Monday, June 14, 2010

Autistic Or not?

Apart from N's speech development, i am also concern about his social skills. It seems he has two distinct personality in different social settings, at home with me and outside with any other strangers.

At home, he is like any other toddler. He responds to his name, maintains good eye contact with me and even make verbal requests to me. He also replies to my questions promptly and accurately. He also immitates me very well.

However, he becomes a totally different child with others. He completely ignores anyone who attempts to talk to him, avoids eye contact and appears to not know the answers to questions but in fact he knows very well. I get really disheartened seeing how one adult after another fail to get him to converse with them. Oddly, when i repeat their questions, he responds immediately! He behaves like people around him don't exist. However, I notice he is aware of his environment. For instance, today we had dinner with his grandparents. During which he didn't interact much with them nor looked excited seeing them (we only meet them a few times a year due to our locations), BUT he was able to tell me later that he had met "gong gong & por por & C" (grandpa & grandma and his cousin) when i asked him who we met for dinner. Also, in informal settings i.e play he will make eye contact with the adults. BUT when he is expected to converse or respond verbally, he avoids making eye contact.

I have had suspected that he was autistic but when at home, seeing how he communicates with me, i was sure he wasn't. And no, he doesn't display any other common signs such as repetitive actions, obsession with an object, hand flapping etc. I brought him for an assesment (for both his speech & social developments), the Dr, after reviewing him, didn't think N is on the spectrum for autisim, MUCH TO MY RELIEF. However, she also agrees that his social skills need some brushing up.

During the review, the Dr asked if N plays pretend at home and my answer was 'not quite'. Apparently, pretend play is a huge factor they use to determine if the child is normal. Because of this and her observation on N's social skills, she has set him for therapy. I went home feeling like a bad mother because, i rarely play pretend with N. The Dr pointed out that that could be why he doesn't pretend play. After the visit, i grabbed every opportunity possible to test N if he could pretend play with me. One time, i gave him a bowl and spoon and made him pretend that he was eating something. He pretended to feed himself and even pretended that he was eating noodle. He also pretended feeding me and my husband. SO, i guess that's a pass?

I don't know. I am feeling preplexed. WHy is N behaving like this? I came up with possible reasons. 1) Its the environment he is raised in. Most of the days, it's just me and him. He hardly have any playdates and almost zero chances to play with other toddlers. His classmates have dropped out or move to another time slot which means the class is made up of just him and the teacher. Hence, he doesn't quite know how to interact with anyone else except me & hub 2) Its his nature, his inborn personality. Alot of my husband's friends insist that N is very smiliar to my husband who also is quiet by nature. 3) There is something wrong in his development. 4) Perhaps he feels that people, other than me and hub, doesn't seem to understand what he is saying (rightly so because of his poor articulation) he thinks its a waste of time communicating with them. 5) all of the above.

One moment, i am confident that my son just needs time to develop on his own. But seeing how different he is when he's with other children, i am not so sure. N is going for therapy but, it's going to take time yet i want a definate answer now. I need help. Do you know of any toddlers who behave in the same way?


  1. Hmmmm, I agree, it doesn't sound like autism... Perhaps give him time to develop, and maybe give him more opportunities to pretend play and interact with other kids? It must be really worrying for you, hang in there ok!

  2. i worry about that too. I've started to expose him to other toddlers. here's his week:
    tues - kindermusik
    wed - sing-along session at the library with toddlers
    thurs - playgroup
    sun - swimming

    so am trying to find activities for him to do to interact with other kids. T is also very quiet and so unlike the ang mohs here. :(

    me worry too..we have to keep trying!

    big hugs.

  3. Thanks Guys! :)

    I just did another of my many experiments by getting my best friend to talk to him. Well, she asked him where is her eyeball and he answered by looking straight into her eye! That boy! But she was sure he looked at her when we said our goodbyes.

    Just me: good planning! Get him expose to more of such group outings. But sometimes it may just be his character. I don't know where to draw the line though, character or upbringing?

  4. it's a hard thing to say. we'll figure it out somehow. i think N is doing really well. i know you are worried still. maybe try to put yourself out there and bring him out more to group outings. i feel like shit sometimes cuz after a hard night with him crying (cuz teething now), i am so exhausted and the last thing i want to do is to go out. but i force myself so that i know he gets to interact with others.

    oh my..i'm rambling..big hugs..

  5. Thanks! Im feeling much better & positive! Been observing him more closely lately; he's been giving eye contact to strangers who come up & play with him- even smiling too! My best friend assured me he looked into her eyes when he's suppose to. Phew! I guess i should've trusted the Dr more. :P Thanks for being there for me. HUGS!

  6. Hello Cheok-O-Late, sorry have been so busy that I haven't had time to visit your blog of late. Saw this post of yours and just would like to encourage you that God made your little boy just the way he is supposed to be for he is fearfully and wonderfully made in Him :)

    Kids have their phases so take it slow if N needs more time to grow out of this phase just let him be. But continue to guide him and give him lots of your love :)

    Continue to pray for wisdom and discernment to make the right decision in this process too. Most importantly trust our good Lord's plans for you and N, for He knows best!

  7. Hey Mama Bliss

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. Sometimes its really hard not to get worried especially when there is a vast difference between N and his peers. But you are right, one of the best thing we can do as parents is to let them grow on their own and force it. Ive learnt that on many occassions but still learning! :)


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