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Avatar universal

My 2 1/2 year old has not starteed talking yet and seems insecured outside his home or comfort zone

My son who is about 2 years 7 months old has not started talking yet. His development milestones seems very normal and first and at birth he had a hearing test done and it was normal but that was on the day he was born. The past 1 year has been insanely difficult where from a seemingly normal secured baby he seems to have developed somekind of fear where he seems very insecure going out (e..g to a shopping complex, parks,etc) and what makes it wost as a dad is that he seems to act out (cry and just want to go back to the car then home).

As a person he seems to be a wonderful guy at home,  he has good eye contact and takes fantastic pictures. He plays well with family members(although there are no other kids around- he is the only one). We recently had an appointment with a development specilist and she asked us if we considered autism. As any parent i just totally went blank for a minute or 2. I was in deep shock with the notion. From that time i extracted a tell tale signs of autism and began observations. He does not seem to exhibit most of the charateristics. We recently started him at school and he has adapted well. He does seem to still need the teaches around with him and he does not seem to like the outdoor activities but he does not cryh or freak out. Recently we got some other childen (older) to come over and he seems to be playing with them well (after some time). The this is he is still not talking yet and is still somewhat in secured but it seems to be improving of late (since school) and i have tried new ways of calming him (e.g. recently we went to one of the regular shopping complex we go to previously he cried a lot this time around he started with his usual crying running to me and asking (in his way of crying and pointing and pulling me towards the parking lot)...i carried him distracted him by playing with him and he seemed settled then, but still did not leave my arms.

I am stuck in a dilema here and am really confused, is this autism? is this a form of behavioral disorder? Do we really need the hearing test again? Please help... i'm deeply concerned and am in need for urgent advice.
16 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi.  My son has sensory integration disorder and I'd like you to google this and see what you think.  Many kids with autism have sensory integration disorder as well but it can be all by itself as the sole diagnosis as with my son.  It affects the nervous system and how things are processed.  If you think of the brain with many flood gates that hold back things and only let through what is needed at that moment . . . well, in a sensory kid, when overwhelmed (such as at a loud and crowded mall)-------  the gates will all open and the brain is flooded.  Some kids can't cope at all at that time.  The flight or fight response will often come into play.  

Motor planning is another part of sensory.  This would involve two things with speech.  First, the brain has to organize thought.  It has to understand what is being said and process it.  This is receptive speech.  Then it has to organize the response.  (expressive part of speech.)  Then it has to send the signal to the mouth and get the oral muscles to articulate the sounds.  So speech can be greatly affected by disorganization in the brain as well as oral motor issues due to the signal not working well to get the mouth to do what the brain wants.  

My son met all of his developmental milestones on time, by the way.  But he has sensory integration disorder.  So it is tricky to tell early. . . but afterwards, there are signs.  

An occupational therapist evaluates for sensory integration disorder and then does therapy for it.  My son is like a different kid after being diagnosed and beginning occupational therapy.  He is doing fantastic now at 6 years old.  They can do amazing things with children these days.  So please google this and see what you think.

The other thought I had was anxiety, severe anxiety.  This would be a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment would be necessary.  Something to also think about.  Kids with sensory though do often have levels of anxiety because coping with the environment that they find very uncomfortable is nerve racking.

Socially, it is good to play with slightly older kids.  But eventually, you'll want to play with kids near his age.  This is where kids really develop play skills.  But any interaction is really helpful.  I'd socialize with him as much as possible.  Go to parks and strike up play with any kid that is there.  

Lastly, if you live in the US.  You can request to be involved in an early intervention program.  Birth to 3 is run by agencies.  You'd find them by asking your pediatrician or local Children's Hospital.  They help with evaluations and getting needed therapy and it is funded by government grants.  Then at age 3 to 5 years, a child can be evaluated by the local public school for their early intervention preschool.  Services are provided there as well.  Just a thought for you to look into.  
good luck
Avatar universal
Thank you for your reply... i have spend some time reading on it but i do have a question.... my son at times seems to be hearing rather well... for example the sound of the elevator opening when he is some 10m away..... and at times for example that clapping behind his head when he was not looking (he was watching tv at the time) where he totally ignored is sort of puzzled me....

could it be that he could still have the sensory disorder and its focused on his hearing and that certain frequencies are just not picked up?
Avatar universal
at times for example that clapping behind his head when he was not looking (he was watching tv at the time) where he totally ignored is sort of puzzled me....

Your above comment (as well as your first posting) reminds me of our nephew.  A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified).  This is a very high functioning form of autism.  I might suggest you google this term and see if the descriptions on the internet reminds you of your son.  If so (or you are not sure), do note that the prognosis of your son could depend on your "speed of intervention".  Today our nephew is doing well (he's actually an adult) but I credit most of his "success" to the fast and unrelentless intervention of his parents (even though they did not have a "name" for his disability years ago).  I don't think you require a hearing test - perhaps you should seek advice from a knowlegeable pediatrician or developmental pediatrician or even a child neurologist.   I wish you the best ...
973741 tn?1342346373
I was going to say that I'd also add "auditory processing" to your search on sensory integration disorder.  One of the issues with my son is that all things are the same volume at times.  That clap was as loud as the tv or you or anything else in the room perhaps and the elevator hum was as loud as what was going on right beside him.  It involves how they process sound.  My son can not drown out outside noise and focus on something right in front of him at times and at other times seems to not hear me at all.  
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your responses.... it have been very helpful.... i  was wondering if you could help me out... i will copy an email i sent to his child developmental specilist which i send recently on his progress thus far... would appreciate you valuable feedback...


Dear Doctor Rajini,

Good day to you. My name is Vicky and I’m Rohan Ajay’s Dad. After our meeting on Monday at your office (bangsar village) I continued to do the following observations I wish to update you,

1)      I sent him to school and he was fine, he got off and waved bye bye and went in without crying... please note the issue about him being overly attached to me personally is still somewhat there however he does seem to understand he needs to go to school... he was even excited the next day when my wife dropped him off.

2)      With reference to the kitchen phobia (where previously he would not want to go in), I also tried hiding in the kitchen and called out to him( I normally whistle and scream his name) and he came over, peeped into the kitchen and after a minute he came in looking for me and found me ( he was laughing and tried to get me to chase after him)

3)      We also took him to temple that night(where previously before the problem in his behavior surfaced he would at least walk around) this time he did not cry as I was carrying him, I tried to put him down but he exclaimed (with a ahhhh) and climbed right back on.

a.       He was calm then and started waving hello at the alter…. I took a chance and asked him to say hello to Ganesha whom was situated on the side of the main alter he did not do it till I pointed at the deity and he waved hello)

b.      I kept telling him to say hello and pray with his hands clapped together( which he used to do about a year ago when we just told him) it took some doing but he finally did it.

4)      I don’t know if this is significant but last night when he was laying on the bed(more like my chest) watching pictures and video’s on my cellphone, I told my wife to go behind him(more like sneak) and clap really loudly (the kind that makes our hands hurt) and he did not even budge. I don’t know if he did not hear it or ignored it but prior to that I tried doing that when he was playing with his toys and watching TV he did the same thing (i.e. did not hear the clap). I tried calling out his name in a soft tone he did not respond and continues jumping and playing till I finally reached the tone(practically shouted and only then he turned)

5)      Of late he has become cheeky where based on the advice of Dr Ooi (another of our pediatrician) I have become rather stern and scold him when he does something naughty (like hit his head with his hands when jumping watching tv) and he come up to me and smiles, gives me a kiss and claps his hands

a.       I took the opportunity to test what happens if I don’t clap back and he picks my hands up…puts it together and looks at me with those eye… when I finally clap he smiles and continues playing…. Being angry with him is extremely difficult especially for me and I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up….. but I guess it is for the greater good.

6) I also conducted some spying activities when i droped him off at school...... he seems to always need a teacher with him..... i observed him in the (outdoor play activities) using a optical zoom camera and noted the following:-

             - he seems to be ok with having kids around him however he did not want to really be in the huddle ( i notice the teacher kept pulling him back in there)

             - he was ok watching the kids and when they started dancing he was on the side (slightly away from the larger group) jumping around watching the larger group do a slightly similar thing( difficult to be precise as i was very far away using a camera to zoom in on him)

            - he was brought to a slide and with the help of a teacher he climed up the ladder ( he can normally climb things like stairs and practically hike up the tv stand at home).... he managed to slide down several times with the encouragement of the teacher.

7) lately he also removes his own shoes and picks it up and leaves it on a shoe rack (this is at home)...upon investigation as to where he picked this up apparently he learn this at school.

8) there is one or 2 routines we have not broken yet such as when my wife goes over to my grandma's place he insist that she leaves him and walks down the stairs ( she normally does this when she leaves him there on the way to work on regular days) and he always waves bye bye to her- he cries when she does not do this but quiets down when he is scolded.


I need advice, is it a prudent idea for me to continue to be firm and scold him.... i noticed he gets very sad and this is really effecting me badly as well... but he seems to listen a lot when i am firm and scold him when he is naughty... e.g. when instructed to sit he does so....but again whith that really sad look on him...... will there be long term effect on him... i noticed he is the most attached to me and should i continue with this "villain role" will it effect him?

I am eagerly waiting for the confirmation for the hearing test. And hope to hear from you soon.

Regards and best of wishes
Avatar universal
I don't know if I would be "firm and scold him" or continue the "villain role"  - I think he needs a lot of patience and understanding re instruction - lessons that need to be taught again and again and again.  If he is similar to our nephew, he is not behaving badly on purpose, he just does not know how to behave.  It took many, many efforts for our nephew to learn simple things - things that most children pick up automatically. But the point is, he did learn.  If your son does suffer from a high-functioning form of autism, then he will require information to be taught again and again and again before he comprehends.  This does not mean that he is "slow" mentally, just that his brain functions and learns differently.

From what you have written, it appears that your son has an excellent teacher.  Have you discussed methods of "discipline" with this teacher - methods to be used both at school and home?  He does seem to respond postiviely to repeat instructions and to the kind, firm actions of this teacher.  Just an opinion ...
973741 tn?1342346373
Yes, I agree.  It is important to keep a child's self esteem high and during these little years when things are always challenging, it can suffer.  Constantly being in trouble will take its toll.  I looked at things with my child in this way.  He absolutely needed guidance and help learning how to cope.  I tried to differentiate what was his sensory issue and what was just normal misbehaving.  But I always looked at discipline as a way of teaching and not punishing.  I realize that my son will have things that are tougher for him.  The child that is extra work for the teacher . . . well, that is a position that a child eventually senses.  I didn't want my son to feel that way with me.

So LOVINGLY guide and look at discipline in this way.  As he gets a little older, you can work on helping him to learn that HIS actions control the consequences.  But he is still little.  So some basic rules.  For a difficult child-------- giving choices really needs to be incorporated.  For learning-------------  with my son, we make everything FUN and a game.  To sit and quiz him on the alphabet wouldn't have gone over very well.  We played games.  I wrote letters on paper plates and to music would have him (and his brother and dad sometimes) jump to the letter to be safe as I called them out.  Silly things like that but if it is fun, they like to do it.  And I always think reading to a child every day for 15 minutes is really important.  Encourage the desire for knowledge and learning by doing things with him.  Museums, zoo, etc.  

This is not a judgement in any way but something that comes to my mind.  I think your son would benefit from more time with you and mom.  

One other things----------  anything regarding clothing may be a sensory issue.  My child refuses to wear socks and shoes in the home whether it is 0 degrees outside or not.  They bug him and make him uncomfortable.  I just roll with it as that is not worth a fight.  
Good luck
973741 tn?1342346373
MIstake alert, mistake alert.  I read another post and then came back and got confused.  The response about needing more time was for another family.  I apologize.  I must get some caffeine.  I am so sorry for the mistake!
Avatar universal
No worries specialmom,

I was also thinking that i should spend even more time with him.... i think no matter how much time we spend with them its never enough and i dont know about all of you but i always felt that its really important that we set aside some time for one's self as well... if not i think we will all go crazy...... as for the caffeine,,,,,well you can count me in... let me know the next time you are in malaysia and we can get high on latte's all we want....
973741 tn?1342346373
vickneshthevendran---------  you are my kind of gal!!  Anytime you are in Ohio . .. the same is true!

I agree about setting aside a little time for yourself!  My favorite thing is to send my boys and Daddy out for a while and be in my house alone!  That is a rare treat.  But . .. then I end up cleaning.  But even that feels good when it is "you time".  So yes, take a break for yourself to keep the mind fresh!

And . . . yes.  Kids can use more time than we have and that goes for anybody!.  But we all just have to do the best we can!

Most important . . . enjoying our kids no matter how challenging it is makes things better for all.  I've had more than my share of challenging days but when I can see the humor in it or what is good about the day---------  it puts the smile back on my face.  This has helped me a lot with my boy that has sensory integration disorder.  

Have a good day!
Avatar universal
true sharing about it really is helping me out lately.... actually i'm the daddy....hahah.... its ok....

cheers and have a great day...

973741 tn?1342346373
I'm leaving you with such a good impression with my eye for detail lately . . . ha ha.

Dads need a break too.  I try to remember that for my husband!  

You have a wonderful day as well!
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