2.5 Year Old Diagnosis for Autism

Hello Everyone,

I am an old-time user of ozbargain but due to recent developments in my family, I couldn't resist posting it here as I need some genuine advice.

My 2.5-year-old is a healthy boy. Doing good with all physical activities. He can jump, climb, run etc. He has good eye contact and loves to play with his elder brother. He has no speech yet. Hardly one or two words but he does a lot of babbling (just fyi we are bi-lingual and speak 2 languages at home). His receptive language is also not very good. He cannot take simple instructions like " come here", "drink water" etc. He has no eating disorder, not fussy at all, no tantrums, and sleeps really well at night. He sometimes does hand flapping when he gets excited. He doesn't engage with other kids in childcare but he do parallel play which as per his childcare educators is normal at this young age.

From last 3 months we are having Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy session once or twice a month. Last week we had a Griffith test to see his development. It is a standard test to figure out if the child is autistic or not. This test consist of toys, blocks, and cards which the doctor expects him to play in a certain manner. With some toys like car, blocks, puzzle he was very good. But with some toys like doll, cards, teacup etc he was not good. ( just FYI it was the first time he saw a doll in his life and the doctor was expecting him to comb doll hair and feed her with spoon. ( He does feed his mum with spoon sometimes) and when doctor gave him comb he combed his hair instead of doll's.

We thought he did pretty well in the Griffith test but his doctor thinks that he should be put into autism spectrum. To my understanding they want to put him in autism spectrum because of NDIS funding. With NDIS we can get more help.

It was a big blow for us. My wife is really upset and cried many times coz of this diagnosis. The doctor has given us time to think about it and we have to go back next week.

Our concern is that we don't want to label our child at such a young age. He is not disabled. Except for his speech and receptive language, I don't see any issue with him. Me and my wife we both earn well and we can afford to have speech pathology private sessions every week for at least a year. Just because of NDIS funding and extra money we think it will be unfair with my boy to label him with Autism. Even his Occupational Therapist think that he needs more Speech Pathology sessions then OT sessions.

Our biggest concern is that once they put him on autism spectrum. He will be treated differently everywhere like, school, playgroups etc.
We have doctor appointment coming next week. I would appreciate it if you guys can give us some valuable input as we really feel down at the moment. We are very confused if we should agree with the diagnosis or ask the doctor to give him some more time.

His hearing test is normal. So no issues with hearing as well.

Regards.

Comments

  • +29

    Everyone loves to label these days. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure there are issues other than autism that can cause delayed speech etc. I assume he has had his hearing tested?

    Everyone has quirks, to label a child as autistic at 2.5 years old seems a bit much to me personally. Does he have any other symptoms of autism? Does he get upset if a routine is changed?

    • +2

      Yup his hearing is perfect ! sorry forgot to mention it. That was the first thing we tested.

      • +17

        Other symptoms? If he is autistic, getting help earlier would be advantageous. If he's not, it seems silly to label.

        • +1

          He is really calm child. No tantrums even if routine is changed

          • +57

            @aliash: Perhaps consider seeing a paid specialist for a second opinion? The suggestion of NDIS funding when you can afford to pay out of pocket suggests that whoever has done testing may get funding out of this diagnosis. Perhaps I'm just being cynical.

            • +20

              @brendanm:

              Perhaps consider seeing a paid specialist for a second opinion?

              Definitely this.

              • @DashCam AKA Rolts: Agreed with second opinion! There are heaps of behaviours that are normal and the range of normal is pretty big..
                Things that seem really unusual can resolve with age ( seen this across 2 of our 3 kids).

                I wouldn't consider doing anything until you feel comfortable with any diagnosis.. we've got second opinions in the past and sometimes found it very justified

          • -21

            @aliash: If hearing is ok and he doesn't seem to be affected my change of routines, have you looked at when he received any recent vaccines? Did he show his autistic dentencies before the vaccines?

            • +4

              @Chchnu: This comment right here gave me autism.

      • -26

        "To my understanding they want to put him in autism spectrum because of NDIS funding. With NDIS we can get more help."

        It's purely a label at this stage.

        I thought the label was sort of trending these days with /wallstreetbets and all.

        Doctors commonly misdiagnose/overdiagnose, the science is nowhere near perfect.

        I was walking around for 8 months with a fractured spine because doctor misread an x-ray, GP said I was lucky the bone shards didn't move into my spinal cord.

        My son didn't speak until 4 years old in phrases, he's now top of the year level. He is however, borderline 'autistic' with the rapid speech and stuff now but meh so am I. They also diagnosed him with being cross eyed, heart condition, an some tongue condition that said he needed to have the bottom of his tongue clipped - 8 years later yeah, none of those materialised to be real things.

        Just see how you go, do what you can do, ignore the label, world is full of autists these days.

        "when doctor gave him comb he combed his hair instead of doll's."

        I am glad he is coming his hair, and the boy isn't playing with dolls….

        It's strange 2.5 year old needs speech lessons…..I thought lots of kids don't speak until later for a multitude of reasons…..Sometimes I just don't want to talk to the other person…..

        • what heart condition?

        • +2

          Why is this downvoted lol..

          When I was 5, I had a specialist train me to pronounce Ls, and I didn't talk much. I was a weird kid, I'm a weird adult, I wouldn't comb the doll's hair either.

          It hasn't stopped me from becoming a bilingual, university educated adult who regularly engages internationally, in a representational capacity for our country.

          Kid will be fine even if he has autism homie, he's got two parents who are both dignified, have the integrity to reject free NDIS money and care about him a lot. Keep on keeping on.

          • -2

            @Assburg: It's public uproar when we go against labels.

            People don't like it when you tell them to grit it on through life and don't play the victim (not referring to OP).

            It's why medical schools have pretty much become full time empathy for the patient cuddling sessions rather than medicine itself.

            • +2

              @Gallifr3y:

              It's why medical schools have pretty much become full time empathy for the patient cuddling sessions rather than medicine itself.

              What?

              • +1

                @p1 ama: Funnily, I went to a friend's graduation yesterday and a medical doctor, who in a speech he gave for receiving an honorary doctorate, said as a medical intern in Adelaide he was completely disheartened by the fact that all he did was prescribe meds and treatment to people whose suffering was largely self inflicted.

                He then went abroad and thanks to his work, millions of kids who would otherwise be legally blind now have glasses or don't get measles related blindness.

                His internship was in the 90s though, today's grads probably have it a lot tougher, and do real medicine ;)

                • +1

                  @Assburg: This. One of the greatest purposes in life is to be in service to another human being.

          • +3

            @Assburg: i am very distrustful of new threads relating to ndis because of the new liberal/nationals war on reducing its cost.

            this war will destroy the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of australia, and is being waged because they gave away billions of taxpayers monies to the richest people here and overseas.

            autism is a developmental disability which can be alleviated and improved through social investment at an early age. This investment reduces social costs later on in their lives, and saves taxpayer monies in the long run.

            these financial savings are very large since they reduce medical costs in mental health and reduce the prison population.

            A failure to invest besides demonstrating the moral degeneracy of australia only generates higher social costs at a later date, and causes terrible harm to families.

            roughly a third of the prison population has developmental disorders including undiagnosed autism, and mental hospitals also have large numbers of undiagnosed autistic people their lives are destroyed.

      • I would recommend an eye check up as well. An underlying eye condition may also affect child's behaviour or reactions. Best of luck!

  • +169

    A diagnosis means that you can get extra help. It doesn't mean he will miss out on anything. If you don't want people to treat him differently in a particular activity for which he needs no extra help, you can just not tell them. Refusing to accept the diagnosis is like throwing away money. Your pride is going to negatively affect your son. Do what you need to help him, don't throw away help because you are too proud to have a son with a disability. If he was partially deaf, would you refuse to believe it and throw away the free hearing aids you were given because he can mostly hear and you are too proud to admit you have a deaf son, and think if you just deny it hard enough he will hear better? Or would you let him have a hearing aid so he can participate in the world as fully as possible?

    • +2

      Thanks for your input. I completely understand what you are saying and I agree with early intervention. But don't you think Autism is very broad term ? If they would say that my child is having speech delay and need help i would agree 100% but sometimes it seems like just because of NDIS they want to push the diagnosis.

      • +41

        But don't you think Autism is very broad term

        That's why it's termed a spectrum disorder. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.

        Is your child showing symptoms of enjoying a particular thing or task?

      • +48

        Who cares if it is a push? If he turns out to not need help then you can just not get help. But with a diagnosis, if he did need help, he can access it without having to fight against the system.

        Not getting a diagnosis would be like refusing a free heater with free electricity, sure maybe the heating company is pushing it so they can install it, and it is actually a scam because the temperature never goes below 20. But when that cold snap comes, aren't you going to be happier being able to just switch that heater on, rather than fight for months or years to get one, meanwhile you are suffering from something that could have been prevented?

        If he does have autism, early intervention is the surest way for him to have a happy and productive life. Why throw that chance away when it is being placed neatly in your lap for you.

        Edit: one further analogy if you'll permit it. Not accepting the diagnosis is like having some vague tooth pain and refusing to go to the dentist because you think going to the dentist will cause you to have to get scary procedures done.

        If you have a tooth problem it exists whether or not you go to the dentist. Refusing to go to the dentist just allows it to get worse and worse. The smart thing is to go to the dentist as early as possible and get it fixed before it becomes a bad problem. If you don't have a problem abf could have just ignored it, equally you could have gone to the dentist and they would have just told you no problem.

        Likewise here, if he is autistic he is autistic and will have problems whether it not you have a diagnosis. The sooner you get a diagnosis the sooner you can start helping and the less his autism will affect his future life possibilities.

        If he is not autistic, and ignoring it would have been fine, equally well you could get a diagnosis and then it turns out you don't need help and find out the diagnosis is wrong.

        Either way, taking the diagnosis can only be neutral it help you, like going to the dentist

        • +16

          We somewhat chose to remain blind to our first childs ultimate diagnosis for a long time for many of the same reasons you're talking about. Early intervention can make the biggest impacts on your childs life and as has been said, if it's not needed or helpful the experts will usually tell you.

          You don't need to broadcast to the world (or anyone) anything about the diagnosis, but getting support is by no means a sign of weakness and I can't under echo and underline this comment enough:

          "The sooner you get a diagnosis the sooner you can start helping and the less his autism will affect his future life possibilities."

      • +48

        Can you stop thinking of autism as a "disability"? That's your problem. You are the one making it a label and putting a stigma to it.

        You are more worried about your own pride and this makes me worried for your child.

      • You have a lot of freedom about where to use the funding, so you could likely spend it all on speech therapy or wherever you believe is most useful, regardless of an incorrect diagnosis. I wouldn't worry too much about the diagnosis, and just see it as giving you some more options.

      • +2

        ASD can range from ASD1 to ASD3, where ASD1 requires minimal to moderate support and ASD3 requires substantial support. Just because your child is diagnosed doesn't meant they won't be able to function or that you have to tell everyone. It's up to you to decide who should and shouldn't know.

        At the end of the day it's just a word and it doesn't come with any requirement for disclosure. If it gets you help, it can only be a good thing.

        Also, let your wife know that while it may seem scary, it's not something to lose sleep over. It sounds like your child is high functioning, engaged, and present. They're no different now to how they were before the diagnosis; the only thing that's changed is that you may have found a way to help them even more.

      • +3

        Treating ASD involves giving your kid a bunch of strategies to make their life easier that non-ASD people pick up without any help. Labelling your kid isn’t going to change how his brain works. The only difference I’ve seen between people with ASD who have had early intervention and those who haven’t is the ones with early intervention have a much better time as a teenager and young adult. He’ll learn the skills eventually but why make him struggle through it with no guidance?

    • +36

      Your pride is going to negatively affect your son

      Spot on. I find this especially the case with certain cultures.

      —-

      It’s a diagnosis. If anything it’s going to help you not bring shame to you.

      • -3

        Rejecting a handout you think someone else needs more isn't an issue of a pride, it's our civic duty.

        All our homies not calling autism a disability…sure, it's not, any reasonable person is going to judge you on your spirit and your intellectual capacity anyway. But that's the case with or without the label.

    • +11

      you can just not tell them

      This this this.

      Your worries are entirely imaginary OP. Your child's diagnosis can be completely confidential.

      A diagnosis can only help.

      2.5 years old and can't understand simple instructions is NOT nothing.

      If you don't start on evidence-based early intervention now (google "ABA"), you might actually end up with what you fear: a seriously disabled child who could have learned to communicate and be "normal", but didn't because you missed that critical under-three-years-old window. You will then lose the option of not telling people he is autistic, because everyone will notice immediately.

  • +71

    A diagnosis is the best thing that can happen, its a bonus that its come at a young age. It allows you to seek help, talk to people to put plans into action as to how to work with your child.

    I have ADHD, i wasnt diagnosed until i was 25. I wish i was diagnosed earlier, it would of made my life so much easier knowing why i couldnt concentrate, why i was distracted etc. I know its not the same as Autism, but its quite close.

    Your child may develop perfectly 'normally', however they may not as well, and now you have a way to help him.

    The absolute worst thing you can do right now, is reject the diagnosis.

    • +2

      I am starting the process of reaching out to a doctor now at 27 about being possibly ADHD, I never was tested as a child.

      I pretty much hit every single mark for ADHD.

      • +1

        out of couriousity, do they give you any treatment?

        • +1

          Also Curious Joker and Jofzar, how has your life changed since diagnosis?
          I have a 12 year old who is showing strongs signs of overfocussing ADHD and have been hesitant to put a label on it, worried it'll define her or some trigger happy doc will perscribe medication.
          I've just been using alternative advice such as building alot of variety into her day and using sports to vary her overfocussing and build endorphins and multiple interests.

          • +1

            @aliocroc: I was also diagnosed late as well. I would say get the official diagnosis now even if you choose not to medicate or whatever else. Having the diagnosis as a child enables you to get access to the the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for certain ADHD medication, in addition if your daughter decides later in life to go through the process being diagnosed as a child makes her life so much easier.

            You need to understand, ADHD is fundamentally due to much lower levels of Norepinephrine and Dopamine in the brain.

            Norepinephrine is a key neurotransmitter and it responsible for mobilizing the body and brain for action, it peaks dangerous or stressful times, its what causes fight or flight. Further to this it increases alertness, promotes vigilance, enhances formation and retrieval of memory, and focuses attention. Other than that it has fundamental uses throughout the body like regulating blood pressure and heart rate plus a huge amount of other things. (it is complex and there is a lot so I will leave it there)

            Dopamine I am sure you are aware of its one of the key neurotransmitters in the body besides the huge amount of general body functions it regulates executive functions, motor control, motivation, reinforcement, and reward. Again you are probably aware of what Dopamine does but that's just a little summery. The Hyper focus you have seen in your daughter is likely due to the task actually causing the sustained release of dopamine so her brain puts all of its attention into that one thing instead of searching for additional stimulus.

            ADHD goes so far beyond the common knowledge of it and can be debilitating in all faucets of life. For me it was the sort of hindsight where now that I am treating it, looking back so many of the issues that I had that the people around me never seemed to were not just me being worse, there was an underlying cause and just knowing about it gave me an avenue to work on it, other things that could not really be worked on, i.e. I had an awful memory, the medication fixed.

            Basically, I would absolutely recommend getting her tested at the very least, if they recommend medicating discuss it with them and maybe do an extra low dosage as a trial, if you don't want to, don't, but having the diagnoses offers a lot of benefits both currently and in the future for them. For them, knowing they have ADHD in itself will allow them to make operate in the way that works best for ADHD.

          • +1

            @aliocroc: Hello!

            Sorry for the late reply. My life has changed for the better.

            I was always the 'smart but distractable kid' in school. I finished work quickly and then proceeded to be loud, act out etc. People werent as ready to accept it was ADHD as they are now.

            If i had my time again, medication would of helped me soooo much through my schooling. Just being able to focus!

            I did alot of sport in school, i was a national level swimmer etc. However that only helps a bit.

            I am now an Engineer, i cant tell you how hard i had to work to get here. But i was diagnosed in my last year of uni, the hardest year for me and it was by far the easiest ive ever had it. I could remember things, i could focus, i could study. I found myself enjoying it more, because its no longer a chore.

            Theres nothing wrong with a diagnosis, it for me was the best thing that has ever happened.

            My GF likes me more (haha) im less sarcastic, i listen to her more, im more open to her feelings and emotions.
            But one of the biggest things for me is being able to pick up social ques more - its actually unreal how different i am!

  • +20

    "He is not disabled. Except…" hmm

    I'm not taking the piss but if he isn't hitting milestones, he possibly fits the definition? I have a 9 month old who doesn't respond to her name most of the time and we're concerned as well. Unsure when our first check is, but physically she is hitting the red book height, weight and head diameter percentages.

    • +4

      You can take your kid for a developmental check with a child health nurse or a GP as a starting point at any age and they can refer on to a pediatrician if they think it's warranted. I took my kid for checks at 3, 6 and 9 months and they go through checklists and ask a lot of questions about milestones and behaviours. The last one was an 18 month check alongside his vaccines and because he's doing everything he should the GP (who is a paediatric special interest GP) didn't go very in depth but did ask around speech, play, movement etc. My kid still ignores his name a lot (even though he can respond when he wants to, has heaps of words and can follow instructions very well) I think this is very common . He also has some pretty epic tantrums, throws his food and whinges heaps for us, but they tell me he's an angel at daycare, which is a common story I hear from parents of toddlers. It's always good to chat with a good GP or child health nurse as starting point.

  • +46

    A diagnosis only opens doors for you and your son - you aren't "labelling" him or committing him to anything permanent. Like others said, if you don't want to disclose your son's diagnosis to others, just don't.

    My daughters (twins) were diagnosed at 18 months, and the early intervention made a significant impact on their wellbeing and plays a big part in their current success with school, socialising etc.

  • +39

    There is a lot of shame and stigma around Autism and other types of special needs diagnosis. This could be the best thing for your child but I would questions whether that shame and stigma is getting in the way of your child getting the help they need and deserve.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with if your child has been placed on the Autism Spectrum. It's not a diagnosis that exists to limit or hold back your child, it's a diagnosis that is meant to help them….

  • +42

    @aliash: Long time lurker, but I joined just to respond to your post.

    Similar to yourself, we had our son diagnosed last year at age 4. Like you, we didn't think he had any serious delays and attributed some of the delays to a multi lingual household.
    It wasn't until after he went back into daycare (we took him out briefly around the time of peak covid) that they mentioned he was a bit behind some of the other kids in achieving milestones. I think this context is the most important, as the educators have a direct comparison with other children their age.

    Anyway, long story short. We got the diagnosis, which as you mention is a bit of a slap in the face. But after that it came as a relief as we now had a diagnosis and a way forward. We got NDIS funding and tried to get him into as many programs as possible to give him the best opportunities in school.

    Just keep in mind, it is an Autism Spectrum, the concept of high and low functioning is no longer relevant. There was no negative feedback about the ASD diagnosis, everyone just wants what is best for the child. That has been our experience at least.

  • +21

    Your not labelling you son autistic, he either is or isn't. From your description, he is needs additional support in language development, and displays autistic behaviour. At that age those are major key markers for autism diagnosis.

    However, early intervention through NDIS will help and treatment now will help your son become the best he can be.
    Accept that he might be different to neuro typical children and give him all the opportunity to develop to a healthy functioning individual.
    Treatment is expensive, we spent up to $20k in 12 months waiting for NDIS funding, they all work off the NDIS price guide and charge and arm and a leg, and even accessing therapists is a major challenge for lots of people.

    Grieving for the loss of the child you thought you had is normal, but don't dwell on the negatives, I did and regret much of the time wasting in not getting that support.
    Also get onto Facebook and join a support group or two, pm me if you need links. This took me the most time but my wife and I both agree it helped with the emotional distress, by not being alone. And sharing the good and bad.

  • +11

    That is the problem with our society, the Stigma of being labelled of such condition/diagnosis. It is very important to get the right help as early as possible.

  • +30

    OP, while your concerns are understandable, as someone working in education we see numerous parents who resist so-called labels or diagnoses at great cost to their child. Usually the intent is to shield their children from shame or stigma, but the result is often poor wellbeing and education outcomes. Please don't do this. If you are worried about stigma, simply don't share it at this point.

    The interventions available for kids on the Autism spectrum are in no way harmful for regular kids, so if turns out to be an incorrect diagnosis and the speech improves you can always review down the road.

  • +5

    A caveat, if you don't disclose it upfront, people may blame you/him for being rude/weird/dumb/etc because he's not given any special treatment.

    Ignoring it also means you and your son won't understand why certain things happen. In fact, he could develop bad habits unknowingly.

  • +19

    Make sure you get NDIS as it will cover the speech, OT and other costs. Sounds like you can self manage your son. Do not think of it as disabled, but at his age think of it as a way to get NDIS that covers costs of help and extra stuff. To get NDIS the easiest way is to get an appropriate professional to make a formal diagnosis in a report as this will b needed when submitting the NDIS paperwork.

    Some of the things to do are:
    1) See a developmental pediatrician (different to an normal pediatrician) as they specialize on kids development.
    2) See a child psychologist so they can keep an eye on the child's mental state and help out
    3) Lookup your local soccer club and see if they have any child teams for children like your son as it will help develop social skills.
    4) Lookup in your area to see if there is anyone offering Multisensory Learning and see if this can help.
    5) Lookup in your area any autism associations and call them to see if there are any kids groups that your son could got to.

    When coming up with the NDIS budget put the following in:
    1) Monthly psychology $210 / month
    2) Weekly speech $190 / week
    3) Weekly OT $190 / week
    4) Developmental pediatrician $1000 for initial consultation and follow up.
    5) Multisensory Learning weekly $190 / week

    Be aware that when you ask about costs of services they are more expensive if you are going to pay via NDIS (okay you pay and claim back).

    Also apply for services australia carer allowance:
    https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/ce...

    Best wishes and think what is best for your son now as it will help going forward.

    • Why are services more expensive if paying via NDIS? Are providers just openly ripping off the taxpayers?

      • Ask the service providers.

        • +3

          Well it certainly sounds like option A. They are openly ripping off the taxpayers, because they can… Because "the government" is paying for it so no one cares. That's the problem with these systems.

      • The rates are set by NDIS by item code.

    • Why are the services more expensive if claiming through NDIS?

      • Ask the service providers.

  • +6

    Friend of mines kid was diagnosed as in the spectrum at 3 and told to come back in 6 months for a follow up. Between the 3 and 3.5 years, kid was then deemed he’s not autistic.

    NDIS were going to give the parents $3500 a month for assistance. Both his parents are doctors, and making well into 6 figures

    Kid is now 8 years old

    • So the child is not autistic anymore? No more into therapies?

      • +5

        Nope. Was diagnosed as on the spectrum for 6 months.

        Basically at childcare, he wouldn’t play with anyone. Wasn’t talking much either. But now, you can’t shut him up about Minecraft/switch/Lego etc etc

        • +5

          Your friend is lucky if that's true. Now imagine if there was an actual condition that was not treated properly in a timely manner…

      • +15

        Doctors dont just throw out diagnosis like Autism freely, there is a much higher chance your child is on the spectrum than they arent.

        Also your comment 'the child is not autistic anymore', huh? Someone doesnt just stop being Autistic.

        This seems like youre more worried about the label that your child may receive then actually trying to help.

        • +7

          It's a spectrum, misdiagnosis can occur. Given that early intervention is so useful for Autism, its probably useful to start them even if they arent 100% sure, which i'm not sure you can ever be. Clearly the diagnosis changed on the later follow up.

          IT's not a matter of him having it and then suddnely not having it, he probably never had it.

    • +9

      It's not "give the parents $3500 a month for assistance" lol, which makes it sound like a parent with a child on the NDIS is given money.
      Money would be allocated to funding for approved NDIS providers for payments of invoices - and not given to the parents.
      Money does not go to parents, unless it is to refund payments already made to approved providers.
      It does not matter how much parents make - NDIS afaik is allocated based on the needs of the child.

      Glad to hear that the child is doing well.

  • +5

    Getting an autism assessment is easier now than it was just 10 years ago. Whether its correct at an early age is difficult to decide because its a developmental disorder that becomes more apparent with age and difficulties with social interactions.

    its better to get help than worry unnecessarily, and your are more likely to get support from schools with it than without it.

    schools do not tolerate difficult pupils without an explanation, and until relatively recently made autistic kids lives very difficult.

    (and that is a very polite understatement)

  • +26

    My daughter is 3 1/2 and was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2 years though we knew at around 2 years of age. She has done a number of tests including the chromosone abnormality test etc. She is level 3 on the spectrum and at this point is still non verbal with ADHD, anxiety and a number of other issues.

    While people may label, who cares? Anyone that meets her loves her to death and I really couldnt care what others think. Is it embarrassing at times when she loses it? Absolutely. Doesnt change who she is or who we are.

    Happy to provide some guidance if you need it as I also work in the Aged and Disability sector. But better to get onto this early then bury your head in the sand and hope for the best like a number of other parents. Getting help now, could be life changing for your child and you.

  • +2

    For those those who said it isn’t a label. He is or he isn’t autistic, I think this is wrong.
    Autism is a spectrum, one that we have defined, and can still be debated, for example, Aspergers was recently its own disorder until someone decided to lump it in with ASD.

    I have a 3.5 year old and I often wonder if my kid has ASD. My brother in law has ASD and I see bits of my sons behaviour in my bro in law all the time.

    After lots of umming and ahhing and getting a referral for a specialist we decided not to pre emtively seek help. We’re working on his behaviour issues we are concerned about and I’m finding he continues to grow out of the issues we stress about.

    I should stress our GP also wasn’t overly concerned as well, given his age There is a wide range of “normal” behaviours, and my son didn’t show the real tell tale signs of ASD such as repeative figiting of stuff (though what worried me was he has watched the same show like 20 times and still continues to watch it).

    I fiund with childcare once you label a kid, you gotta unlabel them too. That’s the truth with society, my brother in law whom I speak to knows this too well.

    This is my opinion anyway, I am still holding the referring for my son if things change I may have to change my mind and “test” my son, but for now I think holding out has been ok.

    If speech is something that worries you, can you spend more time reading to him?

    • +8

      mate getting a diagnosis isn't a bad thing, knowing gets your kid some protections, without leaves your kid exposed.

      its an awful fact, because of what it means about the world today but that's what you are dealing with.

      • +2

        I’m happy to work on the issues and help alleviate them or work towards understanding the issues at hand, but definitions don’t help. Well, the money from government funding may, but that comes with its baggage.

        • +1

          autism remains a very broad diagnosis - its your kid, and you wanna do right.

          getting a diagnosis helps protect them in institutional settings like schools etc., where they may be viewed as being difficult or whatever else.

          its a very tough gig but much easier these days because there is more assessment taking place.

          prisons remain full of older autistic people un-diagnosed, as do mental institutions.

        • +6

          The earlier kids with autism get help the better their future prognosis. You're hurting your child by keeping professional help away from him.

          Your approach is like just taking panadol for tooth pain to avoid seeing the dentist. If you saw the dentist now you might just need a little filling but if you wait too long it becomes a root canal. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away miraculously.

          • +1

            @Quantumcat:

            The earlier kids with autism get help the better their future prognosis.
            I think this is generally true.

            You're hurting your child by keeping professional help away from him.
            I don't know if he has ASD or not, if he indeed does, it'll only be of the mildest form based on the conversations with my GP. There is no line for ASD, there is no black or white. Please don't claim I am hurting my child, just because I suspect he is like his brother in law. A man with a hammer, many things look like a nail.

            My child can be quiet anxious, closed, and doesn't eat widely…ie vegetables. I don't know if that's ASD, but if it is, I rather just treat each aspect than label him.

            • +10

              @cloudy: If he has ASD he will fall further behind as he gets older. As kids get older they gain more skills. It is hard to tell if an under-5 has autism as there are fewer skills they are expected to have so it is harder to tell if they are just a few months behind things which can be normal (all kids neurotypical or not develop at different rates) or if there is a reason. But as kids get older it is more obvious as there's more skills they're expected to have, where being behind on them can't be explained by natural variety in development speeds.

              If you picture several parabola curves of various steepnesses on the same graph passing through the origin, near the origin it is really hard to tell which ones are the steep ones and which are the shallow ones as the difference in height from the x axis is so small. Those differences will become more marked as you get a little further out (age 5) and then super obvious, like difficulty being an independent adult when quite far out.

              There could be therapies you could be doing now which would steepening his curve. By waiting, there's less and less you can do that will change what happens to him as an adult. Minuscule differences that you see now between him and his peers could become massive differences as an adult.

            • @cloudy:

              I don't know if that's ASD, but if it is, I rather just treat each aspect than label him.

              In other words, you're just living a delusion to make yourself feel better.

              Just take Quantumcat's dental analogy:

              "I have symptoms which are like a tooth cavity, the dentist tells me it's a tooth cavity. I don't know if that's a tooth cavity, but if it is, I just rather treat each aspect than label it."

              Does that sound right to you? Or would you call me an idiot?

              • +1

                @p1 ama: Wrong analogy, but good try.

                I have something I can stuck on my tooth, I dunno if it’s a cavity, I can’t feel anything maybe I should just brush my teeth more, even if my dentist tells me it’s not a cavity and it’s just something in my teeth, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t worry abiut my teeth, the fact something is in my teeth should signal maybe my teeth are close and thus need more constant brushing.

                You like labels which = treatment required or not. I don’t like labels, I like to acknowledge areas of improvement regardless of meeting check boxes or not and making inroads to improvement.

                You can call yourself an idiot if you want, I wouldn’t, but the label you wish upon is entirely yours.

                As I said, I spoke to GP, who advised it doesn’t sound like ASD. But as a parent, I worry about everything. If I was to demand for a specialist for every aspect of my child, I’d be seeing them all day. My child has knees that point inward, GP says it should be ok, but should I push for another specialist?
                He also can’t ride a bike, does he need training? He doesn’t enjoy heights, how low is a height before we can say he has an abnormal fear?

                Do you have kids p1ama?

                • @cloudy:

                  You like labels which = treatment required or not.

                  What do you mean by "liking labels" - labels are just a human/linguistic invention to describe certain phenomena. The phenomena doesn't change depending on what you choose to call it.

                  I don’t like labels, I like to acknowledge areas of improvement regardless of meeting check boxes or not and making inroads to improvement.

                  I agree with this, except "acknowledging areas of improvement", "meeting check boxes" and "making inroads to improvement" all have nothing to do with "labels".

                  As I said, I spoke to GP, who advised it doesn’t sound like ASD. But as a parent, I worry about everything. If I was to demand for a specialist for every aspect of my child, I’d be seeing them all day. My child has knees that point inward, GP says it should be ok, but should I push for another specialist? He also can’t ride a bike, does he need training? He doesn’t enjoy heights, how low is a height before we can say he has an abnormal fear?

                  I don't understand how this follows from the previous point.

                  Do you have kids p1ama?

                  Yes, I do.

                  • @p1 ama:

                    What do you mean by "liking labels" - labels are just a human/linguistic invention to describe certain phenomena. The phenomena doesn't change depending on what you choose to call it

                    The phenomena at hand and the desire for some to place a “label” Is a grey scale, an arbitrary line on a line where one grey pixel a little less grey gets nothing and another pixel a little more grey is ASD. And if you have that slightly less grey ASD pixel all of a sudden you need all this and that and if not rest assured your child is “fine”.

                    People need to think more deeply than that.

                    And people also need to look upon the man in the mirror and how they convey their own reflections to the professionals, and then also look upon the professionals to make judgements on how well they judge a grey pixel, one could also benefit from making assessments of professional intelligence, integrity and their judgement towards the parents.

                    Put simply, if your kid is borderline ASD, you can get whatever result you wish or not wish.

                    Since you have kids, do you not worry about every aspect if your kids life? Do you go on seeking opinions for everything and question judgements of yourself and of others?

  • +81

    If it helps to put your mind at ease, I'm mildly autistic, I've gone on to have a normal life. Aside from the fact that I'm a bit nerdy, I wouldn't say I'm significantly different to my peers in any way. When I was young, my social skills developed more slowly than other kids, but overall, these are all skills that we're able to learn and the most important thing to realise is that (in the vast majority of cases) being autistic is not a disability, it just simply means that you learn and develop in a different way. The worst thing you can do for your child is to resist the medical reality of the situation.

    It was a big blow for us. My wife is really upset and cried many times coz of this diagnosis. The doctor has given us time to think about it and we have to go back next week.

    Ultimately, whilst it's understandable that you and your wife may be upset, this doesn't change the diagnosis. Just think of it as any other illness. Say you're diagnosed with cancer, you may be upset about it, you might wish to have time to think about the treatment options…etc. but it doesn't change the fact that you have cancer.

    Our concern is that we don't want to label our child at such a young age. He is not disabled. Except for his speech and receptive language, I don't see any issue with him.

    Again, it doesn't matter whether you want to "label" your child or not. If your child is autistic, then he is autistic regardless of whether you want to "label" him as such or not, and whether you accept or deny the reality of the situation. I understand what you are going through because when I was younger, my parents fought extremely hard against anybody who said that I was autistic, even though I knew myself that I was autistic and to be honest, that was the worst thing they could have done (though I don't hold it against them, as I understand how difficult it is). Their decision to not accept the reality of my situation meant that I consistently felt as if I was not appreciated, that I had to try to be someone different, that I had to somehow try to be "more normal". This only made my behaviour and development worse. It wasn't until I accepted that I was different that I actually started to develop more normally. Over time, with acceptance from those around me, I began to learn all of the things that other kids pick up naturally when they're young and that supportive environment has allowed me to go on and become a highly social and happy person. FWIW, I became an economist, worked in various corporate and government roles, have worked as a teacher, a university lecturer and have run my own business. Nobody has ever asked me whether I was autistic as a kid, am I still autistic? I don't even know!

    I don't want to sound harsh, but your denial of your son's reality will make things worse for him. It might not seem like it, but you (and/or your wife) are being extremely selfish by denying your son the love/care/treatment/environment that is best for him because you are not open and honest enough to accept the truth. I know a lot of autistic kids, including in my experience as a teacher, what you are doing is the exact wrong thing.

    Me and my wife we both earn well and we can afford to have speech pathology private sessions every week for at least a year. Just because of NDIS funding and extra money we think it will be unfair with my boy to label him with Autism. Even his Occupational Therapist think that he needs more Speech Pathology sessions then OT sessions.

    I'm not a paediatrician, so I won't comment on the medical care that your son needs, however, again, regardless of whether you want to label him as whatever or not, you are denying the reality. I'll give you other examples - your son has some other medical condition, say diabetes. Is it "unfair" to label your son as diabetic in that case, will your refusal to accept his diabetes make him not diabetic? Another one - your son is gay, is it "unfair" to label your son as gay in that case, will your refusal to accept his sexuality change it? Or will your failure to reject the reality of your son's condition, whatever it is, just ostracise him and make him distant from you?

    Our biggest concern is that once they put him on autism spectrum. He will be treated differently everywhere like, school, playgroups etc.

    Who is "they"? There is no global conspiracy against people with autism. If your son has autism, he's not going to wear around a hat that says "I have autism", the honest truth is that for the vast majority of autistic people (who are only mildly autistic), others will not even know that they are autistic.

    A teacher doesn't announce in front of everyone "hello, this kid is autistic", most of the time, they won't even know unless some issue crops up where it is relevant to know. Again, even if you do not accept your kid is autistic, it's not going to change how your kid behaves or how a teacher will react to that behaviour.

    FWIW, I think what you are doing right now is extremely dangerous to your son's wellbeing. Based on your post, you are not a psychologist, paediatrician or medical doctor, and you do not have the qualifications and/or knowledge to be making a diagnosis. Again, let me make it clear that I'm not saying you should announce to the whole world that your child is autistic. In the same way, if your child was diabetic, you would not tell everyone your child meets that they're diabetic. If your child is gay, you're not going to go around telling everyone that your child is gay. Broadly speaking, being any of the above is largely irrelevant for how your child is perceived.

    We have doctor appointment coming next week. I would appreciate it if you guys can give us some valuable input as we really feel down at the moment. We are very confused if we should agree with the diagnosis or ask the doctor to give him some more time.

    It doesn't matter whether you agree or not, as I've said before, it's not a choice.

    • +8

      This is the best comment.

      I know a few people who didn’t find out until they were adults that they suffered from one thing or another. Having a diagnosis changed their lives for the better and they were regretful they had gone their whole childhood and teen years not having that diagnosis and the associated understanding around that and being able to get the help that they needed. They definitely held some anger towards their parents for not picking it up (as the parents later claimed) and wonder whether in part it was just parents refusing to believe something might be “different” with their kid.

      There should be no shame in being on the autism spectrum! I knew a brilliant smart autistic spectrum guy at uni that didn’t speak until he was 5. He still managed to get a degree, have a great career, get married etc etc.

    • +5

      Best comment on the whole thread. Thanks for sharing your experience p1 ama.

    • +5

      +1 for sharing the perspectives.

      I also have a child with a condition (not ASD but shares similar outcomes in terms of social skills and learning). Having been through a similar journey as OP I would like to add that the adults also often need help but the medical system is purely focused on the child.

      Throughout my upbringing I haven't had much interaction with other kids with severe difficulties and I confess I was ignorant and as such was totally ill-prepared to deal with having a child with special needs. Point being some people are more aware of the variety of children's outcomes but some of us don't. Sometimes it's not because we chose to be ignorant but simply because we had limited exposure to these things. There are pre-natal classes to help people prepare for pregnancies but how many of you have had access to help people prepare to rear kids with special needs? As a late catch-up I feel OP is doing the right thing to ask around to get more perspectives. Please be mindful there is a lot of considerations the parents have to go through as well. Some may not be entirely rationale and more info can only help them make more informed decision down the line.

    • +3

      Perfectly said.

      • Can I have a 3090?

  • +10

    He doesn't engage with other kids in childcare
    just FYI it was the first time he saw a doll in his life

    Perhaps it's worth giving this some more thought. There are dolls at childcare. He has seen dolls before and seen other kids playing with them, even if he hasn't played with them himself.

    There may be some other things you have missed too. It's natural for parents to defend their children and see the best in them. I recommend giving what the doctor said a good hard think. Perhaps your doctor is able to be more objective because he/she is not emotionally involved.

    Either way, I wish you all the best of luck.

  • +13

    My son was in the same situation. Very poor receptive and expressive language skills at 2.5 years, slept well and ate well. We were upset when the paediatrician mentioned he might be on the spectrum. However my wife and I delayed any diagnosis. With help from the childcare and kinder teachers, we were able to get self-managed NDIS funding. We use it for speech, OT and social skills. He's 7 now, language has improved a lot but still a bit behind his peers. Has trouble with complex instructions and prefers playing his games rather than what his peers want. However, after 4+ years, according the paediatrician now, he may be able to get by without a diagnosis. We are not easing up on the intervention though. He will start social skills group sessions soon and we get him involved in sport and other activities just like a normal kid. He has friends now he loves playing with and the usual stuff kids do.

    The doctor has given us time to think about it and we have to go back next week.

    I understand that my son might need an official diagnosis eventually but we don't know that yet. We do however get a lot of financial assistance without the label. I think early intervention is key. Earlier the better. Grieve now, then get cracking. Every month you delay now is many months later that they will need to catch up. Wish you the best. Happy to chat if you want, DM me.