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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Is It Autism? And Do I Say Something?
Greenshadow 09:37 AM 12-03-2010
I have a child in my care that I believe has something going on with him. I have a niece that has Aspergers Syndrome so I know alittle about this but not a whole lot. This little boy in my care has alot of strange things that he does. I dont know if its just his way or if its something more. Here are a few of them:

He chants numbers over and over when he gets frustrated or anxious or upset. Recently he has acquired a set of lungs so he does this very shrill hissing scream in addition to repeating numbers over and over.

He loves the dog food bowl but not in a "normal" way. He will go up to the bowl and cock his head to the side and look at it as though he is looking at it purposefully from a different perspective. I have never seen a child do this in all my years of childcare. Its odd. He wont touch the food.

He will pick up a block with a letter on it and when he picks it up, he picks it up purposefully straight up and turn his wrist in a very thought-out way and set the block back down to where another letter is showing. He also does this while his head is cocked to the side. He doesnt just pick up a block and stack them or throw them. Everything is very intentional.

He wont paint. At all. He wont touch the paint or even hold the paint brush. He wont color. Its all I can do to get him to sit in the chair while the others paint or color. He just wont do it.

He likes to play alone. He is anti-social EXCEPT when the kids run. He likes to run with them and laugh. He will do that. Thats the ONLY interaction he does with the other children.

He loves books. He will get a book and go through it and when he is done with it, he always leaves the book open to the same page. I can come over to where the book area is and he will have 10 books open to a certain page.

Should I go on? There's so many things. He doesnt hardly talk. Sometimes I hear him parrot the other kids or me. Sometimes. No more than one word though. He just started saying Mommy but he doesnt say it exclusively to mommy, which I know is normal, but its the only real word, besides letters and numbers that he will say.

He can identify all the letters of the alphabet by sight. You can ask him what the letter is and he knows. He doesnt know his colors or numbers yet.

So what would you do with this information? The mother feels like he is just anti-social and high strung like his dad is. She says that he is cut from the same cloth. Maybe so but his dad makes eye contact with me when I talk to him and smiles and laughs. This little boy doesnt do that so much. Sometimes, on VERY RARE occasions, I can tickle him and he will laugh. Usually he doesnt even crack a smile. He is a very serious little boy. But he does run sometimes and smile but its almost like its at random times and alot of times its not when everyone else is.

Please help. I dont want to offend the parents but I really am wondering if something more is wrong with this child. What would you do? Would you not say anything to the parent? I havent said anything yet. I just allow her to believe its just his way and its nothing. Even though Im not very sure.

Oh and this little boy just turned two years old.
countrymom 09:51 AM 12-03-2010
mom considers that high strung on what level. Hmm, that is some odd behaviors. I have a kid that is like that too, very odd, and I have said something, the previous daycare said something and now the school has said something, it took 5 yrs but something is finally being done with him. Funny thing is, is that I notice it right away by looking at him and I've even had strangers comment to me about him. Mom finally admitted that she too has had strangers say something. I don't know what to tell you.
Greenshadow 09:57 AM 12-03-2010
I have had parents say things too. Just little comments sometimes. He does have alot of odd behaviors though.

Another example: When a parent comes to pick up their child and leaves, he gets VERY upset and cries. Its not his parent but he will go to the door and knock on it and cry. You'd think he'd been abandoned. When I told his mother that he does this she thinks its that he is just sensitive and it hurts his feelings. Maybe but I dont think so.

So you did say something to the parent? I hate to offend her by saying something and it turn out to not be true but I hate to not say anything and something really is wrong. My own son is 3 but he had alot of delays from being a NICU baby. He was in speech therapy and had special classes he went to and everything. I taught him sign language because he wasnt speaking. He has since caught up to his age, if that makes any sense. They told me that they were glad to see that it was caught early. Thats my only concern is that if its caught early enough, it can be treated sooner. Otherwise it doesnt get noticed until he starts school and thats a long time to wait to diagnose a child, I think. In my opinion it doesnt hurt to have them just examined for it. If its nothing, great. But if its something, well atleast it was caught early.

I just have NO IDEA how to bring this up to the parent. She will be so upset I think to hear that her son might have a condition and if he doesnt end up with anything I dont want her upset with me for putting them through that. Ugh.
marniewon 10:34 AM 12-03-2010
I would NOT tell dcp's that you think he has autism or even asperger's. What I would do is print out info on where this little guy should be for his age. Then you can sit down with parents and let them know that he is behind in <whatever> and that you are concerned. Tell them the story of your son, and how helpful it was to catch it early so he could get the help he needed and now is right up with his peers. If you do it gently, and with compassion, the parents shouldn't fault you for it.
laundrymom 10:41 AM 12-03-2010
I think I would say,.. Mom,.. I need tot alk to you about something that is very difficult and I dont know how to approach it,... when you have time could we talk? I am not terminating care nor has anything happened,.. I just want to talk. dont do it at drop off pick up because she deserves your full attention,.. and you deserve hers.

start by saying how much you love her son,.. how he is very sweet and has a very curious soul. That because you have cared for children for so long, and because of your niece you truly think he may need to be evaluated by someone who knows more than you do. you know what,.. let me start this over,.. let me just type what I would say,.. Ill use my nephew zion as the "subject" because he actually has issues and its easier for me.

Hey SHerry,... I need to talk to you about something that is very difficult and I dont know how to approach it,... when you have time could we talk? I am not terminating care nor has anything happened,.. I just want to talk.

then just say,... I hope you know that I love Zion,... he is truly a joy to have here and I cant imagine life without him here,.. however,.. I have noticed some things that I want to talk about. Ive been a provider for over 20 years, Ive had oodles and oodles of kids in my home during that time. I have never met anyone in my home quite like your son. He has specific ways of doing things that fall outside the norm of the other kids Ive had,..The way he looks at the dog bowl,.. so intently,.. studying how the light reflects and how the food is mirrored,.. how he is very deliberate with his placement of objects after looking at them. I am beginning to think maybe someone who knows more than I do should evaluate him. I have been learning so much in the trainings I have been getting through our childcare referral office. I read articles and think,.. this is describing Zion,.. I dont want you to feel like I think something is wrong with him or that I dont love him because that is sooo not true. Its because I do love him that I see he may process things different than the other kids in the daycare. I truly think that I would be lying to you if I said he is like everyone else here. My heart would just ache if I found out in the future that my gut was right but my heart was too scared to say anything. I relaly hope I dont make you angry but you have trusted me to keep him safe, to make decisions for his health safety and emotional development. You have entrusted me with his daily activities, to teach him how to do everyday things..... I just have a feeling in my heart that something makes him think differently.... I can ask the referral service what they recommend to do. Im sure I can find a local free or locost facility that will help. I just feel like I have to say this to you because I genuinely care about him as a person,.. I hope you understand,.... I understand if your angry,.. hurt, upset or just peeved. I am here if you need me,.. and will support you no matter what,... but I had to clear my heart about this.

NEVER mention aspergers.... (sp?) never mention autism,.. never mention any specific thing. That is not your job,... your job is to open her mind to being evaluated,.. not to plant a seed,... I can truly tell you that if he is as involved as you described,.. yours will not be a new idea to her,.. she has sat up nights worrying about her baby,.. and should the time come where he is DX and a treatment plan is made,.... she will be eternally greatful that you had the balls to stand up for her son and say HEY!!!!! he needs help. You will be his hero,... every kid needs one. take a leap and fly on my friend,...... do it with love,... and an open heart and mind,... moms going to need that feeling from you ..... we are professionals on children,.. we may not have the right words,.... or know the jargon,.. but when you feel in your heart,... go with it.....
QualiTcare 11:05 AM 12-03-2010
i approached a mother about her child before. i brought it up casually like, "he does this here, does he do this at home" and i gave a few examples. i was in school at the time so i told her i had just been learning about some behaviors that MIGHT be signs of a delay (speech, or something else) but it could be that he just couldn't hear that well. either way, i told her i knew of a service that would come out and observe him for free (early intervention) and i wrote down the name of the place and handed it to her so she could get the number. i also had a screening checklist i had from school and casually looked over it with her while we stood there and she was like - wow. it was undeniable almost everything on the list applied to him. i told her to take that paper and let me know if she wanted to have them come out and observe - and she did call and they did come out and he did have a delay. i believe the screening form i used was the m-chat which i don't have the file i had, but here's one online, and the scoring form. i also found a pdd assessment that screens for autism and some other disorders.



pdd site:

of course you can't make a diagnosis, but it's something tangible to show her if you decide to approach the subject, and something her doctor would like to see if she'd rather go that route. you could also call your state's early intervention services and get some advice from them.
MG&Lsmom 12:31 PM 12-03-2010
As the mother of an autistic child I only wish my provider had mentioned more about my daughter's delays back when she was in care. Now I'm not like most people, I prefer you to tell me like it is even if I won't like it. I never took offense to anything she said, but then she was too gentle trying not to hurt my feelings or upset me. We didn't understand just how bad it was until she was 3 and NOT TALKING at all. She could repeat words, but she had no language skills. My daughter has caught up in most of her speech delay (which usually is part of the ASD) and is presenting as more of an Aspie. She's very high functioning and her quirks are often overlooked as just that. From what you're describing this child seems more severe and all those behaviors are indicative of ASD. As pp said, you can't say one way or another that he has x, y, or z. But I would be very firm in your discussion with mom that you are concerned and you feel his behaviors need to be evaluated by another professional. You never said how old he is either. ASD boys often become physical as they get older and you never know when that's going to happen.
DanceMom 03:00 PM 12-03-2010
Personally I probably would not suggest this child has autism or anything else...Im not a doctor therefore I dont believe I am qualified to make such a suggestion. However, I would talk to the parent and let the know the odd behaviors you are seeing daily - I would also do as another suggested and print off normal behaviors for the childs age and maybe type something up stating each behavior that you are experiencing day to day so maybe she can go over those with her doctor.

Good luck !
SilverSabre25 05:05 PM 12-03-2010
Yes, from what you describe this little boy almost certainly has something going on. Some of what you describe (lack of speech, echolalia (repeating what's been said), lack of eye contact, knowing letters etc) sounds like ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Some of it (cocking his head, precise placement, chanting numbers, opening book to same page) sounds like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Put together? I'm not sure; I'm not an expert, but I do know more than many people do about some of these conditions.

You definitely need to bring it up to mom. Urge her to talk to his pediatrician or call your state's Early Intervention Program. Don't mention anything in particular--just that he's not at a level typical for his age and has some behaviors that concern you as a provider. Tell her that there's no harm in an evaluation, none whatsoever, and that if he does have something going on, it's much better to catch it early.
Greenshadow 05:49 PM 12-03-2010
I appreciate all the advice. I think that I will say something very general to her and I will not mention any specific terminology as I am not a doctor of any sort but I do know odd behavior when I see it. She can have him tested. If its nothing, great. If it is, well we caught it early.

Thank you all very much!!
boysx5 09:44 AM 12-04-2010
it all depends on the parent and you only know how she will react to you saying something. I think its not are place to label a child but to tell her you think their may be issues can be taken a couple of ways so I always feel out the parent. I had one child that had a terrible speech problem and the mom said she had him checked out and they said it was normal which I didn't agree with but if she didn't want to face then it was her issue not mine to step on her toes. I no longer have him so not sure wherever happened once he reached school. I have a son with aspergers and wish his preschool was more up front with me I knew there was something not right but kept thinking it was just a phase and I was in denial and didn't want to face it so some a wake up call is just what you need.
Tags:asperger's, autism, notify
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