My daughter is 3y4mo old and was diagnosed with autism when she was only 25 mos. Since that time she has made such great strides that she went form an autism preschool class in April to now being mainstreamed in a regular preschool with an aide that hangs back. She has lost most of her defining factors that put her in the DSM-IV classification of autism. However, the one problem that is still there is her speech delay. She has well over 300 labels, and puts some 2-3 word sentences together. However, she often will carry on these full conversations with us in what we call "Trinity language", saying something, waiting for a reply, reciprocating with more talk, etc. In these conversations we will recognize some words, and often feel that she is really saying something that may be making sense to her, but we cannot understand it. She currently has speech 2 times a week through the school speech therapist, but is learning about putting categories together and other things that I'm not really sure are helping her a whole lot. I am wondering if there is anything that we can be doing, (we already do speak to her in setences, try to put functionality into the trinity language by saying a sentence that relates to what she is doing or playing with, etc.)
I would also like to know if there are any DVD's that help with children's speech delays in helping them to put sentences together. We had purchased the Baby Bumble Bee system and she learned all of the labels and action words really well. She seems to benefit a lot from these videos which we sit down and talk about with her.
Any help that can be given would be great. Thanks in advance,
You'll be doing fine if you focus your efforts on regular conversation with her at home. Help her to convey her needs and wishes via words, not gestures. Leave the professional-type interventions to the therapist, but also don't ber shy to ask the therapsit if there is anything he/she would like you to do at home to support the efforst the therapist is making in their sessions.
Wow...it is nice to see that your child was diagnosed so early. Sounds like she has made great strides. Early intervention is so important. I have one main suggestion for you. I am a behavior specialist who specializes in autism. What you are experiencing with your daughter is common for children on the spectrum. She is verbal which is nice. They often speak in script or string nonsensical, made-up words together. This is their way of playing and experimenting with words and learning how to use them purposefully. They often like the sounds of certain words and will say things just because it brings them pleasure. This is not bad. She will eventually become more competent in speech with time. Encourage any and all attempts to communicate (verbal, gestural, pictures, etc.). However, let me give you one important suggestion.
Kids with autism, even the ones who can speak very well, have strong difficutly relating with others. They have trouble with reciprocal interaction, the give and take, back and forth regulation of conversing. They usually need to control the interaction. Part of this difficutly is their strong lack of being able to read the subtle cues and nonverbal language in communication. About 70% of our communicating is through nonverbal language (facial expressions, body posture, gestures, fluctuations/intonation in voice, pauses, etc.) We process this information subconsciously. It allows us to read between the lines, and read the perspective and intentions of the other person. People with autism have great difficutly with nonverbal language and often cannot interact well with others because of that. Normal children learn to communicate nonverbally before learning their first words. They already learn to process and read nonverbal language before becoming fluent in speech. Children with autism do not pick up that early milestone. However, you can teach your daughter to read nonverbal language by using less words. Use alot of animated facial expressions and exaggerated gestures when communicating. Focus on nonverbal language (exaggerating it) and only use words to augment the nonverbal. This forces the child to reference your face and actions to read communication intent. It also helps the child to "relate" rather then just talk. It is alot of fun, and very beneficial for the child. Speak less and say more with your actions and facial expressions. Our families play fun interactive games with "zip your lip" and "lose your words." They pick any daily event and both the parent and child have to do it together with using no words. It is fun and forces the parent to learn to exaggerate their nonverbal language. It also forces the child to learn how to read nonverbal language.
I work in an office where my boss brings her 3 1/2 yr. old son to work with her. I am almost certain he is autistic. He echoes things that you say, you cannot have a conversation with him, he doesn't have the desire to socialize with other children, he will say a couple words like milk or juice, he has no desire to be potty trained, he throws tantrums pretty regularly, he head butts you, he mimics Thomas the Train DVD's that he watches and he will play with those trains all day. He also does not really have any defined facial expressions. He will view somethings out of the side of his eyes. On the flip side he knows colors and very high numbers plus the letters of the alphabet. I really do believe that his mother is in denial because people have said things to her but she still does not get him evaluated. What do you think?
You daughter sounds like my little girl who will be three this month. I have always considerd her just delayed. But, now I'm having to face that it might be mild autism. All day she communicates in jibber-jabber throwing in real words on occasion. Rarely puts two to three word phrases together. I'd say - until just about 6 months ago she did not like to interact with other kids...she liked to be around them...but not really interacting. She is improving with the socail aspect a lot. I don't really know if some of her strange behavior is due to just being delayed or just being a toddler. OR somthing more. She is being tested later this month. She has good eye contact and is affectionate. No interest in potty training and occasionally still will put her hand in a soiled diaper. Though greatly improved my little girl used to have frequent and intense temper tantrums. She sometimes gets into her own little world and can become engrossed in somthing as silly as a stick or piece of string .- NO repeating movies, lining things up or repatative behaviors. Anyone with some knowledge regarding autism have some insight?
Does anyone think that these autistic signs might be a result of too many vaccinations for such a little body? I think my son has a touch of autism as well (no one else seems to agree... but some things a mom just knows). He seemed like a normal baby, but at around 9-12 months, after realizing he had food and environmental allergies, and having had the flu plus every other vaccine in the world he started being different... extremely prone to tatrums, unable to comunicate well, very intelligent as far as numbers, letters, puzzles, etc.... but not very social. He can smile and laugh and is now beginning to communicate better (he's 3 and 1/2), but still not as well as his 2 year old sister. He refuses to be potty trained and sometimes I wonder if he even really 'gets' it. He repeats all his movies, shows as well (I didn't know that was a sign... my 9 year old did that when he was a kid too and he is in no way autistic). Anyway... anyone think or have any knowledge about vaccine induced autism? I'm thinking about getting a titer done on him befor Kindergarten so hopefully he doesn't have to get any more boosters.
Thank you so much for the help. I am actually a behavior intervention case manager for my local SELPA and have only had the opportunity to work with a handful of other autistic children, most of which, language is the last thing that I'm having to deal with. I am sent the bad behavioral problems. With my own daughter I have studied everything I can about autism, but had not thought about leaving the words behind and working on all of the nonverbal. Given the level of normalcy she actually has, if she can catch on to nonverbal language she has a real shot of a very fulfilled life in the social aspect.
I appreciate your suggestions.
I guess all of these questions come together for me. My daughter was developing very typically, crawled on time, actually spoke early, everything seemed to be going great. WE saw nothing strange in the way of eye contact, facial expression, nothing. When I took her in to get a her vaccinations at about 14 months the doctor suggested we get the flu shot as well. At the time my daughter had a low grade fever and I told the doctor that I just wanted a checkup no vaccinations because I knew that you weren't supposed to give them to a sick child. After being chastized and basically called an idiot for thinking something like that, the doctor insisted that she give her all of the immunizations because the sickness would have no effect on anything. so she got the shots, including the flu shot. The next week we were in the Prompt Care with her having bronchiolitis and an ear infection which required antibiotics. the doctor in there told us that we never should have gotten her immunizations with her being sick...soon after we started noticing changes. It was like a film was put over her eyes, the light seemed gone. No, or very little eye contact, her words stopped, it was just very different. My husband and I both noticed these things, were told by our new pediatrician that she just had a speech delay, leave it alone, she'd come around. We decided to take her in to a child psychologist who specialized in autism to have her evaluated.
After talking to him we saw what all of the signs were that she was actually exhibiting...poor eye contact, a lack of understanding of language, severely delayed speech, no desire to play with other children (although she loved to be around other kids), no pretend play.
Now after having implemented the GFCF diet (which we saw dramatic changes with in a matter of 2 weeks), having in home ABA therapy for 8months-4 hours a day/5days a week, after that starting an autism preschool program and has now been in it for 3 months...she is now mainstreaming most of her day into a regular preschool. Her play with others is amazing, her eye contact is great, her teacher actually said that she plays with others more than most typically developing 3 year olds do in her class.She is still not potty trained, but we're not pushing it either, in her own time we'll get there. She does repeat some lines from shows, but it's hard to tell because she often does it with her own voice inflection in order to get us to laugh at what she's saying.
Sorry this was so long, but I appreciate everyone's comments and questions and hoped that I answered some questions for you as well.
Just a quick note...if you think that your child may have the slightest possibility of being autistic, or know someone with a child who they think may be...have them tested right away. You can call your local regional center to help find out how to do this, because pediatricians do not always have a lot of knowledge about autism. The most important thing that you can do is find out so that you can get early intervention..It is abolutely key to helping them.
have you tried sign language? If you go to signingtime.com, they have the best learning to sign videos. My 2 youngsters loved it and it improved their language skills immensely! I'm not trying to sell this but it really really did work...it also worked for my 3 yo nephew who was recently diagnosed as autistic...he was sooo frustrated that he couldn't say what he wanted...and now he can get his point across to us. just a suggestion. wish you well.
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