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Aspergers Signs in a Young Toddler - anyone?

51 replies

leelee39 · 23/03/2005 18:47

The older ds gets, the less I am worrying about ASD. But then I see an issue or two and I have no idea whether it is typical or not. It strikes me as different but not necessarily problematic. Ds is nearly 2. I wonder if he will later be dx'd with Aspergers. He is very verbal. He socializes well but does prefers to do his own thing sometimes in "circle time." He has an uncle in whom I strongly suspect Aspergers which is why, despite assurances from some people, I can't get this out of my head.

Please, I am desperate for input and despite google searching for hours and hours, I am finding nothing on Aspergers manifestations in the 2 year old set.

Anyone whose child went on to be dx'd with Aspergers remember what their child was like at 2? What issues (if any) did you see back then?

What would I see / should I look for?

By the way, in terms of answering questions, ds does MOST of the time (ie - do you want juice? response - okay). But sometimes if the answer is "no," he just doesn't bother to answer. How consistent is a "typical" 2 year old meant to be?

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bambi06 · 23/03/2005 19:03

has he got any obsesions or hand flapping(but they dont necessarily only do that ,it can be facination with spinning/rocking/strings etc..my son got obsessive about cleaning at about 18 mths and would spend ages with his dust pan brush and broom! he also got obsessed about tidying up if something was out of place inc in shops ..if he saw something on the floor he would get upset if i didnt put it back! he also got restrictive about eating habits and what he would eat or if anything else touched hies food..everything had to be separated on the plate and he didnt like using cutlery and still wont aged 5.. he was also very independant and would sit looking at books for ages but ina corner onhis own and didnt want to sit on my alp and cuddle even when he was goin gto sleep but then not all asd children dislike physical contact..what things does he do that you think are strange?

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LIZS · 23/03/2005 19:07

imho 2 is pretty young to expect concentration during circle time, especially if there are distractions in the vicinity.

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coppertop · 23/03/2005 19:13

We were told very recently that ds2 (2.1yrs) has all the signs and traits of AS/ASD. We also have ds1 (4.8yrs) who was diagnosed with ASD officially at 3.5yrs. This might get a bit long but these are the main things that made/make my sons 'different' at 2yrs:

Ds2 understands very little although he will recognise single words in a sentence, eg if you say "Go and fetch your coat" he will understand the word "coat" but not what I want him to do with it. His vocabulary of nouns is increasing quite quickly (probably about 60 words now) but he won't necessarily use these words. He had a few words at 10 months old but these disappeared completely. He started to talk again at almost 2yrs.

Ds2 had to be taught how/when to point. It doesn't come naturally to him. His eye contact can be good but then he will 'switch off' from people. He is quite sociable in his own way. He smiles at people a lot and will often tolerate another child playing near him. If he's at toddler group and the others go and sit down for a snack it doesn't occur to him to actually follow them. His pretend play is very limited and the things he knows are the things he's been taught how to do, eg pour a cup of tea, make teddy drink, give dolly a bottle etc. He doesn't expand on these activities.

Ds2 has some sensory problems. His hearing is very sensitive and he dislikes loud noise. He often doesn't answer to his name. I can only get his attention by tapping him on the arm. He dislikes wearing clothes indoors and will strip off as soon as possible.

Ds2 is very bright. In non-verbal activities he has been assessed as being at the level of a 3.5yr-old. He learns very quickly , especially if it's something visual. On the other hand he has only in the last 3 weeks realised that if he wants a particular item (milk, biscuit, bubbles etc) that he actually needs to ask for them. He doesn't always realise that we are not mindreaders.

He dislikes his routine being changed and gets upset if this is altered, eg if we walk via a different route. He finds it very difficult to move on from one activity to the next.

Ds1 was IMO a lot more aloof at 2yrs. He could be quite smiley when he wanted to but often acted as though other people didn't exist. He didn't speak (except to read out odd words that interested him) and didn't know how to point. At the time we didn't know that he was supposed to be pointing. He understood very little of what was said and liked to be alone. He felt very little pain and would fall over without so much as a whimper. He rarely used the whole of his hand - usually just his fingertips. This was because his hands were so sensitive. He too had a very visual memory and knew things like the alphabet, numbers, colours etc. He could also read words but didn't understand them.

Both boys love(d) circles and things that spin round. Both did lots of spinning at 2. Both had very sensitive mouths and neither boy likes lumpy food. Ds2's diet is very limited indeed.

There is probably a lot more to add but this post is already very long!

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Eulalia · 23/03/2005 19:55

Children aren't expected to be sociable and want to play with others till they are 3. I know it can vary a bit. My dd is 2.11 and prefers to do her own thing. She always goes straight to the craft table at her group. My son (5.8) has autism but I am sure she is OK. I think coppertop's post is very good - sorry I don't have time to post more myself.

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Saker · 23/03/2005 20:11

Leelee

I still think you are worrying too much about the circle time - all children like to do things their own way sometimes. At 5yr old, my NT ds1 still doesn't answer questions if he is absorbed in something, or just can't be bothered. He also has routines and rituals like his sheet has to be tucked in a particular way, he has to have Vicks rubbed on his chest at bed time, he wants any slight blemishes cut out of his banana etc. He went through a phase of refusing to join in at a music group when he was about 2y old. He was very clingy as a younger child and reluctant to socialise with others (even those in a coffee morning we had been going to since he was 5 weeks old). But I was never worried about him because he talked and questioned and imagined and played and most of all he understood. The point I'm trying to make is that all children can have some features that if described alone might be of concern. But it is the overall picture that is important - is there anything other than the circle time that gives you cause for concern? If not I really think you should not worry.

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leelee39 · 23/03/2005 22:54

Thank you, everyone.

Bambi06, No. He is not obsessive about things and adapts well to change usually.

Coppertop, your post was so helpful. Ds is quite verbal. I would say his verbal is ahead of his nonverbal definitely. Pointing came kind of late for him and he still isn't great at doing it "on command" (ie - when asked where is the whatever) but points out things of interest often. Also, he said "bye bye" before he waved bye bye and other things like that. But overall he enjoys the presence of other kids; his pretend play is expanding (for example, today he wrapped his blanket around his shoulders and said "parachute!" and started running around and wanted me to "get" him - which is a game his teacher plays in the class I am always worrying about. The teacher runs through the room with a parachute around his shoulders and the kids chase him. Now, ds doesn't always do this in class but he pretended it at home and I called him "Elliot" - his teacher's name - and he thought it was a real hoot).

Saker, thank you for helping me to put things in perspective. The large picture is a good one and I have to remember that. Ds plays, communicates, socializes and understands. If he has some quirks, they are not cause to panic. Right? And no kid is a textbook kid. Right??

Thanks so much again ladies. I don't know why I am such a bundle of worry these days.

I can't even believe how incredible you mumsnet mums are!!!

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KarenThirl · 24/03/2005 05:47

Hi Leelee

My ds (6) was recently diagnosed AS and is being further assessed to determine where he is on the spectrum. I first noticed differences in him at around 2-2.5 but they were more in his level of activity - until the diagnosis I was sure he had ADHD.

However... vocabulary was extensive and I saw no difference in his ability to have a conversation. Indeed, he seemed far more capable than his peers. He loved playgroup and mixed with other kids, but wasn't keen on arty crafty stuff and HATED songtime, where he'd sit against the wall and watch everyone else. He never had problems with gesturing and it was always used appropriately.

I was never aware of any sensory dysfunction, although he did have a thing for smelling his socks (still likes to have a sniff at other people's too). Had a real aversion to new foods and had a very limited diet for about four years. Has never been particularly bothered about change to routine, although recently we've discovered that he prefers structure and is more manageable. We didn't even have tantrums till about a year and a half ago (school perhaps?).

He's also very, very bright. Taught himself to read at three, now miles ahead of the rest of his year in all areas but is reluctant to write creatively. Will write one-word answers till the cows come home but avoids descriptive work. Teachers now have to make advanced worksheets to keep up with him.

As I said earlier, our main worry at 2 was his physical activeness. We couldn't sit him still,he literally bounces off walls, he can't talk to you without leaping around the room and never could. I should add that playgroup (or indeed the private nursery he attended part time for a few months) never raised any concerns despite my own. But then they didn't seem to realise how bright he was either so that might have been more about the establishments than J.

HTH.

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Katya · 24/03/2005 18:22

we're only just beginning the assessment process for my 9 yr, who we suspect may have AS...or something on the spectrum.

when he was at nursery, they found him difficult to handle because he play Brio trains all day everyday and wouldn't stop for meals or circle time (aage 3-5), and if they co-erced him, he threw a tantrum.

he's never like playdough or activities that might include getting stuff on his hands.

he's always been very verbal, good vocab but difficult to understand his way of speaking.

2 is very early, as many bahviours will resolve with time?

NAS have an Early Bird scheme for preschool age kids
www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=467

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macwoozy · 24/03/2005 18:29

Just thought I'd add my little bit.
My ds who's 5, diagnosed with ASD/AS at 3, was a real handful during the toddler days.
He didn't speak, nor point, and never waved, even though I encouraged him so much to do this.
I think the one thing that really struck me was that he never willingly came to me when we were out somewhere. I just didn't exist in his little world.
He always refused to sit at circle time, and was much happier running round and around the room. Also has serious food issues.
At 2, he had no pretend play whatsoever and certainly couldn't have ever pretended to be a person or object, like parachute.
I do understand why you're concerned because of your uncle but your ds sounds pretty normal to me.

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leelee39 · 24/03/2005 19:08

Thanks for your responses. Katya, what do you mean by "difficult to understand"? Was it his pronunciation or the things that he would talk about?

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Katya · 24/03/2005 21:05

Hi leelee

re: speech
bit of both, I can't quite put my finger on it, but he's difficult to understand till you have an ear for his mannerism, fair amount of quoting and mimicing going on, plus comments can be a bit off the wall and unexpected.

but only time will tell with your little lad?
go with the flow and see how he develops, AS has it's good sides too
all the best

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leelee39 · 26/03/2005 17:39

Thanks so much.

I have posted in the recent past about my son's "issues" with circle time - ie: he prefers to run about sometimes instead of staying in the circle.

I have also mentioned, in a previous post, some of his strengths. I just feel I should give the overall picture, including the other worries, etc.

I won't go too much into the past. Suffice it to say, I was very worried around 12 months (no pointing,etc., though very social). Many of my worries disappeared as ds just grew out of them and I see them now to have been "baby" stuff. Ds hit all milestones the later end of "norm."

Currently, ds is is 23 1/2 months. His strengths are what I would call pre-academic skills (don't know if this is the right phrase) - he knows his shapes, letters, colors, numbers, animals, foods, etc. He has a fabulous memory. He is very verbal, puts 2 -4 word sentences together. He communicates constantly (oh look, mama, a bird!) not just when he needs something (apple juice please) which he does as well. There is still some babbling/jargon mixed into his speech, especially between words, especially when he is excited. Nonetheless, I would consider verbal a strength. His vocabulary is enormous, I would say over 600 words and new ones all the time. He doesn't just repeat them. He retains them and uses them appropriately.

THE THINGS THAT COULD BE CONCERNS (OR NORMAL 2 YEAR OLD STUFF):
-Prefers running to walking, LOTS of energy, LOTS
-Enjoys jumping
-Points at things of interest but if I say "where's the star?" usually will NOT point at it, though clearly knows where it is
-I wonder sometimes if the extraordinary memory and vocabulary are great or symptomatic of AS
-Difficulty sharing certain toys with peers
-Sometimes I think he has a bit of a funny walk
-Sometimes twirls hand a little - not for long periods of time - often when excited, or in the direction of something (look, a balloon) instead of pointing at the balloon

  • Sometimes pulls us by the hand (saying come on or mama come on) when he wants us to come, doesn't use our hands to do anything, but pulls us up and pulls us along, lets go once he sees we are following
    -He said bye bye before he waved bye bye - verbal was before gestures in most of his development
    -Has a bit of stranger anxiety with certain adults until he gets to know them and warms up
    -More verbal with us than in public, though this is improving
    -Separation anxiety with me (stay-at-home mom), occasionally with others, always with me, though recovers quickly
    -I wonder sometimes if certain things are symptomatic of what will be full blown perseverative behavior later on. For example, in a music class we used to do, in addition to running off (though he remained relatively focused) for most of circle time, he loved the teacher's guitar so much so that when the teacher would try to put his guitar away or move onto the next activity or toy with all the kids, ds would just continue "helping" the teacher play the guitar - he would go over to where the teacher put it and just continue to play it and explore it. Did he just like it? Is this perseverative? I see him do this with things he likes sometimes, it's not completely out of the ordinary. Eventually he moves on but everyone else moves on well before him. It reminds me of when he was 12 months old, the teacher would pass out toys for all the kids do use during a song and then it would be time to "clean up" and put the toy back and most of the kids would do it, but ds would cry and want to hold onto the toy a little longer. He's outgrown this and now "gets" clean up and sings the clean up song and puts the toys back, but I see this lingering with things in other ways, case in point was the guitar.

    Another example, the other day, I saw one of ds's friends in the playroom with his nanny. The nanny said, "come on, , let's go get the clothes out of the dryer, and then it's time for a nap" and this kid just went with her to the door happily and left. That would NEVER happen with ds. If he was enjoying playing, he'd want to stay and continue and depending on his mood would either come or make a little fuss about it.

    The good news about when he "fusses" is that he recovers after a minute or two. The bad news is that he fusses to begin with about things that appear pretty minor to me.


    THE GOOD STUFF:
    Enjoys playing
    Likes kids
    Has pretend play
    Brings us things to show us
    Eats pretty well, and feeds self (better with spoon than fork though)
    Doesn't mind getting messy
    Doesn't really have any routines or rituals I can think of
    Likes to make a big mess with toys (doesn't line things up, isn't bothered by it at all)
    Says "wake up" when we pretend sleep and he wants our attention
    Will come to another room to get us and ask us to come play with him
    References us often, even when watching a tv show, he might turn to me and say (elmo mama) though will probably not point during this exchange
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coppertop · 26/03/2005 18:14

To me it sounds like normal toddler behaviour, although obviously I only have my own 2 boys to compare to.

Ds2 goes to a toddler group once or twice a week. When it's time to leave he screams the place down, even though I've given him plenty of warning that it will happen. At one particular session it took 4 adults to separate him from a toy and get him into his pushchair. Last week he screamed all the way home, arching his back in an attempt to escape from his pushchair. It was so bad that we were stopped twice by people who wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help (not sure if they meant me or ds2 . If he is upset about something like this then the screaming can go on for a while. 1'5hrs is the maximum so far but it's early days yet.

Ds2 wouldn't bother saying "Come on". He would assume that I already knew what he wanted. If he's in a different room to me he won't generally come to find me, although there have been a couple of exceptions to this. He has never tried to ask me to play with him. In fact it takes a lot of effort to get him interested in playing games with me. He prefers to do his own thing. He brings me toys but usually wanders off immediately (ie he doesn't want me to play with them with him).

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leelee39 · 26/03/2005 18:14

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

purpleturtle · 26/03/2005 18:22

Not really sure why I'm here, because i have no SN experience whatsoever. But the things you describe do sound a lot like my 2 year old ds, about whom I have no concerns at all. I think it's totally normal for a 2year old to resist doing what they're told!

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leelee39 · 26/03/2005 18:38

Thanks so much.

I have posted in the recent past about my son's "issues" with circle time - ie: he prefers to run about sometimes instead of staying in the circle.

I have also mentioned, in a previous post, some of his strengths. I just feel I should give the overall picture, including the other worries, etc.

I won't go too much into the past. Suffice it to say, I was very worried around 12 months (no pointing,etc., though very social). Many of my worries disappeared as ds just grew out of them and I see them now to have been "baby" stuff. Ds hit all milestones the later end of "norm."

Currently, ds is is 23 1/2 months. His strengths are what I would call pre-academic skills (don't know if this is the right phrase) - he knows his shapes, letters, colors, numbers, animals, foods, etc. He has a fabulous memory. He is very verbal, puts 2 -4 word sentences together. He communicates constantly (oh look, mama, a bird!) not just when he needs something (apple juice please) which he does as well. There is still some babbling/jargon mixed into his speech, especially between words, especially when he is excited. Nonetheless, I would consider verbal a strength. His vocabulary is enormous, I would say over 600 words and new ones all the time. He doesn't just repeat them. He retains them and uses them appropriately.

THE THINGS THAT COULD BE CONCERNS (OR NORMAL 2 YEAR OLD STUFF):
-Prefers running to walking, LOTS of energy, LOTS
-Enjoys jumping
-Points at things of interest but if I say "where's the star?" usually will NOT point at it, though clearly knows where it is
-I wonder sometimes if the extraordinary memory and vocabulary are great or symptomatic of AS
-Difficulty sharing certain toys with peers
-Sometimes I think he has a bit of a funny walk
-Sometimes twirls hand a little - not for long periods of time - often when excited, or in the direction of something (look, a balloon) instead of pointing at the balloon

  • Sometimes pulls us by the hand (saying come on or mama come on) when he wants us to come, doesn't use our hands to do anything, but pulls us up and pulls us along, lets go once he sees we are following
    -He said bye bye before he waved bye bye - verbal was before gestures in most of his development
    -Has a bit of stranger anxiety with certain adults until he gets to know them and warms up
    -More verbal with us than in public, though this is improving
    -Separation anxiety with me (stay-at-home mom), occasionally with others, always with me, though recovers quickly
    -I wonder sometimes if certain things are symptomatic of what will be full blown perseverative behavior later on. For example, in a music class we used to do, in addition to running off (though he remained relatively focused) for most of circle time, he loved the teacher's guitar so much so that when the teacher would try to put his guitar away or move onto the next activity or toy with all the kids, ds would just continue "helping" the teacher play the guitar - he would go over to where the teacher put it and just continue to play it and explore it. Did he just like it? Is this perseverative? I see him do this with things he likes sometimes, it's not completely out of the ordinary. Eventually he moves on but everyone else moves on well before him. It reminds me of when he was 12 months old, the teacher would pass out toys for all the kids do use during a song and then it would be time to "clean up" and put the toy back and most of the kids would do it, but ds would cry and want to hold onto the toy a little longer. He's outgrown this and now "gets" clean up and sings the clean up song and puts the toys back, but I see this lingering with things in other ways, case in point was the guitar.

    Another example, the other day, I saw one of ds's friends in the playroom with his nanny. The nanny said, "come on, , let's go get the clothes out of the dryer, and then it's time for a nap" and this kid just went with her to the door happily and left. That would NEVER happen with ds. If he was enjoying playing, he'd want to stay and continue and depending on his mood would either come or make a little fuss about it.

    The good news about when he "fusses" is that he recovers after a minute or two. The bad news is that he fusses to begin with about things that appear pretty minor to me.


    THE GOOD STUFF:
    Enjoys playing
    Likes kids
    Has pretend play
    Brings us things to show us
    Eats pretty well, and feeds self (better with spoon than fork though)
    Doesn't mind getting messy
    Doesn't really have any routines or rituals I can think of
    Likes to make a big mess with toys (doesn't line things up, isn't bothered by it at all)
    Says "wake up" when we pretend sleep and he wants our attention
    Will come to another room to get us and ask us to come play with him
    References us often, even when watching a tv show, he might turn to me and say (elmo mama) though will probably not point during this exchange
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Eulalia · 26/03/2005 19:20

Reading through your last post your ds seems fine - very bright. Probably the fact that he is so bright may account for some of his oddities. After all if his language skills are ahead there may be other areas that need to catch up. 2 year old tend to develop one area at a time as there is just so much for them to "do". Eg my 2 year old barely spoke at age 2 but could climb very well. Her speech is catching up but I'd not even say she is as proficient as your ds and she is 3 next month.

I know what you mean about seeing strange things. I caught my dd moving round on a stool and doing that funny thing with her eyes, slanting them to the corners which ds used to do. However I think that 2/3 year olds like to experiment with sensations and will do things that autistic children do. the difference between them and the autistic ones is that the latter do them endlessly and with great concentration.

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leelee39 · 26/03/2005 19:40

Had a little posting problem earlier - sorry for the confusion. Anyway, thanks so much yet AGAIN....

My "deleted" post basically dealt with a certain reluctance I see on ds's part to do things "on demand."

Anyway, apologies for the double post in addition.

Computer issues, etc.

You ladies are my faves.

Happy Easter to all.

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misdee · 26/03/2005 20:32

i wonder if u can help me. as some of you know i have worries about dd2, and have done since she was a baby (very placid baby, but with digestive problems).

She is now 2.5yrs old. she doesnt like people generally, will hide away (usually behind me, or in a corner and wont come out. she can talk, but not very well, isnt very clear. she is clumsey, walks funny (like a gallop). still has soft sloppy stools (sorry of your eating anything at this time ), loves 'sorting' things (even the cups in the cupboard), has avery high pitched screech, talks in a monotone type voice, not much expression in her voice really. she seems very babylike. i dont know if she may be on the spectrum somewhere or if she has other problems. i just dont know. but as she gets older its becoming more obvious to others she is 'different' and not progressing as other kids do.

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Blossomhill · 26/03/2005 20:44

Misdee - have you tried this online.pdd.assessment

Pdd is a term used for mild asd so the results may give you a good idea.

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misdee · 26/03/2005 20:45

i tried it just before she was 2, and it came back as mild PDD. Am just worried i'll get the brush off from the docs again. even mieows notices that my dd is different. just spent the afternoon at hers with dd2 hiding in a corner or behind my legs.

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misdee · 26/03/2005 20:49

jusr redid it, says moderate PDD.

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Blossomhill · 26/03/2005 20:55

Well mmy dd who does have communication difficulties scored as borderline/mild pdd.

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misdee · 26/03/2005 21:06

so back to the gp then?

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coppertop · 26/03/2005 21:30

Definitely worth asking for a referral to a Dev.Paed/ Child Development Centre. There will probably be a bit of a wait though (isn't there always??).

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