I've just found this message board and I have learned a lot from searching the archives. This is the most extensive autism board I have found!
I have three children. My oldest is 11 and was diagnosed with Aspeger's Syndrome at 6 years old. My middle is 8 and my youngest is 10 months old.
My concern is for my 10 month old. He has an interesting medical history, but I won't bore you with things that don't relate to my questions.
He has what has been termed by our pediatrician as "unusual movements". These movements include slinging his head back and forth (like shaking his head "no"); tensing up his hand with his fingers in an unusual position and shaking his hand and arm very quickly while staring intently at it; methodically and slowly waving his hand in front of his face while staring intently at it; rubbing his fist across his mouth while slinging his head from side to side; slinging his left arm back and forth; and his latest (which I have not discussed with our pediatrician) is hitting himself on his forehead with ANYTHING. He has hit himself in the forehead with the remote control so hard, he has left a bruise. He also bangs his head into our head and when he is being held and gets excited, he bangs his head and face in our shoulder, face or collar bone.
He also flaps his arms up and down (both at the same time) when he gets excited or upset.
He has been slighly delayed in meeting physical milestones -- he didn't sit until 7 months and didn't pull up until 9 months. He babbles a little, but not a lot. We used to think he responded to his name, but now we are not so sure if he does or not - he seems to turn to look about 50% of the time.
He claps and waves ALOT! In fact, he has been clapping for several months. The thing is that he claps ALL the time. He wakes up and begins clapping within a few seconds. He also waves his hands a lot (even when there is no one to wave too). He has made the connection though and will wave back to someone who waves to him. But as I said, he will wave to the table, cat, trees, and people, so I'm not sure if he knows what he is doing or not. The waving first started as him flapping his hand, but then he realized that when he did it people would do it back.
He does not point to anyone or anything. If we are playing and we ask him "Where's Daddy?" or "Where's Mommy", he will occassional look in the direction of the person we asked about, but I wonder if it's just a coincidence that he looks that way. He doesn't use gestures to indicate anything he wants either. If we point to something and say, "Look at the __________" he doesn't follow our point.
Lastly, the past week, he has started spinning wheels. He got his first two trucks for Christmas and although we have shown him how to play with them, he only wants to turn them on their side and spin their wheels. He doesn't do this for long periods of time (only a mintue or two), but it is the VERY first thing he does when he is sat down next to his toys.
At his nine-month check up, I specifically asked our pediatrician about my concerns of these things looking autistic. She agreed that it is a concern, but pointed out several very positive things about his development including:
He is social -- most of the time, he will smile when someome smiles at him.
He makes good eye contact.
He is babbling (although slightly less than what is expected at his age).
She did, however, refer him for a physical therapy and occupational therapy evaluation. The occupational therapist said that he has some "Sensory issues". She pointed out things we had not noticed like the fact that he crawls with his hands closed fisted. He also did not like having his entire foot flat on the floor. He tried to stand on his tip toes, but if she put his heels down, he lifted his toes up so his whole foot wouldn't touch the floor.
He has had skull x-rays, CT scan and an MRI because of his unusual shaped skull and very small soft spot. He has also had two E.E.G.s to make sure that these "unusual movements" are not seizures. Everything has come back "normal" (other than his very small soft spot).
So, that is where things stand now. He will go back to our pediatrician at 11 months old (she is seeing him at least every two months because she said she is keeping a closer eye on his development).
I am curious what you all think of his behaviors. Do we have reason to be concerned about it being autism? Are there any suggestions for what we need to do?
Thank you so much -
Connie (Mommy to Timothy -2/24/03)