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austim or normal 2 year old
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austim or normal 2 year old

My 2 year old son is getting help for speech and developmental delay.  My concerns are as follows: licking of objects and certain foods like Doritos - no fear - runs into street doesn't understand why not too - only says about 13 words that are forced - otherwise only says ba ba for bottle and puppy for everything else - bangs his head to get his way and throws himself back - cannot bring to restaurants or shopping because he only give us like 5 minutes then he throws himself back and bangs his head - - if let out of cart or in the restaurant will run up to strangers and take food off peoples plates again no fear - if you run after him he thinks it is a game and continues to run - starting to understand stop - he gets easily excited and he starts running in circles or jumping like Tigger – he is on soy milk - he loves to watch tv and play with his trains - put things in a particular way he likes and if you take away he get mad - very good at gross motor skills - I am worried he has autism
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As your child is 2 years old he will just be starting to develop his social side so if you notice he is not interested in other children or playing with them that will be another indicator that things are not right.  As you do have concerns you can ask your child's paediatrician about getting a multi-disciplinary team assessment of your son.  
As you also mention a number of sensory issues have a look at www.autismtoday. com/articles/Different_Sensory_Experiences. htm (but take out the spaces I have put in).  If this sounds relevant to your son then it might be useful to buy her book Sensory and Perceptual Differences in Autism and Aspergers which will give you alot of information about some of the behaviours you notice.  There is also a caregivers questionnaire at the back of the book which you can complete to get a sensory profile of your son.  Sensory problems can be a disorder in themselves, but they also affect those on the spectrum to varying degrees.  The professional who deals with these difficulties is an Occupational Therapist, but you want one that has experience in child development and autistic spectrum disorders.
At the top right hand side of this forum page you can click on the Health Page.  I have posted the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for autistic spectrum disorders and parents have posted examples of their child's behaviours that meet the criteria.  That might help you get a better understanding of what the professionals are looking for when observing a child.
Your child's reluctance to go out may be due to sensory problems ie. outside it is too noisy, bright, smelly etc and he can only tolerate it for a short period of time before he needs to go home.  
If there are sensory isses, then alot of children with autism have Irlen Syndrome.  You can google that to see what it is.  My son has it for light sensitivity and depth perception.  Some peoples vision is so affected that they only see fragments of objects and not the whole picture.  But Irlen Syndrome can be helped by wearing the tinted glasses.  Another thing I found helpful for my son was wearing a pair of ear defenders from the local DIY store (the kind you have to wear in noisy environments).  Does he ever cover his ears or appear deaf?
He may also be reluctant to leave the house because he has no understanding of where you are going or for how long etc.  Children on the spectrum need structure and routine.  It is difficult with him being just 2, but if it did turn out that he was on the spectrum, something that would help would be for him to have a clipboard with pictures of the places you are going to and put in the sequence that you are going to do them (and make sure you stick to that sequence or all hell will break lose!).  Then as you go to each place he can take the picture off the clipboard and give it to you.  This will help him understand where he is going and by taking off the pictures one by one he will see that he is getting nearer and nearer to going back home (a home picture should be the last card).
At 2 my son also used to have tantrums and throw himself back.  At one point we had to spend a night in hospital because he banged he head and was sick afterwards, so they just wanted to observe him.  My son also used to vomit when upset.  He is now 7.5 years and grew out of both those behaviours at around 4.5 years old.  But it does help to understand that he isn't being naughty, he is experiencing things totally different to you from a sensory point of view.  Imagine being inside a really noisy, smelly, bright nightclub for hours at a time and think how long you would be able to tolerate it before you complained.  Then imagine how frustrating it is that everyone else seems to like that environment and you cannot bear it.  Then add into that the confusion about where you are going, what that involves, how long am I going for, will the environment be painful to me etc and you can see why they would be resistant to any change or deviation of routine.  So if you have concerns, I would get the ball rolling for assessments because you will want supports in place for nursery.
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What I read of your Post sounded like normal 2 year old behavior but if you are so concerned get an evaluation, he needs a few Bounderies set,hold his hand to cross the street, licking objects is very common ,and restaurants well 2 year old is a bit young for that, hes trying to get your attention, there are a ton of books out there one is SOS Help for Parents by Lyn Clark, address all other avenues before gatting him labelled with something he may not have,Why are you letting him run up to people in Restaurants,and touching their food, perhaps take a close look to see if you can adjust the way you handlr him .
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I really don't think it is a question of getting a child labelled with something he may not have.  There are diagnostic criteria, and if anything ASDs tend to be undiagnosed.  If a child does not fit the criteria then they just don't get the diagnosis.  I think any parent should follow their gut instinct.  If they look at the DSM IV criteria for autism, as also posted on the Health Page, it gives clear examples of behaviour in the triad of impairments.  
Any parent of a child with autism knows how difficult it is to get them out of the house and into other environments not just because of the rigid routines and behaviours of autism but also the sensory difficulties that accompany autism.  There is also lack of understanding of social behaviour, lack of awareness of danger, extreme tantrums and sometimes to the point of self harm such as head banging, scratching at their face etc.  There is also the language disorders that accompany autism and the language processing problems.  
Having said all of that, autism has its abilities as well as disabilities.  The behaviours surrounding autism are not due to bad parenting.  However the more structure, routine and predictability there is the easier the child finds it to comply.
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The other thing I would mention is that any behaviour is in degrees.  It might be okay for a two year old to mouth things to a certain extent.  Only the parent will know if it appears excessive, and only a professional experienced in diagnosing autistic spectrum disorders will know if it excessive enough to fit the criteria.
For example I went to my GP and told them my son was repeating TV dialogue and was told that that was normal behaviour.  Well it is if they occasionally repeat, but not if they are repeating for hours in a day.  So, unfortunately, my son went undiagnosed for years because everyone kept saying his behaviours were normal.  That is until he went to school.   He was finally diagnosed when he was 6 and therefore missed out on all the early intervention programmes that could have helped him develop.  I personally think it is far better to get the help early and have it withdrawn because the child has progressed so much, than to do it the other way round and have the child fail for years before any support is provided.  As any diagnosis involves the state having to pay for support, they don't tend to provide it unless it is needed and any diagnosis can be revoked if a child progresses enough.  
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If you have concerns about autism, you should see a developmental pediatrician, child psychiatrist, or pediatric neurologist.  Finding out if your insurance covers a specialist, which one, if you need a referral from your regular primary care pediatrician, etc is important.  We saw a developmental pediatrician because it was covered at 100% with a copay.  Every insurance is different though.  Even if your son has autism, ADHD or something else, there is so much early intervention out there.  

There are a lot of behavioral overlaps with ADHD, OCD, speech delays, etc.  Our daughter was diagnosed with PDD at about 32 months of age.  She was first seen at about 26 months of age, by a developmental pediatrician.

Regardless of a diagnosis, though, dealing with behavioral issues is important.  Dealing with speech delay is important.  Our daughter responds well with sign language and also with more difficult things, we have to use pictures to show her a sequence of events.  We don't use the pictures for everything though.  There are things called "social stories" and there's also PECS (picture exchange system).  If you are getting speech therapy, you could ask the therapist about these things.  Our daughter's speech started exploding about a couple months ago (she's almost 3 at this point), but it's hard to understand what she's saying.  But we are very happy she's starting to talk.  I know it's hard to be patient because the kids want to talk so badly and they get frustrated, and it breaks my heart sometimes when my daughter is ready to have a meltdown because I just can't figure out what it is she wants.  With sign langauge and now her increased vocabulary, those times are becoming farther apart and much fewer in occurance of happening.

Our daughter has problems in restaurants.  We have to bring a big bag loaded with toys.  She loves electronic toys a lot, so we try to bring ones that are not too too loud and will occupy her for 15 to 20 minute stretches per each toy.  Some restaurants we do not go in because they are too loud or the lighting is too dark or strange.  Some restaurants she likes to sit in the same area all the time.  So we try to go on a Monday or Tuesday night, arriving at 5:30PM so the place is not too crowded.  We only have a small handful of restaurants that fit all those criteria, and primarily we go to the same 2 restaurants over and over.  

Well, anyways, there are things to try.  Short of that, many restaurants offer carry out.  Many chain restaurants do that, where you call ahead and you pick it up. Chilis, Ruby Tuesdays, Outback, etc.  And of course pizza joints.  We went through a period of several months after our daughter turned 2 where we just couldn't take her out.  It got better when she learned sign language and we learned what things set her off sensory wise.  
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