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Is it normal for asd children to regress?

(20 Posts)
othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 22:11:38

I ask this because Tom has become more and more noticably different to his peers recently. His licking and the thing he does with his fingers tapping his face and mouth are pretty much constant now...he's almost never still. His shouting out random things has also become worse, he's started wetting the bed (something he rarely did) almost every night, and he's now started smearing poo on the bathroom walls.

When he was younger, before he started nursery he just appeared to be a somewhat hyperactive little boy,very bright, could write his own name, knew all his colours etc but now it's fairly obvious that he's somehow different. His writing is no better now (at 5 1/2) than it was back then.

Is this a familiar pattern with asd?


mum2fredandpudding Sat 04-Jul-09 22:27:19

hi othermother. welcome to the sn board. there are some lovely ladies on here who will be able to give you lots o help and information.

Firstly - let me just say that i know of one NT (neurotypical)5 year old who wets his bed every night although has been toilet trained for years!

But whilst that may mean nothng, it might mean something. No two kids with autism are the same, one kid on the spectrum may be COMPLETELY different from another kid. Some kids regress and lose certain skills (though to my mind this typically happens beteen 18months and 2.5 years - others will confirm this) Many kids don't. My son (2.7 ASD) did not regress but is behind on all three of the the 'triad of impairments' which typify ASD.

I don't have a 5 year old so I dont feel like I can give you much information (others will be along soon) BUT i will say this: if you have concerns, and YOU know your child best, go see your GP and discuss them. Hopefully you will get a referral and start on the path to getting some answers.

To be 5 years old and without anything being picked up before now, your son must be doing very well if he s ASD. Lots and lots of kids have ASD tendancies (inclding adults... eg. my MIL!!!) t is not something ot be afraid of, but rather a welcome explanation.

But you have absolutely come to the right place to ask all you questions and air your concerns.

Tom certainly sounds like he must have a good immune system (licking!)

othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 22:35:17

Thanks for your reply mum2fredandpudding.

I've already had a verbal diagnosis of HFA from the paed so am on the route to official diagnosis. I am just confused, and sad tonight. Like I say, he was always just what I considered to be a very hyperactive little boy, extrememly challenging a lot of the time, but nothing ever gave me cause to think he was on the spectrum. He's always had good eye contact, gets on with people's just these odd behaviours and the licking, and the meltdowns (still in midst of one trht now and I just can't take it anymore tonight) and the shouting out random stuff and the not sleeping until really really late (1.30 am average), and all the tics and touches and having to answer things in the correct way and the obsessions and it's just all getting worse and worse.

And breathe.

Just wondered if this was "normal". I'd always thought these things showed up a lot earlier on with asd children.
I dunno...just really struggling tonight. Sorry.

amberflower Sat 04-Jul-09 22:46:03

Hello othermother

I have a 5 year old (well nearly 5!) who has been diagnosed as mild ASD, although we are not 100% sure the diagnosis is correct (only demonstrates traits at school). Is Tom actually ASD? Your thread title suggests it but not sure from your actual post whether he is.

As mum2fred says no 2 ASD children are the might be that yes, the symptoms you describe are ASD related and indicative of regression. But some of the stuff, like the sudden bedwetting or poo smearing, might also suggest something has happened recently that's thrown him - has there been some major change or something happened in your lives or at school recently that might have triggered this kind of behaviour? This might also have had an effect on the stimming stuff you describe, it could be anxiety related?

I would also add that A LOT of NT 5 year olds are not dry at night, in fact when I chat to fellow mums at school it seems lots of children that age are not dry the whole 12 hour night without being 'lifted' at 10:30 or something like that. My own DS has been clean and dry by day since 2.5 years, but is only now starting to be dry 90-95% of the time at night - he has never slept through the night without a pullup. So the bedwetting at night is I think normal, NT or ASD - but sudden regression might suggest something has upset him.

Re the lack of improvement in writing skills and so on - again, could be ASD related, but it is also very NT as well. Without wishing to sound sexist a lot of little boys are just not that bothered about writing and I think it is quite common for there to be little progression with writing at this age.

Having said all that though - as mum2fred says - if you are worried, then talk to your GP, talk to his teacher and decide whether you feel it would be wise to take it further. It could be something or nothing - but always better to investigate than worry, I think.

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jul-09 22:47:05

I wouldn't quite class this as a regression - more as a sticky patch - and that whatever underlies this (?sensory problems) are coming out in a different way. e.g. like with me and ocd/depression, I might have a phase of handwashing, then another time might have a phase of intrusive thoughts. I know with DS his behaviour/echolalia tend to get worse if he's about to come down with something. one thing that might or might not work with poo smearing is to give him dough/playdough to play with, in case squishign stuff is the attraction. Does he seem anxious about anything .e.g school/end of term etc?

with the writing - sometimes kids with ASD can have dyspraxia type problems with clumsiness/fine motor skills, so that could including handwriting. btw is that Tom's handwriting your profile on t'other site with the snail picture?

amberflower Sat 04-Jul-09 22:51:19

sorry othermother - my post crossed with yours - ignore what I said about 'is he actually ASD' given that you have confirmed the DX on your 2nd post!

I also agree with totalchaos it could be that he is coming down with something. DS never has wee accidents during the day unless he is coming down with something - wet pants almost invariably results in some kind of illness emerging a day or so later.

Seuss Sat 04-Jul-09 22:53:16

My ds1 is 9 and I've noticed he has phases where tics/shouting etc are worse than others. In his case it doesn't seem to be a regression thing, we've had a lot of nodding today but he's also been very inquisitive and asking quite detailed questions. I find sometimes I handle things better than other times too. Last weekend he was wailing dramatically at everything and that really set my nerves on edge, this weekend he is grinding his teeth, which is driving DH up the wall but isn't really bugging me.

othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 22:56:57

Lol total, that is MY handwriting!! Tom's is afr worse than even mine wink.

Nothing has happened that I am aware of to cause this sudden bedwetting or poo smearing, in fact I'd say that things have been a lot more settled recently than they have been for a long time.

I'm going to mention all this stuff to the paed on Monday (we have another appointment)so I'll see what they say.

Amberflower...he was verbally diagnosed a short time ago, and the bedwetting thing is worrying because he's been dry since his 5th birthday (he decided he was a grown up that day and didn't need pull ups any more). It's just been the past month or so that he's started wetting. And just the last couple of weeks he's been poo smearing.
I'm worried because he just seems to be so chaotic atm...I look at him and he's changed so much lately.

othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 22:59:22

I guess that what's really worrying me is that he's not asd but is developing huntingdon's (in dh's family). It's the fact that it's only been about a year since he started with any of the signs, and he's got progressively worse.

mum2fredandpudding Sat 04-Jul-09 23:06:40

othermother - nightimes are for worry, aren't they? my ds is currently going through some weird sleep thing - yelling for us for hours when 2 eeks ago hs sleeping as the envy of everyone i knew.

To be honest, the more i read there more i feel there are no real rules for what is asd and what is not. I don't know how exactly age impacts on when traits turn up.

But is sounds as though you have the ball rolling and that in a short while you will know here you stand. Which is great and means you are doing everything that can be done at the moment. I certainly I feel that a lot of ideas and therapies that are advocated for ASD would be very useful for a NT child which has traits in common. If you feel that things are getting worse it would do you no harm to look into these as they might be beneficial - as some of hte things you mention do seem to have a common ground with ASD traits. And if you feel that there is a good chance that you will get a formal dx, it will do you no harm to get yourself started on it. I know a lot of people adocate a man called Greenspan (i certainly find him approachable and positive in his take on SN kids) but others might have better suggestions for your specific situation.

Keep posting on here with all your questions nad concerns.

re: what amberflower said about boys - there is a book called Raising Boys by Stephen Biddulph which read prr to dx which really opened my eyes to the neurologcal differences between boys and girls and one i would thoroughly recommend to all parents of boys.

(and on a slight thread hijack - how lovely it is to hear from you amberflower! i hope things are going well for you)

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jul-09 23:08:17

thing with ASD - it's not always apparent from birth - and behaviours can get a whole lot more noticeable at times, particularly as the kids get older- stims/tics whatever the docs would think of the licking etc as. I wonder as well whether it's starting school and the pressure of conforming means that he lets out the behaviours at home after the effort all day. also - you have had concerns about his behaviour on and off since he was wee, and I get the impression that with Huntingdon's it would be a really sudden change in behaviour etc, rather than concerns on and off for a few years. . btw the poo smearing can be a sensory rather than stress related thing, like he enjoys the feel of it bleurrgh.

mum2fredandpudding Sat 04-Jul-09 23:11:19

slight xpost there. dont know ahything about huntingdon

[madly googles it]

othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 23:12:20

Thanks ever so much mum2fredand pudding.
I've already reared two boys (they are 20 and 21 now) and know how different they are to my I can put SOME of Tom's behaviour down to him being a lad, but it's the bits I can't that I find worrying.
It's just the way it all came on (the licking and ticcing etc) at such a late age. The non-sleeping and hyperactivity and tantrums have been forever, and those (apart from the not sleeeping) I did just put down to him being a lad.

I'm just finding it so hard at the moment.
Anyway, away to browse and maybe post on other threads. I must stop this maudlin!!!

Thanks x

othermother Sat 04-Jul-09 23:13:26

Thanks total chaos too, and everyone else.

God, I feel like I'm at the Oscars!!! :P

Seuss Sat 04-Jul-09 23:14:11

I find with my ds that there is always something going on, like if he will be calm or speaking a lot but there will be a counter-active tic. On the flip-side he will have times where he has less obvious behaviours but then will be less communicative. I think he uses the tics or whatever to balance himself. If that makes sense?

Goblinchild Sat 04-Jul-09 23:19:46

I'd agree with Tc's view, G got his dx at 9 with suspicions from around 6.
He presents as much more Aspie when he's under pressure, tired or hungry. The trick for us is to head things off before they're a problem, be proactive rather than reactive.
When the stress is removed or decreased, then the response decreases as well.

PipinJo Sat 04-Jul-09 23:37:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jul-09 23:39:45

Pipin - neither her DS or her DH have ever been tested for Huntingdon's. It is in her DH's family though, which is where the worry stems from.

PipinJo Sun 05-Jul-09 00:07:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

milou2 Sun 05-Jul-09 01:19:21

I recognise a lot of the behaviours in this thread from my now 11yr old ds2. Stress from school expectations and my normal parenting expectations rose as he went through primary school.

He only started walking round in circles and hand stimming around 8yrs old?? and the hand licking came on all of a sudden after the first residential trip with school age 9 1/2. I honestly thought he was copying his older brother who started flapping his hands much earlier...maybe in the first years at school.

With home education from age 10 the regression has slowed down, however right now I am struggling with the regression, if that's the right word for our situation, because he won't go out of the car into a shop, won't socialise apart from with one family I know, refuses to talk to his granparents, won't eat at the table, I have to take plates up to his room, refuses to take showers unless his father tells him to, has no friends any more, loves being online, has just got into a horrific sleep cycle, all upside down, maybe due to the heat??

So I don't know whether this is part of early puberty, depression, my bad parenting, bad diet, or a wierd phase which will sort itself out with loads of good humour and online banter, for him and for me.

He has a wonderful sense of humour though and is chatting online right now. I will move him on to just watching youtube clips and sit with him until he drops off to sleep, hopefully a good hour earlier than last night, and so on every day until his sleep is back to a pattern I can cope with.

Last night at some unearthly hour I told him he was the best person I could think of to be giving me sleep deprivation! He gave me such a big smile.

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