I am so frustrated

Hi - I have a son who will turn 5 in a week. I did not notice anything off about him until he was about 18 mo old. He just did not like being in crowded places and was slow to talk. Just as I was about to take him to be DX'd, his language and social skills increased quite a bit.

He started preschool when he was 3 and was very quiet. He flaps and hums when he is excited, doing a lot of physical activity or is stressed out. The flapping and humming are one of my main areas of concern.

He also has a lot of difficulty answering who,what, where and why questions. I put him through our local child find program where he scored very low cognitively, even though I know he is smart. They put him in OT, language and has an inclusion teacher come once a week to his school. All have said the cognitive scoring was a result of his inability to answer questions well. He just wouldn't answer so he zeroed.

I have read autism, SID and PDD NOS checklists a thousand times and I just don't know what to think. His pediatrician tells me he is too social and talkative now to be autistic. He has several friends at school. He talks w/ them, not just parallel play. He knows all of his letters and numbers and can count past 25. I will say that teaching him his letters has required a lot of effort on my part - flashcards etc... He used to do repetitive speech but has stopped that.

He likes wheeled cars but I would not say he is one to overly obsess over them. He does imagine play too. I guess my biggest concerns are the flapping and language gaps. Help! Should I take him to a specialist for a DX? If so, what type of dr?

His pediatrician recommended a Dr whose official specialty is Pediatric Developmental Behavioral Health. I just keep getting conflicting reports from the 2 OTs he works w/. They will not DX at his age in the school system. The one stricter OT is more worried about him than the other. I think part of it is he does not respond well to a strict personality, as he is more shy.

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Mar 23, 2009
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate it. Reading some of the posts here, I feel guilty for not having pushed some of this earlier:( He was fussy as a new baby and would go hours w/o sleep (literally as a newborn, he was awake for over 12 hrs). After that though, he seemed really "normal". I never thought of the humming going w/ an auditory processing disorder. That makes a lot of sense. I know his inclusion teacher has said she feels his underlying issues are processing ones.

He does not line things up or seem like he is lost. He does get fixated on things on a daily basis, but by the next day, whatever yesterday's fixation has been forgotten. Until a few days ago, for about 2 weeks, he would find a new box/bag/container every day to put his hot wheels or toy planes in. Now, he's over it. No food, smell or sound issues (other than super crowded adult places like a restaurant or baseball game).Again, thanks so much! It's nice to know there are others out there that understand. My hubby thinks I am just obsessing:(

Mar 22, 2009
some ideas
by: Nancy Peske

First, I applaud you for doing so much research and observing, and getting your child help with his issues. You are doing a great job on this often frustrating and exasperating journey!
What you're describing with language could be an auditory processing disorder. There's several types of auditory issues--they'll often hum to help them block out background noise because their ability to separate out important from unimportant sounds is not great (I used an auditory listening program on my son to help him with this, with good results, but he still does far better in a quiet classroom). You can also have auditory language issues, and on top of that, expressive language issues.

I would get testing done by an SLP who really knows her stuff in terms of language processing issues. Absolutely, if that's what is going on, and it sounds like it could be, IQ tests are not going to be accurate.

I think a full eval by the professional you mentioned is in order, too. Note that some kids with autism are quite social and able to play cooperatively and imaginatively, while some kids with autism are really late shifting out of parallel cause-and-effect play. Humming and flapping are behaviors that kids who simply have SPD and not autism can exhibit. Kids with organizational issues and sensory issues will commonly line up toys and ignore what's going on around them. So, there aren't any clear symptoms that say "Oh, it's this" or "it's that." It's really, what is the full picture that these behaviors, together, create?
--Nancy Peske

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