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Could this be describing a "normal" 29 month old at all? Please tell me I'm overreacting and...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My little one is 29 months old.

 

He often does not respond to me talking to him.

 

It's becoming increasingly hard to get him to make eye contact.

 

He's begun spinning, chewing his fingers, sensory seeking like crazy.

 

He has very little attention span at all- he can't stand up facing me long enough for me to pull his pants up after a diaper change, heck, each diaper change takes 5 minutes or more, because he cannot/will not lay on his back or stand up straight long enough for me to do so quickly.

 

He's never been a good sleeper, very hard to get to sleep, very sensitive to sounds and lights that wake him out.

 

He's very particular about what goes were, OCD like, such as each toy has it's own spot on a particular toy shelf.  (He may have learned that from me- I'm a bit OCD.)

 

He sometimes plays with toys correctly, though often throws toys in the air or just lines them up.

 

He's very verbal, has been very verbal early on, but he's at the age where he should be able to be carrying on conversations, and I'm noticing more and more, he's only good at his part of the conversation, not so much the listening to me or the give and take.

 

I've noticed lately that he doesn't seem to "get" what I'm saying sometimes, things I know he knows.  An example that kinda freaked me out this weekend was, I was trying to close the hatch back of my fiance's van, and I had my hands full of groceries, so I couldn't physically move him, so I repeatedly said, in different wordings and tones, "James, you need to move so I can close the van, James, look up- the door is gonna bump your head.  James, look at Mom-Mom", etc, but he was completely zoned out and did not respond.  He had a completely blank look on his face that I'd never seen on his older brother (his older brother has Asperger's, it should be noted).  After about two minutes of calling his name, I finally caught his attention, and he was looking at me, but had a look on his face like I was speaking a completely different language.  At that point, my fiance came out to see if there were more bags, and put his hands on James' shoulders, which got James' attention, and then told James (with words and with hand gestures) that he needed to move so that I could close the back of the van, and then James "got it".  Two, three months ago, he would have "got it" almost immediately.  This really scared me.

 

He's aggressive towards others, but sometimes it's just for the heck of it, such as swinging his arms and hitting someone.

 

He cannot sit still to save his life.

 

He's extremely intelligent- when tested when he was 23 months, he was testing on a 3-4 year old level in many areas.

 

He has someone come from the local Pediatric Development Center an hour once a week, and they see none of this- he sits like a perfect angel, pays attention, does everything he's asked to do, etc.  The same with his weekly playgroup from the same program.

 

I don't want to come off as a hysterical Mother or hypercondriac to the doctors or the therapists, but these things they don't see and I do, and I am aware that I have to be hard not to "look" for Autism issues, because so many people (my older son, my nephew, two of my three nieces, one of my brothers, possibly me, possibly my Mother, my uncle, my Grandpa) have been diagnosed or have shown symptoms of being on the Autistic Spectrum.

 

How does my son sound to you?  What course of action should I take now?  The professionals don't see it, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I don't feel like I'm being taken seriously.  Also noted, I've worked in preschool/childcare for 20 years and he seems somewhat "off" (though not seriously) compared to most the children I've worked with.

post #2 of 10
I think if you are concerned, you should talk to professionals and get him evaluated. I do not know about the autism characteristics fully, but the description of lack of comprehension of language and responsiveness are reminiscent of seizures. Does not mean that is what is happening, though; hard to tell because inattentiveness looks identical at times.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s View Post

the description of lack of comprehension of language and responsiveness are reminiscent of seizures.

 

What do you mean?  I've heard of connection between seizures and Autism, but I thought it was more like classic seizures, not like absense seizures?  I'm not gonna get myself all freaked out about seizures without a doctor telling me so, but years ago, I had a little girl in one of my toddler classes who had absense seizures, and thinking about her, you're right, what he did, and what she used to do, were just about identical.

 

I have PDC coming for a regular appointment tomorrow morning and I was gonna mention the van incident.  They're supposed to be "professionals", but I think maybe I can push the pediatrician to refer me to someone more professional, so to speak.

post #4 of 10
Please do not freak out. I have funnel vision because i have a child with epilepsy. I am amazed by some of the similarities between the autism and epilpsy. I think the professional you need would be a pediatric neurologist that works with both autism and epilepsy. http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/treatment-associated-medical-conditions/epilepsy There is a book called Silently Seizing, which is about the relationship of the two.
Understand though, your child may have something totally different going on like hearing problems or sleep disorder. Definitely talk to your ped about all the symptoms and ask for a referral.
post #5 of 10

My son had many of these issues. He wasn't verbal, so when they tested him with the CARS, he was borderline autistic. He would ignore me and most of his teachers. His teachers thought he was hearing impaired. He just did his own thing in the classroom while everyone else participated. When he did interact with the kids, he was hurting them. The therapists that were working with him at the time (speech and OT) said they did NOT see autism. THey were used to working with kids with autism, and he didn't seem to be the same as them. They were able to get through to him, etc. Sure enough, over the years, he got better (with a lot of therapy). He was re-tested with CARS before kindergarten and didn't fall near the spectrum at all. One LMHC who tested him for asperger's when he was about 6 said he scored high, but she suspected his other sensory and ADD issues were playing a part in that. 

 

I would trust your instincts. You should have some pretty good contacts for doctors due to your other child's history (developmental pediatricians, psychologists, OTs, etc). Let them know your concerns

post #6 of 10

My first instinct was that he might have a hearing problem, or some kind of auditory processing issue that allows him to tune out people speaking to him.  Before our son's receptive language improved, there were definitely times when he was zoned out. 

 

That we are all coming up with different possible problems suggests to me that you really need a professional evaluation.  That you feel like he is less responsive than he once was would have me running to the dr because, if there is something like seizures going on, you want to catch them asap.

 

Of course there are many, much less serious possibilities and I don't think you should freak out or anything, but I would definitely be going to a developmental ped or neuro ped asap.

 

Hope you get answers!

post #7 of 10

Well he's really really young to be drawing any strong conclusions. A lot of 2 year olds are really busy and easily distracted. And keep in mind that a lot of abnormal behaviors are actually normal at certain stages - its a toddlers job to sensory seek! The problem is when kids get "stuck" there and don't move on. Like its really normal for a very young toddler to flap their arms when they are excited and happy. At age 6? Not so much. It can be normal to line up cars - but if that is the only way a child knows how to play with them, if he never goes zoom, zoom and cries if someone moves them, then I'd be more concerned. It can be normal for a child to spin in circles (it is fun!) but when they are spinning in the middle of the grocery store at age 10, not so normal. I have had to remind myself of that over and over when I have noticed my very young non-autistic sons doing things that my autistic sons do. Consider any of the odd behaviors autistic kids do...most if not all of those things are normal at some point, usually in the toddler years.

 

I also wanted to say that at 29 months I would not expect him to carry on a back and forth conversation. I would relax a little on that issue. A 2 yr old is supposed to be self-centered. Expect more back and forth and interest in your point of view between 3-5. (I do have some expertise here as a certified Parent Educator for Parents As Teachers for 0-5 year old child development and as an experienced Pre-K teacher for 3-5 yr olds.) Still if you feel he's lost communication skills he once had, then I would let the evaluating physician he went to before know and see what he/she thinks. It might be good just to reevaluate, if nothing else than just for your peace of mind. If you don't feel they are listening to you, then find someone else. You deserve to have your concerns taken seriously. 

 

I have a child with mild auditory processing issues and we did at one time suspect absent seizures. He would do the same thing as your child, just look at me when I talked to him and not respond. His verbal skills are high and he understands everything. Now that he's a lot older, he can verbalize better what is going on and I understand it is just an attention issue. He hears me but his brain puts my request on the back burner while he continues to enjoy his current train of thought or activity. When I really get his attention and ask him, "What did I just say to you?" he can tell me after he thinks for a few seconds. This child is one of mine with mild Aspergers, but I really honestly feel this is more of a ADHD trait in him than anything. Many of the traits associated with autism can also be traits of ADHD. Difficulty with eye contact, rambling on and on, easily distracted, zoning off...all ADHD traits! So even if those behaviors persist, they don't necessarily mean autism. And again, most of those ADHD traits are normal for toddlers...its when they are persisting into the school years and getting in the way of day to day functioning that it raises some flags and warrants a closer look. 

post #8 of 10

It's awfully hard to diagnose something in this manner, especially when you are focusing on the problems (of course, because you want help!). I have to say that it sounds so much like autism, not Asperger's but high-functioning autism. As with the person whose son has epilepsy, my children have autism (one Aspie, one HFA) so I may also be seeing what I'm so used to seeing ("when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail"). While it's true that many things you describe are not uncommon for kids his age, which is why it can be difficult to diagnose autism in young children, when you put them all together the way you have they sound like classic autism (again, I haven't met your child; I'm only going on what you are saying). 

 

Like your son mine sometimes hurts other kids, has sensory issues, sometimes "zones out", is very intelligent, doesn't like to make eye contact, etc. 

 

The only way to find out is to get your child evaluated by specialists. They may wish to start with hearing tests, move on to speech assessments, etc. My one recommendation is make sure the person doing the autism assessment does that full-time and has seen many, many, many kids with autism. My son was dismissed as having autism twice, once when he was 3 and again at 4, but the people he was being evaluated by (not specifically for autism, just some behavioural issues) did not have a lot of experience with autism. Now that I know what autism looks like and can "see" it almost instantly when I meet a child, I look back and think "how could you people NOT have seen that he was so clearly autistic"?

 

Having autism is not the end of the world, and the sooner you figure out what you are dealing with the sooner you can make the world a kinder and easier place for your child. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s View Post

Please do not freak out. I have funnel vision because i have a child with epilepsy. I am amazed by some of the similarities between the autism and epilpsy. I think the professional you need would be a pediatric neurologist that works with both autism and epilepsy. http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/treatment-associated-medical-conditions/epilepsy There is a book called Silently Seizing, which is about the relationship of the two.
Understand though, your child may have something totally different going on like hearing problems or sleep disorder. Definitely talk to your ped about all the symptoms and ask for a referral.

 

I've asked the local library to put that book on hold for me, for the next one that comes in.  James did it again Friday, I think, but only for a couple seconds.

 

I have an appointment with the pediatrician Tuesday to discuss my behavioral concerns, and I will be asking about a referral as well.  And mentioning the weird zoning out, too.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarroq View Post
I would trust your instincts. You should have some pretty good contacts for doctors due to your other child's history (developmental pediatricians, psychologists, OTs, etc). Let them know your concerns

 

Unfortunately, I'm still working on my contacts, as we moved from one state to another two years ago and by then my older son was 16 and didn't need as many services.  My sister's helping me, though.  She's got two (possibly three) kids on the spectrum, and she's got a pretty good list of contacts and specialists at this point.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizgig View Post

That you feel like he is less responsive than he once was would have me running to the dr because, if there is something like seizures going on, you want to catch them asap.

 

 

That's what concerns me the most as well- he's not responding as much as he used to.  For a while, I thought maybe he was just learning selective hearing from the older kids, but then I started really paying attention, 'cause I've had complete strangers commenting on his lack of eye contact, etc.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by earthmama4 View Post
 

I also wanted to say that at 29 months I would not expect him to carry on a back and forth conversation. I would relax a little on that issue. A 2 yr old is supposed to be self-centered. Expect more back and forth and interest in your point of view between 3-5. (I do have some expertise here as a certified Parent Educator for Parents As Teachers for 0-5 year old child development and as an experienced Pre-K teacher for 3-5 yr olds.) Still if you feel he's lost communication skills he once had, then I would let the evaluating physician he went to before know and see what he/she thinks. It might be good just to reevaluate, if nothing else than just for your peace of mind. If you don't feel they are listening to you, then find someone else. You deserve to have your concerns taken seriously. 

 

I'm also in Early Childhood Development.  I've been a preschool/toddler teacher for over 20 years (minus the 2 years I've been out of work since my little one was born).  I'm aware that 2 years out of the system might make me a little rusty, but he seems different, "off" from most the children I've worked with as a teacher.  A 29 month old not carrying on a back and forth conversation wouldn't necessarily be a concern to me, except for the fact that he used to moreso than he does now.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post

Now that I know what autism looks like and can "see" it almost instantly when I meet a child, I look back and think "how could you people NOT have seen that he was so clearly autistic"?

 

Having autism is not the end of the world, and the sooner you figure out what you are dealing with the sooner you can make the world a kinder and easier place for your child. 

 

I've known children (as their teacher) and known children (my older son, some of my sister's kids, my fiance's son, friends or neighbor's children) who I found out later who were on the spectrum and it's hard not to "see" it, too.  My little one... I don't really see full blown Autism, or at least not severe, but given my family history, I do see some signs, mild signs, in my little one, and I'm hoping they don't get more pronounced.  It's not the end of the world, no, but the sooner it's dealt with, if that's what it is, the easier it will be for everyone, including my son.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s View Post

I think if you are concerned, you should talk to professionals and get him evaluated. I do not know about the autism characteristics fully, but the description of lack of comprehension of language and responsiveness are reminiscent of seizures. Does not mean that is what is happening, though; hard to tell because inattentiveness looks identical at times.

 

Keep your finger's crossed- Tuesday I talk to the pediatrician.

post #10 of 10

Speaking of books, I would highly recommend Tony Attwood's "Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome". 

 

I say this because for years I looked up symptoms of autism and nothing I read really seemed to fit DS. After reading that excellent book I realized that 1. DS did not have Asperger's, as by then I thought he might, but HFA instead and 2. DD, who had challenges that were largely dwarfed by her brother's, definitely had Asperger's. His chapter on girls, especially, was so enlightening. 

 

I'm not saying your child has autism, just that if you want a really good idea of what it looks like, with solid information, I found it to be an excellent resource. Much better than anything I found on the web.

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