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HELP! 6 year old sudden signs of autism
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HELP! 6 year old sudden signs of autism

Hello,

Is it possible to have sudden signs of autism???

my question is about my son.  he will be 6 next month. ever since starting kindergarten he has been acting strange.  I recently had a parent teacher conference and it kind of took me by surprise.  I knew he didn't like school, it took a long time for him to adjust.   he has been having a lot of problems, academically he is doing great. but she said he doesn't pay attention, can't follow simple instructions,  won't socialize with the other kids, he talks about stuff that is not being discussed.   i am really worried.  it's weird because it seem like every once in a while this happens where he just doesn't act like himself.  and he eventually goes back to normal but the past week following a fever he will not have a conversation with anybody. won't make eye contact.  i ask him a question and he give a off the wall answer..... tonight before bed i was trying to talk to him about what we have to do tomorrow and it was the first time i looked in my sons eyes and felt like i don't even know who i am talking to..

there has been a couple times in the past couple years where i have thought maybe something was wrong but nothing where i was like YES he should be tested.  here is a little history

he is my first born, a great baby, smart loving, never had terrible 2s.  i have always thought how lucky i am to have such a well behaved child.  as he got older he enjoyed playing alone rather than with other children.  he has always "been in his own little world" at times but also interacted fine with family and friends.  hated soccer class he thought he was supposed to pick up the ball and go throw it in the basketball hoop. lol  little things here and there were whoever was around would just laugh and say "thats Zac"  

I am just really worried and wonder if anything else could be causing this behavior.  He has obstructive sleep apnea and will be getting his tonsil and adenoids (adenoids) removed in a couple weeks.  I have been thinking and thinking, vaccinations i'm not sure if he has had any recently.  

any help would be so appreciated!!

thanks,


Jill
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There are all kinds of things that can cause such issues in kindergarten besides autism.  I really in my heart of hearts believe that if he had autism------  you would have known LONG before now.  I really do.

Many kids have serious trouble adjusting to kindergarten.  It is a whole new world in which they are all of a sudden in a place of other's having expectations of them.  Preschool is great-----  but preschool is fun.  Life until "real" school is about having lots of choices and many things are optional.  Kindergarten activities are not optional.  They also may be used to more activity and free time during the day.  

There could also be something like a mild developmental delay going on.  My son has one called sensory integration disorder which affects his nervous system.  Guess what, on a bad day with his sensory stuff----  he can't focas, doesn't do activities, has poor social interaction.  He's in kindergarten too.  But we saw signs in preschool so he has been in occupational therapy since 4.  It has helped tremendously.  We've only had one bad day this year thus far.  I will tell you that his sensory issues are much much worse when he is either tired or sick.  Basically, sensory integration involves the brain's messaging system.  It happens in school or an enviroment my son finds super exciting or overwhelming or unfamililar.  The messages get jumbled (can't focas or stay on task) or misfire (cries about something that doesn't make sense and then can't calm down easily).  He is a sensory seeker-----  craves things like spinning, banging into things, rough and intense play, etc.  There are also the opposite end of that, the kids who avoid such things.  Motor planning is a big thing with sensory.  This is how the brain organizes itself to do a new activity and then sends the message out to the muscles to do it.  You'd notice it the first time a kid used scissors for example.  Or if a child isn't getting clear signals what to do with a soccer ball-----  they will try to throw it which they are more familiar with for example.  My son can try to avoid an activity that is new as a coping mechanism as well.  Holding a pencil and writing is a bigging for motor planning and fine motor difficulty when a child has sensory integration disorder.  Can you imagine how often that would come into play in the kindergarten classroom?  

I AM NOT SAYING YOUR SON HAS SENSORY.  NOT AT ALL.  But it may be something to look into.  Here are things we do that help very much ------  give your son a thick piece of bubble gum to chew on the way to school or the bus stop.  (calms, organizes the brain).  Give him "heavy work" to do.  Carry something heavy like a bag with books in it or push a loaded laundry basket across the floor.  Help move some furniture around your house.  Play tug of war where he gets lots of resistence pulling you.  Do wheelbarrow walks (hold feet and he walks on his hands).  Do animal walks especially a crab walk (back and forth across a room a few times), bear walk, leap frog and snake (slither across floor on belly).  Do push ups on floor, chair or wall.  Try to get to parks or gyms where he can run, climb, jump, skip and swing.  Roll down hills.  Jump on a trampoline or mattress on the floor.  Crash into pillows set up to do so.  Swimming is one of the best things to do (I'll be in the indoor pool at our gym for a couple of hours today with my boy!).  Blow bubbles, drink thick liquid through a straw like smoothie, applesauce or milkshake.  All of this sounds nuts, I'm sure.  But this is how we maintain my son's sensory issues and to date it works really well.  It wouldn't hurt a kid without sensory at all (my sensory son has a little brother that just does all the same stuff) and it could very well help.  

The thing about what you describe.  Academically he is fine now . . . but eventually he won't be because if you aren't focased or doing the work on a regular basis------  you will fall far behind.  My son is very smart------  but I am mindful that his sensory has to be conrolled for him to continue to thrive and learn.  Good luck and let me know if you'd like any other info.  (meds do NOT work for sensory).
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thank you for your reply.  my question is where do i start to find a diagnosis?

i have brought him several times to his pediatrician in the past couple years, little things, but things i knew were different. each time told there is nothing to worry about and sent me on my way.  so here we are, he will be 6 in a couple days and i feel like its my fault and i should have took control of the situation long before now.

He has been in kindergarten since September and from the beginning has told me his teacher doesn't like him.  the first time i met her at parent night i asked so how is zach doing her responds was "not good, he doesn't pay attention cant focus, i have to like a fire under his butt to get him to do anything"  i didn't know what to say.  it was totally unexpected.   i never saw any signs of attention problems.  i have been teaching him since he was 2. he could read at 4.  no problem learning and taking in information.  

Over the past month or two i noticed he has gotten so much worse, at times he cant make eye contact.  or even focus long enough to hear a question i ask him.  and i feel so bad because he told me how hard he is trying to pay attention at home and at school.  it breaks my heart to watch him because i can see how hard he is trying.

He always says the teacher puts him in the thinking box and he didn't even do anything.  he says that he hears her but cant understand.  he said its like his ears aren't working.  I told him just try your best to pay attention and listen to what the teacher says and he said i try and try and i cant, so i just give up.  

ahhhhh  i love him so much and to see the fear in his eyes every time he has to go to school, just knowing that he doesn't feel comfortable being himself just kills me.

any advise would be so appreciated, where do i start, who do i see?  

thanks you so much!
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Hi,  it can be very tricky to figure out what is exactly going on with a kid and many people don't even care to look, to be honest.  Today----  at this time----   SO much can be done to help a child adjust better or help any problems they have.  Perhaps your child has an auditory processing delay (which is part of sensory).  People always say to me, why isn't it happening ALL the time or why didn't it happen at home as much with my son.  Well, when it is an enviroment my boy is very comfortable in or used to-----  the processing is smoother.  If the enviroment is new or stressful to him in anyway (even just really exciting)-----  the processing slows and gets jumbled.  If your son has any auditory discriminating issues-----  sound could all be the same in his classroom (drawer opening, johhny yawning, teacher talking, mower outside) and it makes it tough to concentrate.  It makes it hard to follow directions.  Etc.  Or he may be a kid that needs movement breaks to stay focased.  That is just one example of how if something is a little off, it can interfere.  

What I would do is this . . . I would contact an occupational therapist for an evaluation of sensory.  (I would as it sounds sensory to me as the mom of a sensory kid).  It does cost money but insurance may pay for it or a portion of it.  There may be a wait list.  But sensory is one of those things that really resonds to ot.  I'd also start an evaluation at school------ here is why.  He is saying his teacher doesn't like him (which isn't true, I'm sure.  He is just being redirected constantly and it feels that way to him).  He will start to feel unsuccessful in school.  His friendships will suffer as the kid who is always in trouble is played with a little less.  His self esteem will start to dip.  That lasts a lifetime.  I have a good friend that is really smart.  She was wealthy and went to a very (VERY) exclusive school from 1st grade until graduation in highschool.  They really catered one on one to kids.  Then she got in college.  She fell apart.  She couldn't focas, follow directions, etc.  She dropped out.  What was wrong-----  undiagnosed auditory processing issues.  She had started kindergarten in a public school----  it didn't go well so they changed her to the private school.  She had a 4.0 there but couldn't make it in a regular enviroment because nothing had ever been done about her auditory issues.  She went to college then sporadically but never completed it . . . and this is a VERY smart person.  

Good luck.  Try some of the physical things I mentioned in my above post.  That is the essence of occupational therapy.  Not sure what all they do with auditory processing.  My son is just now being evaluated for that (he turned 6 last week and is in kindergarten too).  
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jeaton 183

I wholeheartedly agree with specialmom with this issue. I too am in a very similar situation as you with my almost 6 year old daughter. Kindergarten has been a nightmare for me at times (and I'm sure for her as well) but I sensed that she has sensory processing issues last year (even as far back as 3...infancy clues as well). She too learns well...easily, quickly and also read at 4.

I had her evaluated last year but she did not qualify for early intervention services through ChildFind. I now wish I would have sought an outside opinion/evaluation and pushed the "system" to listen to my  instincts as a mom. I wish I would have had her in OT last year or even prior to that.
I am now having to go through many  hurdles just to get an evaluation for her and to try to assure she has some assistance/help as her 1st grade year begins. She is in private school this year in a small class and they do not have the skills/ability to help her with this issue. I'm just trying to get through the next two weeks of school and I'm working my tail off trying to get an evaluation for her for neuropsychology/ developmental pediatrician.  Sensory issues that center around processing only , not necessarily spectrum related, may not be recognized though (not even listed on DSM), so I'm preparing for that as well and looking /trying to get her into an OT place here in Vegas where the OTs are certified to work with  sensory issues.

We are also phasing gluten/dairy (casein) out of her diet to see if it helps. In our situation as well, she does fairly . well at home and in situations where she is comfortable/adjusted. She also has "on and off" days  and  exhaustion/sickness make her issues SO much worse. We also can't give her an allergy meds (and she has fairly intense allergies). She is super sensitive to most all allergy meds.

I will be praying for you as you go through this very similar situation. It is hard when  have a developmental issue that is not easily recognizable.  Know too that God has created our kiddos this way for a reason. He will use this in their life, and He has such a perfect plan for their life in this world! We are here to help them navigate this world  the best we can, and it sounds as if you are trying your best to do that. Follow your instincts.You know your child. I believe motherly intuition is God given!!

Carolyn
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Hi, I hope your son is doing very well now and these worries are mostly past. But I would ask for a referral to a pediatric neurologist as well, just to make sure, if you haven't seen one yet.  You might mention that symptoms seemed a bit worse with a fever etc. Not to scare you but there are rarely other problems that can come later that give autistic type symptoms and you want to make sure that you catch anything like that early. We are going through some sudden serious problems with my son that I wish I had taken to specialists sooner.
all the very best wishes for your children, may they all be happy and healthy...

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I have a five year old who since he was very small he was tremendous, climb every where, run. And now that he is 5 years I've notice he can't get along with kids at all, He speaks with a high pitched annoying voice to us,and to strangers He makes faces and don't say anything that makes sense. other than walking weird and getting red on his face. Every time I take him with me to the store or somewhere, He will ask for something and make faces with body postures that are sooooo! weird. I asked him to go up to a child his age and ask for name to socialize instead, he  blabbled what is your name rally fast and told me the kid had zero name.
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You've tagged your post onto an old post and sometimes you'll get more responses if you post your own question.

I think that it is doubtful that your child has autism in that there are some very definate things that go into an autism diagnosis.  You don't really describe that here.  What you describe are quirks of some sort.  

What I'd do is help your son with his social skills.  He may be uncomfortable just walking up to a stranger even if it is another child and introducing himself.  We can role play that at home or you can help him along by going with him to the other boy and introducing him and facilitating a little to see if they can get it going to play.

My son had some social skill issues as he has sensory integration disorder and I was involved this way frequently with him.  I actually stayed in the game with the kids he played with a lot of the time helping it along.  I would help my son learn social skills this way with the idea that I could extricate myself more and more (which I did).  the other kids LOVED  it because a lot of parents refuse to get involved.  At that age, kids love adults and that my son came with a mom that would help the game no matter what it was along was a big bonus to play with my son.  

Anyway, piece by piece we worked on his social skills.  Not in a way that made him feel like a loser but just in a 'let's help you with your friends' kind of way.

is his kindergarten or pre k teacher making any comments to you?
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