Our Journey to a Diagnosis: Signs and Symptoms

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My son Christian, was born on August 25, 2011 weighing 8.5 lbs. and was 21 1/2″ long. The first time I saw him after my C-section, I felt that indescribable love that a mother has for their child.

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As I mentioned in one of my past posts, we were told by his doctor that he was a very special child. He would sit in his bouncer and just analyze the world around him. As months went by, there weren’t much changes except the typical milestones that he was meeting. He was smiling, sitting up and grabbing everything in sight.

 

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Christian at 4 months old with his Uncle Justin

 

Fast forward a couple years to age 2. My husband and I didn’t think much of his tantrums because we had never had a child before, so we didn’t know what to expect with the terrible two’s. His tantrums began to get worse over the months. He began throwing things and shutting the door to his room so he could be alone. I had also noticed while we were shopping one day, how much he talked. There were children next to him who were speaking very fluently and he was still working on saying “Mom”. This is the point in time that I knew he may need help. I began reaching out to his doctor, who began talking about how it could vey well just be that he had a slight delay, but that it was too early to look at Autism and such.

At age 4 he began a Pre- K program called Headstart. At this time they began seeing the difficulties he had in speech. This is when everything began to change for us. He began an IEP for Speech Therapy. Teachers were telling me that he was a very silent and shy child. He only liked to hang around the teachers or sit in the corner with his blocks.

Now at 5 years old, behaviors have most definitely gotten worse. To help other mothers going through the same thing, here is a list of his many behaviors that he is now demonstrating or had and they have gradually gotten worse..

  • Speech– He is verbal which is wonderful but many people don’t know what he is saying. Since I am his mother and have been with him through his entire life, I know how to translate. (Something I definitely need to stop doing.) He only speaks about 3-4 words in a sentence. It is quite rare to hear anything larger than that. Also, many times that you talk to him, he will stare at you, like he is processing what you just said. For him, it takes some time to understand certain things. He also is unable to do anything that requires more than one command, unless you take it step by step slowly. There are many times when speaking with him that you  feel like he is deaf. I end up having to have him look at me and I have to speak slowly to him and have him repeat it back.
  • Tantrums– This is a daily thing for us. They involve him crying, screaming, whimpering, covering his ears, stomping and..
  • Self Harm– When he is in the process of his tantrums, he will harm himself. This is something that is hard to watch and to talk about, but it is something that really does happen and needs to be talked about. I’ve had him pinch himself, punch himself in the face, smack himself and lastly.. I had once caught him applying pressure to his neck to “choke” himself. (Thankfully the choking happened only once and was over a year ago.
  • Senses are highly sensitive– He can not stand loud noises. He will cover his ears and cry or scream. This can be a difficult one because he has a 2 year old brother who is very loud.. He doesn’t like textures of food anymore. He is extremely picky with his food now. He also doesn’t like to be touched which saddens me greatly because it is very rare for him to allow me to hug or kiss him.
  • Has accidents– He has been wetting the bed for a couple years now and it has now turned into a nightly thing. Even during the day, I have to remind him to use the bathroom because it doesn’t seem to process that he has to go.
  • Watches TV VERY closely– No, there is nothing wrong with his eyes. He just loves standing in front of the TV within arms reach. I began noticing that he was looking at the different colors on the screen.
  • Swaying– When he began watching TV really closely is when I noticed him swaying back and forth for a long period of time.
  • Random bursts of energy– He began doing this this year where he will be content, watching something and BOOM. He begins running back and forth in the house repeatedly. (No sugar or soda allowed for him.) He will also begin trying to say things really fast and this usually ends in him having a tantrum.
  • Socializing– He has a couple friends at school that he follows around but nothing more than that. Still very quiet and shy.
  • Routine– this one is MAJOR. We have a routine everyday and I try very hard to maintain it. For example… In the morning before school, I will first brush his teeth and then do his hair. One day, I turned it around….. Let’s just say he was VERY late for school.
  • OCD– He began being OCD a couple years ago. I would notice him organizing and would do things repeatedly. He still does this to this day. He actually sleeps with boxes of toys that have been separated by character. For example: He has a small shoe box sized plastic box that holds just his Pikachu toys. He also has a large Minecraft box in the corner of the room that no one is allowed to touch.
  • Gross motor skills– He still is unable to ride a bike. He doesn’t quite understand how to get the pedals to move yet.
  • Fine motor skills– Has a very tough time doing homework, writing his name and drawing. He is a master at building with blocks and doing puzzles but still has a tough time holding a pencil.

 

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As of today, we are waiting for our appointment for a Psych Evaluation on Nov. 17. This will give us information on what is going on with him and if he is indeed Autistic. For me, as his mom, it breaks my heart everyday seeing him struggle. I do what ever it takes to make sure he gets the help he needs in school and at home. He is beginning PCIT therapy next week and am hoping this helps some. Once we receive a diagnosis, doors will begin to open for him. He will receive more therapy and help in school.

If you believe that your child may be having difficulties, please talk to their doctor. Help at an early age is extremely beneficial. Please know that you are never alone on this…

 

*Please note that if your child has some of the same characteristics listed, this doesn’t mean an automatic Autism diagnosis. They are simply characteristics that my son experiences and are for informational purposes only.*

 

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18 thoughts on “Our Journey to a Diagnosis: Signs and Symptoms

    1. Thank Janine for commenting. 🙂 its been a tough road but its something that needs to be done. I’m happy to share with you all what is going on. I know it will help some moms in the future!

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing, it must have been very difficult to write, but in doing so, I’m sure you are helping many other mummies out there. I wish you all the best for the appointment #happynowlinkup x

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    1. Thank you! It was difficult to write. Anytime I talk about my feelings about this, I become emotional. I have felt so alone, but now its time to break through and help women feeling the same thing. 🙂

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  2. Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I am an SLP and meet families like yours all the time. I know that it is difficult to put out there, but this will definitely help others who may be seeing some of these behaviors. I agree, get help early, if you can!

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    1. Oh that’s so great!! My son goes to speech therapy at school but I’m not very happy with it. He is only given 30 minutes a week of therapy.. Hmm. I don’t like that. Its hard to let other people know about some of his behaviors, but I have to let other women know because I have felt so alone for so long! Thank you do much for commenting. ❤❤

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  3. Ashley, you have done quite a service for everyone by telling your story. A while back, I was spending too much time going through the checklists and questionnaires that are online and feeling like I still didn’t have enough answers. It is immeasurably more helpful to read about a REAL family’s experience from the initial signs when your son was a tiny one to what you are seeing today.

    Please keep us all up-to-date on what your doctor says. I know you are wishing it were already here. #happynowlinkup

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    1. Oh goodness, those questionnaires. I know those all too well. Lol. It was very tough letting others read about some of his behaviors but if I could have found a post that described the same thing, it would have been so much easier. I feel like a lot of what’s going on, isn’t discussed and so many women, like myself, feel so alone. I will keep updating his story for all of you. Thank you for being so amazing. ❤❤

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  4. This is a great post and I’m sure is a huge help to parents that might be experiencing similar things. We have autism in our extended family and ADD in our home. Just becoming familiar with what to expect and what might help alleviate symptoms can be a big relief. Good luck to you and your son; he is lucky to have such great parents.
    #happynowlinkup

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  5. Your boy sounds like a sweet litte guy. I hope you get the help that you and your son need, no matter the final diagnosis. {{Hugs}}

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