Help, do I need to see my GP about my little boy?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by confusedmummy, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. confusedmummy

    confusedmummy New Member

    Hi everyone, am new here but this forum looked so positive and helpful that I felt I had to join!
    I am a stay at home mom mum living in the UK and I have 2 lovely kids, a daughter aged 6 and a son aged 3 years 8 months. My little man has given me cause for concern for quite some time but having been buffed away by health visitors etc I had given up but things aren't right. Wondered if you could give me your opinions?

    As I say, he is 3 years 8 months and until Xmas his behaviour was really troublesome. Tantrums, disobedient, you know all the usual stuff but to quite an extreme. I called the health visitor in and she went to his playschool to assess him for autism signs. She rang me to say he seemed absolutely fine there and could see no problem at all. The End!! I felt abandoned and left to get on with it all. I started to use some different techniques and after a while there was a definate shift of 'power' with me gaining the authority back and since Xmas things have been loads better. The tantrums have stopped, he is much more happy to oblige and generally a different kid. So whats the problem you say?

    The one thing that he has always suffered from, and since the tantrums have stopped has become so much more noticeable, is his complete terror of being seperated from me. He has never been good with this even as a baby but it is intefering in day to day life now. His first day at playschool was a nightmare. I took him for 3 1 hour sessions beforehand where he was fine. On the actual day I took him, I settled him in well and then said I was going to go for a bit and come back and pick him up. Cue huge terrified meltdown. They told me to go and he would be fine, but I knew he wouldn't. I left and 40 mins later sure enough they phoned to say he was beyond consolation. No one could touch him, talk to him, distract him, nothing. All he would do is scream, cry and shout at anyone who tried to help. When I went to pick him up he was utterly distraught but calmed down very fast once I was there. I then had to stay 6 weeks full time before I left for 10 mins and gradually he became ok with it. In fact he loves it now. He needed to know the routine, people, environment etc. He is apparently absolutely fine there now and they have no issues.

    We have had the same with his swimming lessons which I have had to give up with. He simply loses the plot because I can't come in with him (I sit at the side with him). Its totally irrational as he loves the water and when the teacher talks to him or tries to hold his hand he flips and acts like a rabbit blinded in headlights.

    When he comes with me out and about and we bump into someone he is very shy/rude and refuses to say hello and cannot/will not answer any questions or hold a conversation with anyone.

    He will not dress up in any form, even putting on 'new clothes' can freak him out and result in a meltdown. He is very reluctant to look in the mirror when his appearance doesn't look familiar.

    Loud noises bother him, the blender, putting plates away that make a loud noise etc etc. Needs to tell me he loves me lots and is clearly delighted when he asks "am I happy?" and I reply yes. He is able to recognise different facial expressions and knows when he/someone is happy or sad etc. His speech is slower and not as clear as it should be but not of major concern. He throws random phrases out at us, usually copied off the TV or something and finds it almost impossible to tell me properly what he did at playschool today. He is an affectionate, generally happy little man but his complete lack of confidence in new situations and with new people is causing much heartache. He is due to start school in Sept 09 and as I see it no way is that going to happen with him like this.

    He hit his milestones apart from speech, still wasn't talking very well at all at 2.5 years but excelled in the physical side. Rides a bike great, scooters on a two wheeled scooter, climbs, forward rolls you name it! Pencil control is not great but slowly coming.

    Should I seek help from my GP and ask to be referred to a behaviour specialist or are there things I could/should be doing with him here?

    So sorry for my long ramble, any advice is very much appreciated. X
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi and welcome. Yes, given what you are describing I would continue to push for an evaluation, including for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. You'll want to do some reading up in advance so you're prepared. Especially if a child is borderline diagnostically or atypical in that they don't present with one of the criteria, it's really easy for professionals to push off ASDs. But a major study here in the US found that half the time doctors missed what parents and teachers were seeing and it started a reform of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnostics.

    Sensory integration disfunction is often a cause for clothing issues, as are ridgid thinking patterns. What you can do as a practical solution is to find whatever clothing items really work for him and buy 5 (or whatever) sets. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches not to mention money wasted on clothes he won't wear. If this rings a bell at all, order the book The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz from amazon uk.

    There's a screening tool at this site which might be helpful to you. Print out your results for future use, including taking to a doctor.

    FYI, the random phrases copied from tv is called echolalia, and is characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s. If he's finding it difficult to answer what he's doing at preschool, it's often from not understanding the question or from difficulting in understanding sequencing. Start tuning into those aspects and writing down examples to take to your doctor.

    We always tell new parents we don't diagnose, but we can give you help in diretions to research and in getting an evaluation. I commend you for trusting your instincts instead of letting it go when you are seeing areas where your son could use some help. FWIW, if it were my child, I would be wanting an evalution with a developmental doctor, hearing test, speech/language evaluation, and an occupational therapy evaluation.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    I would definitly have him evaluated! When difficult child was 3 I was told to wait and see if he "grew out of it":confused: Well he never grew out of it and I knew something was wrong. Always follow your mothers instincts... they are usually right!
  4. confusedmummy

    confusedmummy New Member

    Thank you both so much for your replies, very helpful. I went to see my GP today without my son so I could talk freely without him hearing. He has asked me to take him in next Tuesday so he can assess him quickly and he will then refer him to the specialist at the hospital to be properly evaluated. Its funny you say that Mandy about growing out of it! The amount of people who brush his behaviour off and say Oh he'll grow out of it...stop worrying! Drives me mad!

    However, there are some aspects of his behaviour that I would have said were autistic signs but he does genuinely seem to have stopped/grown out of them. Can this happen with mild autism? Can kids adapt/grow out of it with age? I am afraid I have very little knowledge on this the moment! Am studying and learning fast though ;-)

    By the way I did do that test you posted the link for and he came up as a 51 score, mild autistm.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    What often happens with kids who are borderline Autistic Spectrum is that their symptoms ebb and flow depending on the environment, situation, etc. Changes in routine, especially big ones, can really make symptoms worse. When parents of these kids step back and take a look they often will find that they were making lots of adaptations/accomodations in their daily lives in order to help the child function.

    What I can tell you is that even a child who is borderline will benefit from therapies (speech, social skills, occupational therapy, etc) the earlier the better.
  6. confusedmummy

    confusedmummy New Member

    I really hope you don't mind me asking another question but I am after some help/techniques to help him deal with the seperation anxiety and to not be so immediately aggitated in new situations. I am very aware that this will take alot of time, patience and support but I am a full time mum who is more than happy and keen to help. He is 3 years 8 months just to re-cap.

    Any ideas? Many thanks!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Another point especially with high-functioning autism - a lot of the "autism signs" we see, are stages of development (in my opinion). For example, echolalia, where achild repeats what they hear as chunks of phrases, or sometimes repeats what you said before they respond - it certainly seemed to be a necessary developmental stage for difficult child 3, one he had to go through as he slowly learned to communicate. For example, when he was non-verbal he would grab my hand and drag me to the fridge, make me open the fridge then point to the juice to indicate what he wanted.
    After that when I was trying to make him talk, I would say to him, "Do you want juice?"
    and initially he would respond simply be repeating, "want juice" then with "Do you want juice?" as a reply. After that I would get (after I asked, "Do you want juice?"), "Do you want juice? Yes please."
    It was an adaptive process which he had to move through as he slowly gained skills. He seemed to know best what he needed and how he needed to learn. We did best with him when we let him do it how he wanted (within reason) and didn't ride him too hard on stims and tics.

    Feel free to ask what questions you need to. It's why we're here! Chances are, some time sooon you might be in a position to answer someone else's questions and in so doing, pass on your own knowledge to others when they're feeling a bit swamped as you are now.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son with mild autism. It does seem to eb and flow and when the chld is comfortable he seems "less" autistic. However, as the child gets older you see more of his differences than when he is little. It is very important to get interventions early and keep them up, even if it seems like the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has gone away. It doesn't. Socialization is much more complicated in middle childhood and teen and adult years and these kids need A LOT of help "getting" socialization. Good luck.
  9. confusedmummy

    confusedmummy New Member

    Well just to update you, we went to see the GP today and right on cue my little man performed his usual behaviour of refusing to look or talk to anyone he doesn't know. He them went behind my chair and laid down on the floor to hide! Then at the end cheerfully waved and said thank you & Goodbye as though nothing had happened??!!

    Anyway, GP has referred him to the childrens development centre at the hospital and we await an appointment etc.

    I then had a meeting with the SENCO lady at his playschool who said his developmental side was coming on exactly as they would expect for a child of his age except for not interacting with the other kids. They are going to work with him and try and help the areas he is struggling with. The best bit though was when they said they would take him up to the new school for half an hour at a time (when the time comes) so I can step out of it. I was soooo relieved. Will be very interested to see how he is with them as opposed to when he is with me.

    He is quite a physical chap, likes to push and play fight etc but the lady was saying that because his verbal skills are behind he may be using these physical actions as a substitute for talking and trying to communicate/play with the kids. She seemed quite optimistic that with help, teaching and patience that he may overcome this.....we'll see in time I guess.

    Many thanks for all your help and support, means alot to me and I'll let you know when we get the appointment through.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Way to go, little man! Of course we hear too many reports of kids suddenly being perfect angels with sudden surges of developmentally appropriate behavior in the doctor's offices.

    I'm glad to hear your doctor listened to you. For anyone else who is reading this and can't get the doctor to see how bad it is, take in a video so he/she can see it for themself.