From Doubts to Autism Diagnosis
Charlie has always been a mischievous and happy child. Up until 15 months, he had been hitting his milestones on time and was even saying a few words in both French and English. “De l’eau”, “thank you”, and “cat” were his favorite words.
During the fall of 2014, we noticed that Charlie had changed. He wasn’t talking anymore, he developed obsessive behaviors (lining up his toys, pouring water from one cup to another…), he stopped eating foods he used to love, started sleeping on the floor, and stopped answering to his name and looking at us in the eyes. He had always been an independent child but this was different. He was avoiding social contact.
Here is a list of the signs of autism he was showing:
- Delayed Speech
- Speech Regression
- Does not answer to his name
- Does not greet us, his parents, when we come home
- Can not follow directions
- Cannot communicate his needs
- Ignores other children
- Likes to be alone
- Avoids eye contact
- Is in his own world
- Sometimes gets scared or bothered for no apparent reason and covers his eyes or ears
- Lines up his toys
- Can occupy himself for extended periods of time
- Focuses on details of his toys and misses their broader purpose (just spins the wheel on a car)
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Strange sleep habits (sleeps on floor, etc…)
- Gets frustrated easily
- Has obsessive interests (balls, wheels, light switches)
- Play with toys the exact same way for long periods of time (ie: pouring water from one cup to another)
- Likes routines
- Gets “stuck” on things and can’t move to other activities
- Hand flapping
- Covers his eyes/ears when bothered by something
- Picky eating
- Stopped nursing at 2 months and always had a bad latch
- Very attached to his silk pillow and security blanket
- Sensitive to texture, didn’t like walking on the grass (cannot sleep without his silk pillow case)
- Throws violent temper tantrums
- Is very independent for his age
Why was Charlie given an autism diagnosis?
It was hard to know what was normal toddler behavior and what was concerning so we decided to call Early Childhood Intervention.ECI came a few weeks later and confirmed our doubts. Charlie was very delayed in speech and social areas. They offered us 3 hours of therapy a week. It lasted for a few weeks but we started to understand that something more was going on. ECI had us take the M-chat, a test where a score of 3 or more means concern for autism. Charlie scored 18. After what seemed like countless tests, phone calls and appointments, we were finally referred to a neurologist who confirmed our suspicions. Charlie was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Then, the process of finding the right therapists began. Another challenge that fortunately ended in us finding a great place. Since then, Charlie’s been doing ABA therapy 30 hours a week.
He’s still the happy little boy he has always been, he just has different interests than other kids his age.