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3yr old DS possibly ASD?

(10 Posts)
evalia Sun 11-Mar-18 22:51:49

My DS has been at preschool for six weeks and after the first few days the SENCO advised that I should attend the nursery's drop in SALT. I honestly couldn't see anything too unusual with him until she pointed out some red flags she had noticed (flapping hands, opening and shutting doors, being overloaded by noises) and everything started to fall into place.

He's been an intermittent tiptoe walker since he could walk, fussy eater, never had any clue how to join in with other kids and only recently has developed a desire to introduce himself to other children his age. Adults are much easier for him to approach I've found. He is imaginative until toys become involved, at that point he wants me to lead the entire time. Some of his favourite toys are things he can fiddle with or press buttons on. Personal space can be an issue, both him not knowing boundaries and not liking people in his personal space. He can also lash out at other children, not always in anger, sometimes it's completely out of the blue and I have no clue why he's hit out.

On the other hand he is very loving and cuddly with me, has a vast vocabulary (although understanding him can be a challenge for other people), and seems to have desire to be social but has no clue how. He's an only child (as am I) and I am a really shy and anxious person so I'm not the best person to model behaviour from.

Does he sound ASD? The senco isn't so sure now as he has stopped opening and shutting doors (I think this was done due to stress at the beginning and now he is much more comfortable there so it's calmed down) and he's approaching people happily (but gets stuck with social interactions beyond 'hello'). Despite this he's been moved to the special needs group of kids full time now.

Thanks in advance!

livpotter Mon 12-Mar-18 11:16:48

Have you spoken to your health visitor about your concerns? If the SENCO has picked up on things, he's being seen by SALT and he's in a special group it's worth getting referred to a paediatrician so they can start you on the road to diagnosis if needed.

It depends which area you live in but waiting lists can be very long. It took us over a year to get a diagnosis for my ds. So it's worth getting started on it now so that if it is ASD you will know before he starts school.

My ds was my first child and honestly we had no idea until nursery started picking up on behaviours. I think mainly because at home he didn't spend a lot of one with other kids his age, so I had no comparison. He's 4.5 now and it's pretty obvious how different he is to the other kids in his class. Like your ds he is incredibly affectionate at home but struggles to interact with children his own age. My ds also struggles with anxiety over new experiences but will settle once he gets used to them.

LightTripper Mon 12-Mar-18 13:41:41

He sounds a bit like my DD who is nearly 4 and suspected ASD (just waiting on ADOS in the next few weeks hopefully - we were first told it was a likelihood around a year ago, and she had been seen by paediatricians for about a year before that).

She is doing really well so far, so although she has challenges and we were really shocked and upset when it was first suggested, we are feeling less scared and more optimistic now, and just staying vigilant to help her with things she finds challenging - learning to do the social interaction in "baby steps" (like your DS she finds interacting with adults much easier and has learned all her social skills first with us, then friendly adults, then adult strangers, and only with other children once she is comfortable in all those adult situations). In her case the rigid/repetitive behaviour seems to come and go - I think it's anxiety related. She did heel walking rather than toe walking, she tenses rather than flaps, and she's generally quite a good eater, but it sounds a bit of a similar situation otherwise.

With DD it was picked up because although she had a big vocabulary she didn't use it to ask for things (more to e.g. describe things in books), and she was more generally quite responsive/passive rather than proactive/initiating things. She didn't point or wave until very late (still doesn't wave much - by contrast my second child is now 1 and points constantly at everything to get taken where he wants to go, etc.). She also has a good imagination I think - though she's my first so I may be kidding myself! She definitely pretends things are other things all the time. Like your son she's always been interested in other children (e.g. would run up and smile at them) but finds it hard to initiate play/conversation and tends towards playing by herself (but doesn't mind if other children join her and can play "with" now she is nearly 4 - just less than her peers).

So I think it's probably worth finding out what the route to assessment is and getting on it (as waiting lists can be long, and it's better to "get ahead of it" if there is going to be an issue). But also try not to worry too much, as it sounds like he is doing really well and has lots of good skills already that will really be a help to him. There is no point borrowing worry from the future: just being prepared and trying to understand your child and what will help them as much as you can.

Like you I was also very shy and anxious as a child (better now but I think because I've created a very stable world around myself that I can function well in, but I still have a lot of anxiety) and wonder if I am ASD myself, or in that direction. The way I see it, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have this personality type as it may help you understand and support your DS better.

In our area you can get into assessment through SLT, so it may be worth talking to your SENCO and SLT first to find out what the process is?

evalia Tue 13-Mar-18 12:58:35

Thanks for your replies! This is the first time I've spoken to people about the possibility without being shot down in flames.
I've got an appointment with my GP this week to ask for a referral, although I saw the same dr today with my ds for something else and he was very dismissive of it when I mentioned the concerns.
The SALT recommended waiting and seeing how he adapts once he's settled a bit more but I don't think there has been much change so far. Plus he is hitting the other children on a daily basis so we've been referred to the Ed Psych. Have either of you had any dealings with them? What can I expect?

livpotter I do think the waiting lists in our area are in the 9 month+ range and that's apparently one of the reasons the senco mentioned it to me as quick as she did.
I can definitely relate to not knowing what is particularly typically odd behaviour when it's your first. I've always thought DS was different to other children his age, from visiting the park or playgroups, but I just assumed he was quirky or blamed myself for not being a good parent (particularly when he lashes out).

My DS is very similar with new experiences and anxiety. He's particularly like this with new noises, takes him quite a while but he adjusts eventually.

LightTripper That sounds like a sensible strategy! I can really relate to being upset. I was actually pretty angry that someone could judge him so quickly but after a brutally honest chat it became evident that if this is what he has then we need to get our heads out of the sand and do everything we can to support him. My family keep telling me we and the nursery are overreacting so this has all been a bit lonely.
I've had similar suspicions about whether I might be ASD as there's a lot of things that I still struggle with carried over from childhood. Like you say though, I feel like I can understand where he is coming from a lot of the time.

livpotter Tue 13-Mar-18 18:23:45

It can be very hard when other people don't support you.

I had my first meeting with an Ed psych today (we've just stated the EHCP assessments). She basically chatted to me about what I felt my ds's issues and strength are and then observed him in the nursery. Their job is to work out what support your child needs and it can be really hard to get access to one so it's great that it's been sorted for you already. It sounds like the nursery are being supportive too which is really good.

LightTripper Wed 14-Mar-18 00:04:18

We haven't seen any Ed Psychs yet. I do think GPs are a bit hit and miss as they aren't specialists and may also not have a good idea of the full range of what autism can be. But worth a try, and then hopefully the SENCO and SLT or Ed Psych can recommend another route if the GP is not helpful?

evalia Fri 16-Mar-18 12:04:23

Ah thank you, I will know what to expect now! I feel pretty lucky to have the support at nursery, they do seem really on top of things.

The GP is actually going to refer us to paediatrics despite his hysterical laughter earlier in the week.

LightTripper Fri 16-Mar-18 14:57:00

That's good! Were they able to give any indication how long it is likely to take to be seen?

livpotter Fri 16-Mar-18 17:32:42

Great that the Gp's going to refer you.

evalia Sat 17-Mar-18 20:07:42

He didn't LightTripper but I'm not expecting anything too soon from what I've been hearing about the whole process generally!

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