Input Needed: My 2 Year old son

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Fade to Satire
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12 Jul 2019, 10:55 am

Hello everyone,

Forgive me if you get this question often... but I am a little worried about my son. He just turned 2 but I have been worried since about 14 months.

Prior to this he was a very bubbly and great interactor. Loved social contact. From about 13-15 months his eye contact suddenly went very poor and he was very difficult to interact with at times. We had him seen by the health nurse and the speech/OT. The OT said it was early but said he was a little behind in language. She said sometimes little ones lose skills when trying to work on others (like walking) and this could be the cause. At 18 months he had improved quite a bit and the OT said she was less concerned but to keep an eye on him.

As of now, he continues to move forward which is promising obviously. We have some really good days where he is a typical interactive kid and others where he is almost a totally different kid. I figured I would put this list into pros and cons for myself as well eith things he does well and things I worry about.

Pros:
1) He has lots of words - he knows so many words. He is able to identify a ton of objects and some letters and colors.
2) Can say 2+ word sentences fairly easily
3) He likes social games like "peek-a-boo", or games my wife and I have made up where we chase him or tickle him after a set of events
4) Like chaos: I've read that kids with autism like order. My son likes chaos. He throws things everywhere and will empty his toy chest and throw that everywhere and at everything (this is our most challenging behaviour at the moment). He does notice when things are moved and will tell us they are gone.
5) Does not seem to have random tantrums - although he lots of has tantrums when he wants things we generally know why he is upset
6) Able to verbally communicate most of his needs... we will get into this more down the list
7) Loves reading books with us - it is about the only thing he sits still to do with us.
8) Likes and gives kisses. Likes holding hands. Likes cuddles at bedtime and singing.
9) Has interest in other kids. Will do a but of parallel play and absolutely adores his older cousins.
10) He is insanely cute.

Cons:
1) Limited to no imaginative play: he sometimes pushes his toy trucks around and sometimes hugs and kisses his stuffed animals (super rarely feeds them snacks) but otherwise has no imaginative play. Won't play with coloring, painting.
2) Teaching him new skills is insanely difficult. We give him a fork each meal and he CAN use it a bit but generally EVERYTHING he does gets thrown within 15 seconds. Because of this we can't let him eat with a plate and he is still generally confined to his high chair at eal times or he won't sit still long enough to eat.
3) I mentioned he has a lot of words, but they often lack context. He can say I want "name" or "it" but often repeats the same few phrases over and over again. Phrases like "Bye bye name" or "Water all gone" or "Shower all gone". Even if it has nothing to do with what we are doing or asking.
4) Echolalia is rampant. He picks up and repeats tons of stuff that we say...
5) Getting an answer to a yes/no question is hard to the above. He will say no and repeat a word but he just says the key word we say often when he wants something or just for no reason. Often he stares off without listening to us.
6) Tunes us out often when we try talk to him. Sometimes he is listening because he actively ignores us (ie runs away etc) and about 20% of the time he pays attention to us, but mostly he doesn't seem to care.
7) See above: responds to his name less than half the time. Has poor eye contact unless we're eble to engage him in something fun or all him to look at us directly.
8) Little to no non-verbal gestures. Will only wave if prompted to do so, used to occasionally point but doesn't anymore unless asked to point at something in a book or show us where an object is. Most often uses his words and grabs our hand and puts them on or towards what he wants.
9) Very little separation anxiety. 80+% of the time we could leave and he wouldn't care. Will run away from us and not look back.
10) Little to no appreciation of danger. As per the above, he will run right up to a loud barking dog and get in its face. (We also have 2 friendly dogs that let him "play" with them ' ie throw and hit). He is afraid of falling and the shower... that's about it.
11) Difficulty with empathy. He doesn't seem to care if he hurts us or if we are sad. He hit me so hard once that my nose started bleeding and I was so frustrated and mad at him that I started openly crying and he just laughed. He does notice that characters in books or TV shows are sad but doesnt seem to have any drive to comfort them. Consistently thinks it is funny when he intentionally hurts us or the animals.


I am not sure. My wife thinks he is totally fine but she hasn't been around children before. My parents also tell me I'm worrying about nothing and they watch him a couple days a week while my wife works... I guess I just worry about it. When I was younger I had to be enrolled in special courses for reading and speech and there was some concern I might be autistic, but I caught up really fast to my peers by about 7 years old and had no issues after that and am now an RN educator. I'm very social when I want to be and have never had trouble with forming relationships. I have some minor quirks but nothing really outrageous. I do take in a lot of sensory information all at once but don't have much trouble filtering unless tired and I hate things on my skin (like lotions, stickers, etc) but I never really thought twice about it until we had my son.

Guess I'm just looking for some outside opinions as everyone seems to think I'm crazy about this and emotionally it's been challenging. Thanks for reading my wall of text!



timf
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12 Jul 2019, 1:54 pm

Two years old is a little young to be concerned with a diagnosis. However, regardless of whether he has Aspergers or not, it is important to use external discipline until he can exercise internal discipline.

Fatherless homes are a good indicator as to what a lack of discipline can lead to for a young person. The statistics show high incarceration rates, drug and alcohol use, and poverty.

Many people advocate today the Dr. Spock approach from the 1950s of letting the child determine what he wants. This reflects a philosophy that people are basically good and that absent any negative influences, children will turn out well adjusted. Unfortunately the statistics do not support this view.

It is sad when children have to pay the price for the foolish ideas of their parents.

Asperger children, since they have such a strong inner world, are even more likely to resist adopting a disciplined life. In many cases it is only when they are in their teens that they begin to outgrow a childish and selfish internal world.

Here are some thoughts about Asperger parenting;

http://christianpioneer.com/blogarchiev ... g%20v2.pdf



kraftiekortie
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13 Jul 2019, 12:53 am

Echolalia happens to be “normal” for children who have just turned two.

Sounds like he could just be a moody toddler.



Jon81
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14 Jul 2019, 3:26 pm

A very mixed bag this. I will just give my opinion on some of these things from a parent with some experience from early childhood kids.

Fade to Satire wrote:

1) He has lots of words - he knows so many words. He is able to identify a ton of objects and some letters and colors.
2) Can say 2+ word sentences fairly easily

Not a lot of ordinary kids will be able to tell letters and colors. 2 word sentences at age 2 is appropriate.

Fade to Satire wrote:

3) He likes social games like "peek-a-boo", or games my wife and I have made up where we chase him or tickle him after a set of events

My autistic son also liked peek a boo. Then it faded and wasn't funny anymore at around the age of 2. Now he's 3 and he can enjoy it at times.

Fade to Satire wrote:

4) Like chaos: I've read that kids with autism like order. My son likes chaos. He throws things everywhere and will empty his toy chest and throw that everywhere and at everything (this is our most challenging behaviour at the moment). He does notice when things are moved and will tell us they are gone.


I don't think this is an indicator at all. I think it's stereotyping autistic people saying they need things to be exactly the same all the time. I think it's a question of needing to know what will happen next. Pictures are a great tool for that purpose. Some autistic children are destroyers while others are very careful and need to have things in order.

Fade to Satire wrote:

5) Does not seem to have random tantrums - although he lots of has tantrums when he wants things we generally know why he is upset


Tantrums are normal for kids at age 2. I think the neurotypical kids are a lot more annoying when it comes to tantrums.

Fade to Satire wrote:

6) Able to verbally communicate most of his needs... we will get into this more down the list


Great. He's already very far advanced if he's autistic. You'd be a lot more worried if you had one that didn't talk at all.

Fade to Satire wrote:

7) Loves reading books with us - it is about the only thing he sits still to do with us.

My son would sit with us maybe 10 seconds before grabbing the book and walking away. Sitting down to read together is amazing progress.

Fade to Satire wrote:

8) Likes and gives kisses. Likes holding hands. Likes cuddles at bedtime and singing.

9) Has interest in other kids. Will do a but of parallel play and absolutely adores his older cousins.


Interest in other kids and parallel play is a difficulty for spectrum kids. This is a strong indicator of not having classic autism.
Fade to Satire wrote:

10) He is insanely cute.

Yes, they are the best. :)

Fade to Satire wrote:

1) Limited to no imaginative play: he sometimes pushes his toy trucks around and sometimes hugs and kisses his stuffed animals (super rarely feeds them snacks) but otherwise has no imaginative play. Won't play with coloring, painting.

The young kids normally don't have a lot of interest in anything for an extended period of time. They play a bit here, a bit there and it's not advanced. Hugging and kissing stuffed animals is something autistic kids don't normally do as I know of.

Fade to Satire wrote:

2) Teaching him new skills is insanely difficult. We give him a fork each meal and he CAN use it a bit but generally EVERYTHING he does gets thrown within 15 seconds. Because of this we can't let him eat with a plate and he is still generally confined to his high chair at eal times or he won't sit still long enough to eat.


That's not really relevant either.

Fade to Satire wrote:

3) I mentioned he has a lot of words, but they often lack context. He can say I want "name" or "it" but often repeats the same few phrases over and over again. Phrases like "Bye bye name" or "Water all gone" or "Shower all gone". Even if it has nothing to do with what we are doing or asking.
4) Echolalia is rampant. He picks up and repeats tons of stuff that we say...
5) Getting an answer to a yes/no question is hard to the above. He will say no and repeat a word but he just says the key word we say often when he wants something or just for no reason. Often he stares off without listening to us.


Sounds a bit worrying. However, they do sit and talk to themselves in their own world when learning to talk.

Fade to Satire wrote:

6) Tunes us out often when we try talk to him. Sometimes he is listening because he actively ignores us (ie runs away etc) and about 20% of the time he pays attention to us, but mostly he doesn't seem to care.
7) See above: responds to his name less than half the time. Has poor eye contact unless we're eble to engage him in something fun or all him to look at us directly.

Responds to his name half the time is a lot more than usual if your child has autism. An autistic child won't hear his name at all. You also have that hyper focus mode where your child won't notice you even if you're blowing off a bomb behind his back or clap your hands infront of his face. It's astonishing. When they behave like that you will notice it's more than just being ignored.

Fade to Satire wrote:

8) Little to no non-verbal gestures. Will only wave if prompted to do so, used to occasionally point but doesn't anymore unless asked to point at something in a book or show us where an object is. Most often uses his words and grabs our hand and puts them on or towards what he wants.
9) Very little separation anxiety. 80+% of the time we could leave and he wouldn't care. Will run away from us and not look back.
10) Little to no appreciation of danger. As per the above, he will run right up to a loud barking dog and get in its face. (We also have 2 friendly dogs that let him "play" with them ' ie throw and hit). He is afraid of falling and the shower... that's about it.
11) Difficulty with empathy. He doesn't seem to care if he hurts us or if we are sad. He hit me so hard once that my nose started bleeding and I was so frustrated and mad at him that I started openly crying and he just laughed. He does notice that characters in books or TV shows are sad but doesnt seem to have any drive to comfort them. Consistently thinks it is funny when he intentionally hurts us or the animals.




I think the hand grabbing is relevant and worrying. The rest of it is quite irrelevant. When detecting autism they normally just look at what the kid is not doing. I think you should look into the M-chat and that will give you a pretty accurate self diagnosis. It is extremely difficult from an emotional point of view to take it because you start to realize what other kids are able to do and what your kid can't. I had to do it over and over several times and I often lied to myself just to stay sane.

I think you should persist on having him evaluated so he can get help. People who don't spend time with your son should just keep their mouth SHUT because they have no knowledge about him or autism. Totally irrelevant input from people who just apply their conventional NT methods on how to bring up a child. My son is 3 today and would be labeled autistic by an expert within 20 seconds, or maybe even less. We're usually doing lots of stuff outdoors together as a family and people have NO IDEA he's autistic. They don't even suspect anything is wrong. Would you want to hear their opinion on your son? It's pointless isn't it. At this stage it's only you as a parent who will be able to take the step. Most kids don't get any help before they're 5 years old.


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14 Jul 2019, 4:23 pm

Jon81 wrote:
Most kids don't get any help before they're 5 years old.

I am pretty sure this is not true nowadays. Autistic children can and do receive services early. My son started receiving services at 14 months. (And that was 8+ years ago.) Many children get services even earlier. Nowadays I tell parents to start to teach kids alphabet letters at 9 months, and make sure the kids can read books by 18 months. Veggie smoothies should start around 1 year of age. I mean, reading and veggie smoothies, save tons of troubles further down the timeline.

By 5 years old, it's already too late for a lot of things. My son is doing great, but I always regret the year I wasted between when he was 1.5 and 2.5 years of age. Only when he was 2.5 years old, did I come to understand autism. Sure, compare to other families, I am probably asking way too much. But these kids are special. They are not your average Joes/Janes.

Low-functioning children are not born low-functioning. They are made low-functioning. Ditto for sensory issues. Autistic children have a different path of development. Sadly, our society is run by clueless neurotypical people. Yep, go head, keep addressing those social aspects, and keep generating low-functioning kids, with sensory issues. Broken families? Be my guest.


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Jon81
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15 Jul 2019, 3:05 pm

eikonabridge wrote:
Jon81 wrote:
Most kids don't get any help before they're 5 years old.

I am pretty sure this is not true nowadays. Autistic children can and do receive services early. My son started receiving services at 14 months. (And that was 8+ years ago.) Many children get services even earlier. Nowadays I tell parents to start to teach kids alphabet letters at 9 months, and make sure the kids can read books by 18 months. Veggie smoothies should start around 1 year of age. I mean, reading and veggie smoothies, save tons of troubles further down the timeline.

By 5 years old, it's already too late for a lot of things. My son is doing great, but I always regret the year I wasted between when he was 1.5 and 2.5 years of age. Only when he was 2.5 years old, did I come to understand autism. Sure, compare to other families, I am probably asking way too much. But these kids are special. They are not your average Joes/Janes.

Low-functioning children are not born low-functioning. They are made low-functioning. Ditto for sensory issues. Autistic children have a different path of development. Sadly, our society is run by clueless neurotypical people. Yep, go head, keep addressing those social aspects, and keep generating low-functioning kids, with sensory issues. Broken families? Be my guest.


In America kids are probably detected at an earlier age. In Sweden we're probably 15 years behind in knowledge and support. There are no centers where you can take your kids apart from habilitation centers with limited resources. I don't think they take autism seriously at all. Most of the actions are aimed at cleaning up the mess once the kids reach adulthood.
The kids in Sweden will be having a check up at 2,5 years of age and there's where the first alarm bell rings. From there it will be a couple of instances before you get in the line for your free diagnosis. So most kids reach the age of 4 before getting the diagnosis, and after that you also need to wait for the help. So 5 years is not unusual at all. We fixed our diagnosis in a private institution. Cost a fortune but at least we got a quick entrance into the system. So now we're doing ABA (I know you dislike it) and he's actually developing here and there in different areas. I'm still trying to find out whether he likes pictures or movies best. He seem to take to both. What kind of services were you interested in for your son?

I think it's very interesting what you try to explain about helping kids to develop to their potential. However, I would be careful to say parents make their kids low functioning. I'm sure many parents have done all they can and out of love for their kids and still not been able to do much for them. But if you study most approaches that aim to helping autistic kids they all overlap each other in one way or another. Joining in, playing together on equal terms, don't expect too much or too little, there are no limits to what your kid can do, focus on their strengths, nurture etc etc.
I want to send a special thanks to you for your texts. I often discuss these subjects with my wife and I try to incorporate some of your approaches.


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Fade to Satire
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17 Jul 2019, 5:37 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone and in particular to Jon. No need to worry about a broken house-hold here on that first reply... lol...

Sounds like I should persist and keep asking for a referral. It has been tough and honestly I love him for who he is, but I just want to give him the best shot I can in life if he indeed is on the spectrum.



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17 Jul 2019, 7:21 pm

Given I was an "odd" child and my niece was DX'd HFA years ago, I kept an eye on my kids. In the meantime, I applied typical parenting techniques - adjusting for individual needs, e.g. teaching my non-expressive/responsive daughter basic social skills. At 2 my daughter showed some signs. At 4 many more (although daycare provider disagreed). Still I waited. When at 7 it appeared to be negatively impacting school... now I'm on it (although her teachers don't see it). Given I've "passed" for so long, I could help her to also, but I am under a lot of work stress now which is harrowing and I would like her to gain some skills earlier than later for the long term. Like you said.



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29 Jul 2019, 10:17 pm

A lot of that sounds like fairly usual two-year-old behavior. Does your pediatrician give you the MCHAT to fill out at his check ups?


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