My daughter, Paisley is will be 3 in a few weeks. I have noticed a lot of Autistic symptoms in her over the last 18 months. I've mentioned it to her doctor a few times, and he has assured me that at her 3 year check up, if I still have a concern, he will do a formal evaluation. In the meantime, I'm looking for some advice from a parent of an Autistic child to see if these behaviors signal Autism. Beware, this may be a long post, and I apologize in advance for that.
-She shows no empathy for others. None. She has been known to laugh at children when they fall and get hurt, she has hit and head-butted her baby sister, all the while seeming to not have a care in the world that she hurts their feelings, or hurts them physically.
-Difficulty expressing her emotions. She has never once expressed an emotion to me. Never an, "I'm sad, angry, hurt, etc., Mommy." She has difficulty understanding facial cues, and other peoples emotions. She recognizes her baby sister's cries, and will say things like, "baby sister, cry." I explain that her sister is upset, and trying to tell me something b/c she can't talk yet. After my explanation, she looks at me like I'm speaking a foreign language.
-Poor speech development, and a regress in speech. She spoke in sentences at 13 months, but around 18 months or so, it slowed down tremendously. She now has a vocab of about 100 words, give or take. However, she barely communicates using sentences. ex: When she wants something, she's very vague. I'm lucky to get one or two words out of her such as "Pink", or "Bubee" (blueberries). When I say, "Pink what, Paisley?", she has a tremendous meltdown that lasts for at least 15 minutes. Sometimes up to an hour.
-Extreme tantrums that go WAY BEYOND typical toddler b.s. On any given day, I deal with at least 5 tantrums. Sometimes up to 10 or 15. All lasting no less than 15 minutes. Yesterday, she had a tantrum because she couldn't find her blue mega block. I pointed to it, and showed her where it was, but that wasn't good enough. It was the wrong one. The tantrum lasted nearly 2 hours, complete with screaming, crying, kicking, throwing herself on the floor, etc. She has even been known to pull at her hair. She doesn't pull it out, just tugs at it.
-OCD tendencies. She requires no less than 4 toothbrushes when it's time to brush her teeth. She demands to brush them no less than 5 times a day. I only allow it 2 times a day. After breakfast, and before bed. She takes 35 stuffed animals to bed, 9 blankets, 4 pillows, and 8 rubber ducks/elephants/turtles. If there is one item missing, she instinctively knows, and a horrific tantrum ensues, yet again. When I put her to bed at night, I have to point out every item so she knows it's all there.
-Fascination with odd things on toys. She has a giant plastic piano, and xylophone. I have seen her use them for their intended purposes maybe 3 or 4 times. She's perfectly content with plugging up the screw holes on the back with her fingers so she can hear the 'pop' noise it makes when she pulls her fingers out.
-No interest with other children her age. When I take her to story time she refuses to sit still, and instead wanders off into the children's section to rearrange and stack the books. When the other kids join the room, she goes around snatching books from their hands so she can rearrange and stack those to. At play dates, she has no interest with the other kids. She has always been way to happy playing on her own, off in a corner somewhere.
-She obsessively collects Fruit Buddy caps, and washcloths, having a meltdown when a certain color is missing.
-She covers her ears with her hands at strange times. Just to do it. There doesn't have to be any loud noises, or over-stimulation to cause this.
Once again, I apologize for this being so long. I'm just looking for some answers until we get a formal diagnosis. After much research, I have realized that she meets the necessary criteria.