Our 4 1/2 y.o. grandson has been placed "on the spectrum" by professionals in the field. He's been observed several times, and they're confident of this diagnosis. They believe with counciling, he will lead a "completely normal life".
We live 250 miles away from him, but over the Christmas holiday had an extended period to watch, play and interact with him. These are the things I observed, and was hoping that you could comment.
-Times of "hyperness". racing around the house. One occasion, he attempted to climb into the decorated Christmas tree.
-Vast vocabulary, but poor speech. He is hard to understand, and becomes frustrated when you ask him to repeat.
-Not toilet trained, not at all.
-Extremely poor eating habits. Candy, cookies, ice cream, pizza. Some cereal. Rail thin.
-Smiling, laughing, talks away, responds poorly to verbal correction. Rarely cries when "put on the steps"
-Expresses his affection by hard, successive pats on the back.
-Seems desensitized to pain. He has a habit of lifting his shirt and slapping his belly, laughing, and clenching his free fist, and gripping his tongue between his teeth. He got a flu shot at the doctor's, and responded with only "oww!", no tears.
-He is in a special pre-school program for special needs kids but will be mainstreamed starting in kindergarten, per physician's instructions as they don't feel he requires special all day instruction, but will receive after school counciling.
He mystifies me. I expected a withdrawn child, but he appears larger than life. Physicians are prescribing no medication for now, but many times I feel he something to control him, and to calm him down. Any comments to my observations would be appreciated. I pass all of this onto my son and daughter in law.
Your grandson newly diagnosed and it is great that you are trying to find out as much info as you can. As for the things you observed some could be attributed to him being on the spectrum other could just be put down to regular 4/5 year old behaviour.
Autism vaires from child to child. This child sounds like he is fairy mild to moderate on the spectrum. At this stage most children will have "behavioural intervention" from a team of specialised therapists; Occupational therapy, speech therapy and behavioural therapy, which sounds like what he will recieve at this special school. It is likely he will then be supported by educational aids in his regular classroom setting once in mainstream kindergarden if he requires it.
I have a 8 1/2 year old with autism and a neuro typical 5 year old. My neuro typical son can often be a whirl wind so your grandson's energy and enthuiasm for life is not necessarily a symptom of his autism.
Medication is usually a last resort and unlikely to be prescribed to one so young, his behavioural therapy will help him learn what is and what isn't appropriate behaviour.
My son was diagnosed when he was four, he too has a lot of language but still has some problems with communitcating. He toilet trained fully around his six birthday and is pretty much trained over night now at almost 9 years old. As with every other child all kids learn things at different rates, it can just take extra time and patience with our kids that are on the spectrum.
Please don't take this personally but your son and daughter in law will be bombarded with information right now and probably spend much of their spare time searching books and the internet for more information (I know we were) and what you see as helpful suggestions may well be taken by them as you interfering or criticising what they are doing; I know i have felt that way before. The best thing you can do is educate yourself, there is a lot of reading material out there but when our son was diagnosed our doctor recomended we read a book called "The curious incident of the dog in the night" by Mark Haddon. It is actually a fictional work but tells the story from the perspective of an autistic child and is a fabulous book. If you can learn how your grandson views the world it will help you understand why he does some of the things he does."The sensory child" was also a book I found useful. Avoid books that claim to "cure Autism". There is no cure for autism, just ways of helping our children and grand children to learn to cope with the way their brains work in this world we live in and support them and accept them for who they are.
My best wishes to you and your family as you begin this journey.
Thank you for your response. You're right, at 62, my wife and I may have forgotten what it's like to have an active 4 year old son!
That's exactly what they plan on giving him, behavior (lol!) intervention.
It's interesting the way our grandson displays affection. He will give a hug if prompted, but "passing affection" (where I would tussle his hair, for instance) is displayed with a hearty back pounding, especially if I'm kneeling at his level. I notice he also does this to the dog too. The Golden Retreiver is a saint, and usually "bails out" if he can escape.
I will investigate this book. He was first suspected of having a sensory disorder, when we noticed that he touched his food to his lips prior to trying it. He continues to do this today. He also exhibits what I've learned here as "stimming". He loves to line things up in neat rows, and lines. I put up a picture in an earlier post of him in action. Here's the link:
http://www.medhelp.org/photos/show/8243486?type=posts Thanks again for your advice!
Thanks! He's going to be a handsome young man someday. This was taken when he was two and a half. You'll notice that as he is putting one down, he has another in his left hand to place down next. He also likes to build Lego "towers" and has a penchant for any kind of bridge. The kid is a trip!
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