My 2-year-old has many weird behaviors. He is very affectionate with family members he knows, but not at ALL with family he doesn't know, or strangers. He toe-walks, head-bangs (usually in his crib when trying to get to sleep), body rocks, has a definite language delay (has a few words that he repeats), will pull us to what he wants (grab our hands and pull us to the fridge if he wants some juice, etc), he understands language much better than he speaks because he will respond and seems to know what we're talking about maybe half of the time. He has bad tantrums (but is not aggressive, he just cries and throws himself on the floor etc) about "stupid" things, will cry hysterically over "stupid" things like his fav show ending (he doesn't watch tv all the time but we let him watch his "Yo Gabba Gabba" sometimes), he LOVES music, even classical music - we taped Classical Baby on HBO and he will sit entranced OR he will "dance" like the cartoon characters, or spin, etc.
He does do some pretend play (like he'll make his stuffed tiger "dance" on it's legs to music), and will play with cars etc but doesn't pretend play with his older brother. He seems to know when dh or I are joking/playing around with him and will laugh accordingly (if we are tickling or being silly, or if dh is trying to get DS to chase him, he will chase him). He doesn't line things up but likes to spin toys or objects all the time. I looked at the Childbrain PPD assessment and most of the issues he has mildly. When it comes to things like calling his name or eye contact, it's hit or miss. Sometimes it's like he's deaf or ignoring, others he comes to us right away. His eye contact is sometimes good but many times not. It's almost impossible to get him to look at the camera for a picture these days even though as a baby and toddler he did it without problem.
He only just turned 2 a few months ago, just for reference. Sometimes he seems to be in his own world, and other times he loves to play and chase his older brother around. He has walked up to his baby brother and patted him on the head. He speaks in gibberish ALL THE TIME, nonstop. Now he also seems very bright, even our pediatrician made a comment when he was a baby that he was extremely bright, by the things we was doing at his well-baby appt. He loves to sit and look at books by himself, he will literally have 20 books on the floor around him, and he will sit and look at each picture. He constantly wants to be held by dh and I, and so no problem with affection. But the tantrums are ridiculous- although they stop immediately if he gets his way. He also has inappropriate and excessive laughing about stuff that normal people won't find funny. He can imitate and does show joy when Daddy gets home from work (wants to be picked up immediately and is all smiles).
He does not do any hand-flapping, but for months and months has been sticking his fingers in his ears and shaking them, like you would do if you had water in your ears. We have been concerned that maybe he had an ear infection (was ruled out multiple times) or fluid behind the ears (that was recently ruled out by an ENT), because he would do this mostly right after waking up from his naps or in the morning and is sometimes accompanied by crying. We have given him baby Motrin before when he did this and the crying stopped, so we assumed he was/is in pain. But now after reading the Childbrain checklist I am starting to wonder if something isn't wrong with his ears and rather this is just something he is doing?? We are going to get a 2nd opinion from another ENT just to be really sure. When we went to the ENT the other day he was absolutely hysterical the entire time we were there, it was as if someone was beating him or something! They checked his ears (but it was a quick check), we went in the hearing booth (they said he passed but from my pov he didn't seem to respond as much when sounds came from the right side, but I don't know if the girl conducting the test saw), and they used an instrument to blow air in his ears, they said he passed that too. He was throwing such a fit though that I wonder if they weren't just trying to hurry up and get us out of there?
I know I should probably get him evaluated but the truth is I'm SCARED! I don't want a label slapped on him. When my older DS was a toddler he had a minor speech delay (without all of the issues my 2nd son has- my older DS was totally "normal"). I had early intervention come out and they treated him like he was mentally challenged, to put it politely. I pulled him out of the program because I feared a label being put on him. They tried to pressure me into keeping him in the program, a program which didn't even help him (the supposed speech therapist spent all her time having me fill out paperwork, rather than working with him). As soon as we put him in preschool and blossomed!!! His speech is perfect now (although he has a bit of a lisp), and his teacher said he was one of the brightest kids in the class, and the MOST well-behaved (even moreso than any of the girls!!). She did say he takes his assignments very seriously though, more seriously than most kids his age. But his personality is totally different than DS2. DS1 is a very gentle, quiet, kind and sensitive boy- very passive (even girls in his class have pushed him around). He never had tantrums or any behavior issues, he was the type of kid that even as a baby and toddler we could take him to restaurants and events and he would sit there like a perfect angel.... we can't take DS2 anywhere!! :( There are some places DS2 does well at, like the playground or play area at the mall, the local splash water park etc (although dh said when he took them to the splash park DS2 cried and acted scared for like 10 minutes, didn't want to be put down but when finally put down he had a blast).
I don't know what to think but have a nagging feeling something is "off". He seemed 100% "normal" during his babyhood, surpassing each and every milestone on time or early! All of this weirdness just started right before his 2nd birthday. Also, 2 months before his 2nd birthday he started waking up in the middle of the night and shaking his crib, and still does this. Before that he would sleep 7-7, no problem. I'm at a loss and it has taken a lot of courage to make myself look at ASD checklists and boards because I'm just so terrified. Moms of ASD or Aspergers kids, as well as moms whose kids were thought to be on the spectrum but aren't, should I be worried? What about the label issue? Please help!
Edited by JFTB1177 - 3/10/12 at 10:12am