Watching Street grow up has allowed me to share with you some of the first symptoms of Autism that he presented when he was just a baby. It is important to remember that all children are different, but this was my nephews journey and early symptoms.
Street was a really good baby from birth to about age one. Almost “too good” my sister reports. He slept well, did not cry a lot, and was easily consoled. However, when he turned one, it became a daily struggle just to make him happy. She tried giving him everything, but all he did was cry. His symptoms included, but aren’t limited to, the following scenarios:
- He had difficulty tolerating textures of various foods, and as a result, always spit everything out of his mouth. (orally defensive, meaning not liking things in his mouth – a sensory symptom).
- He would frequently rub his face on the carpet while he crawled ( tactile seeking – a sensory symptom)
- He enjoyed spinning in circles (vestibular seeking – a sensory symptom). When he did this, he would smile.
- He would cover his ears when he heard people talk, or heard loud sounds or music (auditory sensitivity – a sensory symptom).
- His arms would flap when he got mad or excited.
- He didn’t respond to his name or follow directions easily (auditory under responsiveness).
- He knew his letters and numbers at a very young age (hyperlexia)
- He had difficulty transitioning from one place or situation to another. If they were home and Street was playing with something of interest, and suddenly my sister needed to go the store, Street would tantrum to a point of having no control or self regulation. When she tried to put him in his car seat, he arched his back and screamed.
Most of the time, Street appeared joyless and sad, which made the family feel as though they could never please him, or worse, it was somehow their fault. My sister remembers feeling like a failure as a mom.
They enrolled Street in a typical pre-school when he was 18 months old, not thinking anything was wrong. It was there that the teachers reported that Street liked to play away from the other children, was unable to follow directions at the preschool, and did not respond to his name. His play skills were limited, as he liked to throw the toys vs play with them. They recommended an evaluation to determine if Street had Autism.
I look forward to continuing this story in my next blog…
Julie Cornack, M.A., CCC/SLP
Speech Language Pathologist