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Autism Spectrum Message Board

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Some Advice, Please
Apr 21, 2008
I have a 5 year old son that was deemed "developmentally delayed" at 3 1/2 years old. I went through the process of establishing an IEP, and he then started receiving OT for Sensory Integration Dysfunction and speech therapy for Pragmatic Language Delay. 2 different pediatricians have since said they believe he is on the spectrum, keeping in mind that it is a broad spectrum. So, we were referred to specialists out of state.

The psychiatrist we saw stated that my son has a language processing disorder (I believe he mean Auditory Processing Disorder) and that because he has a problem processing language, he can NOT have Asperger's and he does NOT believe that my son is autistic because he appears to be doing fine (he even told me that he would not be getting better from therapy if he was autistic). He droned on about how he has been doing this for a long time, and how I must not know what I am talking about because I haven't read the books he has, and how he felt I was just "seeking a label" for my son. (Because I told him I disagreed with his diagnosis.)

I know my son, I have spent the past 4 years of his life raising him alone. I know his strengths and his weaknesses, yet I had to sit there and watch the psychiatrist repeatedly force my son back into a chair and hold him there, after putting his hand up to me and telling me he "knew what he was doing, so just sit back and watch." Then I had to listen to him tell me all the ways that I was wrong, and how my son must have a mood disorder, given my family history. He suggested Bipolar, and said that Doctors just hand out the diagnosis of Autism like it is candy. He went on to say that my son is only whiny and his problems are behavioral. (This is after the therapists have been telling me it's NOT behavior.)

Now, we still have to see the speech and language pathologist (though he has been in speech therapy for the last 6 months) so that she can assess him, and then we see the neurodevelopmental pediatrician. My concern is that no one is listening to me. The specialists are only getting a half hour to an hour glimpse of my son, in a one on one setting. But these are the things I have witnessed over the past few years that have raised my suspicions leaning toward autism.

- Moderately reduced eye contact (about 50% improvement with therapy)
- Sensory Integration Dysfunction (about 50% improvement with therapy)
- Pragmatic Language Delay
- Poor social skills, withdraws from other children, prefers to be alone
- Obsessed with numbers, especially moving numbers (such as a timer counting down)
- Excessively focused on computers or mechanical devices, can sit for hours at a time without attending to other needs such as food or drink, and when he is moved from a computer he becomes combative
- Very bright, with a remarkable memory (He memorized the alphabet at age 2, began writing and recognizing words at 2, counted to 100 at 3, did simple math such as addition and subtraction at 4)
- Groups objects by color or size, and becomes upset if it is interfered with
- Stares blankly into space for several seconds at a time, frequently throughout the day
- "Draws" pictures/outlines in the air with his hands, sometimes talking while he is doing so but not always
- Does not have a "great" imagination (He will pretend to put tea into a tea cup, but will not see the teacup as anything else, such as a boat or a bathtub, and is adamant that is is "just" a teacup)
- Does not transition well, becomes combative
- Repeats numbers randomly, sometimes in other languages that he has learned (Such as saying "3,3,3,3" or "tres,tres,tres,tres")
- Refuses to eat any food that is "broken" (such as a crack in a candy cane or a brownie falling apart) and has a meltdown if he food "breaks"
- Has to follow the same routine at daycare every day... walk into his classroom to his cubby, and then into the adjoining room to use the computer (If his routine is broken, he has been known to have a melt down)
- Runs away from me in public places (Stores, parking lots) which scares me to no end, so much that I have to sit him in a shopping cart every time we go out
- Seems to have an aversion to faces that are drawn on a stick figure (He's fine looking at a stick figure, but drawing a face on it immediately evokes a meltdown, or he will curl into a ball
- Prior to therapy, he would scream and curl into a ball on the floor every single time I dropped him off at daycare or sunday school (Greatly improved since starting therapy)
- Has a meltdown when strangers try to help him
- Makes a weird sound when he is uncomfortable (I can't describe it, but it is always the same sound)
- Requires help getting dressed
- Still is not potty trained, and it is not for a lack of trying (Believe me - I've tried!)
- Still very sensitive to sound and light touch, (covers ears with loud noises or becomes combative after light touch or tickling) even with therapy
- Will not eat cereal in the morning until every single piece has been pushed down into the milk several times, melts down if he cannot do this task
- Prefers sleeping with a flashlight or book over a stuffed animal
- Spinning/moving objects immediately capture his entire attention (used to spin the wheels on his upside down tricyle instead of trying to riding it)
- Very attached to me (his Mom)
- Repeats lists of information, such as scenes from a movie or directions from a video game in a "mechanical" tone
- Only expression is a smile, otherwise he has a blank face
- Has pretty good use of language, is able to convey wants and needs, but doesn't always follow multiple step directions (He can sometimes)

I know this is a long list, but these are truly concerns I am showing to the neurodevelopmental pediatrician since it seems the psychiatrist wouldn't listen. Now, I have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind sharing some input.

* Can these behaviors/actions really be the result of an auditory processing discorder combined with bipolar/depression?

* Does having an auditory processing disoder automatically rule out autism/aspergers?

* Any advice on what to do/say if I feel the other specialists that have to see him aren't listening to my concerns?

I really appreciate your time an input on my post. This is something that is important to me.

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