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Two year old, almost three and some questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My DS will be 3 in early June and these are my concerns.

-He does not speak at all. He has no vocabulary. We have had an early intervention counselor and within 5 minutes of walking into my home she told me that my son was autistic. I'm sorry but with coming in, introducing your self, getting all of you paperwork out and getting my son to sit down is not enough time to diagnose him with autism.

I did not speak until I was almost 2 and a half and neither did my DH. I was in speech therapy until I was in the 3rd grade for a very strong lisp. My DH was in speech therapy for stuttering and stammering. A few of my nieces and nephews as well. I am very mathematical and scientific. I love numbers and always have. I was never really good with language arts and spelling. My mother is a math teacher and both of her parents were engineers. My husband is great with numbers and words. He could have been a national spelling bee champion if he had the Patience to sit still. Even to this day he has to have something to do. We both multitask and have to keep busy. 

-He does communicate in other ways. He will bring you a bowl, plate or cup if he is hungry or thirsty and will open the refrigerator and get out what he wants. He will bring you toys or books when he wants you to play or read with him. 

-He understands very well. He can follow directions, for everything but "go get mommy a diaper" He wants to help cook and clean. He helps to organize his room and fold clothes. He also understands, "No, put that back where you got that from" and he will put it back exactly where he got it from. 

-He is not potty trained however he loves to show me his potty and stand on it to turn on and off lights. He can pull his pants on and off, if they do not have a zipper, and show you where the potty is.

-He does play with his cousins however he usually is directing the play and everyone is following him. Even the 10 year old. 

 

My question is this. I have spoke to his ped. and he said I am more than welcome to not use the early intervention program if I feel they are just attempting to diagnose my son with autism before she was event able to find out for sure. The ped. also said I am more than welcome to allow him to wade it out and see if he just "catches up" on his own.

 

Is there any method that some of you have found useful and have had children that were at a similar stage as my son is at this time. Thank you in advance.

post #2 of 9

Hi! Welcome to Mothering!

 

I'm wondering if you might get more responsess in the Special Needs Parenting forum. The parents there have dealt with early intervention specialists and might be able to give you some insight in how that works, and also I bet some of the parents have worked with their kids to help them with language delays.

 

I don't know how the early intervention specialsts work - if it is financially beneficial for them to have more kids diagnosed, or if they see autism too often, in the manner of "if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Or on the other hand, if their expertise and experience make them highly enough qualified that it's worth giving them a bit more time. I can see both potentials there. I hope you get some answers. It does sound like he is interacting with you, but I don't know much about language delays or early intervention, so I'm afraid I can't give a whole lot of advice. The Special Needs Parenting forum parents probably can. 

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/f/157/special-needs-parenting

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 9

Hi, I could write for ever about this question.  I have many thoughts, mainly because our DS (just turned 4) has a fairly severe language delay and we have been through the ringer with EI and the world of special education.  I'll try to be organized :)

 

The two main questions I have are, 1. does he talk at all?  Babble?  Make sounds? And 2. are there any other "red flags" that you see that would suggest autism or some other more broad developmental delay?

 

There are MANY different things that can cause language delays.  It can be very difficult to determine exactly what is going on with a child, especially as young as 2 or 3.  To provide any diagnosis after 5 min is patently ridiculous and, in my opinion, I would stay very far away from such a person.

 

If you are worried/wondering about autism, there are "red flags" but those lists are VERY unreliable because the same exact issues can be seen in children with other kinds of delays so they are generally NOT diagnostic.  Here's a very basic list of autism red flags:

 

1. Repetitive behaviors (tics or stims, spinning, hand flapping, rocking, lining up toys, etc) are a red flag for autism though other neurological and sensory issues can also cause such things. 

2. Not pointing or using gesture (shaking their head no, waving hello and goodbye) is also a red flag, though that could also be tied to physical motor skill issues or apraxia, etc. 

3. Low eye contact and physical avoidance.  Though children with hearing difficulties or language processing issues also often do this.

4. Social avoidance, inability to read social cues, lack of social desire/will to interact, are probably the most diagnostic red flag for autism, though again these can also be caused by many other issues.

 

So if I were seeing any of these, I would certainly investigate further because they can often indicate autism or some other neurological issue.  But, as you can see, even the presence of these red flags don't automatically equal autism. 

 

Just to give you a sense of where I'm coming from, when our DS was 2.5 he didn't respond to his name, had somewhat low eye contact, and barely spoke.  He gestured and was very, very social and he confused EI.  They don't officially diagnose, but they basically gave him the designation "autistic like" which seemed wrong to me.  I think when he turned 3 he had maybe 15 words, none of which were clear to anyone but immediate family.

 

So we took him to a developmental pediatrician and I am very glad we did.  She diagnosed him with verbal apraxia and Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder (he has severe receptive delays) and emphatically not autism.  She also said his autism red flags would simply go away as his language improved, which was right on.  He is now totally on track socially and emotionally, his language is still very behind but that is mainly tied to his receptive delay.  As his receptive language improves, so does everything else.  We are hoping he will be caught up by 5 or 6.

 

My main point being, I would be very wary of anyone who wants to automatically put your DS in the autism box just because of a language delay.  The kinds of therapy used for autism can be counter productive for children not on the spectrum (eg traditional ABA therapy) so I really think it is important to figure out what is really going on. 

 

That you have two late talkers in your family suggests that he could very well one himself.  That said, I would be concerned if my DS wasn't talking at all by 3 and I would seek out a respected developmental ped to make sure there isn't something else going on.  There could be medical, fine motor, or other reasons he's not talking and, if it is something like that (or even if it is some other kind of developmental issue like autism), the earlier you catch it the better! 

 

One of my own thoughts has always been that I would always rather look back and feel like over overreacted a bit rather than look back and wished I had done more.  Even if you DS does have a simple speech delay, I would be looking into speech therapy to encourage his language development.  

 

Last thought, there are some great books out there to help you encourage you child's language and they were SO helpful for us.

 

Play to Talk (Dr. James MacDonald) and It Takes Two To Talk (a "hanen" book) were the two that helped me develop games to play at home to encourage our DS to talk.   

 

Good luck, trust your gut and only let people you trust help guide your child's future.


Edited by fizgig - 4/4/13 at 8:45pm
post #4 of 9

I have nothing useful to add but indeed the Special Needs forum will have more of the people with experience you're looking for.

 

...and I wanted to say that the situation you describe with the EI counselor is not only extremely unprofessional (I don't know what kind of standards the EI program holds themselves to but I hope she wasn't it) and just plain absurd. I'm sorry for the worry it must have compounded in an already worrying situation.

 

I hope you can find another person to help you. I wouldn't just wait this out, even if it's nothing you want to find that out so you can relax.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

If you are worried/wondering about autism, there are "red flags" but those lists are VERY unreliable because the same exact issues can be seen in children with other kinds of delays so they are generally NOT diagnostic.  Here's a very basic list of autism red flags:

Thank you for this.

1. Repetitive behaviors (tics or stims, spinning, hand flapping, rocking, lining up toys, etc) are a red flag for autism though other neurological and sensory issues can also cause such things. 

No he doesn't do anything like this. I wouldn't be suprised if he did, his father is in the early stages of OCD. He has gotten worse over the years and if my DS was doing this I would notice. He stacks toys and pretends everything is a drum. He will arrange them according to sound though.

2. Not pointing or using gesture (shaking their head no, waving hello and goodbye) is also a red flag, though that could also be tied to physical motor skill issues or apraxia, etc. 

He has never waved hello or goodbye but he will shake his head no. With that being said I did have a c-section and he was born with an infection.

3. Low eye contact and physical avoidance.  Though children with hearing difficulties or language processing issues also often do this.

He has pretty good eye contact. Honestly I have never been able to keep eye contact with a young child for longer than about 30 seconds because they are usually busy. His hearing is great. We had him checked when he was one year and 2 and a half. Both came back perfect. With this being said my DH has slight hearing loss that has slowly progressed over the years and I do also. My hearing loss is a result of tubes being placed in my years when I was 7 years old. I read lips a lot.

4. Social avoidance, inability to read social cues, lack of social desire/will to interact, are probably the most diagnostic red flag for autism, though again these can also be caused by many other issues. He does pretty well interacting with other kids for short periods. After about 10 minutes he will go off on his own then come back to play. I was the same way but I was an only child. I assumed this was because he is not around a lot of other kids.

he does know the differance in emotion with other people. For example, last night my DH was making dinner and apearently hurt himself and was yelling at the stove or something. My DS came running into the kitchen, covered his ears and had a very sad look on his face. he walked back into the living room and I told him to come here it was okay, daddy just hurt himself. He walked over to me, gave me a hug and poked his lips out for a kiss. I gave him one and told him to go give daddy love. He walked into the kitchen, tugged on daddy's pants, and hugged his leg. 

 

Later, I had one of my super emotional pregnant moments, and started crying at a commercial on tv. He climbed up in my lap and gave me a hug. 

 

He understands emotions pretty well, He expresses his own, all emotions. 

 

He has, within the past few months, started clapping. I know this came pretty late. he started this about the time that he was starting to follow directions perfectly. When he has a spurt of growth it will be a lot at one time. Within a week he started sleeping in his big boy bed, pulling his pants up and down when he needed to be changed, throwing trash away, clapping, bunny hopping through out the house, and really attempting to color inside of the lines.

 

the thing that gets me is he will look you in the eyes and you can see the wheels turning. I mean really see that he is trying. He has the look that he really has a desire to tell me and his father what he wants and feels. That he wants to tell jokes and make up stories. I see it. I breaks my heart the I can't just kiss him on the head and he would have a full 2,000 work vocabulary. I breaks my heart and I just want him to be happy. 

 

Once he walks away he will go get whatever it was that he couldn't form into words for me.

 

 

I will be having our little girl this summer right after his 3rd birthday. I was looking into language specialist in our area and there are none close other than EI. I just have this gut feeling that once little sister is here he will hit one of his blossoming moments and be, at the least, at a 1 to 1 and a half year level. I just feel this. I didn't talk until I was put into daycare and my son is at home with my DH all day. They read and play all day. 

 

He has a cousin, 2nd actually, that is 10 months older than him and he has never been very far behind him except for the talking thing. I am just at a loss. I what to help my baby, I want him to no longer be frustrated and I want him to be able to talk to me. 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

He also babbles, sings and grunts. I just don't get it. He tries and just doesn't make any progress. 

 

I also attempted to get another EI person out to my house they told me the woman that already visited was the only one available for my "district". This is BS!

post #7 of 9
Honestly, I wouldn't worry to much as EI stops at 35.5 months of age.
My dd2 also has speech issues. We got on withEi at 34m. Dd never had a therapy session as by the time the paper work was done she was 35.5m. She was then reevaluated by the school district at 36m .

So I suggest calling your school district for an evaluation.
post #8 of 9

I totally agree that the school district is your next step if there's no specialists in your area.  They pick up at 3 anyway and you should get the ball rolling now if you want their input when he turns 3 :)

 

In my experience (now dealing with EI in 2 states and a number of school districts) that it varies SO widely and just depends on the person you end up interacting with.  So, just because the EI person was clearly a no go, it is possible the school district will be great!  They often have preschools set up for special needs kids (though I would be cautious is it is not an integrated program that includes typically developing kids as well) and they can usually offer speech therapy.  how much you are offered will depend entirely on where you are and how your district is. 

 

I can't possibly diagnose but everything you describe fits with Einstein Syndrome (there is a book that goes over the syndrome, though it isn't a "real" thing according to the diagnostic manual, but there is anecdotal support for it.  I would also look up verbal apraxia (or childhood apraxia of speech) as it sounds very similar to what is going on with you little guy.

 

Here's an advocacy org that looks specifically at apraxia:

http://www.apraxia-kids.org/learn-about-apraxia/library/

 

I've found that knowing the details of diagnostic criteria and having a good (well reasoned) sense of what might be the diagnosis for our DS helped a LOT when working with the schools and EI.  It drives them crazy (which I totally understand) but I've been able to be a better advocate for our DS by knowing very clearly what it means when someone throws around any diagnosis. 

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is exactly what I am trying to get at. I what to know what they are talking about before I go in. I was thrown in the bulk of the ADHD fad of the late 90's early 2000's. Grew up and found out that I have a "mild case" of ADD. This came from me drawing in all of my classes. I would do the work, then find something better to do with my time. I have lived with this my entire life and have learned to deal.

 

I don't want my son to get thrown into the "fad" of autism if he really isn't. Don't get me wrong, there are kids out there that are, but just like the ADD/ADHD "fad" of the late 90's early 2000's a lot of us either weren't or were unnecessarily medicated. I understand that autism has a very wide spectrum but I think it is use a little too much.

 

 

There is actually a state funded preschool, literally, right down the street from me. I will have to talk to someone there to see if they know anything else.

 

 

I actually just learned about the "Einstein Syndrome" yesterday. It actually does sound like my son for the most part. I am starting to lean toward this. He is much more interested in grown up things and music. He loves music and has always been able to keep tempo. My husband has always been into drums and I was in marching band.

 

I will definitely give them a call and see if there is any information that they can give me. Thank you.

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