That question was posed to me today. What is it that makes Nicholas autistic vs. a normal two-year old? All I can say is that it is not narrowed down to just ONE thing that puts him in a different category. It is MANY things that when combined, make him stand out. Yes, a "normal" 2 yr old MIGHT walk in circles once or twice, they might even spin some toys every now and then or get fixated on something. With Nick, all of these are done to the extreme. He walks in circles around the house daily, he gets so pre-occupied with spinning that nothing else matters. The only person he is concerned about is Nick. Other senses can be heightened-he cannot stand public restrooms-everything there echoes. He also cannot tolerate the barber shop-the clippers drive him out of his mind. He has never brought us any toys or books that he is interested in, verbally he is an infant. ALL of these are signs of autism when the pieces of the puzzle are put together.
On the other hand, his intense fixation has lead to many surprises. Yesterday he put his pegs in upside down(he had the board turned over) and decided to spin the board with them on it. He has also figured out how to get bowls to spin by dropping them a certain height from the table. He can find every light switch in a house in a matter of minutes. He is a very concrete thinker. An example of this is when I was playing with a trashbag and handed it to him to play with(supervised-of course). He took it and carried it to the trashcan and put it in. He could not think of a trashbag as a toy. It is a trash bag, and it is meant to go in the trash. This of course has also led to some funny things. For instance, yesterday I was folding laundry and it got quiet in the house. Everyone knows that is when things could get ugly when dealing with kids. I went to check on Nick. Nick had put himself to bed. He was tired, so he went in his room, climbed on his bed, and went to sleep. What TWO year old would do that???
Nick started his group therapy today, and so far it is good I suppose. He got mad when he was not allowed to spin anything. Michael says he likes the other teacher "better" because she has a swing in the room(used to "wake" Nicks senses up). Michael is still "bored" every day. He spends the days watching tv, calling his friends, or playing video games. Ahhhh, summer.