Advice on Going to Specialist

Updated on January 20, 2009
D.K. asks from Terre Hill, PA
54 answers

Hi Ladies. I have a 4 yr. old who is very bright, since he was a baby he would flap his arms when he got excited. At first we thought it was just his way of showing expression. Since then he we noticed he has a hard time playing with his toys the way the they should be played with, he prefers lining them in rows. With playing with others, he does great 1 on 1 but more then that he backs off, He is the only child, so it is hard to say what is (normal) behavior. we talked to our family doctor and he is sending us to a autistic specialist. My question is does anyone have experiance in this subject becouse i have doubts about going becouse he does'nt fit the typical profile of an autistic child. I just need advice whether to go. My mother in law and husband says he's fine, no need to go. I know what its like to have struggles in school and i dont want the same for my child. I could really use some good advice. Thanks

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So What Happened?

I just want to thank everyone who responded to my request. we decided to take our precious little boy to get evaluated, it wont hurt nothing. and as many of you said its a mommy gut feeling. I will let you all know how it went. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart. D.

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M.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

Not going to the specialist will not make him not autistic, if that is indeed the problem, it will just prevent his educational and emotional needs from being met. Why would you do that? It's better to know what's going on and make rational decisions from there.

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N.W.

answers from Harrisburg on

You need to go. There is no harm in going, only harm in not going. Additionally, the autism spectrum is SO broad now that previous cases that went undiagnosed would now be included.

M.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I would absolutely go - the more proactive you can be, the better, and the more help you can get the better! My son was 2mos early and sees a developmentalist every month - this is so helpful and FUN!

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L.W.

answers from Pittsburgh on

D.,

I have an almost 16-year old with autism. He is very successful in many ways today because of early intervention and the proper services. It sounds like your son could have ASPERGER'S, extremely high-functioning autism.

Please put your mind at rest and GO TO THE SPECIALIST. If he doesn't have it, GREAT. If he does, IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. You are finding out now and finding out how to work with those talents. I give the pediatrician credit for recognizing signs and wanting to find out more. Too many pediatricians don't do this and the child doesn't get services early enough, if needed.

Please stay in touch with me, [email protected]____.com. I care about this topic with passion.

You can also visit my website to read my personal story about autism.
www.discoverytoyslink.com/lenoremomkjpj

L.

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H.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Going to the specialist or not isn't going to change whether or not there is something going on. But going and learning the facts will help you to better help your son. I don't really see any disadvantage to taking him for an evaluation. Simply having him evaluated won't label him or change anything. Autism is a wide spectrum of disorders that include many behaviors and symptoms that affect the way people interact with others and the world. While he may have very mild symptoms which appear simply "quirky" a trained person may recognize them as part of a bigger picture. Having that information will open the door for your child to all available resources that may make life simpler for him.

1 mom found this helpful
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E.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

D.-

Hi, how are you? I work for a company called Clarity Service Group(clarityservicegroup.com). Here are some places I know.

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(private pay only) Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr. Thomas Casey Bryn Mawr, PA ###-###-####

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CHOP Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr. Joyce Sapin Philadelphia, PA ###-###-####

Dev Ped Main Line Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr. James Coplan Rosemont, PA ###-###-####

Einstein Hospital Medical Center as well as an office in Northeast Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr. Wendy Ross Philadelphia, PA [email protected]____.com ###-###-####

Hunterton Medical Center/child Development Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist ###-###-####

KIDS FIRST Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr Ann Marie DeCosta Bala Cynwood, PA ###-###-####

Pediatric specialty Care (feeding and swallowing also) Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr Peggy Eicher Willow Grove, PA ###-###-####

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Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr Julia Hayes ###-###-####

Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians/Neurologist Dr. Peter Kollros Abington, PA ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful
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S.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

D.,
As a mother you should go with your instincts. it also would not hurt to see what the specialist says because if your son needs more aenin its better to find out sooner than later. Having worked with autistic children none of hem are the same. Autism falls under a huge umbrella of behaviors. Just know that you are not alone and everything will work out for the best.
Shant'e

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A.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

You owe it to your son to go. What is the hurt of hearing a specialist say nothing is wrong? However, he could be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum (my best friends son is autistic). Early dectection is essential in teaching him (and you and your famly) ways to deal with whatever the issues may be and will equip him for as normal a life as possible.

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G.Z.

answers from Pittsburgh on

As the mother of an autistic son, I can honestly say that there is no "typical" profile. Like you, I did not think my son fit the profile for autism. However, on the advice of his preschool teacher, we had him tested. He too liked to line things up in rows and had difficulty with social interactions. For your own peace of mind I believe you should have your son evaluated. If it turns out he is not autistic then you will have peace of mind. If, however, the diagnosis turns out to be autism, you will be able to begin early intervention which is so important to your son's future success. I know it was invaluable for my son. He is currently a senior in college and has done remarkably well.

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S.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

D.,

You have to ask yourself if it would give you peace of mind by going to the doctor. If you didn't go would you always be wondering in the back of your mind if maybe there is something wrong? I know it is unsettling to think there might be something wrong with your precious little boy. Our only child was diagnosed with a genetic disorder shortly after he turned 2. It is something we suspected for awhile. At least with the diagnosis we could build a plan of action. I know what I need to do to make sure my son lives a healthy long life. I felt better getting a definite answer. If you do decide to go, prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. If the doctor does come back with a diagnosis arm yourself with all the knowledge you can. Knowing every possible thing about a disorder helps reduce fears of the unknown. There are support groups out there for everything. We get specialized newsletters about our son's disorder. That way we stay on top of all the latest research and any studies going on that he might participate in. The one thing you have to understand is that your son is still that wonderful, beautiful boy, no matter what any doctor says!

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A.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi D.,

I am a 36yr old mother of 4 and I work in the field of Autism. I am a behavioral specialist in wrap around services for the last 8yrs. I would highly reccommend going and gettind your son evaluated! You have nothing to lose if he doesn't fit all the characterisitcs but if he recieves a diagnosis these are the most important years. You will know as a mother that you did everything possible instead of looking back and saying I should have done... I am not saying your child is on the spectrum but what you are describing does fit into Autistic characterisitics. This is just my opinion and what I would do from being in the field. Good Luck and if you have any questions feel free to contact me via email or by phone ###-###-####.

B.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

HI D., I'm no expert, but as the mother of three I can tell you that anytime you have more than two children in a room one will always be on the "outside" looking in. I also know that at least one of my girls went through a "line" stage, where she put everything into lines from toys to silverware on the table! Let common sense be your guide. In society today we seem to be in a big hurry to put lables on anything and everyone! Back in the 70's everyone was "hyper" in the 80's & 90's ADD and ADHD were the catch all for any kid that didn't comform instantly to every public demand made on them. Now, atusim is all the rage...I know there are lots of kids out there that do have real problems, but I really don't believe that it is as many as are being diagnosed. What is wrong with being a bit quirky and having enough imagination to play with toys differently than the norm? Is it a sign of brilliance or a problem? Let your heart and the hearts of the family that loves your child as well be your guide. Best wishes.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

HI D.,
Give yourself a day or two to get your arms around the possibility that it may be something...then again, it may be nothing.
The autism spectrum is vast and your son may or may not be on the spectrum.
I always feel that the easiest way to face something is armed with knowledge. Knowledge is truly power.
You, as a mother, need to go with your gut. Regardless of what others say--including your husband.
My son is 5 and a half. He is in Kindergarten this year. Last year, his preschool teachers kept mentioning how he had difficulty cutting with scissors, holding a pencil. etc. I was really getting sick of hearing it at least once per week when I would pick him up. He had never liked to do crafts, cut, color or draw and I figured it just was not his bag. I knew he struggled with it and I was wondering if it wasn't a chicken vs. the egg typer of situation.
I finally took him to the ped (mostly so I could tell the teachers to knock it off!). She referred me for a fine motor eval and guess what? My son had fine motor skill delay. He has been getting OT once per week for about 6 months now and I cannot believe he is the same kid! All he wants to do is cut and write. He's doing above average in all areas in Kindergarten.
In summary, my points are:
•No autistic child is "typical" and they don't all look or act the same.
•Trust your gut as a mother, if you think there may be a problem, it should be checked out.
•The earlier you take him, the earlier you can get him help (and believe me--I had to wait MONTHS for my evaluation)
•It's not the end of the world, even if they find some type of delay.
•The more facts YOU know the more you can help him. Start doing some internet research but don't allow yourself to be scared by what you see.
•You want your child to have every advantage, don't you? Of course you do!
Good luck and God Bless!

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C.W.

answers from Reading on

Check with the school district your son will go to. They will be able to set you up with a free evaluation. It can't hurt and may be a HUGE help to your son, so make the call.

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S.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

I see nothing wrong with getting a Drs opinion. Better to have it checked out because early prevention etc can be a huge help. I'd rather go to the Dr and have them tell me he is fine than to not go and have it become apparent a few years from now when he could have had therapy all that time.

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C.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

D.,

I'm not sure what you mean by "typical profile". There are so many different degrees to Autistic children. Some more severe then others. My cousin has two children both are Autistic though each affected diffrently. Her son is able to communicate and attend school and in some areas very advanced compared to his peers, though her daughter does not speak but communicates through signing. I would think if you have any concerns that you would go, from what I've seen with my cousin early intervention is the key. It couldn't hurt and if it is something you know you are doing all you can to ensure he gets all the help that is available to him. Wish you the best
C.

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R.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

Get him evaluated- then you'll know one way or the other and you won't have to question yourself. Trust yourself as a mom and go with your gut- dads have a way of passing things off and more often than not our gut feelings are right.

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L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.,
It seems so hard and scary now - especially since he's young, but you will be so happy to know what's going on in the long run. My son was very similar. His first grade teacher picked up on it and some other learning stuff and asked for us to test him. He is very low on the spectrum, very mild. Now that he's in 6th grade, it is hard to tell anything is going on, he's adapted so well. He's smart, very articulate, funny, has friends, all is well. However, I don't know if that'd been the case if we hadn't had him tested back then. What it did for us is help us help him negotiate the social world a little so that he was successful in finding and keeping friends. We could give him "tools" to help him in sticky social situations and, as a mom, its nice to know what to look for and how to help. Get him tested! You'll be thankful you did.
L.

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A.R.

answers from State College on

i would take him to the specialist. Autism doesn't necessarily have to be typical - there are a wide range of behaviors and severity that can fall in the Autism spectrum. If he does have a problem the early it is diagnosed and intervention is started, the better.

That being said, try not to worry too much. I have a child who went through a phase of ordering toys and still prefers to play 1 on 1 with other children and has a hard time in a group. He was an only child until 4 1/2 yo.

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A.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

As long as you have insurance, I would go; it couldn't hurt and it may put your mind at ease. I'll pray for you, and good luck!

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E.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

Please take your child to the specialist. Asking advice is never wrong. If there is a problem, knowing sooner rather than later could make all the difference. I am a bit worried about the family response. If, the specialist does suggest a course of action, I would watch the family very closely. Unless all members support the process the child will suffer.
Good Luck.
ER

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D.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I would strongly advise going to the specialist. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning there are many levels of it. Lining the toys up, playing with them in unusua ways, wanting 1:1 are typical symptoms of an autism disorder.

Pittsburgh has 2 excellent centers for diagnosis~~~ "The Autism Center of Pittsburgh" see www.autismlink.org the other center is at Children's Hospital

My son has autism spectrum disorder and is high functioning in that sense, but still needs supports at school. If you had difficulties, that may be related and will be important for the doctor to know.

Good luck. I would be happy to chat further wwith you if that would help.

D.

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi D.,

Go to the specialist. Get your mind at ease. We all have our special way of being ourselves. Don't worry. Things will work out. Love your child. That is all that is important. Cope with his way of being. You are a special woman. Allow for challenges.

God bless you for caring. D.

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J.S.

answers from Allentown on

If it will make you feel better then go and get him evaluated. It can't hurt. When my husband was young, he use to flap his arms when he was excited. Now he shakes his hands, he's not even aware he does it sometimes. My MIL says today they would of evaluated him for Autism. He is fine, Graduate degree, Director at a lrg Bank. My 4yr old son rocks when he is stressed or sitting on the couch watching TV. He also is very neat and orderly, but otherwise fine. It is just his way. Some family members thinks it is strange and thinks he should be looked at. My dr said it is just him. I think everyone is looking to label their kids. Some kids just do "odd" things and some are just hyper, not always a need to label or put on meds. You have to do what you feel is right. Good luck.

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D.T.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi

I am begging you to go. Your child sounds like mine, he is on the autistic spectrum, he is VERY high-functioning.
There is a great deal of help out there --he needs ABA therapy. My daughter had 2 years of this therapy and what a HUGE difference!!
Please take him to CHOP-they will point you in the right direction.

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

Teh fact that he is high-functioning is a great blessing!!

:) D.

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S.T.

answers from Allentown on

I would go. I am an Occupatioanl therapist and have seen/worked with children with autism, and there are MANY different level of it depending where they fall on the spectrum. At least if you go, the dr can either give you peace of mind that your child is fine or they can refer you to someone who can work with him and you to find ways to help him cope with his surroundings. Hope this helps in some way.

S.
Allentown, PA

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P.M.

answers from Allentown on

D.,
I do have experience in the field. Autism is a broad spectrum disorder which simply stated means that a child can have some tendencies or could be very autistic. The struggles that you are going through will get difficult so a support network is crucial. I live in PA where there is an excellent resource. That website is ....www.POAC.net. They are informative and the gentlemen who formed the group is a parent of a child with autism. On a personal note, I have a daughter with traumatic brain injury and a son wth dyslexia ...school can be an environment where you need to prepared for with lots of knowledge ahead of time.If you want any personal anecdotes along the way i have stories to keep you going.Stay positive you are truly blessed with a unique and beautiful young man for your son:)
Ann

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F.V.

answers from Lancaster on

D.,
I posted a similar question awhile back and got no response so I will do my best to give you my opinion and hope I help. My son is 21 months and has been 'flapping' his arms since I can remember. He loves things that spin esp a ceiling fan. Loves anything round balls, pictures of balls antyhign with a circle. I want to get him elvaluated down the road. My gut tells me that nothing is wrong but as a first time Mom and all that is out there with Autism and the loads of shots that our children get, to me, it is better to be safe than sorry. I am not as convinced that there is something 'wrong' like my husband seems to think. He gets all freaked out and worried. I don't. But I as a Mother do have a small concern. If there is some 'type' of autism then we will get thru it. If you think there is reason to get your child evaluated, go for it and do it! For your peace of mind and for your childs health, do it! I just read Jenny McCarthys book "Louder than Words" and let me tell you, that woman whether you like her or hate her, went through a lot with her son and his autism and she didn't think at first anything was wrong. Go with your gut, get him checked and then you will know for sure!
Good luck and don't worry!
Christina

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L.A.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.-

I am a child therapist and have worked with many kids who have autistic spectrum disorders. What you are describing is really not something to freak out about, but definately should be looked at. Kids with mild austism can live perfectly normal and productive lives (often very successful one too since that tend to be very intellegent and well focused in their areas of interest).

Autism is not a single disorder but rather lies on a spectrum ranging from very severe (usually with some mental retardation and the more severe symptoms that you typically think of) to more 'mild' syndromes such as aspergers. Many very intellegent people who we think of as having relatively good functioning ability have more mild austistic disorders.

So I would definately go for the eval, esp if your doc recommended it. There are real benefits to having your child evaluated and diagnosed before he is 5 years old
because in PA you are eligable for free early intervention services (and evals) for him until he is 5. Plus IF he is diagnosed with something, knowing this before he starts school can help you with school decision making and prevent many problems kids face when entering school with out the diagnosis and support they need.

Good Luck
L.

A.J.

answers from Williamsport on

Don't look for clues (lining up toys, shy in big groups) and labels (autism, etc). I don't know any kids who don't line things up! If he has difficulty in school down the line, deal with it then. But he's probably fine and unique. A few of my friends look for disorders in their kids, and then go to doctors and keep insisting something is there and the doctors ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING. Then my friends feel "right" and it;s like they weren't happy leaving without a diagnosis. I had a friend go to 4 doctors until one finally said her son had ADHD just because she wouldn't leave him alone and stop making appointments with stories of every tantrum. An Autistic specialist is going to know every subtle nuance of Autism and they are going to tell you he has it. Stay out of there. Don't pre-worry. Live your life like your son is unique and healthy and don't deal with serious obstacles until they pop up. If you believe he's fine, he's much more likely to be fine. You are already on the look out for his performance in school, so you won't miss anything if he needs help later.

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D.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi D.,

I am sorry you are going through this with your little one. It is very important that you do take him in to be evaluated. It will give you peace of mind once you have a clear answer to what might be going on. Children with autism (if that is indeed what he has) benefit greatly from early and focused intervention. If he does not meet criteria at least you know and you won't be second guessing yourself later on. You should go to a center/hospital/clinic that has an autism clinic or autism program and specializes in diagnosis and treatment. Although he might not meet the "typical" profile the autism spectrum is quite varied and it might be that he is only mildly affected, if at all. Lastly, if it autism it will be important for your husband and your mother-in-law to support you and your son in receiving appropriate treatment. Sometimes people fear what they do not understand and it is easier to ignore it, your son will benefit from a unified front on this. Think of it this way, if your pediatrician had asked you to go get a blood test for him or other medical check-up you would, this is no different. Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi I'm a 32yr mom of a 5yr son who has autism and he was diagonosed at 2.5 . No kid with autism is alike just get the information you can. you are the mom if you think something is wrong dont listen go with your gutt

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K.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi

See the specialist...better to know for sure. Hopefully, to put your mind at ease.

fyi...my son lines up all his cars, everyday since he was about 1 1/2 and he does not have autism. Also, everything is in numeric/alphabetical order. He is also an only child and definitely perfers to play one on one versus getting into the mix with a lot of kids. He also shys away from the real rough boy play.

Good luck

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H.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

While your son may not be autistic, he is showing what are some classic signs of autism. Of course, it just may be him being normal. That is one of the hard parts of autism, so many of the symptoms/signs can also just be normal childhood behavior.

While my children are not autistic, I have a couple of friends with autistic children. I know that there are many different levels of autism. What this means is that there are people who are autistic and not well functioning in the real world such as Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man" but there are all levels of functionality. Some autistic children are able to interact and cope well when one on one or with small groups.

Also, if it turns out that your son is autistic, it is better to know as soon as possible. The medical field is really working with autistic children through education and different therapies at all levels to help them be more functional members of society and to help them overcome obstacles they have typically had issues with in the past. They are, also, finding that the sooner they have a diagnosis and start working with children the better the results from the different therapies.

Anyhow, I'm not an expert and hope that you get the diagnosis you are hoping for but just wanted to note that either way, you still have a wonderful, imaginative beautiful little boy who is going to have a wonderful future.

Good luck with your appointment. I hope this helps.

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A.B.

answers from Reading on

STOP! Step back, take a breath. First I want to say that you seem very calm and I am extremely proud of how you are handling this. Most people hear the word "autism" and immediately begin freaking out. Autism (as I'm sure you've researched) is a spectrum disorder. What it boils down to is a kid can be "a little bit" autistic or "a lot" autistic (I'm a special ed. teacher and the foster mom of two autistic sons so I can just picture my colleagues cringing at that overly simplified description). Unfortunatly there is no "typical profile." Some of the things you have described do sound like they could be autistic like behaviors or related to lesser intense forms of the disorder (asperger's or rhett's syndrome). There are no major issues at this time but it wouldn't hurt to see a specialist. Each child is different in millions of ways, and perfect in gagillians. You will love your child the same no matter what a specialist says. Because I guess it's a hot family conversation topic right now try not to let your little one see/feel any stress the "A" word is causing on your family. He'll be just as happy either way. And if he is found to be 'on the spectrum' he won't care as long as he knows everything is the same.

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A.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

i have worked with Autistic children, as a teacher. Some children have autistic tendencies without being considered autistic. There are also various ranges of autism. i believe that it would not hurt to have your child evaluated while he is young. When your child attends school and is in a room with a lot of other people, noise and stimuli, it could be too much for him and hinder his learning. If he is diagnosed to have autism, there are many resources available to you now before he even attends school. Your family may not want to see your child has having autism so they say oh he is fine. If your doctor has recommneded a specialist then maybe he sees something he is concerned about. Always do what you feel is best for your child.
A.

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M.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Without reading all the additional responses I would approach the teachers who are involved with your child or any additional adult interactions first.

Possibly, get him into mixed social settings and watch his play and interaction where there are others to watch along with you.

Journal your observations. The option of the specialist is always there.

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K.K.

answers from Reading on

I would have him checked out. The sooner you can get help (most places have a year wait!!) The better. I know with my son (who is autistic) he doesn't follow all the "typical" flags. He is very caring...loves to gives hugs and kisses. He is also very smart, he just has a hard time with speech and the social kids to play with other kids. I know it is a tough pill to swallow, I have done it, but for his sake, please have him checked out so he might get the right opportunites in the future!!

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L.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

In addition to what the other moms have said, I remember reading somewhere that children with any condition on the autism spectrum (low functioning to high functioning) fare better the earlier treatment services are started. If it were my child I would have him evaluated.

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K.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

my advice is go ahead and get as much testing, evaluation as possible! then, you are prepared early! Depending on what county you are in Del or Chester, you could contact the DCIU or CCIU and ask them for an eval too. By law, if your child does have needs, then he would be eligible for early intervention.

I know it is alot to swallow. I am a spec ed teacher and a mom of a child with differences. So i really believe in early intervention and I also know it is extremely difficult to think your child may have a problem. btw, my son, my mom always said, oh Matthew's just smart, he'll grow out of it,...well thank goodness I took him for evaluation, now he gets the services he needs.

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S.C.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi D.,

I don't know much about Autism, except that there is a range of severity. So, I don't see how it would hurt to have your son evaluated by an expert. I know from friends who work with Autistic adults that being diagnosed early is better than later because you can start the special schools and stuff that often reduce the severity of the symptoms. I would get online and look at autism awareness sites and goverment sites like NIMH.org, not sure about org, may be com. for mental health info (Autism is classified as a mental health disorder).

Kids his age play differently, my son liked to line his trucks up too and was not good with a bunch of kids at that age either (also an only child). He is now married with kids and works with computers (that needs organization like lining up the toys).

Above all I am sure that your family can handle it if he is diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum. God will not give you more than you can handle, trust him. And if the stress is ever to much go to a therapist for a couple of sessions.

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B.W.

answers from Erie on

I don't have autistic kids, but I have friends who do, and another friend with Aspbergers syndrome, which is similar but different.

At age 3 side by side play is normal for kids. At which point they begin to be able to really play "with" someone, I don't know, but by 5 or 6, they should be interactive and able to both play the same game, and mold it as they go.

If the symptoms you've described have triggered something in the doctor's brain, that he would refer you to a specialist, I would go. This is an opportunity for you to find out whether there is something going on or not. Just because he specializes in autism, and your son may not have that particular thing, doesn't mean the visit won't be helpful. The doctor will also know about other types of syndromes, and if your child does have special needs, he will be able to connect you with services that will help you and him to cope with life's challenges. And the earlier you start dealing with them, the better.

And, then, if it turns out that he is totally "normal", then what have you lost ? You've simply erased a worry. and that's a good thing.

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L.G.

answers from State College on

Go! If there's nothing wrong, no harm no foul. If there is, you will be able to learn to respond to his needs and facilitate his entry into school

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C.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.
I have a 5 year old how doesn't fit the typical profile for Autism, but has been diagnosed on the Spectrum. He is bright, and very social, hence, not the "typical" but there are definitely other characteristics that do apply to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Is your child speech delayed at all?
Please follow your pediatrician's advise and have your child evaluated. Early intervention is the BEST defense for him, as well as you.
My son is an only child as well, but he has many cousins in the same age category, and at family gatherings his "quirkiness" is obvious.
The sooner your son is evaluated, the sooner he will be able to receive the therapies available to allow him to be mainstreamed once he is school age.
C. G

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N.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

what can it hurt to go? maybe it will just serve to put everyone's minds at rest. I once took my 6 mo old to a specialist to see if she was developmentally delayed. They eased my worries and she turned out to be a brilliant child and woman. Good luck.

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F.B.

answers from Harrisburg on

There are different types of Autism and varying degrees of severity in each from mild to extreme. If you are concerned about the things you are witnessing in your child and since your doctor suggested it. I think you should get him tested. Once he is tested, then you will know for sure. If you are still concerned, go to this website, www.autism-society.org, and read up on Autism.

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M.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

I am glad that you are trying to find other opinions on this difficult decision. I was in a similar situation as you are now and am thankful that we got an opinion from a specialist. The question you should ask yourself is what's the risk? What is the risk if you GO to the specialist - a copay fee to find out that your child is OK or possibly that your child has a problem and many solutions on how to "fix" the problem. What is the risk of NOT GOING to the specialist? If your child doesn't have a problem - nothing other than the time of worry until he is "typical". If your child has a problem - the risk is wasted time that could have been used to help your child. I think people are so scared of a "diagnosis" it persuades them not to look for a problem so they won't find it - but eventually they do find out.

There are many "degrees" of kids on the spectrum as well other conditions that may cause the symptoms that you are seeing. I suggest seeing a specialist - a developmental pediatrician or would be a good start. I would suggest looking into it now because the wait time is very long both at CHOPS and DuPont. Good luck with your decision. I think you will do what is best for your child.

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V.A.

answers from Lancaster on

D.,
Your story was our life just 3 years ago! Our son, Adam had signs of Autism, like lining up toys and very little speech. PLEASE take him to the specialist! Your son may be very low on the spectrum, meaning autism, but very mild. It is so important to find out if your son is Autistic as early as possible, because treatment works better the earlier they start. I hope your son is NOT Autistic. Our second son was evaluated earlier this year (he is 2) because of his speech delay. He was NOT diagnosed, but rather they think he was immitating his older brother.
Adam is now almost 7 and in an IU Kindergarten class. He is amazing and loves school. I NEVER thought I would write this, but he has potty trained himself. We just encouraged him and kept up hope.
Please let us know how the evaluation went. Do this for him.
If you want to ask me anything, please do - I am here for you.
~V. Anger

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L.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

Well there are differnent levels of Austim. Let the doctors run there papper test and see what comes of it. You might find that it is just a simple little misunderstanding since he is an only child. Or maybe it might show that he might need a little more help when it comes to making friends at school. What is your gut telling you?

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K.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Since you have talked to your family doctor he may have concerns as well if he is sending you to a specialist. Our son, Jacob had signs of Autism, like lining up toys and very little speech. When the school psych came out to see him she said oh he's autistic. When we had him evaluated they placed him on the spectrum with PDD(pervasive developmental disorder). He is now 5 3/4 yrs old and in learning supportw/ mainstream kindergarten and is doing wonderfully! PLEASE take him to the specialist to get a 2nd opinion! Getting into seeing a developmental pediatrician has a very long waiting list if you're lucky enough maybe your local IU could be helpful or a neurologist. We are currently going through this with our daughter. I've been fighting to have someone tell me she is on the spectrum and it's been a long road. We're currently in the process with filling out all kinds of tests etc.
"Remember, an alphabet does not make a child. Your child is your child, a diagnosis does not change who they are, just points you to places where you might learn more about your child."
wishing you the best!

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B.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

wow i know this is a little late and i am a horrible typer so bear with me...TRUST YOUR GUT! you are the mother and you know best...from the way your expressed yourself i think you pay close attention to your child...my first born son is now 10...i noticed he was different from the get go....he didn't giggle alot and could talk before he was 1...he was always different in his play and had trouble entertaining himself...he could build tall creations out of legos when he was between 1 and 2...he was very seriously and had lotsof trouble sleeping...i am certified in early childhood development and have taught elementary school...i am also the oldest of 6 so i have seen lots of kids...i kept telling the dr and he said keep notes on the things that he does...at 17 months he started having tantrums where he would hurt himself and it never passed...supposedly he was to grow out of it...."just an early start to the terrible two's" so they told me...anyway the point of my story is by the age of 4 it had not stopped and he played much different then other children....i now know that he is off the charts in intelligence but also has mental illnesses...slight autism, bipolar, pervasive developmental disorder, adhd, and God only knowswhat else....i finally found a psychiatrist to take me serioulsly and my pediatritian supported me in my decision (Dr. J. Mirmasnesh;###-###-####) he is the best!!!!! I had alot of trouble gettting people to believe me especially my parents...he also has odd movement reactions in response to happy and sad and things that stress him...his psychiatrist is Dr. James Nelson in cherry hill...i do not think that he is taking new patients now but perhaps he could refer you to someone he thinks is good...finally in4th grade he got the help he needs...today actually...we had a meeting with the child study teamand they helped after the elementary school said their could not be anything wrong with him because he got straight A's....my advice...DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!!!!! i know it is hard and i do not know your whole situation and your child may not be nearly as challenged as mine but because he is very smart..like off the charts they did not know how to handle it....finsd a child study team and insist you get help....do not anyone tell you that you do not know what you are talking about and that you must be doing something wrong.... a mother knows! i hope that i have at least given you hope that there are answers out there....good luck and feel free to write back to me because sometimes i felt alone in my [email protected]____.com......HANG IN THERE AND GOOD LUCK!!!!

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R.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Go to the specialist. Arm flapping and lining up your toys are both classic signs. That said, he's probably fine, but don't miss the opportunity of help if he isn't fine. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning there are very mild and very severe cases. Where's the harm in consulting an expert? I have an only child too, and understand the play is different, but I have an autistic nephew and have witnessed his behavior too. We are not experts, but an expert evaluation might ease your mind or, if necessary, get your son the early intervention that could change his life for the better.

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K.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

Why wouldn't you go? If he's fine then you'll find out. If he has something that's within the autisnm spectrum, you'll find out. Autism has a very broad meaning. He may just have a hard time with others socially, which can be part of it, then you'll learn how do deal with it. It doesn't mean that he's not smart, or will be disabled. I think your husband and mother are very uniformed about autism, and may be a bit afraid of the diagnosis. It's not about them, it's about yoru child. Go to the appointment and find out.

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L.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Like so many others here have said, I think it's always good to look for advice and to educate yourself as much as you possibly can. My youngest, who is now 18, did a lot of things you are mentioning. He was obsessive about lining up his cars when he played, he also had temper outbursts, was extremely shy, and seemed to not socialize well. I don't believe I have one single picture of him smiling before the age of 8 or so. He just never seemed to smile. Back when he was very young, the autism spectrum was not defined as widely as it is today. My pediatrician made some mention of it, but it just wasn't the "out there" subject that it is now. Basically, we didn't do anything at all, because, well, that's how it was back then. I had some real concerns that there was something wrong with him. He barely spoke, though I knew he had good receptive language skills. He was withdrawn and seemed angry and easily agitated. He didn't learn to read at all, even the simplest sight words, until near the end of first grade. At about that time, we began to do formal evaluations. Imagine my surprise to find he was considered "gifted". Nothing had changed in his behavior, but he was apparently taking everything in around him. He went into second grade and just took off academically.

Fast forward... he gradually socialized and caught up with the rest of the children his age. We never had any problems with his behavior in school, his grades were always excellent. Teachers couldn't get enough of him, and often told me they wished they had a classroom of students just like him. He graduated near the top of his class in high school, became an Eagle Scout, and was offered scholarships to both Temple and Drexel Universities. He is now a freshman at Temple studying engineering, works at a challenging and interesting job, has a lovely girlfriend,is very outgoing, and I constantly hear compliments about my wonderful son. No one believes me when I talk about how quiet he was, and we joke about how I thought there was something wrong with him. He just came along in his own time and in his own way.

If you contrast my youngest son to my oldest, you'd see a picture that is almost opposite. He has been social and charismatic since the day he was born. He draws people to him, a born leader, but a complete nonconformist. I've been to more parent-teacher conferences for him than I can even remember. The teachers that had to deal with my Patrick deserve hazardous-duty pay, retroactive and compounded. My boys went to Catholic school, and let me just say this: You haven't really lived until you get a call from a priest telling you that your son installed a fart machine (remote controlled, no less) under Father's desk in religion class. That son, now almost 21 years old, we affectionately call "interesting". When I look back over my years raising him, I marvel over the fact that he and I survived. He's now a wonderful young man, too. He's still "out there", but he's a fantastic human being, and I light up whenever I see him. He just came along in his own time and in his own way.

So, I say educate yourself and be prepared. Gather information, because knowledge is what will empower you to do the best for your child. Perhaps he is autistic, perhaps not. But he is your son, and your job is to help him come along in his own time and in his own way.

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