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Possible autism?

I have a now 3.5 yr old in my care 7 days a week, 8 hours a day that I've had since he was 6 weeks old. He has always been delayed in his learning, by at least 3 months with fine motor skills. His speech now is that of a 15 month olds. He is in speech therapy, but the therapist is having problems getting him to progress and is frustrated at the very, very slow rate in progress. He does not have the ability to eat with utensils well and soon frustrates with fork and spoon and when no one is looking uses his fingers, he has pica (eats non-food things), but I don't know about his schedule because he has the same routine here all the time. His parents on the other hand are not very good at parenting. I potty trained him after the age of 3 and am still having accidents 7 months later and some resistance to use the toilet at times. His parents are very inconsistent, but I am very consistent. Autism, or parental neglect?


Asked by Anonymous at 7:49 PM on Feb. 7, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • There are an increasing number of diagnosed cases of autism. Having said that, and having represented many children in juvenile court and family court (I was a practicing lawyer for 30 years) as well as having many friends who work in special education, I would say that it sounds more like parental denial that their child has some serious problems. If I were you I would gently tell them what you are experiencing, enlisting the help of the speech therapist if possible. This child needs a real diagnostic work-up to determine what's going on. There are special programs for children his age to begin to help the child and his parents cope with his difficulties. Under no circumstances should you blame the parents! For years psychologists blamed "cold and uncaring" mothers for autism. They need encouragement not blame.

    Answer by empatheticnana at 9:28 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • without knowing the parents I would not even hazard a guess. but he sounds delayed for sure, but only an experienced dr in the field of autism could diagnose it

    Answer by sati769leigh at 7:57 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • 7 days a week 8 hours a day I'd call that neglect forget anything else--- as for the Autism part --tell his parents to take him to be tested..

    Answer by MELRN at 9:24 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • In no way, shape, or form do I blame the parents if autism were to be the diagnosis. I do think however, that neglect is partially to blame. This is my stepdaughter's mother. I have dealt with her for the past 4 years of my stepdaughter's life. There is no schedule, tv is the 24/7 babysitter, there is no quality time spent with the kids, they're even luck to get a bath once a week while there. She is just very overwhelmed with parenting and doesn't know where to begin to care for her children. She has come to me repeatedly for advice and I give what I can and help where I can, but her following through is her choice. She's just very confused with her own life and as a result, her children are a mess. That's why her daughter is here most of the time with me and her dad and her son is here too. I'm glad I'm the stable thing in their lives. However, his delay seems to be teetering more towards autism considering his age

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:30 AM on Feb. 8, 2010

  • . He's a good kid, just very behind. He has problems comprehending what you're saying to him, is very delayed in motor skills, cannot snap his pants, put on socks, pull a shirt over his head, put his coat on without doing it backwards or upside down, can't pedal a tricycle, does not run even. He also has an abnormally large head. I can't remember what that's a symptom of from my medical classes, but I know it's from some kind of learning disability. I have just had this little boy in my care for over 3 years. I am not afraid to approach the mother with any concerns that I have, and I don't mind helping her out as this is the other half of my stepdaughter's family. I just want this kiddo to receive adequate care if it is needed... or call DCFS.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:34 AM on Feb. 8, 2010