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Help please..is my DS autistic?

(14 Posts)
ready2pop Thu 25-Jun-09 21:33:32

Sorry, this is probably going to be a bit long and chaotic - am in a bit of a state!

My DS is 16 months old and we have terrible trouble feeding him. He has reflux and is often sick so we assumed that his issues with food - he won't self feed, will only let us spoon feed a very narrow range of things and can only tolerate very fine textures - were down to this.

Anyway after months of fighting my GP about whether it was a problem or not he is finally seeing a speech and language therapist. Its great that we are finally getting help but she does seem to think there is something more pervasive afoot.

Today we were doing messy play and my DS totally freaked out because he got some crumbs on his bare feet. I hadn't really noticed it before but now I think about it he is funny about things like dirt or sand getting on him generally.

This seemed to get the SALT thinking and over the course of her visit she made a few observations about DS behaviour that made me think she thinks DS may be autistic -

For example:
- he is interested in how things work (likes to play with anything electrical or with buttons and will turn toy cars etc.. upside down to investigate them)
- he is fascinated by doors and spends ages opening and closing them
- he will respond to his name but only after you have called him a few times
- he isn't very good with other children and will retire to a corner with a toy and play on his own instead if there are lots of other toddlers around.

On the other hand:
- he is very smiley with adults
- waves and says hello to people all the time (including strangers in the street)
- seems to be hitting all the normal developmental milestones - walked at 13 months, says 10 or so words etc...
- is affectionate and will come and hug us and other family members

When I asked the SALT about it she said that she had spotted some traits that could indicate autism but there were other things that didn't so not to worry about it (if only that were possiblesad) and that she would see how he progressed and if necessary he could be assessed in a year or so's time.

Now, since then I have been obsessing about it and googling and got myself in a right state about it. The thing is I think if I am honest I have noticed that he doesn't seem to play the same way other children do but had hoped this could just be put down to still being so little. Anyway, now I'm convinced that there may be something to it so I am wondering whether I should push for an assessment a.s.a.p. If for no other reason than that it may help us to finally work out why he won't eat so that we can start working out how to deal with it.

Is it even possible to get a diagnosis at such an early stage?

Really feel knocked for six by all of this and just don't know where to start. I'm 7 months pregnant as well so want to try and work it out before the new baby comes and I have less time to deal with it.

If you have persevered this long, thank you.

Yurtgirl Thu 25-Jun-09 21:42:12

Hi Ready2pop - great name!

I would say based on that your ds is probably autistic

But dont panic autism is usually referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder - ie a huge range of differences in behaviour etc
Also things change both improvements and developments that arent (My ds copes better with some things now, but struggles with other things he never had a problem with before)

Try not to panic or get upset

TotalChaos Thu 25-Jun-09 21:50:56

16 months is very very young indeed to be even contemplating ASD. I would keep an eye as to how his communication progresses, but would try not to worry. Much of what you describe - waving/having words is v. positive. I think that the most relevant early milestone (apart from waving/speech) is whether a child is pointing - to show you want they are interested in or what they want you to give them - by 18 months. If a child doesn't point by 18 months that doesn't inevitably mean that child has autism - but it can mean that the child may have a problem with communication. again though it doesn't absolutely always mean that.

you might want to google the CHAT test (checklist for autism in toddlers) that is used as a screening test. It doesn't diagnose autism, but would suggest which children may need assessment by a paed.

It's hard to think your child may have some sort of special needs - but - whatever happens he's still the same boy - carry on talking, playing and enjoying him. It's only natural to worry, but try and make space in your mind that's happy and not taken up by developmental concerns.

TotalChaos Thu 25-Jun-09 21:53:26

I don't agree Yurtgirl, I think it's too early to draw conclusions about socialisation with other kids/dislike of certain textures etc.

Yurtgirl Thu 25-Jun-09 21:58:46

It was the dislike of different textures in combination with everything else listed
Though I agree 16months is way too young to draw firm conclusions

Best to keep observing I think - get yourself a notebook and write stuff down that you think might be relavant - always interesting to look back on! I wish I had done this with my two!

troutpout Fri 26-Jun-09 00:21:04

Oh ..i am sorry you are having such a worrying time ready2pop. sad

I agree with total chaos...i think it's too early to say. Yes .. your examples do sound like they could fit the criteria but it doesn't seem an awful lot to be going on tbh.
He is still so very young. Lots of those things you mention could change as he matures. Lots of nt children also go through phases of displaying these behaviours too.

I would just continue to monitor his development.It is petrifying (i know) when you are broaching this for the first time...so it is probably pointless to tell you not to worry grin. There is much support to be had on this board....stick around won't you smile
I think it is brilliant that you already pushed to have put things into place to get his development looked at. If there is a problem then he will be best placed to access any help that he may need.

He is a very lucky boy to have you in his corner.

lingle Fri 26-Jun-09 08:52:50

How does he tell you what he wants?

bubblagirl Fri 26-Jun-09 09:02:13

my nephew went through a phase of hating sand and grit on his feet im still the same im nearly 30 and not autistic children are not expected to play along side each other until around 2 or later but with each other by 4

it is possible for small children to have autistic traits without being autistic and i dont see many to be honest at the moment that isnt unexpected behavior for a child his age

i dont think you should dismiss your worries but push them aside for now and enjoy your time if at 2 he is still worrying you seek further help he has 10 words already thats great my ds was 2 with 10 words

just keep notes on what bothering you and look over it in few weeks you may find his climbed and met them milestones that were worrying you if not then note still not doing it an dat 18 mths maybe see gp if still really concerned but to me he actually sounds like normal 16 mth old at moment

bubblagirl Fri 26-Jun-09 09:08:49

my ds has ASD and would not wave or acknowledge others although very smiley had hardly any words at 2

not expected to answer name on first call as children are so engrossed in what they do all children fascinate with wheels , buttons, doors light switches its how long and how they engage in this if there is other play and not just playing spinning wheels all day i would say you haven't too much to worry about there

i was told when ds was dx all children display autistic traits but its how they progress that makes them autistic and to be honest your ds seems to have met milestones my ds didnt meet until gone 2 and that was all prompted not natural

again i dont want to play doctor and say nothing is wrong but for now sounds like where he should be at and just keep check but remember all children meet milestones differently at different times if by 2 hardly any speech etc no pointing and obsessions visible id be panicked but if play is still limited with other children but does engage i wouldn't be overly worried there social skills don't develop till much later anyway

lou031205 Fri 26-Jun-09 10:23:34

I think it is worth noting that lots of children have 'autistic traits' at a young age, but generally it is as they get older and don't grow out of them that ASD becomes more likely.

DD was similar in lots of ways. She does not have ASD (our paed tells us) but does have a brain abnormality. Our nephew has lots of 'traits' imo, but is totally NT, just has a very routine based personality.

I think at this stage, be open to any help offered, and try not to overanalyse. See how in the next few months he progresses.

mum2fred Fri 26-Jun-09 10:43:08

i agree with TC. i think 16 months is way too early to start drawing too many conclusions. I got a dx for my ds1 at 2.5 and the clinical specialist told me that diagnoses are very rate under 2.5 and almost never before 2.

it is so hard to contain the anxiety, but gont get too far ahead of yourself. its important not not worry too much about what might come or what it might mean without a specialist analysing it (harder said than done!). Just work with what you can see - the feeding issues, socialising him and working on creative play (gently force your way into his wheel spinning games, introduce toys and scenarios into them and give the toys voice/personailty - these things get his imagination going). i thnk the he waving is encouraging.

try not to worry it is such early days. But yurtgirl had a great idea with the notebook -you've done really well to be so in tune with where he is at that if there is a problem im sure hte doctors will pick it up as early as possble so you can get the help you need and get your boy developing nicely

ready2pop Fri 26-Jun-09 13:53:50

Thanks so much for the replies - you've really helped me put things back into perspective. I got myself into such a panic yesterday after the speech and language therapist mentioned it that I couldn't stop analysing everything DS did and the more I looked the more problesm I thought I could see.

He really is a wonderful boy and I will try to just focus on that for now and will reassess again in a few months time.

fatslag Fri 26-Jun-09 15:10:52

Hi, I haven't posted on here for ages...

The 3 critical points from the m-chat are that at 18 months the child:
- does not point to show something of interest (Look, Mum, a plane!)
- does not engage in simple pretend play (babbling in a phone, playing with a tea set)
- does not look where you're looking or where you're pointing

The m-chat is not a diagnostic tool but indicates a high risk for autism. Only a medical professional can diagnose autism.

Try not to self-diagnose your baby on the internet, you will drive yourself crazy!

angry that your SALT should get you so frantic - most unprofessional

Good luck!

(My boy is 6, with HFA)

asdx2 Fri 26-Jun-09 15:39:04

Lucy was referred to paed at 13 months after losing all her skills around her first birthday. She began the assessment process for autism at 16 months after blood tests showed she was clear of Retts and her chromosomes were clear. She got a diagnosis of moderate to severe autism a week after her second birthday although would have been the month previously had paed not been on holiday.
So I would say it's not impossible to get an assessment started at 16 months but it is unusual. In Lucy's case what prompted it was a very sudden unexplained loss of skills and an older brother with moderate autism.

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