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While waiting for a diagnosis...

(10 Posts)
adrianna1 Fri 28-Feb-14 18:55:08

Hi

My son is finally getting a re-assment for autism, sometime next month. In the meantime, I would like to find out some tips, or the most area of development I need to be working with him.

Currently my son....:

Has a very expressive language delay..says 15 words... but has a good understanding, though is delayed compared to his age group, and follows 2-step directions

- Uses a lot of made up signs....has over 50 signs which he has made up. So considering to learn Makaton as my son has a strong interest in gestures and facial expressions.

- Sometimes seems to be aloof and attention is not that great...
he can be very responsive, but other times I don't have his attention i.e. So want to work on this. Any tips?

- His play skills are delayed for his age group ( he is four by the way) but he has always known how to play with toys how it is intended. Delayed imaginary skills, but can still do imaginary play..like cooking, cutting, feeding dollies, blowing fake candles on a fake birthday cake..., doll houses..but his imaginary skills are not extended i.e. Dinosaur is an astronaut and is trying to save the planet... his imaginary skills are not advanced. He also would look at his toys...i.e. his astronaut people for about three seconds and then begin to play with them...( I don't know why he looks at his toys and then plays with them???). He can also be a bit repetitive with toys.

- When excited he makes vocal noises and stims.

- Uses joint attention and shows me things out of interest.

- Plays with kids..though this is mainly running or football games.. though at times he feels a bit intimidated..could be an autism thing..like if he is playing with this one child really well and another friend comes over and plays..he would back off a little..but will play after. Though, his play with kids is on and off.

- No routines and no obsessions ( at all) Thank God. Though likes to go to places he likes eg. Mcdonalds, parks, toy stores.

- He can seem shy

- Quite attached to me, so if I leave the room, he would follow me or look after me.

- acts different with strangers.

- Never leaves me alone... his always wanting me for something.

My son most probably would get an autism diagnosis, I thought he may have a language disorder but its hard to say. I just want tips to help him with his attention, listening skills and to follow complex direction i.e. 3 step directions.

Thanks.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 28-Feb-14 20:52:53

Hi adrianna

I am not sure I can help much but didnt want your post to go unanswered.
We use very short sentences with Dd3 who is 11 and has Asd, she functions better. So we would say "Dd3.....[pause] Put your coat on" or "Dd3....[pause] Brush your teeth" W

We always say her name before issuing instructions to help her to realise that we are talking to her.

We would never give 3 step directions TBH, because she struggles with 2.

Good luck smile

raffle Sat 01-Mar-14 01:04:57

We got a lovely listening game from SALT. It is a cd of 'noises' that DS has to match up to a picture (kind of like a bingo type game). He loves it...so when he hears a baa baa noise he covers the picture of a sheep. As he is playing we say and sign 'shhhh, listen...'

raffle Sat 01-Mar-14 09:40:17

We got a lovely listening game from SALT. It is a cd of 'noises' that DS has to match up to a picture (kind of like a bingo type game). He loves it...so when he hears a baa baa noise he covers the picture of a sheep. As he is playing we say and sign 'shhhh, listen...'

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Sat 01-Mar-14 20:56:25

Hello Adrianna. A lot of people advise us to use visual strategies, eg a visual timetable with pictures of what DS will be doing today. When something is finished he gets to remove the picture of what he has just done. But I'm not actually sure how effective that is! Maybe helps a bit!

Your DS may be like mine and have both verbal dyspraxia and ASD. The good news for us is that his ASD characteristics are fading over time as his speech improves and as he becomes more confident and independent. As others have said on other threads the whole thing can be difficult to unpick. Lots of kids with speech disorders end up getting tested for ASD as not being ale to talk can mean they exhibit some of the ASD "symptoms".

adrianna1 Sat 01-Mar-14 21:57:50

Hi ahhhcantthink.....

Thanks for the tips ( also thanks to raffle and Ineedmoreindependence)

What ASD symptoms did your son have?

I understand the whole that it is quite difficult to unpick, especially kids who have s specific language impairment or a severe language delay.
But when comparing kids with my son...there is a difference. So, I'm guessing ASD.

Babiecakes91 Sun 02-Mar-14 02:34:42

My son will be 3 in May and was diagnosed in January with autism, he was diagnosed a lot quicker than we expected but he fits the criteria to a tee.
He regressed at 18 months with his speech he used to talk but now can't.
He has no understanding of what we say to him not even his name.
He can't communicate with us, it's took a year to get him to look me in the eye with help off his nursery.
He's obsessed with locks switches and windows.
He stims by turning in circles and never sits down.
He has just learned how to use a spoon ( very messy) and has issues with food that he doesn't like the texture of.
He has just learned how to clap his hands and still can't point.
He refuses to walk outside next to a road, we think the traffic scares him but he will lie down screaming.
He refuses to wear socks and shoes for more than 5 minutes, his nursery even let him walk without them as it's not a battle worth fighting ATM.
There are a lot more things too, at the assessment the specialist went threw everything from when I was pregnant to now and had to take his seizures he had as a baby into account as that could have been the first sign, my son won't look strangers in the eye and refused to acknowledge the specialist, he also started turning the lights on and off ( his repetitive behaviour) he's also good at problem solving things and if left to something can working out how to take it apart and put it back together he did this with jigsaws in their, his nursery wrote a report to the specialist stating my son doesn't acknowledge other children are around him ( social problem).
That's just a rough idea of what we did in January hope it helps x

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Sun 02-Mar-14 09:08:15

I guess the things that DS used to do (but doesn't really any more) that contributed to the ASD diagnosis are:

- obsessed with automatic door and light switches, would have a tantrum when moved away from these
- very upset at changes in routine and when we went away for a weekend or on holiday
- really bad separation anxiety, very distressed at drop off when we took him to nursery
- hand flapping
- intolerance to loud noises

now he still loves automatic doors but will happily open them once and then move on. Since he moved rooms at nursery he seems much happier, his new key worker makes such an effort with him and understands him really well and he's now more than happy to be left there. When we go away we make a little picture book to explain it to him and again he's fine with that now. I think in hindsight we previously didn't explain things to him well enough and he obviously couldn't ask what was going on or when we were going home, maybe that was why he used to get so distressed.

However it's not like we believe the diagnosis isn't valid, he still has limited eye contact (esp with people he doesnt know) and he doesn't do imaginative play as much as other kids, he will play with small world objects, eg saucepans, kitchen stuff but won't improvise at all such as pretend a banana is a phone! Basically he needs to be shown how to play with stuff and then he is ok.

The pre school specialist teacher who works with us says he tries to interact with his peers a lot more than other kids with ASD diagnoses but is really held back by the fact he can say so little. He struggles to play with his peers without support, it's as much to explain to them what DS is trying to do/ say as it is to explain to DS how the game or whatever works.

We've just heard his draft statement says he can attend a speech unit, hoping to receive it in the post next week.

adrianna1 Sun 02-Mar-14 12:14:46

@ahhantthink.... I'm not disagreeing with the diagnosis, but I didn't know that all that stuff you listed is enough for an ASD diagnosis?

Plus, doesn't language and play go together? So if language is really delayed, so will the play.

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Sun 02-Mar-14 15:42:33

I don't think that stuff is enough in itself, I'm sure it's just one part of the overall assessment. The letter we got from the paed afterwards played back all the stuff we had told her, ie all the answers we gave to her questions, then said something like "... A play based assessment also showed [DS name] has significant impairments in social communication, social interactin and social imagination". It's a bit of a shame they don't explain exactly what they mean by that!

Yes i agree play is to some extent dependent on verbal skills, one of the reasons the whole thing is hard to unpick....

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