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Question about Autism - VERY VERY LONG

Forum: Children with Special Needs


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June 23rd, 2011, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 397
Hi All! I have a question about when you thought that your child could possibly be autistic or on the spectrum (I hope I used the correct terminology). I have concerns about my 4 month old son, yes I realize WAY early, but he seems to be having quite a few red flags....some background:

The entire time I was pregnant I felt like something was off or "wrong" for lack of a better term. I rarely felt movement and he never reacted to sounds in the womb. I had an anterior placenta and people told me that was why I didn't feel him move much. I remember telling my husband I wonder if he can hear because he doesn't seem to react no matter what. Anyways, he was born one day after his due date when I was induced due to high blood pressure and he ended up being a C-Section as he was crooked and every time I pushed he was being pushed into my pelvis. After four hours of pushing and no signs of him coming I was begging for a C-Section.

From the time he was little, maybe a few weeks old I kept saying I didn't think he could hear, I believe I even posted about it in the hearing section of JM. He did pass his newborn screening, and everyone kept telling me it was because we live in a LOUD household with 3 dogs. My family doctor said if he still wasn't reacting to sounds by 6 months we would get his hearing checked again. I didn't like that switched to a Pediatrician who listened to me and sent me to get another hearing test at 3 months which he passed again, and there was no fluid in his ears.

At about four months he seemed to respond to some sounds and I am SURE he can hear some, how well he can hear, I don't know. There are times he turns right when I say something and there are times that I can talk right next to him for 45 seconds getting louder and louder and he doesn't respond. When I brought this up at his doctors appointment, 4 month well check, she said if he was still not responding consistently at 6 months she would send him for the hearing test where he has to turn to sounds not just the newborn screening. I also called early intervention when he was a little less than 3 months old and they came out but recomended not having him evaluated because he was for sure going to not qualify for services and then I had to wait six months to have him tested again. They are going to evaluate him at 6 months.

Here is a list of worries I have:

1. Doesn't respond to noises a lot, all noises not just specific ones.
2. Doesn't seem to notice different tones in voices.
3. Eye contact is only okay, and sometimes poor.
4. If he is sitting or standing on your lap, he will NOT make eye contact with you.
5. No imitation of sounds or facial expressions.
6. He has never really cooed, though he does vocalize (aaaa, eeeee, etc) and every once in a while I hear a MMMMM sound.
7. He doesn't have "conversations."
8. He doesn't look at me while nursing, or a bottle (though sometimes with a bottle he will glance up at me). He covers his face and grabs his eyes while eating, it's weird.
9. Obsessed with his hands in his mouth, I mean ALL the time. And he vocalizes more when he has something in his mouth.
10. Funny sounds and facial expressions don't make him laugh or really smile, not ticklish.
11. Doesn't care to look in the mirror.
12. Almost seems hyperactive, bicycles his legs constantly.

Good things About his Development:

1. Can roll back to tummy.
2. Can sit up unassisted, has been able to since 3.5 months.
3. Loves to stand up and is very strong.
4. Can transfer things from hand to hand.
5. Likes to play with lots of toys.
6. Smiles at us when we smile at him, also smiles at other things that he sees, such as the dogs.
7. Grabs at everything in sight!!
8. Follows us pretty well when we walk out of the room, but doesn't usually cry when we leave.
9. Likes to be held but not really in the cradle hold (he's also almost 17 pounds)!
10. Likes people, crowds, other babies, etc.
11. Enjoys itsy bitsy spider, ride little horsey, etc.
12. Laughs some, but it's more like a giggle and it is INCREDIBLY hard to get out of him.
13. Does squeal some when he gets excited.

His doctor felt at this point his speech/social was lagging a bit because he gross motor skills were so far ahead. She said we would reevaluate at 6 months, but she does know my concerns. As I said, I have early intervention coming in at 6 months and if he still isn't really responding to sounds another hearing test at 6 months.

I work on his eye contact, play with him constantly, hold him as much as possible and talk and sing to him about everything. The other day he was in his car seat and made a noise and I said something to him, stopped talking and he made another noise until I talked to him again. When I looked back there he was looking over his shoulder waiting trying to see me. So, I try to engage him as much as possible.

I guess my question is did you know from the beginning that your child didn't behave "normally?" I have a friend who's child is on the spectrum and she feels that it was that way since birth and she feels like Easton interacts great and wasn't at all like her child, but I also realize every child, and every ASD child is different. Thanks so much if you made it through this novel!!!

Last edited by Firstborn_n_Feb; June 23rd, 2011 at 10:53 AM.
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June 23rd, 2011, 11:28 AM
SarahBethsMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 4,847
I didn't have my son who has autism until he was 16 months old, so I'm sorry I can't address your specific question on that. However, just reading through it really sounds more like a hearing issue if any at all. A lot of babies don't react to a lot of sound. I'd go at 6 months if he still isn't reacting and see if he'll do the turn to the sound test well. It sounds like overall he is doing really well. I would just keep a watch and keep having those conversations with your pediatrician.

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June 23rd, 2011, 01:39 PM
greenchild's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Location: MN
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mine has DS, we knew DS was a possibility before birth and was confirmed shortly after birth.

On the hearing thing, you may want to ask the dr's about his auditory nerve response, there's a specific test they do with the brain stem to check the auditory nerve's response, but the child has to be sedated so they might want to wait until your LO is older. Kaiden didn't respond to sounds until roughly 17 months. We knew his ear structure was perfect from having tests done, but he just wasn't making the connection that sounds have meaning. We'd get a startle response with a loud noise, but he rarely turned to look if we spoke - every now and then, but not most of the time. The audiologists were recommending this test for Kaiden if he didn't make any (hearing) progress within 6 months.

Turns out he didn't need it, his nervous system was dampened and once that was resolved it only took 1, maybe 2 months for him to figure out that sounds have meaning. Until the nervous system was resolved, Kaiden also had poor eye contact, didn't coo (vocalized like you described) and definitely wasn't ticklish.

If the dr's can't figure any of it out . . . well, heck you can try what worked for Kaiden, you never know!!! All I did was eliminate nightshade foods from his and my diets (he gets breastmilk), they can affect the nervous system in individuals sensitive to them, and he is most definitely sensitive to them! Just let me know if you ever think you want to try it and I'll be happy to help!
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June 23rd, 2011, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 397
Greenchild that is very interesting. I will make sure to ask at his 6 month appointment. What are nightshade foods? I've never heard of them.

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June 23rd, 2011, 04:05 PM
C&K'sMama's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Posts: 6,150
My child does not have ASD, but I did know from minute one that there was something "off".

It's not the case in ALL children, but I was always told that the developmental issues don't come up with ASD children until about 12 months (or older) then they seem to stall or regress. The social thing, like your doc could very easily be because he is motor driven (my youngest has mild delays in fine motor and speech because she is so gross motor driven)

I, personally, agree with greenchild. It sounds like auditory processing or something of that nature.

Everything I know about it (my daughter is dev'd delayed and waching out for ASD was high on our list) says that they really don't show the symptoms this early, and that if he is showing the symptoms it's probably something else if anything at all.

The developmental delay board on here is almost all ASD children, but I caution you from going there. If you have it on your mind that he may be ASD and someone else says it, you may be leaving yourself open to hurt that isn't necessary.

My daughter has MANY signs and symptoms of CP. We were told by a therapist that she HAD CP and I started looking into it. I cried for MONTHS trying to adjust to it. I talked to other moms who's children have it and Carrie seemed to fit the mold. It was ALL unnecessary. Months later CP would be ruled out and I had spent months crying over a situation that didn't exist... then only to be more afraid of looking for an answer because I'd begun to accept CP as the case.

"Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live."

Last edited by C&K'sMama; June 23rd, 2011 at 04:13 PM.
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June 23rd, 2011, 05:49 PM
greenchild's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Originally Posted by Firstborn_n_Feb View Post
Greenchild that is very interesting. I will make sure to ask at his 6 month appointment. What are nightshade foods? I've never heard of them.
I don't know that I would bother asking the pedi except for the dr's that I've attempted to contact, I don't think any doctor out there actually knows this. Nutritionists know about the connection of nightshades and the nervous system but that's about as far as it goes. Basically, the glycoalkaloids in nightshades are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which leads to the buildup of acetyl choline in sensitive individuals, which can cause all sorts of issues since choline is a very important thing within the brain. Nightshades also strip calcium from the body - from the mylein sheath of the nerves, from the bones . . . causes the body to excrete calcium for the most part but that doesn't always happen, sometimes the body then deposits the calcium in places it doesn't belong, like the joints, leading to rheumatoid arthritis . . . but anyway!! In sensitive individuals, whether it's stripping too much calcium from the nervous system or leading to the buildup of acetylcholine . . . it dampens down the nervous system so there is much less sensory input from the nervous system. I mean, seriously, within the first week of eliminating nightshades, our child that didn't smile and we couldn't tickle . . . went to exhuberantly wiggling all over his enviromnent and giggling! He was literally feeling his whole environment using his whole body, a totally new sensation to him. I believe this was from the nerves finally getting the calcium they needed. His seizures were caused by the buildup of acetylcholine.

The most commonly known nightshade is belladonna, or deadly nightshade. In tiny doses it is used to treat a variety of ailments. In larger doses, it can easily kill (hence the name). That's deadly nightshade . . . other plants in the nightshade family - nightshade foods are tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers - sweet and hot (not peppercorn though, that's a different plant family), eggplant, jicamas, paprika, ground cherries, goji (wolf) berries, tomatillos, there's more that I'm not so familiar with.

It's actually easier to switch to a whole foods diet than it is to try and eliminate nightshades out of the standard american diet, because so many processed foods contain nightshades. ketchup, BBQ sauce, pizza, spaghetti, tacos, lasanga - all tomatoes. Most mayo & mustard contain paprika. You can't buy precooked chicken without paprika - at least none that I've found. All deli lunchmeat turkey contains potato starch. Most snack crackers contain either paprika or some sort of peppers. Beef jerky has either paprika or peppers. Modified food starch = potatoes. "Spices" or "spice extractives" or sometimes even "natural flavors" contain paprika or peppers. Reading labels gets exhausting and frankly it's easier to buy food that doesn't need labels
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July 3rd, 2011, 08:11 PM
lilangel91284's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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With my daughter I wasn't sure till she hit 18 months. I have my degree in early childhood education and worked with young kids for a long time. So I knew she wasn't hitting the milestones and that she just wasn't a normal kid for her age. I have an older son and she was very delayed compared to him. Between 12 months and 18 months she really went down hill. Her speech decreased, she barely walked, didn't sleep, and hardly ate anything.

I walked into my pedi told her I think she is autistic and she gave me all the referrals I needed to get her in to be seen and evaluated. I covered all my tracks and had a hearing test done.

If you aren't already I recommend starting a daily journal. Keep track of what he eats, when he sleeps, how he is during the day.
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July 4th, 2011, 12:17 AM
Jintana's Avatar Dragoness
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Get to know the M-CHAT and the corresponding milestones. The test is only really valid from 16+ months, and it is a screening and not a diagnosis. However, it is a screening that doctors might take seriously. See if your kid learns to imitate, seems to understand you, is meeting milestones on time, learns commands, learns to point, learns to wave. Note all of this and bring it with you as you talk to your doctor. Best of luck in anything being mild. My child with autism was noticeably oddish as he approached 12 months of age and had stereotypical interests (spinning office chairs, opening/closing doors) from very young, but these are interests many children have.

Last edited by Jintana; July 4th, 2011 at 12:19 AM.
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July 4th, 2011, 06:51 PM
MyDuckySam's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My 5yo (soon to be 6) is PDD NOS. So, under the umbrella.

We started noticing at 9 months things weren't progressing right. We finally made the referral to early on at 15 months though, thinking he would catch up. I have an Autistic nephew, so I knew the signs. We weren't conviinced that he was Autistic even though we had some evaluators try to tell us he was.

Thing is, at 15 months, he hit 13 markers on the MChaT, including all 6 critical. After a year of intensive speech, behavior and OT, he hit FOUR only 1 critical. By the time he entered the 3-5yo program witht he school district, he didn't hit a single one.

BUT he still has some delays. And generally if you look at him, you can't tell. In fact it's hard for us to tell some days, until we see him interacting with his classmates. WE're opting to repeat kindergarten this year.

Greenchild and I belong to a DDC together and we also follow a nightshade free diet for Sam. And yes, it's HARD to do with normal foods, but we manage. We read every single label and if it says "spices" or "spice extractives' we don't let Sam have it because it could include any of the nightshades. Hardest part was eliminating french friends and potato chips. But we also don't order pizza with sauce anymore.
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July 5th, 2011, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 397
Thank you guys for all of the wonderful suggestions!! I will definitely start keeping a journal of what he does. Right now he eats well and sleeps well and seems to understand some things (he just turned five months so it's a little early). If I ask him to show me his tootsies, he will reach up and grab his toes some of the time. He can follow my point sometimes and he is getting better about turning when I talk to him and turning towards his name. I am also planning on starting sign language with him. My biggest concern at the moment is the lack of vocalization and imitation. He is VERY VERY quiet. No real cooing or babbling, though he does make sounds here and there. He does coo every once in a while. He can laugh but it takes A LOT to get him to do it. I did notice the other day that he was in his jumparoo and was turning around every few minutes to make sure daddy was watching him, and then he would give him a big smile. Also he has reached out for me a couple of times. I have been working hard on his imitation and I have gotten him to stick his tounge out for me a few times and to blow raspberries for me a few times. At this point I just have to keep an eye on it I guess. AGAIN, thanks SOOOO much for the suggestions!

Last edited by Firstborn_n_Feb; July 5th, 2011 at 03:23 PM.
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