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Hi everyone- I really appreciate you taking the time to read this post. I have been with my boyfriend for about a year and have been watching his son, Parker, while he is at work for about 35-45 hours a week for the past 6 months. My daughter turned 3 in july and Parker will be 3 in september. I try not to compare the two of them because I know that every child is different and learns at their own pace.
After lots of thinking and observing during the first 2 months of watching Parker, I finally decided that I should discuss the fact of him possibly being autistic with my boyfriend. (I also have worked for a handicapped development center for 3 years, and more then half of my patients have autism, along with 3 of my nephews, so I am well aware of the signs). Nearly every person that has came over to my house while Parker was there or seen us out running errands has asked if he was autistic, or thought that he was 2 years younger than he really is. If I get called into work, a coworker watches Parker, and my daughter and the first time she watched him told me shes 100% sure he is autistic and she has been at the company 3 years longer than me.
Parker almost always has a blank expression on his face and his eyes seem like he looks right through you. It often appears as if he is in his own little world and you have to say his name several times to get a response. He has extreme separation anxiety when his dad leaves for work and will bang his head on the wall and cry for at times 2-3 hours. But when his dad returns he does not acknowledge him. He will make eye contact for a second or two but usually looks down at the ground when spoken to. He will let adults hold him and hug him, but hits any child that touches him. He also will kick, hit, and bite if you try to pick him up to comfort him while he is in a tantrum. He has shown no interest in potty training or even acknowledging that he needs his diaper changed. He has an obsession with batman and when i first met him (he was 27 months) the only words he could say were "batman" "daddy" and "mom". He usually just makes grunting noises and does grunt before every word that he does say. He can point, but cant express his wants/needs and cant show you what he wants/needs, he willonly point at objects out the windows or at other objects. He does not play with toys all he wants to do is watch tv. He has a lot of toys but only carries them around. I have no way of knowing when he is hungry so i feed him when i feed my daughter. He cant tell me if he dislikes the food i make so he dumps it on the floor. He has to be reminded to chew up his food or he will eat too much and spit it out. He often spits food out on the floor. He has no knowledge of the differences between yes and no. If my daughter asks to see a toy hell nod but will then take it from her and hit her in the face with it. He hits my daughter on average 8-12 times a day. He has punched her so hard in the nose a few times that she has gotten a bloody nose. My daughter hasnt hit him back but is starting to get her feelings hurt. He hits me often, cant go in the nursey at church because he was hitting and biting the nursery teacher, as well as other kids. We also cant find anyone to watch him during times that both of us are working because caregivers have gotten frustrated by not knowing what he wants, or he has scared the other children with his violent behaviors. He is very violent with animals as well. He also has a lot of allergies but does not acknowledge the fact that his nose is running or get a tissue he just walks around with it running until someone wipes it for him. When he wakes up in the morning he doesnt wake anyone up, he wanders around the house. I find that strange because he does not know how to get something to eat, drink, put a movie in, etc....just wanders around until his dad wakes up. He has no sense of danger and often tries to bolt out into the street. He has held cups over my daughters mouth in the bathtub, pulled chairs out from under her, and various other dangerous things. When he hits her or does something dangerous to her he doesnt show remorse, he just laughs or has a blank expression. I dont spank him but i use timeouts for punishment. I am not seeing any improvements in his behavior by giving timeouts because he just zones out. The thing that makes me think that it might not be autism is that he copies my daughters every move. If she runs up to the couch, he runs up to the couch. If she sits down he sits down. if she touches her head, he touches his head, etc.....its literally every little move whenever he is around her- not sure if this is true, but my friend whos son is autistic said it could be a form of stimming. He is unable to say words quietly everytime he says a word it is almost yelling. He makes lots of loud signs and noises at restaurants and grocery stores. As far as being shy- I have seen him hit complete strangers, and have once seen hin walk up to a complete stranger in the store and wrap his arms around her legs and would not let go. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with autism, but when he runs he twists his hips. He also falls A LOT. The first time I changed his diaper I was shocked at all the bruises on his legs from falling. I don't think that he has many sensory issues i think he is under sensitive. He did not cry during his shots and does not cry when his dad spanks him. When I first started watching him he could not eat with a fork or spoon. He is starting to now. He really enjoys dropping beads into a glass jar and will do that for hours. He also likes to lay on the bed and watch the ceiling fan. He spins and runs in circles but I only see him do it a few times a day. He also rocks himself frequently. I read to him a few hours a day so he is starting to say more words but it is all tacting (labeling) like car, book, cat, dog, etc. I have never heard him use any expressive language but he will say please or thank you if my daughter says it first or if i ask him to. He does not wave goodbye but will say bye if i ask him to. I love this little boy like he is my own son but am deeply concerned for the safety of my daughter. I dont think that he understands that he is hurting her and i dont think he understands other peoples feelings. I dont feel like he understands anything i say besides "get your shoes" and he will get his shoes and is starting to put them on by himself. The past 1-2 months he has been banging his head on the wall and hitting himself for no apparent reason.
When I brought these observations up to my boyfriend (I'm in a hurry right now so i dont think i listed all of them) , he was very upset and defensive. I recommended that he have a speech therapist come because thought the violent things he was doing could be because he is unable to express himself. He asked me if i could do the evaluation at my house since I'm the person that is around him the most. When the therapist arrived i began to share my concerns with her. When my boyfriend came to sign the consent form (since i'm not his legal guardian, my boyfriend and Parker's mom have 50/50 custody) the therapist asked him questions and he said "yes" to several of the things she asked if Parker could do that he cannot do. We had our first fight after that because i felt like a liar, and he told me that he didnt want the lady to tell him that something is wrong with his son. The therapist still said he was at about a 12-18 month level when he was 33 months old. Now my boyfriend is saying that he doesnt understand why everyone thinks there is something wrong with his son(i recently found out several other peoploe have brought it to his attention that they think he could have mild MR or autism, within the last few years) and that he refuses to take him to any more doctors because he is normal and there is nothing wrong with him. He once mentioned that it could be an anger problem but i dont think that he understands enough of whats going on to have anything to be angry about. I was offended because I work with several people with autism (I'm a home health aide), and love my patients like they are my own family.
Do you think this sounds like autism? I'm very overprotective of my daughter, sensitive to her feelings, and I'm losing my patience and would be able to understand a lot more of his behaviors if i knew for sure that he was autistic. I've told my boyfriend several times that i would not love Parker any less if he did have autism, I would actually have a lot more patience with him. We are supposed to move in with eachother in a few months and i feel like if he wont get his son help, is violence could get worse as he gets older and stronger. Also my daughter has picked up on a lot of his behaviors (she says well Parker doesnt listen to you! if i ask her to do something such as throw a wrapper away which Parker will not do). Part of me feels like a horrible mother because i feel like i am spending so much time trying to teach Parker things, instead of the one on one time i used to have with my daughter. I do give the separate nap and bath times now so i can have more one on one time with each of them.
I would greatly appreciate some advice. I love my boyfriend and love Parker, but my daughter needs to come first
Thank you so much for reading- please respond