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autism

My daughter is 28 months old and I've been worried because I believe she is showing signs of autism the only words she says is ( shoes, eyes, and nose) She doesn't like to play with other kids and she sometimes screams and crys for no reason and she doesnt respond to siple tasks that I ask her to do. Are these signs of autism and do you recomend seeking professional help thank you samantha
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Well, since she is under 3 and has acquired language, this rules out early infantile (classical) autism.  We have other items on the spectrum  to look out for.  There is always Aspergers syndrome and a few other things on the PDD/autistic spectrum to look out for.  But we may have something else going on too.  Still kinda early to do anything specific.  Just keep watching.
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If you live in the US, you should look in to your state's 0 to 3 program which is government subsidized.  Many state's it is called First Steps, but other states have different names, so it might be different for you.  They help with language delays.  3 words at age 2 is way behind in language and she would qualify for speech therapy at the least.  There probably is a reason for her screaming and crying, but she can't communicate that reason to you. My daughter has tantrums really bad.  I think if she could communicate why, she wouldn't have some of them.  Or at least I could remedy what was wrong in some of the instances.  She had a meltdown today because her top to her sippy was on and she wanted to blow through the straw and make bubbles.  I finally got her to use sign language to tell me she wanted her lid open.  She can't say a lot of words still, but she knows enough sign language to tell me "open cup" and I opened the cup and her meltdown ceased immediately.  No more tears.  I was so amazed, so happy, so relieved.  We still have meltdowns about things she hasn't learned to communicate yet.  ANyways, with time, language will come, but until then, therapists teach sign language to toddlers to bridge that gap or they teach a picture exchange system thing.  My daugher didn't say anything at 24 months or respond to her name or directions or anything.  With therapy 3 times a week (speech, occupational, and developmental therapies) for the last 3 months, at 28 months old, she now says about 15 to 20 words vocally and has a sign language vocabulary of about 20 to 25 words.  A lot of her language delays are quite possibly due to her sensory integration disorder issues, so without the occupational therapist working with her sensory issues on top of the speech therapist, we probably would not have seen as much progress as we have.  I didn't realize sensory issues could affect language, but they can.  And sometimes it's just because their is a delay in brain development, even without sensory issues, that their brains just need a little more time to develop and pick up those language skills. Speech therapy helps make those neurons fire a little more and hopefully starts them going to developing.  I am not sure exactly if that's what happens, or maybe like I'm imagining it wrong, but well, that was sort of my take on it from what the speech therapist told me.  

Really you need to see your pediatrician ASAP.  If you are in the US, you can get a referral to this program.  It is either free or very low cost and is based on your income level.  It is free for most people, however, and then like some people have copays of $3 or $6 a session, but you have to make over $60,000 to pay a $3 copay.  

One website I was told to check out many months ago was

www.firstsigns.org

They have a video library of kids who have autism and kids who are developmentally normal.  You have to register to access the video library portion, plus like it's extensive with submenus and stuff which I didn't figure out at first so maybe i'm just a little slow, but I thought it wasn't quite obviuos.  The site also has a list of red flags and things to look for and ask your kid's pediatrician.

Just don't freak out about getting a diagnosis and what it will be, but make sure you do try to get therapy and see doctors and have them at least assess your daughter.  They might make a diagnosis or they might say language delay and come back later if it isn't as obvious.  EIther way, early intervention does wonders for kids.  My friend's son had only a language delay (said no words and had no language at 25 months), and he spent 9 months in First Steps speech therapy, and by age 3, he was speaking at age appropriate level.  But, if he didn't go through speech therapy, he probably would have been behind at age 3.  He's 4 now, and got assessed by the school system again, and he's still at age appropriate level. Anyways, as a parent, you have to learn to be proactive, figure out what you gotta do, do it, and try not to panic and stay calm about everything.  A diagnosis of whatever it is is not the end of the world.  There are so many therapies and help available that probably weren't 50 years ago, or 20 years ago, for toddler age kids.  

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