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Autism/Asperger's or developmental delay

(19 Posts)
Nancyclancy Mon 01-Dec-14 09:58:47

My dd is 3 1/2. As a small baby I had no concerns. She smiled and laughed, good eye contact, loved other people and children, waved, pointed to things etc.
She sat up at about 7 months.
However she didn't move until she was 17 months and then began bottom shuffling, then she crawled and combined the two. She finally walked at 27 months.
During that time she was under a paediatrician. She has a mole at the base of her spine and she had an MRI to check for spina bifida/tethered spine but all was ok. She does have a gap in her spine but it's nothing more then a defect and they did not think it is in any way connected to her late walking.

She was seen by a physio too, who felt she did have hyper mobility in her wrists which may have played a part in her not pulling to stand etc.

Anyway drying her non walking days she became extremely frustrated and went from being a happy little girl to an understandably angry girl. When her peers began walking around her, she was quite frightened.
Frustrated because she couldn't do the same and upset because they would walk towards her and she couldn't get away.
So she began shouting/screaming at them and I'd spend a lot of time carrying her because I felt sorry for her. I also began to stop going to toddler groups because it used to annoy me that people would still allow their children to keep going over to her knowing full well she was distressed by them.

Once she began walking her mood lifted, she began to get friendlier again. She has 3 much older brothers who she adores and all of their friends too. She play fights with them, follows them about and generally really loves them. She is good with others her age but if she had a choice she'd always play with older ones.
We started her at pre school in January and she really enjoys it. In September, after the long holidays she seemed a bit reluctant to go. But then I realised that suddenly she was one of the eldest, the older children had gone to school and she was surrounded by younger ones and those her own age. She was ok and eventually became friends with 2 girls who are the eldest in her year group, so they mother her and she likes it.

The pre school called me in the other day, to discuss her development, her speech is slow and they mentioned autism traits. She'd much rather play on her own then join in with younger kids, spends a lot of time looking at herself in the mirror, reluctant to draw, paint etc but will do if prompted and is not really bothered by the other children.

At home, she can still scream and if we're out she'll insist on being carried. If we go somewhere and she's not keen, she'll scream blue murder but if we stick to our guns and stay wherever we are she calms right down and joins in.
Fussy over clothes, hates wearing boots (fine with shoes). Likes watching the same things on TV ( but we've let her and since we've been stricter she's got over it). Reluctant to feed herself meals, preferring to be spoon fed, but in her defence because she's so fussy I've fed her because it was easier.

At first, I thought the ore school had a point but since writing all these things down, I can't help but think it's us. We've done too much for her. I can't help but think her screaming and wanting to be carried stems from when we picked her up during her non walking days. Her tantrums are always linked to her not wanting to do something.

This weekend we've encouraged her to do more for herself and we've noticed a difference already. I'm happy for her to be referred but the more I read about autism/aspergers the less convinced I am.

Sorry it's so long but I'd be really interested in what others think. I don't want to sound like I'm in denial but I'm just not sure!

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Dec-14 09:59:54

Also, just to add, she's never gone back on herself. Although her development has been late, she's always gone forward and never regressed.

zzzzz Mon 01-Dec-14 11:21:53

No one is going to be able to tell you over the Internet if your child has ASD. If you want to know then she needs to be assessed by lots of different professionals. There really isn't any other way because the vast majority (all?) autistic traits are part of normal development.
I'd say if nursery are highlighting it, you find her more work than your others, and she has had some notable delays, what rational could there be for not trying to find out what, if any, difficulties she has?

OldAntiquity Mon 01-Dec-14 11:21:56

Obviously no one can diagnose, but some of the things you say can be consistent with autism.

ds2 is just 3 and has just been diagnosed. He goes in a push chair everywhere, he's capable of walking, he loves going new places, but he won't walk because it's too much for him. For example, if it's somewhere new he has no idea which way we're going. In the early days of walking more I once said we were going somewhere and crossed the road one house along from where we usually crossed the road, he had a meltdown about that and the next time had a meltdown when we got to that area even before the bit of road we would originally cross at! Sometimes he can't handle stepping from the gravel drive to the pavement. Once, he got in the pushchair at a specific lamp post and then had to get in it at that lamp post every time. I think he's pretty much given up walking now as there's just too many variables for him to handle and that's without stopping for roads or watching out for cyclists.

He has the typical issue with transitions, hates getting in the car, loves being in the car and going new places. Hates stopping an activity eg tv or tablet, to do another thing he loves, eg. playing "cover with pillows" before bed.

If he's in the right mood/not already overwhelmed he can touch new foods to his lips, if things aren't right, or if his cup isn't in the right place when he sits down to food he likes and he's feeling "off" he will refuse everything or cry.

ds loves people and children! But he can just as easily ignore them and will mostly play alone.

Obviously we've done more for our ds than I may have done, also to prevent the screaming, though mostly it's just crying now and he's finally learnt no and stoppit so that helps!

Obviously your pre-school thinks there's something going on with your dd which goes beyond a style of parenting. I would honestly say keep an open mind. And as I read on here, you can't harm your child using strategies that would help a child with autism and may help if that's the issue.

Borka Mon 01-Dec-14 13:44:58

I would grab the opportunity to have your DD assessed - she won't be diagnosed with something she doesn't have.

My DS's nursery advised me to get him assessed for ASD when he was 3, and it was a huge relief that somebody else was seeing what I saw. He was diagnosed at 5. I didn't realise at the time how lucky I was that his nursery teacher was so pro-active, and if I'd waited until he was at school it would have been much more difficult to get him assessed. The school didn't fill out the questionnaire that the paediatrician sent as part of the diagnosis process, and both before & after diagnosis have refused to accept that DS has any real difficulties. If I hadn't had the nursery backing me up, I think that the paediatrician would have been very dismissive of my concerns.

Greenbootsbell Mon 01-Dec-14 14:12:23

Definitely definitely go along with getting her in the system to get the assessment
Appointments can take ages to come through - and the assessment process takes time
You can pull out at any point if things change, there is catch up & she doesn't need assessment
(You don't need to tell anyone either)

What you don't want is the reverse scenario: two years down the line for things to become more obvious but it takes a year to get assessment by which point she will already be at school

blanklook Mon 01-Dec-14 21:34:16

Have the assessments, there are very strict criteria for diagnosis, it's not given on a feeling or because of a few things a parent said. Children are tested and scored rigorously, a lot of different abilities are measured and quantified. If they have a condition that's being tested for, those scores will show that, similarly if they do not, the scores will not.

LongDivision Mon 01-Dec-14 23:45:24

Has she had her hearing tested? And, what do you think about dyspraxia?

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Dec-14 23:47:51

Thank you for your replies. I am happy for her to be assessed because I would hate to deny her of any help she might need. If this was last year, I'd of agreed straightaway but now, whilst there could be traits I feel things have changed and I'm not so certain. But then I'm no expert, so I'll just have to see what happens!

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Dec-14 23:50:05

LongDivision, funnily enough a friend mentioned dyspraxia. I'm having a meeting tomorrow with her preschool, so I'm going to mention it.
And yes, I'm definitely going to get her hearing tested!

LongDivision Tue 02-Dec-14 00:59:55

Good luck with the meeting.
Your dd sounds much like my ds (very late shuffler/walker), who I suspect is dyspraxic - but he is younger and hasn't yet started nursery, and i havent yet decided on autism assessment either, so I have no answers. I don't even know if they diagnose dyspraxia in our area. My main sense, though, is that most of ds's difficulties stem from poor motor planning and inability to organise movements, rather than social communication deficits. His pronunciation, for instance, is poor, but he has language. He understands what it means when i shake or nod my head, but he cannot do it! Like you, I am not sure if autism quite fits. And yet, there is often a strong link between the two, and the more I read, the less I can understand the difference. So I'm curious to know how things turn out for you.

Nancyclancy Tue 02-Dec-14 11:35:37

I have just looked up dyspraxia and my dd ticks most of the boxes. It's as if they are describing her.
My dh really did not believe that she has autism and I put it down to the fact he was burying his head in the sand.
I've shown him the dyspraxia website and he agreed straightaway that it's just her. It describes everything that we've been experiencing.
I just felt that if she is diagnosed with autism/aspergers we're not covering all of her issues if that makes sense. My concerns have always been more to do with her physical development then anything else.
Yes, she could be displaying ASD traits but dyspraxia definitely seems to sum her up. Infact I could have cried when I read it!

Nancyclancy Tue 02-Dec-14 11:36:32

I've printed off an the info and will take it to the meeting later. Will be interesting to see what they say.

Nancyclancy Tue 02-Dec-14 11:39:09

LongDivision my dd sounds similar to your ds. Her language isn't great, but it's slowly improving. She understands us but like most young children she chooses when she wants to listen too. I'll keep you updated!

Nancyclancy Tue 16-Dec-14 14:02:01

Bit of an update. I had a meeting with dd's pre school. They seem to have back tracked a little with regard to Autism. I mentioned the dyspraxia but they weren't particularly interested.
I wrote everything I could possibly think of about dd development from birth. The preschool are edging slightly more towards developmental delay and frustration. Apparently for the first time ever she said 'no' to not doing an activity. She'd usually just go along with whatever they were doing, but has suddenly realised that there are some things she can choose to do or not do.
I've spoken to the head teacher of the school she's due to start in September & she's already spoken to the pre school. The school will liaise with the pre school and try to help her as best they can with the transition.
In the meantime we've got an appt with our GP, going to get hearing tested & referred again to paediatrician.

At the end of the day Autism/dyspraxia or whatever, she's my precious child who I will love and help regardless. The hardest part is my dh and his family do not believe there's anything wrong.

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Tue 16-Dec-14 14:16:37

My son has a developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia) and she sounds just like him. He's 15 now and has always found walking difficult because he's hypermobile in his ankles and feet (as well as his wrists) and his feet are flat when he stands, there's no arch (you can check this yourself, just get her to stand up and look at her feet. The arch in the middle shouldn't be touching the floor). He can't wear certain boots as he finds them too tight as he has a sensory processing disorder and he interprets this as pain (he doesn't like spicy food or veg either). At nursery he wasn't interested in painting or playing, he wanted to talk to the staff! He's always been very bright and I could have conversations with him by the time he was 1.

A physio should be able to help with the walking so do make sure you ask for a referral, and don't forget to check her feet smile

Nancyclancy Tue 16-Dec-14 14:22:18

Her feet are REALLY flat and they roll in too! I'll add physio to the list!!
Thanks

Nancyclancy Tue 16-Dec-14 14:23:32

And although I mentioned that dh doesn't believe there's anything wrong, he did admit that she had nearly every symptom for dyspraxia!

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Tue 16-Dec-14 14:30:14

Ah, that could explain why she's reluctant to walk smile I imagine her tendons at the back of her legs are tight too. She needs insoles in her shoes, and exercises to help to relax the tendons. It will make a heck of a lot of difference. In the mean time, lots of rest stops will help and a soak in the tub too. A podiatrist as well, they are the feet, legs and ankle specialists so if you can get access to one it will help no end.

Ds has a social skills delay too. He doesn't have enough traits to be diagnosed with Aspergers though, there's no obsession (although it's very normal for children to like something), no need for routine and he can maintain eye contact and get jokes etc. He relates better with adults then children as I'm a lone parent and he has no siblings, he's also very bright so see's the world in a different way. It doesn't really matter to me whether he has aspergers or dyspraxia though, only that he gets help for the issues which cause him the most problems (walking and writing mainly).

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