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.
-He will spin but only if you do it first. He will line up toys but only when they make different sounds when he "drums" them
-He babbles, sings, and grunts.
-He knows the difference between emotions, however if some one is upset he will react as if they are mad at him and cover his ears.
-If he gets into trouble he will run to his room and throw his self on his bed.
-He will respond to his name event if you whisper.
-He is not far behind his cousin who is 10 months older than him, other than the talking thing.
-I can keep eye contact with him from 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time.
- I see the wheels turning in that little brain of his I just want him to be able to express like I know that he wants to. It breaks my heart everyday.
-I have this gut feeling that when his baby sister gets here this summer he will blossom again like he does with every learning spurt, just this time talking will be on the check list.
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.
Also, try teaching him some sign language! Even though you say he is using other methods to communicate, sign language encourages a different part of the brain and it's fun
I completly agree with you here. The autism diagnosis is handed out like ADD/ADHD was when I was in middle school. I am actually going to talk to someone at the local preschool, state funded, to see if they can lead me in the right direction.
My 11 year old ultimately had a spectrum disorder and also was a late talker. I brought in early intervention when he was 16 months old and was unhappy with their general lack of professionalism. When you allow someone into your home as well I believe it important to be able to choose someone yourself who will work within your family philosophy and listen to you. I ultimately "fired" early intervention...but I would not suggest "waiting it out" as you say. Then, later, you may regret the lost time if it turns out he has an issue you could have helped him with. If you can afford your own speech therapist or find one that takes your insurance then you can choose someone yourself that wouldn't make such alarmist unprofessional statements! If you have the energy to tackle this I'd also suggest you inform early intervention (the supervisor of the evaluator) of how you perceived their services so that they can have that feedback to change how they relate to families. They may even surprise you and agree, offering to match you to a more experienced worker or give you the chance to interview the person who would offer your child services.
I am going to be contacting my local preschool to see if there is any information they can give me.
I have contacted the EI program and they blew it off and said that she was the only person for may "district" I am done with them.
I am worried about my child and I am also scared that if I take him into the school system they will do as they have done for years that I know of and just give some kind of diagnosis to shut me up. I have seen this happen one to many times to be comfortable.
Your school system can't give a diagnosis unless you request that they do so. You request evaluations, occupational therapy, speech, and neurospych as well as physical therapy. It is your choice about what kind of evaluation you are requesting. A neuropsych is what is typically used to diagnose a developmental disorder like autism but since your primary concern is his speech and language development you can just request a full speech evaluation and see if he qualifies for speech and language therapy through your local school system.
I can tell you feel strongly that your child not be "labeled" given your family history of speech and language delays for reasons other then spectrum disorders. Make it VERY clear in your child's evaluation what your family history is. It is my experience that the opposite is true...in that school districts are not quick to "slap on a label" as they are responsible for the therapy and treatment which is then required and is quite expensive to provide. Our experience was that we were "screened out" of the IEP process until my son was almost 4 and his "within normal range" speech development showed obvious developmental lags in pragmatic language.
I hope that your experience is better then you are anticipating but if not, see what your insurance will provide and avoid yourself the aggravation. It is difficult enough to parent it is worse if you feel that those who should be helpful are adversarial with you.
If you are looking for something you can do at home you might try this program. We used
#1 with our daughter and it worked well. I think you would want #2 for what you are describing.
Also, pinterest has tons of therapy boards that would give you more ideas.
Can you have a speech therapy assessment to check for apraxia? You can read up on signs online. If it is that you want apraxia specific therapy (PROMPT if you can or a therapist with lots of apraxia expertise) as soon as you can. I would want that assessed to rule in or out.
If it's not apraxia (if it is you need a professional) you can work with his speech on your own if you want. Hanen materials are great for that. It Takes Two to Talk is their program for language delays. I had just a book about it. I bought my Hanen book from Amazon. Here is the Takes Two. I think this is more useful than a professional honestly for straight speech delay. We had formal therapy. I found doing it myself much more helpful.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
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I agree with looking into speech therapy, starting sign language if you haven't already, and possibly occupational therapy. The OT can help immensely with speech development. In our case, we see the OT and the speech therapist at the same time and they work together, but there are times when it's better for the appointments to be separate.
I have only a moment to reply, but I really wanted to support you, Amber. It sounds like your little one is developing perfectly normally for your family.
My family history is similar - lots of very high functioning, quirky relatives. Late talkers, learning disabilities, hereditary deafness, some autistic symptoms, but high achievers. Engineers, eccentric inventors, professors, musical and linguistic prodigies.
My son was much like yours at that age - no speech, but quite successful in his environment, and clearly intelligent. He was in speech therapy from preschool through age 8 or so, to absolutely no effect. Although he did eventually speak (around 4?), no one but his sister and I could understand him for years. He was diagnosed with autism (PDD-NOS), probably inaccurately, at 7. He participated in exactly no therapy - I tried occasionally, but nothing seemed to meet his needs. I mainly homeschooled him. He also had serious dyslexia - at 13, he read on a 2nd grade level, despite all sorts of specialized tutoring. At 14, he suddenly could read. 6 months after we quit the tutoring.Today, at 16, he reads for pleasure - he is reading Jurassic Park right now. He had sensory issues and extreme food quirks that just went away. Like the dyslexia, the speech problems and most of the autistic symptoms simply resolved themselves. He is still socially a bit weird, but he has several very good friends, concrete and realistic life plans, and is one of the most ethical and deep teens I have ever met. Although it was hard to trust my instincts sometimes, I always believed he would come into his own. At 16, YoungSon is still a work in progress of course, but he is really excelling, no thanks at all to any therapy.
My point isn't to suggest you avoid diagnosis or therapy. Even though I don't now believe my boy's diagnosis was accurate, or therapy beneficial, it was useful to try, if only to assuage my guilt. In your position, I would look for a speech and language pathologist. Get an evaluation, and give the therapy a shot. If your son gains from it, that's great. If not, at least you know you tried. I don't "hear" autism in the symptoms you related (I work with children with mental health issues and developmental disabilities), and besides the speech, I didn't hear any serious problems that need to be addressed. But if you would feel more confident with an evaluation, give it a shot. I agree that a developmental pediatrician would be the one to do it.
Sign language would be fun as a family project. That's the tone we did it in, not as a therapeutic intervention. If it helps him communicate more successfully, cool. If not, it is still fun to learn!
I "waited it out" for a very long time. And I am 100% satisfied with the results!
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
I am thinking you may want to split this into two topics in your head.
1) You are worried about your sons language development
2) He seems to be very good at maneuvering his world, with friends, and his interactions with you.
If your son was frustrated, I would say move heaven and earth to figure it out. If it's a case of "Mama worry, but kiddo isn't worried" I would be more inclined to wait, given how you have said he gets along in day to day life.
I've always loved EI, screened the eldest just because (no real worries) and then screened the next kid every six months after 1 1/2 until he aged out. Then we started screening in public school as soon as he attended. I could NEVER understand him, and it was frustrating for us both. Every time I got "he's within the limits for age, just so very bright that his vocabulary is 5 years ahead of his pronunciation." It's true, he's a smarty-pants--but there was something off and he was frustrated by it. At almost six, we finally got the diagnosis of a "lateral-lisp", from a woman who had screened him four times before and was very apologetic for not listening to my concerns. He's in speech therapy at home now.
Our third child had no words other than "Ma" until he was almost 2 1/2. He called everyone in the family "ma" and would either nod, or shake his head silently when asked a question. But he was fine with the situation, and we just waited it out. The week after my husband asked if I thought he was "slow" he started talking in sentences :-) He's four now and speaks more clearly than his older brother and has just as large of a vocabulary.
So long story short, use the services if you feel they are helpful or avoid them if you don't think they will help. It won't hurt your kid down the line to get a "label", but if you need it and can get help for speech issues early on it will really impact your child's life.