Autism or SPD in 2.5 year old?

by Kelly
(Rhode Island)


I'm a mother of a 2.5 year old who was recently seen to be diagnosed with autism. The therapist that he saw was on the fence about his symptoms because he does suffer from the repetition problems and severe language delay.


However, she was confused with his decent social skills that accompany autism. After doing some research myself, I was wondering if he was suffering from SPD rather than autism.

At this time, his biggest problem is speech. He doesn't say any real words except for "uh-oh", although he does make approximations now of others words. He understands very little spoken language to him, such as his name, "more", "please", and some other simple phrases.

He is extremely hyper. He constantly jumps, climbs, and "flaps" his hands by making fists and opening and closing them. He is obsessed with fluorescent lights, fans, music. He had trouble concentrating with them around, so usually the lights will have to go off for better focus from him.

He has unusual sleeping habits where it takes awhile to fall asleep, and he has trouble staying asleep. He is also the worst eater. He was using a bottle until a couple weeks ago. His diet is restricted to mostly snack food, waffles, cereal, and chicken nuggets. For a long time also, he was very resistant to different texture such as grass, sand, furry items, etc.

His biggest problem is having his head touched. He wont let his hair be cut/brushed or wear a hat. He also wont let his teeth be brushed. He throws many tantrums due to frustration or if you take something that is overstimulating away from him.

With this being said, his social skills are quite decent. He has attachments to certain people, although he isn't too shy around strangers. He used to have much worse eye contact, but he has improved and will usually make eye contact unless something distracts/excites him. He initiates to be picked up, hugged, and kissed. He also hates playing alone, and will always take a person by the hand to make them join in his playtime. He is fascinated by other children, although he isn't too sure how to share yet. Usually he just smiles or tries to hug.

I was just wondering if anyone has a similar situation or any input because SPD is a new topic to me. Does it sound like he is on the autism spectrum, or could the doctor be overlooking something and it could be SPD that is affecting his speech delay? Thanks for reading! :)

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Feb 25, 2017
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A little different for me
by: Anonymous

Austism didn't quite fit, neither did ADHD but the hypo sections of the questionair seem like it was written for him except he is and always has been very emotionally sound, never had a meltdown in his life. He would get upset when mommy leaves but easy to get him into playing with something else. He is hypersensitive to visual anything and sees things from other end of stores and then when I notice them I can't believe he saw them at all.

And he goes right into his bed and sleeps all night without issue. After his routine of bath, play in room, hates his teeth brushed but deals, books then bed.

He eats nothing but mushy foods and I never realized it but he doesn't like mixed textures and would eat the bread and cheese and leave the burger on the plate or smash it like play doe.

Doesn't like any visually unexpected movements and always did best if he knew where we were going ahead of time. And he never seems to feel intense pain like when he burned his arm on the wood stove and walked up to point it out. Or runs outside in 0 degree weather in a diaper after slamming the door and has no problem with it being cold out. Yet doesn't like certain hats with tags or rough inside material.

This site so explains his little quirks that I feel I gained a better understanding to why he had some symptoms of ADHD and austism but lacked consistency with them and after running around the house had better speech and would talk about a show on tv and what's happening with me.

Feb 16, 2017
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Contact me please!
by: Amanda

Wow! You just about described my son!!! He is 21 months exactly. He has been getting speech therapy and developmental therapy (the latter because he wouldn't sit and do therapy with speech, we were having to place him in high chair for therapy).

My son does not talk, although he has said momma 4 times his entire life, but it is super random, only if he is in utter distress. They however do not think he has autism. Because even though he has basically no speech, he does make sounds and is very social. Always has made eye contact, laughs, plays,ect. (And yes his hearing has been tested extensively).

He also is very picky. Very gaggy. Was on formula up until 16 months because he simply would not intake much else. He does not like to drink from a cup or straw now. Sippy only. He makes usual gestures. Waving, clapping. He LOVES mickey mouse clubhouse so much so I rarely let him watch it. Maybe 3 times a week because it got to where that's all he wanted to do.

He did not start sleeping through the night until recently. He does not like (hates, acts like he's being murdered) his teeth brushed, hair cut or washed, being weighed or measured or touched by medical personnel. Appointments are awful. He will not wear shoes.

When long sleeve weather came about, the first month he hated long sleeves and stretched his all out horribly. No coat, hat, or mittens for him. I havent met or heard of anyone else with the same or nearly same characteristics as Zach.

I'd love for the contact, if you are open to that. I have a yahoo account. lizardsmack19. Thank you and we would love to share our experiences!

Dec 05, 2016
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SPD
by: Anonymous

Hi was thinking same abut my 8 year old niece.She has yet to be to assessed.

She lashes out and has meltdowns which take ages to settle. Was great eater when little but now not sure what to make. she listens to her food if you introduce something new.

Has only just started coming downstairs properly. She can't turn clothing in right way. writing is poor and reading. She can't ride a bike yet.

List goes on waiting on school psychologist to assess her but could be another year yet. At the end of my tether.

Dec 05, 2016
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spd
by: Anonymous

Hi, you're not alone! Im trying to figure out the same thing for my child. He has been evaluated twice. Both evaluations concluded that he was not autistic because he is extremely social.

However, I am taking him to get evaluated one more time from a interdisciplinary team- so everyone can assess him at the same time. He has been in speech and OT since he was one, he will be 4 in March. He has came such a long way. I see so many improvements. I am just worried because of his behavior- he inflicts self harm and is having more meltdowns.

It's so scary. I hope you find some answers for your little one. I hope you know you are not alone! Praying for you and your family.

Jun 28, 2012
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ASD?
by: Anonymous

Hello, I have experience with a girl with many of the symptoms you described her. Well in the language, but otherwise very similar including eating difficult. andthe neurpsichiatra child believed to have autism spectrum. Best wishes for your child.

Jun 27, 2012
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Could be
by: Anonymous

Could be SPD. I am not a trained professional obviously and have never met your son, but you could be on to something. My son also has a lot of autistic traits,such as hand flapping, and getting fixated on certain objects etc. But, he has been to 4 different professional teams and all agree that he does not have autism as he relates nicely to other people etc. But the autistic characteristics are still there. He has been diagnosed with SPD through a sensory processing research center here in Denver (STAR center) and also with tourette's through a developmental pediatrician as well as SPD through them too. My son will be 5 in September and recently has been making HUGE leaps and I am so proud of him! His language used to be severly delayed and now is a moderate delay, he is learing to make friends a lot easier now and is communicatin better as well as getting some of his sensory problems under control. I cannot stress how important therapy is and also my son went to a pre-school under an IEP plan (where he got services through the school but was still in a typical pre-school) and that was a HUGE help as well! Good luck!

Jun 15, 2012
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A few ideas
by: Janice

He sounds like a lovely boy when all is said and done. My suggestion about touching the head - my son was also sensitive to touch, but when I discovered SPD kids prefer firm touch over light gentle touch, I was able to introduce head massage; pulling my fingers threw his head to relax him, as long as it was firm. I think over time that has allowed him to be less sensitive. Also I let him brush my hair when he was younger, and sometimes he would let me brush his hair. As far as the teeth, my son likes the vibrating tooth brush - we first put it on his arm so he could get used this new sensation. Your son is very young, and seems to have great potential. Whether you get a SPD diagnosis or not (hard to get in some areas) I suggest you begin doing the exercises with you son (see this website)because it can not hurt to help you son's neuro system. Also, as far as diet, add omega 3 oils like flax seed oil to a banana shake if you can, and also a lot of studies on Acidophilus found in yogurt helping a yeast build up in kids system fed by sugars that causes poor behavior - I am adding that also to my son's morning banana shake, along with protein powder to help get the nutrition in when he won't eat properly. All the best to you - just some suggestions from a mom of a SPD kid!

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