Could it be autism or some sort of sensory issue?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by frustrated440, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. frustrated440

    frustrated440 New Member

    Hello everyone, I havent been on in awhile to post about my 3 year old. He has recently started in the public preschool and has been going to speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) once a week reguarly now. However I still seem confused and yes still frustrated. Everyone and I mean everyone says to wait and see, or they are just not sure..that kind of thing. People keep telling me to relax, but I don't know about everyone else, but I am finding that very difficult. I am naturally a worrier I have been told and also people say that because I am also a special needs aide that probably causes me to worry so much about my son. I know that all probably has something to do with- it and also the fact that my son for the most part seems pretty "mild" I guess you could say.

    Anyways now I have been hearing alot from people that are working with- him that he has sensory issues which I am aware of. For example, he likes to throw toys and things, not out of anger but in play. He used to be really bad about this when he was 2 but has greatly improved although he still does it sometimes. He also tip toes, likes to jump on trampolene, jump off furniture like he's a frog, that sort of stuff. I work with- children who have autism and asperger's but like I've said before my son just doesnt seem to fit there. He does have good eye contact, he's very loving, he loves being around other children. I guess my worries are the sensory stuff, he also echoes speech. He doesnt do it all the time, he does have original speech but there is still echoing going on. His speech therapist says it decreases everytime she sees him. She said that he is learning so much language right now that he is processing it and once he's figured it all out, I will start to see less and less of the echoing. I asked her and the Occupational Therapist (OT) today if they had an opinion about if I should be concerned over autism and they said it seemed like more of a sensory problem and that time would tell, basically what I hear alot.

    I also had to put him in bed early tonight because he hit his little brother with- his spiderman. He didnt do it on purpose, its like the throwing thing, he does it like he's playing and doesnt realize it will hurt. My husband and I have been telling him alot lately to not whip his security blanket at his brother, and not to hit his brother with- toys and that sort of thing, but he ends up doing it again and again. I know he doesnt do it to be mean, he's just not that way, again its like he's playing and doesnt realize it's going to hurt someone. He does seem to feel badly but I wonder if it's because he knows that he's in trouble. He has no problem with saying he's sorry.

    Has anyone else ran into these types of things? They say hes doing well in school but needs alot of help. He has motor problems which is why he is in Occupational Therapist (OT). He seems to need to build strength in his hands and legs. I have a nephew who is 21 and my sister told me that he also was in speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) for a couple of years when he was young so I dont know if these issues my son is having are hereditary and he will overcome them like my nephew or if I should be looking more into autism. One thing though, he is very verbal, always talking, but there is some echoing, some pronoun mistakes which have gotten much better but still have some difficulties. He also is now starting to ask where questions, but has not yet started with "why" ones. Sometimes he does talk about something out of the blue, something that I guess that wouldnt be considered relavent I guess. He also has trouble with open-ended questions. I dont get alot out of him for example when I ask him what he did at school today.

    Sorry for the long post, any advice and experiences would be so appreciated.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can only speak from my experiences with my son who has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified or atypical autism (and, remember, no two Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids look alike). He's fourteen now. As a toddler, he would echo. If I said, "What's your name?" he'd answer "name." He knew his name. He had some speech, but most of it was copying what he heard on Barney or his other shows. He appeared very friendly--don't remember his eye contact. He had low muscle tone and serious sensory issues. Sensory issues rarely stand alone. Most of the time they denote another disorder causing those issues. My son learned the "W" questions last--"What, where, who, when, why?" I was told this is common. Now he has a full range of speech and is quite functional because we put him into early interventions for autisim. Like you, we kept hearing "he's too social" "it's just ADHD" "I don't see it." But I saw it We went with our gut and got him all the early interventions any child with autism gets. BOY, DID THAT HELP!!!!! I think you need to look into the possibility that he may be somewhere on the spectrum. At his young age, you are unlikely to get an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis. even if he has it, but I'd see a Developmental Pediatrician to keep tabs on him. He WILL improve--Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids have developmental DELAYS so they improve, but without the proper interventions (and even with them most of the time) they struggle in many aspects of life. Why take a chance and make it harder for him? My mottor is "Better to be safe, than sorry." Waiting to outgrow things is in my opinion a recipe for trouble. My sons' Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) seemed to disappear for a few years, but now that he's fourteen it is easy to see how different he is from his peers. He's a happy, good kid--smart--but he's very different, yet he's come so far. Good luck!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    OH, My son used to LOVE throwing things to watch them rise and fall!!! He wasn't being disobedient--it was just something that he loved to do. And we had the broken windows to prove (His aim wasn't all that hot).
  4. frustrated440

    frustrated440 New Member

    Thanks for your comments Midwest, but I'm not sure if you read my whole post because you mention the early interventions and how important they are. My son is receiving speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) weekly. I was just looking to see if other moms have had similar problems with their child. I work in our school system here and plan to ask the school Occupational Therapist (OT) about all of this as well. As far as a developmental pediatrician., we already saw one and it was a horrible experience. First our son got car sick on the way, which was because of my brilliant idea to let him look at books because it was over an hour drive. Bad idea, he threw up and we had to stop off for clothes. I dont know if youve ever been motion sick, but I get it alot and you just dont bounce back after you get sick. So he was pretty miserable through the whole appointment. So I completely understand that she couldnt really interact with- him, but every question she asked us, we would answer and she would cut us off and ask another and just kept writing. I thought we would at least be there for about 1 1/2 hrs. but were only there 40 min. and we were only late by 10 min. The whole appointment. was a total blur. So after that appointment. I am taking him to a hospital here that I have heard great things about for speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) which she had recommended but just didnt feel comfortable doing it in her offices because we were not impressed with- her at all. I also asked the ST where I work about seeing a neuropsychologist and she has also observed my son over the summer as a favor to me and she said she just wouldnt put him through it right now. She said he is receiving services and going to preschool which she said he really needs. She said with all these new situations that should be enough right now and that they would only go off of what I tell them for the most part and she wouldnt put my son through all of it right now and to give what he's getting right now a chance. So I trust her advice because she has been in her field for years and has even helped my 21 yr old nephew when he was my son's age because he also had speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) issues. So thats why I'm not sure if he could of inherited it from my nephew or if other moms on here have had similar experiences with autism, asperger's, sensory, or all of the above.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As long as he's getting services, I guess it's ok. My son had more intensive services--he went to Early Education at age three for a half a day and Head Start for a half a day. He got speech, social skills, Occupational Therapist (OT), and PT. It really helped him. By five he didn't have any visible signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) anymore, but they reared their ugly head again when he got older and I could compare him more easily to other kids. Then I was glad that we had never cut off his services. Now at fourteen, I'm triply glad.
    Just because one Dev. Pediatrician was a jerk doesn't mean they all are. I'd see another one. As for a neuropsychologist--LOVE THEM. But you probably won't get an accurate diagnosis. at your child's young age. Our son's kept evolving as he grew. I wouldn't rely on an Occupational Therapist (OT) (even if she's been an Occupational Therapist (OT) for 100 years) to tell you what is wrong with your child. She isn't trained for that. I believe in erring on the side of caution rather than hoping it goes away on it's own. You can't get those years that you waited back for your child. Good luck!
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If my memory serves me correctly, your kiddo has been through at least one assessment already and the outcome has been speech, motor, some sensory, and some misc Autistic traits but nothing clear enough to result in an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis? If that's where you're at, as long as he's getting interventions I don't know what else you can do short of making the rounds visiting specialists until you get a firm YES or NO and then quite honestly I wouldn't trust it if it's as unclear as you say with the experience that I know you have with these kids already. I am thinking that if you want to pursue this an Autism clinic might be a better route than the others because they do truly specialize in ASDs.

    I know how much you would like a definite answer but I'm guessing if you've already done the assessement route and you already have interventions in place, all you can probably really do right now is treat him like a child who has some spectrumy traits. Get him all the interventions that are reasonable and do a lot at home on the speech and social skills front. Even a year down the road some things may be clearer--ie a 3 year old slightly speech delayed boy who isn't handling WH questions yet should be watched, but if he's 4 or 5 and still hasn't caught on then it's going to be a bigger red flag. My difficult child didn't handle WH questions, but early on it didn't trigger alarm in us because he was superb in so many other academic areas that we expected uneven development. When he hit 4 year old preschool and the delays were obvious to me when compared to his peers is when I started looking for answers. Even the teachers saw no cause for concern because he compensated for his weaknesses well.

    Often what happens with borderline or atypical Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids is that unless there's some very clear red flag such as Hyperlexia, a lot of toy lining up, severe eye contact issues, then the diagnosis on these kids often doesn't become clear until around age 5. And usually then it's not all the various quirky behaviors that send parents looking for answers, it's sometime big like the child can't function in kindergarten, they come totally unglued because of unrecognized/untreated sensory issues, floundering socially because they're social but not socially appropriate, speech differences start to show as genuine age appropriate delays especially in pragmatics, a teacher recognizing what parents didn't, etc. Because Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a spectrum disorder it's guaranteed that some kids are going to fall in that grey area between the spectrum and neurotypical and it's a lot harder for parents and professionals to determine. Also, younger Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids do a lot of shifting when progress is made through early intervention. Personally as long as he keeps making good progress I'd wait until about January of the year he is to start kindergarten and reassess then so you'd have answers in case you need to pursue interventions through school when he does start. You also may want to keep a log if you already haven't started so you can document the problems and progress. That would be helpful down the road in case you do need to go further.
  7. frustrated440

    frustrated440 New Member

    Thanks for commenting SRL. The ST and Occupational Therapist (OT) working with him now thought the best route to take with him would be a co-treat for an hour once a week with the two of them working with- him together. They wanted to put PT on hold for awhile. He had another session yesterday and it seems to be going well. Both therapists says he improves every time. The ST also said that his echoing decreases everytime as well. I would also like to get him services here at his public preschool, but he got in late to this program and is in the regular ed teacher's group because she had 2 openings. Also in the room their are Special Education kids with a Special Education teacher and 2 aides. It has helped greatly that he is in a room with 4 adults and 16 total kids. He behaves very nicely and sits for carpet time but usually on someone's lap. They say he is doing nicely and that he is very bright but just needs help (motor issues and sensory issues they have seen which is why I am getting him Occupational Therapist (OT)). So I guess I will just see how this year goes with- school and the therapies before we do school interventions, which is what his teacher has suggested to me. Any other advice would be welcome and again thanks so much.
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Just my 2 cents. My kids were "kinda, sorta, sensory". My 9 yr. old was bounced from preschool to preschool to preschool and summercamp to summercamp to summercamp because his sensory issues started making him more and more disruptive and oppositional.

    My 6 yr. old daughter is in the middle of a Superintendant's Suspension and I have to go to Brooklyn on Monday to attend a hearing all because people (teachers, neurologists, therapists, etc) kept telling me she's fine, she's just immature!

    If you're seeing something in the sensory realm - GET HIM TESTED AND GET THE NECESSARY THERAPIES IN PLACE!!!! You'll save yourself a lot of problems later on down the road.

    Good luck!!
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    GEt a private Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, never ever ever trust a school district evaluation. I do not mean to offend, but the evaluators that are paid by a school district do have a bias. Make sure your evaluation is done well, and is current. It sounds like you have some instincts niggling at you.


    My state is setting up an autism network, things really started hopping in the last few months with seminars and info flowing. I was asked to help as I can a few years ago but it took forever to get anything done.

    I am a mom with no special training other than raising an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid who was much like yours, except no Occupational Therapist (OT) or speech therapy. He had a LOT of original speech and some echolalia. Not much. Majoryly hyperlexic, which NO ONE told us was an issue. Not until he was in 4th or 5th grade!!

    Keep an eye on him, make sure he is progressing, and try to set it up so that he has the room he needs to throw things or wave blankies around with-o hurting anyone.

    I think in a year or 3 you will find more. Or maybe just refine what you have. And every year or 3 after that it will happen again. Partly learning more about your child, and partly because we are learning more about all the disorders period.

  10. frustrated440

    frustrated440 New Member

    Hello everyone, I havent been on in awhile. This week we had our son's first preschool conference. It went really really well! It was very thorough which I was not expecting all of that! They had a report and knew what shapes, colors, numbers, etc.. that my son knew! They said he is really bright but they said he is not autistic. They did say he is a "sensory kid" but they have seen that before. My son is in a preschool that is half reg. ed. and half Special Education. Both teachers have been doing this for years so I do feel comfortable with their opinions. I asked them if they had any concerns and then I brought up autism and they assured me that he is not. They said he is very social and right where he should be socially. For example they said he loves the other children and is even concerned if one of them cries or coughs and will ask them if they are ok. They said it took awhile for him to get adjusted but now he even sits for carpet time the whole time and only sometimes on an adult's lap. They also said he is very well behaved which really has never been much of a problem at home. He does have a tantrum now and then but it seems pretty typical for his age when we do encounter them.

    The progress he has made with his language since starting school and having therapy once a week has been amazing. He has been in his therapies for about 2 mos. now and he has been saying all kinds of things he never did before and the echoing is pretty much non-existant now. The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) said that he is about 6 mos. delayed in his receptive language and 6-12 mos. delayed in his expressive. It sounded huge to me but she said that she sees no reason why he shouldnt catch up very quickly. Both the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) have said he progresses each time they see him. They say he is more tolerable to things and much more easily redirected. The sensory things seem to be the biggest issue especially in the fine motor area.

    So I will keep doing the therapies as they have helped tremendously and I also plan to add PT. The therapists are supposed to come up with- a plan for my son as far as figuring out how much of each and how often. So right now I am going to let myself take a breath and keep doing what we are doing. Hopefully the progress will continue!
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    We love these kind of updates around here. I'm thrilled he's making such good progress with the therapeutic interventions!