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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 18423
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My five year old son Daniel has certain symptoms of autism

Customer Question

My five year old son Daniel has certain symptoms of autism that is causing concern for our family. He seems to be a high functioning autistic. When nervous or excited he flaps his hands. If he doesn't get a lot of excercise then he has problems with sleep. He shuts down when in trouble or is asked to find his shoes or join a group. However he speaks quite well and often says his "brain turns off when he gets stress". I go back and forth woundering if its just a stage or if he is suffering from a slight case of autism. It has his father and I very worried and scared because as parents you want only the best life for your children.
Daniel plays with his sister very well but has a difficult time joining groups. His preschool thinks he is a high functioning autistic but I want to seek professionals and get a diagnosis before this next school year.
he often repeats himself when excited and has a few phobias when it comes to food and tectures. He has over come being scared of putting shirts over his head and washing his hair.I took the Harvard quiz for Autism online and it said he was on the right track. I always thought that autistics have a hard time with feelings and Daniel expresses himself well and is super affectionate. I would like to know if these symptoms that he displays are autism or something else that I could be learning and treating him for.
Thank you for your time.
Lauren Boldt
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.
I can understand your frustrations. My daughter also has been diagnosed with high functioning autism, specifically pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS.
The symptoms that you describe certainly can be due to autism, but it is impossible to make this determination based on this level of assessment. The assessment of my daughter required several hours of assessment by a developmental psychologist to be able to reach a diagnosis.
Therefore, the symptoms are worrisome for high functioning autism, but it would require a proper evaluation to be able to make the diagnosis, so you should arrange for a developmental assessment.
If I can provide any clarification, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can a child with autism have in depth openly verbal feelings and display affection almost more than not? Also do children with high functioning autism do well in normal class rooms? I just want to know what I maybe up against and if I have to find him a special school. I will have him visit a professional in Saint Louis this up coming week and get a diagnosis but I just wonder if he will have a chance in a normal class room.
Also do child get better or worse as they approuch puberty.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Yes, with high functioning autism, there is some effect on socialization, but it can be quite variable, so some will have difficulty with expression of emotions, but others may not. Our daughter has more difficulty in perception of emotions and non-verbal cue than she does in expression of her own emotions.
Many children with high functioning autism can do OK in normal classrooms, but others need special education. It will depend upon how that child is affected. The reason that it is called high functioning is that these children usually do OK except for certain limited aspects of socialization, so many do fine in normal classes. On the other hand, autism exists along a spectrum, which is why we also speak of autism spectrum disorders, and some are higher on the spectrum, some are lower, and some are in the middle. The key issue is to tailor the education to the specific circumstances of the individual, rather than automatically thinking that they will or will not need specific accommodations.