Gransnet forums


early signs of autism?

(14 Posts)
grannygranby Mon 31-Mar-14 12:37:10

I do not see my grandaughter very often as they live about 50 miles away. But am in pretty regular touch. Son Dil and GDD came over yesterday and we went for a meal. GDD was two last month and my worry is that she is regressing and neither of her parents are acknowledging it.
She doesn't speak at all - not even no! or mummy daddy.
She avoids eye contact or rather does not respond to eye contact.
She seems deaf even or especially to her own name.
And yet she is very bright with her iphone (I know!) - and plays a lot on ipad at home (and they always seem to have cbbeebies on...) I am not making a judgement here - it might well be the only time when GDD is happy and attentive..
Basically it seems to me all her stimulus is visual. She can spell and do complicated games on her gadgets and laughs a lot with them.
Other than that she gets attention by screeching and screaming and cying.
Today I realise there might be a problem and I am quite sad and feel helpless.
As much as I have tried with Dil I do not have relationship beyond a formal politeness with her. Any question I ask her is blocked. I did question whether GDD had hearing problems a couple of months ago - I thought that might be it but it was interpreted by Dil as some kind of criticism of her daughter. Dil is also 3 months pregnant - so one has to be v careful and patient. Unfortunately we have never had an easy relationship. Which is sad in itself.
So we are all pretending that everything is fine. But it is not. I suppose I just want to confide. I don't think there is anything I can actually do at this stage.
My son absolutely adores his daughter and doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong...not consciously anyway. Mum stays at home - she has started going to nursery a couple of mornings but other than they say she loves it I know nothing more. They both promote the idea that she is daddy's girl....and she enjoys a very physical rough and tumble relationship with him. All very affectionate. I don't know what else to say. But saying it might help confused

Nonu Mon 31-Mar-14 12:59:47

Granny , it is good to air your worries , I am afraid I have any not particular advice I do know that there will be a Granny who will probably be able to help .
In the meantime , a ((HUG)) for you !

Mishap Mon 31-Mar-14 12:59:51

What a difficult situation for you; especially as you do not feel free to express your concerns.

If this lass is at nursery some of the time, it is likely that they will pick up if anything does not seem right and say the right things and suggest suitable referrals. At least it is not just you looking in from the outside - there are others involved.

Autism is far more common in boys, so that is some consolation; and children develop at different rates.

I hope there is a good outcome here.

Iam64 Mon 31-Mar-14 13:00:41

Your description would have concerned me as well. It's good your granddaughter has started nursery, as staff there will (I do hope) have had some training on the early signs of autism. There are other possible reasons for the little one's behaviour. The good news is that schools, nurseries, health visitors etc are much better at identifying children with some kind of individual need. The bad news is - the cuts are really getting in the way. Others may have more constructive suggestions, but on the information you give about your son and daughter in law, my feeling is that not volunteering your worries is probably least worst option. That may change if the parent's talk to you about any worries they may have. flowers

Mamie Mon 31-Mar-14 13:04:15

I don't think you can do much at the moment. What I did, when faced with the same problem, was to keep a dated log of the concerns I had about my grandson's development (physical, communication, social and language). I only see them about once a year so I was able to get a picture of development and progress over time. (I have worked extensively with children with SEN). After a few years I was so concerned that I talked to them about it, they took him for assessment and my notes were used by the professionals concerned. As I suspected he has high-end ASD. He now has therapy and is making good progress.
I would expect in the UK that your granddaughter's developmental issues would be picked up in normal checks (sadly this did not happen for my grandson in Spain).
So I would say for the moment, keep quiet, keep notes, watch and wait. Eventually you may have to say something. I held my breath when I told them, but they were grateful and said they would have been more upset if I had kept quiet.
Good luck.

whenim64 Mon 31-Mar-14 13:18:45

grannygranby you could be describing my little two year old grandaughter, who is now going to nursery and about to receive some specialised input to bring her on with speech and behaviour. Her twin sister has raced ahead in her speech development and socialising outside the family, and we half expected some delay because they were very premature. Her physical development is ahead of her sister's - she is lithe and agile, and can jump, climb, run, hop and somersault like a little athlete. Since starting nursery, her communication has improved and she has learned the social norms for having meals, playing outside and saying 'bye' at the end of the day. We've been able to identify a few words that she has attempted, too.

The younger they are when it is noticed that there is a delay, the more optimistic the outlook for minor issues - nearly every week we hear more about scientists and paediatricians discovering more effective ways to 're-wire' the young brains of children showing signs of autism.

I would guess your grandchild's parents are carefully watching development and will be asked about developmental milestones along the way with GP, clinic and nursery. Go at their pace if you can and be there to offer support. If there is a problem, much can be done - some children speak very late, though, and you can gauge progress next time you visit.

TriciaF Mon 31-Mar-14 17:48:56

Your GDD reminds me of a neighbour's child who was brought up to sit in front of the tele, and even DVDs in the car.
You don't say whether she did start to speak, then stopped? That would be more worrying.
As others have said, it's good she's going to nursery and mixing with other children, this will bring on her language, even if she doesn't always speak much at home. Nursery staff will spot any serious problems.
Young children can change very quickly, and I think it's too soon to be overly concerned.

MargaretX Mon 31-Mar-14 19:14:39

I may be old fashioned but I feel that Tv and ipad are too much screen viewing for a 2 yr old. What comes out of an electrical appliance can have a harmul effect on a young brain. Its not natural after all.

But now somebody has to get her off this, but once back to natural stimulus she might stop screeching.

J52 Mon 31-Mar-14 19:28:35

I'm sorry that you have this worry. I spent my career in Sen education, but with older children. Other GNs have given good advice and I understand your reluctance to discuss your concerns with your DIL. Have I missed how old she is? Who does she phone on her IPhone? Or does she pretend talk to it? If she is not speaking is she a selective mute? Did she ever speak? Sorry to ask so many questions, but the answers could give you a clue to the problem. Hang on in there. flowers x

rosesarered Mon 31-Mar-14 20:00:53

It sounds very worrying for you. The parents need to keep notes on this. There should be some speech [limited words anyway] at this age, and eye contact with you.Has she got worse over time? I'm not sure that they do tests now for autism under the age of 3. I would flag up [to the parents]your concerns, but leave it at that.Other people, GP nursery staff etc will soon notice if things are really not right.It does sound as if she is on the autistic spectrum [my own DGS is, so I know some of the signs.]

shoreham55 Fri 18-Jul-14 07:43:34

keep track of eye contact. i agree with what others have helpfully said. my experience of autistic children .... screeching and obsession with something is a signal; repetitive behaviour too. Personally, I don't think letting any toddler spend hours on an ipad or tv is beneficial or helps them focus and pay attention. Autistic kids tend to love them owing to the visual stimuli. You're right to have questioned hearing. neighbour's daughter sounds much kike your GD. She's done well at nursery but has to catch up with speech and concentration. So, keep an eye out and good luck!

suebailey1 Fri 18-Jul-14 08:55:29

Dear grangranby my GD was just like this at this age and through her mother's constant badgering of doctors was diagnosed as autistic when we feel her behaviour was a joint response to a painful divorce (her father left just after she was born) and my daughter focused on the baby and her need to get maximum sympathy from everyone. Her baby my GD was taken through years of hospital visits etc etc which made her and my daughter feel very special. This included welfare benefits and additional teaching support all through school. Now at 15 she shows no signs of autism just stroppy teenager. She does extremely well at school and at dance school. We feel strongly that her diagnosis was made too quickly. My daughter has a strange relationship with health and seems to enjoy hospital visits and all the attention this has brought her and her daughter all these years so much so that as her daughter grew and showed no sign of autism she decided she was ill and has a very odd condition that appears to have no outwards signs but requires multiple hospital visits.
I hope this little person develops well and as others have wisely advised some socialisation and less electronic gadgets will be good whichever is the case.

Nelliemoser Fri 18-Jul-14 09:09:09

suebailey You have described your Dils behaviour well. It would make me suspicious that your Dil has some degree of "Munchhausens syndrome" by proxy. She is enjoying attention from medics etc, only your Dil is doing it on behalf of her daughter rather than herself.

nightowl Fri 18-Jul-14 10:47:30

grannygranby, I realise this quite an old thread but I would say please keep your worries to yourself as speaking out will only alienate your DIL. Your DGD may have problems or she may not, but as others have said, if she does they will be picked up at nursery soon enough. If and when that happens your support will be needed and it will be better if your relationships are good.

When my DGS was about two, my daughter and her partner took him to meet up with some members of the extended family who live at the other end of the country. Soon afterwards other members of the family (who had clearly been in touch with these relatives) got in touch with DD suggesting that 'there might be something different about DGS' as he 'didn't play like other children'. This caused a great deal of distress and worry for my daughter - even though she and her partner were sure the concerns were unfounded - and almost caused a family rift. My DGS is now a happy, lively almost 4 year old who goes to nursery and is developing well. I think it is very difficult to form a judgement about a child at such a young age, particularly when you don't see the child often. In the meantime I think silence is the best policy.