This is a list of Tyoma’s behaviors for future reference. Some are “autistic” others seem typical.
Behaviors that do not seem to be autistic traits
- Pointing/verbalizing when he wants something (toy/food/drink/activity).
- Waves bye-bye, greets with “Hi” or “Oh Hi!”
- Very good eye contact, BUT very cautious with most strangers.
- Shakes head to indicate “no;” says “no,” “not now” “enough” “all done” and “fcyo” (enough).
- Smiles, laughs, and shows affection through body language (hugs, leaning against you).
- Likes to be touched and seeks out affection hugs.
- Brings objects over to get attention, shows letters, numbers, toys, etc.
- Reacts to sadness. Upset by a cartoon depicting crying characters. Will touch or shake someone who is sad or distracted (clearly not asking for attention for himself).
- Good sense of humor. Reacts to absurdity and surprise, will do things just to get attention or laughs.
- No odd movement patterns or stereotypical behavior (rocking etc).
- No sensory issues—but hates having his hair washed. Likes play dough, sand, finger paints.
- Plays with toy as a whole, not focused on parts like spinning wheels/levers/doors etc.
- Flexible, does not insist on sameness or consistent routines. Adjusts easily
- No attachments to strange objects.
- Typically uses words appropriately, in context.
- Will imitate activities and is especially captivated by what his father does, plays “telephone,” rakes leaves, “mows” lawn, imitates gestures from YouTube songs and nursery rhymes.
- Generally responds to name, BUT will tune out if very focused on an activity. After the intense focus is over, he often runs to me, laughing.
Behaviors that might be autistic traits
- Lines up toys, puts alphabet letters in order, as well as numbers. Colors often lined up in ROYGBIV order, other toys lined up according to size. This is his favorite play activity.
- Although he can play imaginatively (“feeds” his farm animals, “talks” with his Kitty), he prefers concrete play and work is needed to play imaginatively with him.
- Expressive language delay. He generally uses one syllable to express a word and is difficult to understand unless you know him.
- Difficulty expressing internal states such as hunger, thirst, hot, cold, etc.
- He has never nodded and infrequently indicates an affirmative answer (using “da” which is Russian for yes).
- Different socially from peers, more self absorbed.
- Preoccupied with numbers and letters.
- Occasionally has intense temper tantrums, especially when required to change from a favorite activity to some other activity.
Behaviors that are unclear
- Will repeat certain words (newly learned words) out of context, as if speaking to himself. After a few days, he quits.
- Long attention span, when engrossed looking at books or organizing letters can retain focus for up to an hour.
- Outstanding memory/unusual skills for age. Learned his colors and basic shapes at 18 months. Knew the numbers 1-100 in both Russian and English at 23 months plus both alphabets. Able to count to 150, spelling a few words at 26 months. Still remembers the meaning of Russian words although he has not been exposed to them in 4-5 months.
- I believe that he is beginning to read. He will point to text and say the word, uses letters of the alphabet to express needs. Brought letters “m r d” to me, and asked for “more drink” while pointing at letters and spacing them appropriately.
- Language regressions. Skills that he once had disappear—in particular he has spoken many, many words clearly only to loose the ability later.
- Will not “perform” for others, especially his SLP.
- Can become “hyper,” especially when overwhelmed or over-stimulated. Doctor’s offices and speech therapy sessions bring out the maniac in him.