Advice needed pre diagnosis

I have 3 boys 5, 3 and 1. The eldest is going through the diagnosis process currently as there is a concern he is on the spectrum. My concern currently though is for my 3 yo.

His behaviour is getting worse each day. He constantly wines and cries for me (but not tearful cries). He does make eye contact with me, but it is apparent that he wont with anyone he doesn't know or hasnt built a trusting relationship with. He was having a one to one cuddle with his aunt the other day and went ballistic when I tried to come into the circle too.

He wont let his baby brother anywhere near him and seems to have an irrational phobia of him, our cats and dogs too. But then sometimes if it's in his terms, will happily go up to them to give them kisses or a cuddle. His language is very much delayed, but his older brother was deaf for 2 years before an operation to correct this so he is also p,saying catch up. He does copy alot of th eldest in terms of mimicking actions and speech.

He will have meltdowns constantly if his toy of the week isn't there. Or if we try to get him to do something that we need him to do that he doesn't. Such as getting dressed  or even sitting to eat. My family think he and his brother are just naughty and need discipline,  but I honestly don't know how to be any more stricter! (Without losing my sanity). I do have to give in to him sometimes just to stop the meltdowns.

He obsesses over certain toys and when he does no one else can touch it. If his brother does for example, he hits him.

I should note that the reasons they are concerned about the eldest is because of his language delay and a couple of other factors. He is actually very sociable, loving and other than him not listening sometimes seems quite normal. But it is very clear that his younger brother has some issues. I have requested for him to be tested but it will take a long time.

Does anyone have advise on how to deal with him and his behaviour in the meantime and also to explain to my family that he isn't being naughty.

  • Hi

    I understand how angry it can make you when people say your child is just naughty and lacking discipline! I have heard that so many times

    Some of the behaviours you described certainly fit with a child on the spectrum, but at 3 he may also be trying for attention ( I do doubt it but this is what professionals always seem to suggest)  is he at nursery? It might be he just needs some space I know that can be nearly impossible with several young children. 

    Have you tried a visual timetable? Using pictures to show that he gets the fun toy after the tedious getting dressed it helps to build routine. 

    It is also a good idea to consider is it a sensory problem with the clothing could that be why he doesn't like getting dressed, same with food certain textures and smells might be seriously distressing to him so he has a meltdown to tell you that. 

    Irrational fears can have a reason behind them but finding that reason is really hard, my daughter is terrified of sitting on the toilet (she is 8) she will go but it does lead to alot of accidents. 

    Look at what happens before a meltdown and try and spot any patterns then you can address what is causing it. Allow him that special toy that he finds calming.

    There is loads of information on this site about behaviour and sensory problems. There is also information for family members. I personally printed out the relevant sections gave them to my family and asked them to look at the description and then look at my daughter

    Alot of people won't change their minds or attitudes but if you find something that works for you and your children then tell other people to accept it or go away ( I found they change their mind quite quickly at that point!) 

  • It's really hard isn't it? I think my son is on the spectrum and my partner constantly tells me 'not to give In to him' but there's a fine line between what I see as the autistic meltdown and the being a stubborn 5 year old meltdown. Have playschool helped to get him appointments anywhere?  

  • Thank you both for your replies. Yes it is frustrating to work out is it attention seeking or autism. We have been thinking that ourselves. We live in France and the nursery school there has proved so unhelpful we have removed both children, selling up and moving back to the UK. This week myself and the children are in the UK and seeing how he has responding to not being in his safe spot really highlighted these issues I have mentioned. We are staying with family who are trying to be helpful with the discipline but it seems to be making more issues than solving. The eldest on the other hand is responding well though.

    I just also mention that the meltdowns usually arise when he has to change what he is doing. Whether it be going to bed, getting out the door or anything he doesn't want to change. If he wants to do something  like go in the car then he does with no problems at all.