Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) grandson?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marguerite, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When easy child 2/difficult child 2 was going through a serious anxiety period, she saw a psychiatrist who strongly advised her to never have children. "You have ADD, your husband has dyslexia, you have brothers with autism, you have too high a risk ogf having a child with problems."

    It was not what easy child 2/difficult child 2 needed to hear. She told the doctor that she has a better chance of being able to help such a child because she has personal experience.

    BG3 is now just on a year old. I have had a few niggly concerns - BG3's favourite game is to flip objects along on the ground with the back of his hand. He will crawl after them and flip again. Or he will take an object to different floor surfaces and drop the object repeatedly. Drop, pick up. Drop again, pick up. He listens to the sound it makes. His favourite toy right now is a partly deflated balloon. He will grab a handful of it and let it spring form his hand. he giggles when he sees the balloon, as if it is inviting him for a game. He's a happy kid, he makes good eye contact (but so did difficult child 3). He does like spinning the wheels on toy cars. We have a toy car that makes noises when it rolls along, but he often bats at it to send it flying, then crawls after it like he does with his balls. An activity wll he plays with has a large captured ball and he will stand there spinning the ball.

    He's able to concentrate well for ages on one thing he's playing with. He also will keep going back to one place and do the same thing over and over. Tonight he was taking a rattle to the TV table and throwing the rattle onto the TV table, then flipping it until it fell down. Over and over. We kept moving him, trying to get him to find another table to do it on, but it had to be the TV table. He couldn't be distracted from it. I finally took the rattle to another room.

    Language - he says "mum, mum" and "dad, dad" but not really in response to mum or dad. No words yet. he seems to understand, he responds to his own name (which difficult child 3 didn't do at this age, but difficult child 1 did). He responds to hand signals and verbal instructions. he recognises certain words, sounds and actions. He responds with certain actions to indicate what he wants. For example, when he's had enough to eat he pushes your hand away with the back of his hand, and tries to pull off his bib. So he is communicating, he recognises that there are ways to get in touch with other people even if it's just actions.

    I'm still wondering if I'm seeing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), high-functioning. It's early days, but if there is a problem, then early intervention is best. He does interact well with his parents, but in his own way. he tries to initiate a game by coming up to you and making a particular sound, his 'game laugh'. He was doing that this evening to mother in law and he clearly wanted her to get out of her chair and chase him (not possible). He kept coming back to her and trying to initiate a chase game.

    My kids used to say I see autism under every rock. I said that was because I had a lot of exposure to it and experience with it, and I was rarely wrong. And now my boys especially will 'pick' autism in someone else. At BG3's birthday party we were in a local park and a young man came along to talk to difficult child 1. the young man's mother was with him and she told me quietly that her son has Asperger's. I got difficult child 3 to come over and talk to him, but neither boy was able to maintain conversation for more than a few minutes. I said to difficult child 3 later, "That young man has Asperger's, I thought it might help to talk to him."
    difficult child 3 said, "Yes, it was obvious that he's Aspie. he seemed a nice guy." But no further interest in associating. Both loners.

    As for BG3 - it's the repeated, over and over, flipping of balls and other objects that has me increasingly concerned. He's happy enough, and an easy kid. Not quite as easy as BG2 (who we don't see often enough). BG2 seems to play differently. More laid-back, more adaptable.

    Am I crazy or over-concerned? Or am I seeing early warning signs? After what the shrink said to easy child 2/difficult child 2, I don't want to say anything to her too soon or she'll shut down about it and won't get it investigated. But if there' a problem, I don't want it left too long before we get help.

  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Marg, I do see some red-flags for High-Functioning Autism (HFA) with this child. I can't advise you on dealing his mom, but as you know, the sooner you can get interventions in place, the better.

    Hopefully you'll get some responses to your issues. Of late the board has been rather slow.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    husband said something to her yesterday morning. He'd read my post here and acted on it. easy child 2/difficult child 2 said that they're sure he's not autistic in any way. husband said, it's too soon to tell.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 dropped him off with us for an hour. BG3 loves ceiling fans and he points to what he wants, usually raising his arm up and looking at what he's indicating, to 'ask' you to do something there for him. Yesterday it was the ceiling fan. He wanted it to move. It was too draughty to turn it on so we flicked it with our hands to make it turn. He watched it intently, then when it stopped, raised his arm again. When easy child 2/difficult child 2 was here, she was sitting down and indicated she couldn't reach it. He got more insistent and finally grabbed her hand to raise it to try and reach. I finally distracted him with other toys, but for about 15 minutes or more, it was ceiling fan.

    I have a older friend at church who is very High-Functioning Autism (HFA). We talked yesterday, he was discussing social avoidance as an early measure. Suggested I do some online reading.

    I'm going to do some digging and then suggest some strategies similar to what we did ourselves for difficult child 3 - use the intense interest areas to develop skills, and extend them into other areas. Basically, do our own early intervention.

    As our friend said to me yesterday, and easy child 2/difficult child 2 has said herself - if they produce an autistic child, they will actually be very well trained already to help that child.

    Fingers crossed.

  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree they would be very well trained to help their child!

    I wish I knew some good information but I don't know a lot about early signs of Autism.

    Good idea to keep on digging for information!
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    From what I've found, there are a few possible early warning signs. By 12 months old, he should have expressive language of "mama" or "dada" to mean his mother or father. He doesn't. He says it, but it's not with meaning. He should be saying "no" and he's not. He doesn't even respond to "no". Responding to his name - he's a lot better than difficult child 3 was at this age, but I don't think he's on par with his peers.

    He will indicate with his arm, pointing of a sort, which is a form of communication. That is good.

    Repetitive play - there's a lot of it. And perseverative. For example, difficult child 3 has a collection of metal Tazo tops. He kept them in my bathroom where his pet bird used to play with them. Now BG3 plays with them in there, keeps picking them up and dropping them to hear them clang on the tiles. Over and over. He throws them into the shower, he climbs into the shower to throw them out again. I haven't timed him, but I think he can do this for 20 minutes or more at a time. He will play with other objects in a similar way. He bats at balls, blocks, anything. I bought a toy fishbowl which has three fish in it, which can be removed and dropped back in. He will pick out the fish and bet them around the floor. When I show him that putting the fish in the bowl makes the bowl play music, he watches the bowl play music then bats the bowl to make it sing again. He doesn't copy me in putting anything in the bowl. He doesn't get upset if I put the fish in the bowl, he just reaches in and takes them out again.

    We get eye contact, but I don't know if we get the same amount as we should. I have no measure of normality. He is not good with strangers - not that he's shy, but he frowns at anyone he doesn't know, and he does not warm to them.

    He can be affectionate with some people - he responds happily to mother in law (great grandma). He tries to engage you in a chase tickle game.

    My friend who is a speech pathologist is unavailable for a week or so, but I will talk to her about my concerns and try to engineer a visit. I think if we go to visit her, it will be putting BG3 in a novel environment and that alone can be revealing.

    I did the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on (a useful resource). Because BG3 is only 12 months old, it is difficult to use any tools like this, but I did get a score of 90 for him which indicates mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Top score for mild, almost into moderate.

    I'm not sounding alarm bells, but I do think it's time for at least a little caution and consideration of the possibility. If there's nothing wrong, then early intervention techniques won't do any harm. But knowing our health system here, I suspect we'll have to do it ourselves.

    I'd already been doing a lot of SonRise techniques with BG3 anyway, such as sitting beside him and playing with the Tazo tops, or batting a ball to him and catching it as he bats it in turn. He's not batting it back to me, he's just hitting it, but I pretend he's hitting it to me and try to instigate turn-taking play.

    There's a lot I can't do, because I'm not at home enough. I'd like to get the piano cleared out so I can play it for him and let him learn how it sounds. That's what I did for difficult child 3 and he learned to play very early as a result. BG3 does like music a lot, but his parents are into modern music and not the classical that a lot of babies really love. They did buy him a Mozart cube though, which he likes to play with.

    But - absolutely no expressive language at all (other than waving bye bye and pointing). No verbal expressive language. And I think receptive language is poor.

    So we'll see. The kids are interstate at the moment, so about the time they get back will be about the time my friend is available to quietly assess informally.

  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Personal gut feel? probably something going on, hard to know where it's going at this point.

    At 12 months, its harder to tell. You can't go wrong by assuming there might be something going on, and working on interventions as though that were the case. Neurotypical kids are not harmed by the interventions.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hey, InsaneCdn! How are you?? Long time since you've been around these parts (and me too, actually)... glad to see you are still alive and kicking :)

    About the original post... are there REALLY rules about when children should speak by and what they should say? Doesn't seem to bear out observation.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey Marg...long time no see!

    Im gonna be honest here as a long time grandparent now. I have been very guilty of seeing issues constantly. What you are describing doesnt sound very aspie to me but I could definitely be wrong. Is this the first grandchild? I dont remember. I do gather he is the first child in this family right? That can lead to certain behaviors. Either the child is extremely independent and does everything early or they can wind everyone around their little fingers and us adults jump to their every desires so they dont have to talk.

    My oldest granddaughter reverts back to being our "baby" when she is alone with us because I assume she likes feeling special to us. Around others she is a normal 8 year old. I was convinced Jamie's oldest daughter was bipolar from age 2. She may be but for the moment we all just think ADD which oldest granddaughter also has. My grands having ADD is not a big surprise in the least.

    Neither of Cory's girls talked well at a year. It took his youngest until she was over 2 and a half before she called me Grandma.

    I would be watchful but wait before I panic.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Janet. I've been very busy lately, and difficult child 3 has been a lot more capable of seeing what I post. So I lurk more than I post.

    BG3 is the third grandchild, the first in his family though. However, both parents not only show some mild Aspie traits, but also are experienced with it. BG3 is encouraged to do things for himself but he is watched fairly closely. He's been a handful in some ways. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is a capable mother and trained early childcare worker but has found BG3's sleep problems (he seems insomniac) to be an ordeal for her. They spent a few days in a special observation centre for babies with feeding or sleeping problems and seem to have improved things.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is doing all the right things, praising attempts at various things. "Good waving!" and so on. She sees his intense focus on dropping objects, balls etc as simply a sign of intelligence. Because it is what SHE would have done; she understands her boy and his interest in these things. She had her own oddities which at the time I ascribed to her being a very bright child. Some years later at school these things became more and more of a problem, as teachers failed to understand, for example, why she had to have her ear pressed to the floorboards of the school hall during dance class.

    it's not so much not talking well. It's not having any meaningful speech at all. Nada. And no increase in recognition of people by name despite regular exposure to this/practice. He doesn't seem to comprehend "no" or "ta" which I thought he should have by now.

    I agree that there are no hard and fast rules about what to expect and when, but there are general understandings of what falls into the "90% of people do this" and what seems to be outside the norm. If a kid is learning multiple languages, for example, speech may be slower (because they're trying to process twice as much). BG3's hearing seems fine, he can respond to a chocolate wrapper from the next room. He does respond to his own name to some extent, but not as much as the other two grandchildren. I'm hoping to talk to the speech path tomorrow, our schedules permitting.

    We may have a chance on Sunday to compare the kids more directly. easy child 1 and family will be passing through, hopefully at the same time as easy child 2/difficult child 2 and family arrive home. The two youngest are within six weeks of age of each other. I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with BG1 and BG2 in the short time we will see them. It might help me get a perspective, if this is merely over-anxious gran seeing autism under every rock.

  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    JMO here but... not much chance of it "just" being an over-anxious gran. :D
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks, IC.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've spoken to my speech path buddy at length. She's a friend so she wants to spend more time with us anyway. easy child 2/difficult child 2 respects her opinion, too.

    We talked to easy child 2/difficult child 2 and I shared what speech path buddy said. Basically, an informal assessment won't hurt and us doing some early intervention play with him and using his interest areas to encourage him to broaden his activity won't do him any harm either.

    I'm a bit limited in what I can do. If I was at home, I'd get him on my lap while I play the piano (which I have to dig out from under a mountain of difficult child 3's crud).

    My other two grandkids are precocious but it is interesting what they can't do, compared to difficult child 3 and what he could do. BG1 is nearly 3 years old and by that stage difficult child 3 was reading fluently, words and numbers. He was up to triple digit numbers by then and was also reading and playing sheet music. BG1, on the other hand, has marvellous language skills but although she tries, she is not able to read numbers. She can recognise her own name in printing, though. easy child 2/difficult child 2 at that age was also very verbally expressive and drawing complex pictures.

    So we will see how he goes. The sooner we can get him into a part-time child care placement, the better for him, I think.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Update on BG3 - he's now 13 months old and still has no words he uses. He makes himself understood by pointing and grunting, basically. He now understands "no" and often cries when told "no". Crocodile tears, easy child 2/difficult child 2 says and I think she's right. He just doesn't want to be thwarted.
    He doesn't seem to understand "ta". easy child 2/difficult child 2 thinks he does understand but is ignoring it. I'm not so sure.

    He's clever, he can work things well. He has a drink bottle with a push button release on the straw and he is very good at opening that up when he wants a drink. He got into the Fisher Price cash register and got the coins out. Of course, at that stage they became missiles like everything else.

    Since we talked about it, easy child 2/difficult child 2 has increased his social contact with other kids. She's put in her CV to the local child care centre (guess who gets to babysit? She can't afford to pay for child care for her child) and is actively working to encourage broader skills. He now posts shapes into a shapes ball and we name each shape as he does it. easy child when she was 20 months old knew all her shapes by name because we'd done this with her. As I said in an earlier post, I don't know what "normal" is.

  14. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Hi Marguerite - Theres nothing wrong with keeping your eyes open as you are. Glad to hear hes interacting with other kids, either way its good for him! Some kids can be late or early at walking, talking etc and theres no other issues, they are just that way. Most go by what the majority of kids learn at whatever age..5 kids learn that way and one is a little different, then thats where they say maybe issues. Not always true! Hugs and good luck, he sounds like a cutie!
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We finally met with my Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) friend. It was not a formal assessment but she knew I wanted her opinion. Her view - she can see signs of expressive language development. A lot of it is non-verbal but he is starting to repeat certain sounds for certain situations, which is the beginning of language. So for now, we're cautiously optimistic.
    I sat him on my lap today while I played the piano. Just fiddling around with chords, but he was doing the same sort of thing. No bashing at the piano the way some babies do. He wanted to get down after about five minutes, so I let him down. He does like music a lot, though.

  16. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Its good to keep your eye out and get others opinion,esp professionals. Starting young with help is always the best as you know! Thats good he didnt bang the keys - hes curious and likes the sound :)
  17. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    I read all the posts with great interest. I have had 3 children, only one had learning difficulty Dyslexia but has gone on to University. All 3 of my children walked early and spoke fluently by 2-2 and a half years of age. I work in a pre school so work with children every day. My grand daughter is 20 months. At 14 months she said "mum" "dada" and "no". She added Peppa a bit later a favourite cartoon character. She now only says "mum" and "bye". She was born 2 weeks premature. She walked at aged 1 properly. Now she sometimes walks on tiptoes. She also flaps her arms when excited or upset. She is obsessed with till receipts so I gave her an old purse. She spends ages putting receipts in and out of her purse. She hasn't added any more words. She does sometimes point to things, only likes two books for us to read to her. She does make eye contact but never repeats or copies words. I'm so worried that she is on the autism spectrum & when she had her 18 month check up they referred her for speech therapy. However the appointment hasnt come. I grew up speaking two languages with no difficulty. My Grand daughter hears predominantly English, however her other grandmother speaks to her in German. I have been encouraged to speak to her in Greek and have done in the past. I have now stopped as I fear this may be delaying her speech. I still sing greek nursery rhymes. I haven't told my daughter my fears as we have a precarious relationship as she suffers from Borderline personality disorder and I daren't say anything. My daughter is very argumentative and argues with her husband who is constantly walking on eggshells could this be why the baby's development is delayed or is it autism? Help from an anxious grandmother
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are probably right. The symptoms are there. But if you have a poor relationship with your daughter, there is nothing you can do. Bringing it up will probably throw her into a revengeful rage, as borderlines tend to do when they ore their kids are ever seen as different. I would not get involved and just enjoy her the best you can. It is up to her parents to get her the services. You can't so there is no point in angsting over it.

    I suspect my grandson is a bit odd too, but I've never said a word. It won't make my son take him for an evaluation and he'll only get angry.

    Hang in there.
  19. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    You're right. I feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'am currently educating myself on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and now autism and how when I do have the baby I can try and help her. I.e. Play with her the way she needs to be played with to help her interact better. She has started nursery twice a week because my daughter who doesn't work needs "me" time so hoping that they see there's a problem & alert my daughter to it. My daughter will then probably have a tantrum and say that I should have noticed this myself as I work with children myself. But I can't speak to her about the weather let alone the possibility of the baby having autism!!
  20. Lioness

    Lioness Lioness

    I fear for my Grand daughter as is she does have autism her mother cannot help her as she is too self centred to put in the work required. She will just throw money at the problem as anything that takes effort she resists. It saddens me as I know my grand daughter will need extra help at home to develop as best she can. My grand daughter loves music and my daughter plays the piano beautifully. Music always soothes my grand daughter so this is a plus.