Hello! I have been seeing autism signs in my 3 year old daughter for a while now, and would like to get perspective from some of you who have autistic kids...
- Speech: She did have a speech delay, said nothing at age 2 when she started speech therapy. She learned some basic signs in speech which helped her communicate with us(helped a TON), and it eventually led to her beginning to say words. She is now getting speech through the school district since she is 3, and is finally beginning to speak in short(3 word) sentences, but only to people she is very very comfortable with like myself, her dad, and my best friend who she has known since birth. She has to think really hard about talking, and will only ever say a word to people she is very comfortable with like her family, her therapist, and her teachers(it took 6 months for her to say anything to them though!).
- Play: When she is in a group, she will always play by herself and rarely interact with the other kids or even acknowledge their existence. She will play in her own little world with toys. She does pretend plays and games, but it is usually by herself unless her siblings are around. If her sisters, brother, or best friend is around she will play with them. Those are the only people that she will play with though. She sometimes has trouble with pretend play when you say she is someone that she is not as well. She will dress up in my hat and shoes and push a stroller around, but if I ask her "are you mama?" She says "no, you mama" "me sage". lol. I'm not sure if these are signs or just quirks and shyness though. It is so hard to tell! She also has an obvious preference for one type of toy, babies. She will have a baby with here everywhere. She usually needs to bring it with her to school, carry it in the store, to pick up her sister from school, to church, everywhere. She loves her babies! Again, this can be normal, but it can also not.
- Tantrums: She is normally a very calm and docile girl, but sometimes the smallest random thing will set her off and she will just cry and scream inconsolably. Nothing will calm her down. Like, we put the wrong shoes on her when she didn't want to wear them or if she is being stubborn and not wanting to move and I have to physically carry her. Or if I make her food the wrong way, like not cutting it right. Most of the time she is nice and calm, but once she gets set off, she just can't be stopped.
- Eye Contact: She has trouble with eye contact, and she doesn't always respond to her name. Sometimes she does, but it takes a few times of calling her, sometimes she responds more quickly, but others she just completely ignores you. Also sometimes when trying to get her attention to look at you she will just stare at a wall sternly with her lips tightly closed. Nothing will get her to look at you. This happened at her school pictures, so she didn't end up in the class picture. Other times she will make contact though, so I don't know if it is a sign or if it just her stubbornness.
- Eating: She is a very picky eater, and often won't eat what I make, she wants her food a certain way, and won't eat complex foods. She is not as picky as her older sister who I suspect has SPD, but it is noticeable. At school she will eat what they feed her though, but it is never anything too crazy
- Textures: She won't finger paint, paint in the shaving cream, play in the mud, all those things that get your hands dirty. She through a tantrum when we tried to get her to do a hand print for a Christmas project in her preschool class.
- GI Issues: I just recently learned about the link of GI issues and autism, and before I did not know it was even related! She has had either diarrhea or constipation almost all the time. It hasn't been since birth that I can remember, but I have noticed especially recently that it has been an ongoing problem longer than a little illness. I had chalked it up to her poor fiber diet, which it obviously could be as well.
There are so many different possibilities and factors that go into it! I don't want to label my child, but if she does have an issues like autism I want her to be able to get the help she needs to lead the best life possible for her.
Overall she is a sweet, kind, loving, quiet, introverted, shy little girl. She doesn't have any large behavior problems, so that I am thankful for.
Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!