I have a 4 year old daughter who has had speech therapy since 2 years old, she started nursery aged 2 and a half, and the nursery were very concerned, her eye contact was very limited, she acted as if other children were not present, she could not understand what was being asked of her, she walked on her toes, her concentration was appaling, and she has to have a rountine, she can not cope with change at all. e.g. if at nursery, she will take off her dressing up clothes and leave them on the chair, to wash her hands, if she has to wash her hands first she can not seem to be able to cope or if her dress up clothes get moved off of the chair.she is so clever she can clearly write, count, recognize shapes numbers up to 50. She is a very difficult child but is very loving, and always reaching out for reassurance.She has had 1 to 1 key worker throughout her 2 years at nursery she is now due to start school and a 1 to 1 helper has been arranged. She is on school action plus and is classed at having special eductaional needs but She has never been diagnosed with autism, and i do think she has it mildly. My 2 year old is now starting to look the same way, he barely speaks and can not seem to understand my commands, although his behaviour is alot better than my daughters at this age i am starting to worry that he to could be autistic. i also have a 7 year old who was the exact opposite, she is very advanced and is getting on brilliantly at school.
All of the symptoms you describe in your 4 year old daughter I would recognise as being an autistic spectrum disorder. It shows difficulties in the three areas necessary for a diagnosis eg. difficulties with understanding and producing speech, difficulties with social interaction with peers, lack of flexibility/need for routine or rigid repetitive rituals. As you mention School Action Plus, I presume you are in the UK?
If so, contact the nas.org and get advice from their parent to parent line. They should be able to give you advice about how to proceed. But basically it would involve going to your child's paediatrician or GP and telling them what you have posted. Ask for her to be referred to professionals who have experience of diagnosing autistic spectrum disorders. Also mention to them that your son is also showing similar behaviours.
The first professional to go in is usually the speech and language therapist. She needs to assess your daughters receptive and expressive speech abilities as well as assessing her for semantic pragmatic speech disorder.
Does your daughter/son have any sensory difficulties? Are they over or under sensitive to sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste/texture, balance and co-ordination?
If you want to look at the diagnostic criteria for autism you can google DSM IV for autism and see the list of characteristics. If you click on the Health Page icon on the top right hand corner of this page and go into Behavioural Characteristics behind a Diagnosis of Autism (ASDs), I have copied the DSM IV criteria and parents have also posted examples of their own child's behaviour that fits the criteria - that should give you an idea of what the professionals are looking for.
But considering your post, I am surprised no-one has raised the question of autism already.
As well as a diagnosis meaning that relevant therapies and approaches are used, it may also enable you to get an Educational Statement for your child through the LEA, and that will also give your daughter access to special educational places in Enhanced Resource Schools. These are schools that have classes with a mixture of mainstream and special needs children (usually those with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism). The correct diagnosis and assessments will make it easier to find an appropriate school. For example my son could not cope in just a mainstream school, but has higher than average cognitive ability and no behavioural problems and therefore the majority of special schools were also not suitable. Places in Ehanced Schools are very limited, so getting her Statemented and 'in the system' will be very useful. I found that at age 6+ my son was not progressing academically at his previous school and all the enhanced places in my area were full. I had fight and get private reports to force the LEA to find a place for my son in an enhanced school.
Please post back with any further queries.
I have just read your question and it does seem as though your daughter has a speech problem. There seems to be autistic tendencies. Pragmatic speech disorder is very close to full blown autisum.
I believe with the right therapy, these children can live normal lives but this tacks a lot of effort on everyones part. If you have a great network then you can succeed. I know only too well. I can speech from my experience.
You need a hearing test done and not a normal hearing test. I will get my info that I had had done for my son. He is now 21 and normal.
It was a lot like your story but worse. My son was not every bracketed as autistic either.
I new he had brilliant hearing and could hear certain noises blocks away.
I was very up on education for kids and because of my son my mum said that I might be interested in listening to this speaker for the states usa.
So I went and he talked about a guy that medical profession thought was mentally challenged.
Cut a long story short the guy could hear pople speech through the walls of rooms clearly. I mean 3 rooms down the corridor.
They found that he had a hearing frequency that was so sensitve and out of the normal pattern, he could hear it so perfect just like speeking to you face.
The speaker said I have only seen this once and most probably never see it again in his life time. Well I new my son could hear like this and stood up and said I think my son has the same hearing problem.
He just smile and said to me that it would be highly unlikely, so I sat back down humiliated and felt stupid.
To cut a long story short. This man that was a child phycologist and came back to our country 18 months later and I demanded that he test my child.
Well he did tested him and I watched the man gradually turn white. He looked at me and said I have only seen this once before and your son is the second. He asked me about my son and he said it is true your son could hear the planes coming well before normal hearing people. In fact he could hear certain frequencies 3 blocks away.
He will never be able to learn to speeck or communicate untill this is fixed.
We did audio training for 2 weeks and it level the frequencies that were abnormal.
It is very involved and you need to know a lot about this method.
This fixed he hearing problem and the autistic behaviour did improve a bit so did the co-ordination slightly improve along with the speach but not much. The eye contact was improve a fraction but it was still not good.
We had months of intense speech therapy and swimming anything that stimualted the brain but only stimulaion to the speech side of the brain.
Swimming is very good as you need the two sides of the brain to function to allow us to swim. This helps the good side of the brain to push the function of the poor stimulated brain.
When my son had begun to improve I put him into singing and violin. Both are brain stimulating. Violin crosses the midline and helps the good stimulate side of the brain pull the poor stimualte brain along. My son at five had a music brain of a 12 year old. But with this gift he could not perform normal behaviour. Well not yet but I did not know that at the time.
I will right some more up about this help that is available and I presume that this is still available today only better.
Regarding diagnosis, I think the goal posts are always shifting and those who were not previously diagnosed would/should probably get a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder. You can still have a diagnosis and be very high functioning. Many children are now in mainstream schools with extra help or in smaller classes with other children with the same diagnosis. My son is HFA not Aspergers. He has severe semantic pragmatic speech disorder and although this is a separate disorder it is medically recognised that those on the autistic spectrum have difficulties with the meaning of speech as well as disordered/delayed speech. There also tends to be differences in ability of the expressive and receptive speech. There is commonly Auditory Processing Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder as well (although again, both those disorders can be diagnosed without autism, but all verbal autistics will say they have problems in all the above areas).
My son is about to start an Auditory Listening programme called Listening with the Whole Body. I agree that there is alot going on with the left/right side of the brain not communicating typically. This shows itself in alot of areas including hand dominance, co-ordination, motor planning problems etc etc.
I also agree that certain types of exercise is very good. Along with swimming, trampoline classes are very good. My son goes to drum lessons and I think it has helped him. Also anything that makes the child crawl eg. those fabric tubes you can buy that children can attach to play tents. Crawling is good for brain development. You can also buy books on brain gym.
Regarding your son's very sensitive hearing, that is very good. My son can hear me unwrap a sweet from 2 storeys above me. He can also smell chocolate from the same distance. I have heard of other children being able to tell which supermarket tinned food has been bought from because of the smell on the outside.
If you google the name Olga Bogdashina and read an article by her in Autism Today she writes alot about sensory and perceptual differences. Because how we perceive our world is interpretated by our brains from incoming sensory information. If the information autistics receive is essentially different then their perception of the environment is also going to be different. It is all very interesting stuff. A bit difficult to get your head around at first, but it is a bit like Alice in Wonderland - once you can peered through the looking glass you do begin to get a much better understand of what they are experiencing and then their behaviour becomes totally logical from their perceptual point of view.
You seem to be clude in and you know that what you are saying without knowing your child he would have a very good chance of a normal life like my child. I worked really hard and have acchieved so much and to be normal is an unbelievable result.
Yes the child will start of seeing things differently as their imputs are different and this is what stimulates the brain to be brighter that us ourselves and when we clue into what they see and hear it enhances our brain to see more.
The trick is to turn down the brain on the over stimulated side caused by these excessively bright imputs. You do not make a child crawl on both sides. You only allow it to crawl on the opposite side to the bright brain. So the child would lie on his stomach and use the opposite side of the language brain to pull him alone. eg. Normally the langauge brain is on the left side of the so you would pull with the right arm and push with the right leg. NEVER DO THIS with the left arm and leg. If the brain is transvers then it would be the other way around. You would need to find out what side your childs language brain on. MY sons is transveres and his langauge brain is on the right side. You only do movement that ONLY ingage the poorly stimualte side of the brain.
First things first the hearing has to be fix other wise the brain will not be able to be stimualte as the hearing that hears excessively is impossible to counter balance.
I will dig deep into my archives and see if I can find the name of the place that does audio training to even the hearing out. It is not an operation it is music that has the excess frequencies taken out of the music and this special audio ear feeds the music back to the child without these frequencies and the brain levels the hearing. BRILLIANT.
It has to be done right. as it can be a disadvantage.
When I get some time I will tell you the whole story bit by bit.
I had no help no knowledge I just read and I used the glen dowland method but created my own program to suit the autistic nature and it really worked.
I really know what I am talking about as I have proof that it works.
There are a lot of areas that have to be covered but the hearing is number one and this gives you the level palying ground to start to stimualte your child. It took till he was 15 for him to be close to normal. I presume when the brain wave chain at around 14 it really clicked in. We have never looked back since. A lot of work but worth everyday of hell.
I beleive that the earlier the child is stimulate once the hearing is evened out then the quiker the child recovers.
The problems is, these children are not born with any and I mean any natural imputs to there langage brain and I believe this is what make them autistic.
Just check if your child can hop on the right leg.Then get them to hop on the opposite leg. Tell me what the results are as I would like o hear?
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