Autism diagnosis for 3 year old on 40th birthday
By - username_choose_you
I feel you on this. <3 My son has some difficulties himself. He’s 6 now and entering kindergarten with an individual education plan after three years in special needs preschool. Our public preschool was phenomenal for him and he went for free because of his developmental delay. He received all kinds of therapies. Just sharing to let you know preschool may not be out of the picture for your child - my son couldn’t talk at all on his first day.
Is he able to speak now?
Yes. He has had speech therapy, occupational therapy and a developmental specialist work with him.
Just know that things aren’t off limits to you guys <3 just gotta find the right resources to make it work.
You’re doing great. It can be so overwhelming at first but you’ll find your rhythm and what works for you all.
How long did it take him to speak? She is 3 1/2 and she has fragmented words and struggles with some pronouncing. Sentences are few and far between as well
He was 4.5 before I would say that strangers could easily understand him. I could understand him closer to age 4.
But at 3.5, he was still saying things like “baby this” when he wanted something and some words were total gibberish like Spider-man was “sosheykid”
I understand what a blow that diagnosis can be. I'd just try to remember that nothing has changed. She's still the same little girl she was the day before. All you have now is information that you can use to help her. I was a preschool school psychologist before I had my son and I've worked with many children with asd. I've seen some truly amazing progress.
Thank you for sharing. I need all the positive stories I can get right now.
We live in a big city so thankfully there are lots of resources but the initial process is overwhelming. Trying to take it one piece at a time
I used to teach elementary special ed and it is definitely overwhelming for parents! But her getting diagnosed this early is a good thing because she will have SO many more services available for both you and her. When you're ready, join the Facebook and local groups for children with Autism. It's going to be tough but so rewarding. Just remember that you are not alone!
Not asd, but my daughter was diagnosed with several learning disabilities a couple years ago. What I can tell you from being in the nuerodivergent community is it will sometimes feel terrifying. It will sometimes feel like they'll never progress or get to X developmental milestone/place. But then all of a sudden, they'll jump like 3 levels and probably plateau again for a while. The progress with early intervention is there, you just can't always see it. Read / listen about all the types of specific things you're working of with her. Read about how it's different for girls if at all. (sometimes this comes into play- adhd plays out differently with hormonal swings for example) Find social media accounts or groups or friends to follow that don't only give info and Support but also help you feel validated and or seen in the struggles of the ND itself and also parenting it. It can feel extremely lonely sometimes. But there is so much good info and groups out there as well as programs. And most of all, follow your gut when it comes to what's working and what's not. You know and see your kid more than anyone.
I am a SAHD with a 5yo on the spectrum. My advice to you is to sub r/autism r/aspergers and r/neurodiversity
The best people to learn from are the people who have been living it their whole lives.
My daughter is 3 and was just diagnosed as well. She has a speech delay too. I came to say that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. We are still trying to get her help (speech therapy) but everywhere seems to have a waitlist where I am, or just bad reviews and I don’t want to be sending her with people that hate their job. Allow yourself to feel the way you feel but just know that it will get better and your daughter is still the same little girl you’ve always loved, it’s just she needs a little more help than others and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You’re and awesome parent for advocating for her!!
My oldest boy was diagnosed at 3, and the local school system was phenomenal on getting him help. He went from rarely speaking to reading out loud for his first grade class.
It was difficult at first, and not knowing how he would be was a constant worry. But early intervention helped him express his feelings and use words to explain why he didn't get some things. Now, we still have conversations about why a person did something in class, or why some things change with the seasons. We look up questions I can't answer and he's understanding the outside world much better than he did . He does understand that he's a little different, but its OK to be that way.
You got this. You can get help, you can give hugs, and you can have sometimes awkward conversations.
I feel this.
My now 6 year old daughter was diagnosed when she was 2.5, but they wouldn't give her speech therapy until after her 3rd birthday when they could deem her "definite disorder"
By 3.5 she could hardly put 2 words together, couldn't make most sounds (l/m/n/t/p/q/th/f/fl/g/c/ck/s to name a few off the top of my head). I was really feeling hopeless. I could tell she wanted to talk so badly and just couldn't. It was heart breaking to see as a parent and so, so, so exhausting to try and figure out what she needed. It was sometimes discouraging to see her with peers because she was so behind. She also didn't "play", she kinda just followed other kids around and sometimes they'd get mad and yell at her for following them. THAT was hard as a parent because kids just don't know any better.
She began speech at 3 years old, 3 days a week, 30 minutes. She made *minimal* progress.
Finally the state put her in preschool at almost 4 years old.
When I tell you a lightbulb went off in her brain, I mean it. What I'm about to tell you is nothing short of what her father and I consider a fucking **miracle**.
Within 2 weeks of being in preschool for 5 hours a day, receiving speech daily and occupational therapy 3x a week, our daughter was putting words together. No more than 3, but it was progress, and that's all we could ask. It was still gibberish, that really only we understood - but again, progress.
Just before her 4th birthday she answered me when I asked "What did you do with Grandma?". I will never forget this day. I didn't expect an answer, I just always asked her stuff in hopes one day she'd respond. On this day she looked right at me and said, "beach, swim, boat, lunch!" I *sobbed*.
She just turned 6 in May, and still receives speech 3x a week and OT 2x a week.
She can speak just as well as most of her peers, though her pronunciation is still subpar (2%). Everyone can understand her though, and she's always working so hard.
She's also a FANTASTIC reader. She's reading chapter books at barely 6 years old, and her comprehension is in the 99%. Her expressive language is in the 99%, when at 3 it was something like 12%.
Her math skills are insane. Her mapping skills are impeccable. She's not a "kid genius", but there were definitely some mental payoffs to her aspbergers / ASD / SPD. She also has a deep passion for music and art.
I know it's hard. I know it's so draining. I know it's overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. But there will be a day when your daughter responds and you will be so, so elated. Try and focus on the things your daughter's good at, or enjoys. The speech will come. It will. Maybe not until she's 6, but it'll happen.
So much respect for your patience.
Thank you for sharing this. Her speech feels hopeless at this point and hearing anything positive makes me hopeful
I’m really trying to get her into a preschool for next year. We currently do speech therapy 1x week and we may have to increase it
How is her communication, sans speech?
Does she know how to get you to understand her basic needs? I was always told "communication doesn't necessarily mean speech". We started sign language when we really thought she was never going to progress in her speech.
It's a show process. We're 3 years in and still at 2% for her pronunciation. But it's progressing.
Another side story, I used to babysit this little boy. He was completely non-verbal at 5 years old.
He was not on the spectrum, and they didn't know why he didn't speak. The mother told me "He will someday when he feels like it" (bless her!). One day I was getting him and his sister some cookies from the cabinet when this little voice said, clear as day, "Give me a cookie now!"
His mother ran from the bathroom and should "WAS THAT MY ALLEN?!" I said (in complete shock) "Yes! Do I give him all of them?!??!" And I handed him a box of cookies for his troubles. Lol!
He didn't speak again for a little while. Then one day spoke as if he's spoken his entire life. It's weird, but some kids just progress at their own pace.
I’m so, so sorry. The type of work you’re doing with your daughter is so hard and difficult to measure as you don’t see immediate results (like one does painting a wall). Having special needs makes parenting even more challenging.
My advice is to take the time to emotionally adjust to the diagnosis - the time it takes for people varies. I’d also recommend, when you’re ready, seeing if finding a parent community is helpful for you. There are a lot of parents serving as great advocates for their children on the spectrum, and the ASD community in general. My husband is a special ed teacher, and before becoming a SAHM I worked in a disability office at our local community college. I can tell you that I worked with many, many students on the spectrum who (with support) found passion in their academics and careers, had friendships (again, this may look different than for other people), and were on their way to living an independent life. I sometimes thought about their parents, who often met with me a few times during their child’s tenure, and would wonder how they felt at the time of diagnosis because they were so comfortable in the relationship and with their child’s needs by the time they got to me. Also, many were in two-parent working households, so if that’s important for you, you’ll probably be able to get there eventually.
Anyway, try to have some hope. This is hard now, and there will be hard moments going forward. But my personal experience tells me that there is a lot of potential for great things ahead too.
ETA: I already see members of the ASD parent community chiming in. You guys are awesome!
I worked with a wee girl from 2-6 who received support and she became functionally verbal by 5/6. Early intervention can most definitely make a HUGE difference. She said what we said at first in shortened sentences “sarah* is thirsty?” When she was thirsty- and referred to herself by third person but her sentences, although carefully chosen and a little disjointed began to flow out! She was playing and would speak and play with friends. She needed help getting her Perspective across sometimes but obviously knew what she wanted to say, just had difficulty saying it like a neurotypical person would. When she left for school she would use sentences all day long but just not paragraphs I guess? I imagine she would be able to articulate herself in written form wonderfully one day.
*not her name
Early intervention will definitely help. She might not be able to express herself, but she loves and needs her daddy. You are doing great and you are incredibly strong. Stay strong for her.
Hi! Autistic mom here to a 3 year old currently going through the diagnostic process. I'm sure this is a big thing to process for your family, and it's okay to feel what you feel. But, I'd love to offer some positive perspective if you don't mind :)
-Please remember that just because your child isn't very communicative, that it doesn't mean she doesn't understand or want to communicate. She may learn to speak better as she grows up and with therapy, or she may find alternative methods of communication. All of these are great, and you will find ways to communicate with her as she ages!
-Especially in Canada we have so many options for therapies! I am so happy for my son because he will be able to have therapies to help him in life that I never got myself.
-Autistic people are awesome! I'm somewhat biased but our brains give us some major advantages and unique perspectives and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
-This is probably the best time ever to be autistic. The world is becoming so much more understanding and accessible. Yes it's still a challenge, but I have no doubt that our kiddos can live happy fulfilled lives.
-I'd highly recommend watching YouTube videos or reading blogs from autistic adults to gain some perspective on the way she experiences the world, and to see how wonderful and diverse the autistic community is.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat further! I'm lucky to be autistic so that I have an extra understanding of my son, so I'd love to share that however I can. You're doing great- just focus on the awesome little girl you have in front of you, and don't fall down the rabbit hole of worrying too far into the future. You got this :)
Hi my daughter is 3 1/2 and also autistic with sensory processing disorder and severe mixed receptive/expressive language delay. As someone mentioned early intervention is key!! What I found works best is lots of repetition. Also explaining steps even if it’s dressing her or cooking or cleaning explain the steps to her it will help her learn. Introduce communication apps or games. We have been using proloquo2go but started with free or cheaper apps first to see if she caught on to it. If you haven’t heard of PECS (picture exchange communication) it would be something to look into. Also if you haven’t connected with your local Autism Chapter they can connect you to a lot of resources since you have a confirmed diagnosis. Here are a few websites that might be helpful too
The Big Red Box- you only pay the $8 shipping cost and it loaded with safety things. My daughter doesn’t respond to her name much. Safety decals and alarms are included with it.
Do2learn has a lot of great resources
ECACparentcenter.org is loaded with a lot of great info also.
Excuse my rambling I’m rushing a bit. Just know an autism diagnosis it isn’t the end of the world!!! You sound like a great parent and you’re already doing a great job trying to figure things out.
My oldest daughter started saying her first words at nine months. By the time she was two years old, she was completely mute. She was diagnosed with autism three months after her second birthday. They had just started an early intervention program, and we were fortunate enough to get in. The local school district offered early childhood special education, so I got her an IEP and got her in. A local social organization helped us get Signing Time dvds so we could learn some basic ASL to facilitate communication. She got PT, OT, and ST through the school. She is now 13 and almost perfectly articulate. Every time I get a headache from her constant chatter, I remind myself how hard it was to help her when she couldn't speak.
If you're lucky, you'll be teamed up with great professionals who are invested in your daughter's success. Even if you are, sometimes you'll have to fight like a tiger to ensure your daughter is getting all of the support and intellectual stretching she needs to keep on learning and growing.
And as much as you're able, focus on what she *can* do. If you lose hope for your daughter's future, it makes it harder to see opportunities.
Grieve if you need to, talk to a good therapist for yourself, ask for and accept help, and keep moving forward. You've got this!
My younger sister was diagnosed with autism around 2 years old, my parents really had a hard time. While I know it is never easy I want to say there are other ways to communicate!
My own toddler speaks in sign language more than verbally, and the docs kept asking me why? Was there something going on with her? No, some kids just pick up sign language much easier than words and even if you guys don't speak fully on signing it might help even with simple words! That's the only thing I remember my younger sister learning to do with her severe disability.
Try words like more, thank you, water, apple, cracker. Sure she will pick something up even if you do it just once on a while :)
Sending many hugs and kindness your way!
Hey love! It’s going to be A-ok! My son is 6 and he has a severe language disorder in that he can’t even put words in a sentence, hell, he has trouble getting single words out! Most autistic people do go onto speak, it just takes them longer.
Things are difficult, but depending on where you are a bunch of different services can be made available to you. We get Medicaid on top of our personal insurance, so every single medical bill and copay is taken care of. He’ll be starting kindergarten this year and will be getting speech and OT in the public school system, as well as through our private therapists. The school system and/or Medicaid would even pay for a speech device for him (but we’ve opted for doing this on our own). And the good news is, you could get her into intensive therapy if you’d like or go the route of early intervention through the public school system so she’s getting out of the house every day.
Another thing that helped us was genetic testing. We didn’t think anything would come of it, but it turns out he has a rare genetic disorder that causes his ASD and although as of right now it doesn’t really make a difference in helping him cope, it does show us what doctors to take him to (IE he could have heart issues) and it links us with other people across the world who also have similar mutations, so it feels less lonely. Look into SPARK, it’s a genetic research project that will not only do your daughter’s sequencing, but also yours and they give out Amazon gift cards. We have our sequencing done privately, but we also joined the SPARK project last year because it’s for a good cause.
There are some other “perks” as well depending on where you are. You automatically qualify for an IEP, handicap tags, front of the line at Disney, disability benefits, SSI, and I think, but don’t hold me to this, free college.
My husband is a meteorologist for the national weather service here in the states and he went to school with one of the top meteorologists there. The guy’s name is Dave and he’s actually on a documentary called, “Autism in Love”, that follows Dave and his wife (who also has ASD). They both didn’t speak until very late, and it’s obvious Dave is a bit different, he has tics so it’s obvious, and you know what, doesn’t matter. Dude is an amazing meteorologist and does very well for himself.
She may not have a conventional life, but you know what? That’s shit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyways. Think outside the box. Her life may be different than an NT person, but it can still be great.
Happy belated 40th. I hope next year’s is better and you don’t have to clean a damn thing!
There are some excellent resources & support for parents with different needs on the TILT parenting website
I cannot speak on the autism, which I imagine is something huge to come to terms with. I can say it sounds like nothing special was done for your birthday, and while that may seem small in the scheme of things, it does sound like it bothers you. You also are allowed to feel celebrated. Have you thought of celebrating your half birthday? It helps me to be very clear what I want (handmade card.m, breakfast in bed, etc.) I know your mind isn’t probably on that right now, but I really do hope you take some time to care for yourself as well.
I’m a SAHP myself but I’m not in the same shoes as you. But I did work in a preschool that specialized on children with a wide spectrum like yours. Over the years I worked there I personally worked with easily dozens of not Over a hundred children that were on the spectrum and they became vocal quickly as they grew. I know too many parents who are terrified their children may be on the spectrum but it really isn’t a very daunting thing. I honestly feel like most adults are on the spectrum and never even know it. It’s just viewing the world through a slightly different lens.
My little guy just got diagnosed last month on the day of his brothers birthday. It was so jarring that we just all forgot about his younger brothers birthday. Luckily the kid turned 1 so he has no idea. But yeah idk what 3 is going to look like but it's been an ordeal. It took me a few weeks to come to terms with it. Still coming to terms with what this means about growing or family or if this means we should stop here. It's some heavy stuff. I honestly feel like it's as if your kid got diagnosed with cancer only people joke about it like it's not a big deal as if it's on the same as lactose intolerance.
My advice is try to get out and go on some dates without the kids if you can to feel some sense of normalcy where you aren't being reminded even if it's only for an hour. I went to dinner and went on some hikes and had a good cry after.
This is really hard to face. Before I decided to stay home I was an ABA provider for kids with autism her age. There is absolutely hope that she will talk and gain other life skills that can help her lead a fulfilling life with as much independence as possible. My favorite part of my job was helping kids start to talk, it is the most significant life skill we can teach.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to get her to the specialists she needs, it’s a process and it requires a lot of buy-in from her family. My recommendation would be to get her into ABA as soon as possible and push for insurance to authorize as many hours per week as you can get. That way she’ll have the best chance at getting the most help she can. You sound like you’re going to be a really great advocate for her and she’s very lucky to have you.
We are in Canada and she is eligible for $22,000 a year in funding until she turns 6. I submitted all the forms yesterday for processing and we will have more resources presented to us next week.
Money isn’t a huge issue, it’s finding space in the available programs. I’m just so gutted I want therapy to start ASAP
That’s fantastic. Wish every child with a diagnosis could get that! You’re on the right track, dad, just keep going for that little angel. <3
You’ve got this. They have so many resources for kids 3+. Meet the team, and just ask as many questions as you can as your child is learning. My kid was 3 when she was diagnosed with autism, and it’s mainly a speech delay as well. I’m here if you have any questions or need any advice.