12 21:11:59

Thanks mrslaughan. I do need to make an appointment with the GP, don't I? Hmm, hadn't thought of dyspraxia, but just did a quick google and a lot of that fits. Guess I'll go in to GP's with a printout of my epic list and start from there. Just worried for my DS sad

chocjunkie Sun 25-Nov-12 22:12:18

Queen, your DS sounds very similar to my Dd when she was his age (Dd is 4, has been dx with autism at 3).

definitely go to GP and makr a good list if all your concerns. ask for a referral to a developmental paediatrician and for SALT as well. chances are the waiting lists are quite long for both.

to cover all angles, i would also ask ask for a hearing test - just to rule out any hearing issues..

good luck smile

mrslaughan Sun 25-Nov-12 22:13:41

My DS has dyspraxia he is 7.5years ,(and it effects his speech) and I won't say it's easy BUT now we know, and have done very targeted therapy the diff is amazing, and with regards to his speech, I wish we were able to get him help with that sooner. The frustration over his communication difficulties caused huge behavioural difficulties - but speech and language therapy didn't help because they didn't understand the root cause of his difficulties.
But DS is a delight - and although hard work in terms of constantly looking at ways to help him, it is really rewarding.
If you want some advice in where you should go for help, you should post in the special needs children board - very active over there , with lots of very knowledgable people, who are happy to help.

mrslaughan Sun 25-Nov-12 22:15:09

Oops - just realized it is posting here...

Queenofthehill Sun 25-Nov-12 23:02:29

Thanks to both of your for your advice. smile I think when you don't know what's relevant and what's not, you end up feeling a bit unsure of how to proceed and what you're even asking! I will definitely make that GP appointment tomorrow. chocjunkie thanks for the referral advice also. I have a feeling I may be back on this board...

Queenofthehill Wed 28-Nov-12 18:49:15

Just to update, I went to GP, who was satisfied his ears were ok, then to our local SALT drop-in. They felt DS's verbal ability was at the lower end of normal for his age, but agreed some of his quirkier characteristics may merit further investigation and asked if i wanted DS to be referred to a developmental paed. I said yes, so am waiting on a letter and a date. Thanks again for your advice. smile

chocjunkie Wed 28-Nov-12 19:32:28

oh - this was straight forward. glad your concerns were taken seriously and that your referral is in place :-)

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