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Thread: Don't want to pry but....austism???

  1. #1

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    Unhappy Don't want to pry but....austism???

    My SIL has a DS who will be 2 in April. My MIL(and other members of the family) are starting to get concerned that he is not speaking yet. He say's some words (mum, dad), but they are hard to make out. I know at this stage he should be talking much more than this, but there are some other things which are really concerning me.



    He does not interact with other children, or with other people. Just likes to play by himself. Also, he flaps his arms when excited and likes to spin things - constantly. I have also noticed him grinding his teeth (almost looks like he is smiling, but when you get close, you can hear the teeth being mashed together). The more research I do, the more I'm convinced he has a form of autism.

    My relationship with my SIL is not great and she is of the opinion that 'there is nothing wrong with my son!!!!', and won't get him assessed. I would love to believe her, but my sister has a son 1 month younger and he is much more interactive with others, speaks (alot!!), and still seems to be developing.

    I would appreciate anyones comments/thoughts/experiences.

  2. #2

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    As someone who has worked extensively with children with Autism, all of what you have described could still fit in to "normal." Really she would need to take him to a paediatrician for a full assessment.
    A lot of children hand flap in excitement. The grinding could be teething. Many children just reach milestones later, and lets hope that this is the case with your nephew. The fact that you are concerns would lead me to believe that there could be a problem, therefore it should be investigated further. The earlier the intervention, the better the outcome for the child.

  3. #3

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    My middle son Ryan only just started really talking about 4 months ago, he's now just turned 3, some children take a while to start talking.
    My other 2 boys grind their teeth
    and they all flap their arms when they are excited.
    Nick is not very sociable, he would rather play by himself.

    I hope your nephew is just taking his time with things and that everything turns out ok.

  4. #4
    mum3girls Guest

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    I agree with all that Meg said, your description can still fit into the 'normal' range of development. A paediatrician would definitely be the person to see to get a diagnosis.

    The hard thing is (on top of you not having a good relationship with your SIL), it's hard for some people to come to grips with the idea of having a special needs child. I know some people who have really stuggled with the idea, feeling that if their child is diagnosed with a special need that it's 'their fault', that they may be bad parents, and may feel that if they 'ignore the problem' it may go away IYKWIM?

    Maybe someone who has a closer relationship with your SIL could subtly talk to her about everyone's concerns, and maybe try to get her to just speak to a GP (who would have to give a referral to a paed. anyway).

    Good luck.
    Last edited by mum3girls; March 12th, 2008 at 10:58 AM.

  5. #5

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    One of the specialists who came into school to see an autistic child in my class told me that one early indicator is to call their name and see if they respond. Autism spectrum is very wide and we are all on it somewhere! At this young age it would be very hard to diagnose from the things you have said, as they could apply to a lot of children especially boys! (I am really noticing the difference with my DS's speach and socialising compared to his sisters)

  6. #6

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    thanks for all of your responses.

    I know my MIL wants to talk to my SIL, but she is so defensive when it comes to her son that I'm worried that if there is a problem, it wont be considered, let alone diagnosed.

    But from your responses, I will just bid my time, and keep an eye on him when I can. Hopefully, he will start to progress with his speech and interaction with others.

  7. #7

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    Autism spectrum is very wide and we are all on it somewhere!
    I wholeheartedly agree with that one!!!!!!!

    I think its really difficult, because there are so many aspects to autism which many non-autistic kids display as well.

    But I do just want to say, as an ABA therapist (working with kids with ASDs) and my bro has CP, if you SIL isn't ready to hear that her son might have special needs, it doesn't matter if he is assessed or diagnosed, chances are she won't be ready to have him in any form of early intervention. Not because she is a bad mother, but because accepting things like this takes time... I would say she is aware of any difficulties or any milestones her son has missed, and is dealing with this. Even though early intervention is so important if this little one does has ASD, if she isn't ready to even hear that he son might have this, chances are she isn't ready to start any kind of intervention at all anyway.

    Maybe instead of trying to convince her to get her DS assessed, maybe a better approach would be to chat about what it would mean if her son did have some kind of special needs...she might have her own issues, guilt or blame about "how did I let it happen" or something similar (even though its not her fault if he does, that kind of thinking is almost inevitable).

    Remember to be gentle with her... if you are noticing something, chances are she has noticed as well, and it is probably hitting her hard.

  8. #8

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    THe other thing to note is that I believe that it is around the 2 year MCHN visit that they screen for children "at risk of Autism". So if she has a decent MCHN they should also pick up early indicators.

  9. #9

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    Even if he is displaying some possible characteristics of ASD they may become less pronounced as he matures. Mason was a late talker which in itself isn't anything to worry about but compounded with his other behaviours it was an indicator. When he did his CARS test in Nov last year he would have scored higher if it was done 18 months ago as some of the things he was doing then he doesn't do now. He has Aspergers Disorder which is on the low end of the Autism Spectrum.

    Saying something may or may not upset his mother. When Masons kinder teacher told me her concerns for Mason the first time I was shocked and a bit defensive. Next time I took him to kinder I asked what he was doing to make her think there may be a problem. After the shock of hearing that someone thinks something is wrong with your child, there comes a period of thinking why do they think something is wrong.

    And it also amazes me how much people say that they thought something was up with him after I tell them he has Aspergers, but they didn't want to say anything to upset me. Including my best friend who is a Psychologist working for the NSW education dept. I when I asked her why she didn't tell me she said she really upset someone else who was a friend and she didn't want to do the same to me.

  10. #10

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    I had a similar situation with a friend's DD who was not keeping up with the other kids developmentally (and very noticeably so since her mum was looking after my DD two days a week last year). I also looked after this little one on my own and had a lot of trouble warming to her or interacting with her. She wouldn't laugh or interact with my DD. This was after about 18 mths of age.

    Another friend who is an OT suggested trying to play a tickling game because they should anticipate the tickling after the first time. Nothing from this little one. Very stiff when she is touched, doesn't like being cuddled.

    I contemplated talking to her mother about it but decided it wasn't going to be well received and she was taking her to the MHCN for check-ups. The MHCN commented that she was a bit slower in reaching her developmental milestones but that was okay. Friend did not take the comment well...

    Based on that I let it go and I'm not seeing them much now she's no longer looking after my DD. I can see she is still behind, particularly in speech and cognition, but I'm hoping it's just a developmental thing too. I think I tend more to the view that she's a bit slower than the other kids developmentally and (not to be unkind) she's not especially curious or active mentally. More of a passive personality than anything I think. Gee, I probably sound horrible now...

  11. #11

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    No Jennifer, you don't sound horrible.

    I really appreciate everyones comments and I would like to be able to speak to my SIL regarding my concerns but when I said I don't have a very good relationship with her, I was being polite! We don't talk, have never spoken (I have been with my DH for close to 9 years). There was a 'situation' even before I came on the scene and it has never been like a normal SIL/BIL etc situation/interaction. So any comments that I may make to her will be treated with hostility and a possibility of violence (no I'm not kidding!!!).

    My MIL and I think alike though and hopefully she will have some more luck (she has the same concerns as I).

  12. #12

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    Just a quick update for those kind ladies to offered me advise. SIL's DS is still not talking (turned 2 in April) or really socialising with anyone and seems very happy to watch tv by himself. He is now though in childcare 1 day a week (which they were hoping would help with his speech).

    Anyway, it obviously hasn't worked and someone at the child care centre has actually spoken to my SIL about her DS's delays. From what I understand they mentioned autism, or perhaps a hearing problem, which he is going to be tested for (the hearing problem that is). Hoping it's the lesser or the 2.

  13. #13

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    Maybe having someone who is "independant" from the family talk to your SIL will do the trick. As you said, she is actively getting his hearing tested now so if he has normal hearing, she might continue with other tests to determine if there is something more to his developmental delays.

    I hope that it is good news for your SIL and regardless of your relationship with her, she is probably appreciative that you love her son enough to be concerned.

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