Behavioral Autism??? — The Bump
Special Needs

Behavioral Autism???

I haven't been around in a while, I'm not just a weirdo popping in;) My dd is almost 4 and has Autism.

Anyway, a co-worker/friend of mine has a nephew and her sister told her he has "Behavioral Autsim"? I have never heard of it and I tried to look it up with no luck. She had the childs eval done at the Marcus Autsim Center here in Atlanta. Below is her fb post from the day of his eval which is easier than me trying to explain what she said.

L's appointment went very well. She said nothing is "screaming Autism", but he does have several behavioral problems. He will be doing a research project for children with the behavioral problem side of Autism and see if it will help the therapists decide how to fix them. So, overall, I'm relieved that he doesn't have a major problem, but I'm very worried about how we will get his tantrums, biting, hitting, and self injury problems under control. Any feedback would be appreciated.

The child's mom also messaged me on FB so I asked her about behavioral autism and this was her response...

They're calling it "behavioral autism" Not the kind that needs meds or anything, but one caused from trauma at a young age....

i had never heard of it, but he's been in therapy for about 3 weeks now. it's not seeming to make a difference

It's basically a mild case...but I think it's progressing, the way he's been acting. But he goes back to the autism center in 6 months to be reevaluated to see if the therapy is working, if it's not, they will try something else

I'm mostly asking this to see if anybody has heard of it and if so, can you point me in the direction of links on it so I can share with co-worker (an she in turn with her sister) and so I can read about it as well.

I was under the impression that behavior is one of the many links that make up Autism.

To be as nice as I can about it, I don't care for her sister (I have met her many times). The sweet boy (who I have also met many times) has had a lot of changes in his short little 2 years of life, his parents split up and get back together like it's an Olympic sport and they are always very dramatic about it and post all about it on FB so I can only imagine what it's like at home. The time before last when they split up the dad ending up taking the kids (he has a little sister who is only 10 months younger) to live with him at his parents, he has had a few seizures, and a mostly dysfunctional household. I'm not saying the child does not have Autism, I don't know but, I do like my co-worker and she is her sisters support. Their mother passed away and she does not have a relationship with her father. My co-worker comes to me for advice and I'm not really sure where to direct her based on what I've been told.

 I also feel bad because co-worker wants to get a tattoo of a puzzle piece in honor of her nephew. That's how the convo came up in the first place b/c she asked if I wanted to go with her and another co-worker who has a DS on the spectrum to get a tattoo (Tattoos aren't for me so I passed:) ).

Sorry this was so long. I can't find anything on google, Marcus', Autism Speaks or the Autism Society sites so I was hoping somebody here could help! Thanks!

For DD - IVF/ICSI #1 - BFP / For DS - dIUI #1 - BFP Dx:severe MFI-Y Chromosome Microdeletion Isabel born 10-15-08! / Baby Boy EDD July 2013 imageLily  pie Fifth Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Re: Behavioral Autism???

  • image-auntie-:

    Not sure it really matters. FWIW, if his family is as nutso as you describe, RAD is a real possibility.

    I have also never heard of behavioral autism.  I do agree with reactive attachment disorder being a possibility.  I definitely wouldn't be getting an autism tattoo in her case...   


    "To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue...gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."
  • image-auntie-:

    Beats me. I wonder if mom has some sort of selective hearing or if she's trying to blame the child's father in some way or if she's just in denial and twisting what she's been told. Or maybe she's just not very bright. It would probably be a good idea for your coworker to attend appointments as a second set of ears.

    I'm going with not very bright and likes the sympathy that she gets for throwing the word Autism around (loves to be very dramatic on FB). That's a great idea, I don't know why I did not think to tell my friend to go with her sister to be an extra set of ears!

    I've never heard the term used in quite  that way. Autism is clinically diagnosed; people who get the dx are people who fit a specific set of behaviors. There are a number of conditions that feature "autistic behaviors" that aren't considered autism proper. Like Hannah Polling who has a mito defect, reacted to a vaccine and is now has autistic behaviors rather than autism. Very low IQ, childhood schizophrenia, Landau-Kleffner (what Jenny's kid really has- also associated with seizures)  and Reactive Attachment Disorder can also feature autistic behaviors whithout be "autism proper", as it were. Not sure it really matters. FWIW, if his family is as nutso as you describe, RAD is a real possibility.

    Another good point. I will look into these other conditions and when asked again, I can give her links to these other options.

    Given that he's two, he may have also been given a tentative or working dx with the intent to revisit it later when he's old enough for some of the better diagnostic tools.  A lot of docs toss the word "mild" around; probably more than they should. A two whose behavior is atypical enough to get into a major autism center is unlikely to have a "mild" case of anything. It's interesting, Ami Klin who now runs Marcus, used to be pretty conservative in labeling younger kids when he was at Yale. I know a number of people who saw him a few times before getting a firm dx of Aspergers or PDD-Nos.

    It is my understanding that the Marcus Center is not the one who is using the word mild, I'm pretty sure that is all coming from the mom. He had just turned 2 less than a month before his eval. I'm not sure how they got in because they don't have insurance and it's $$$ to pay oop and money is somthing she doesn't have (the whole time she was married they lived with her grandparents and she and the kids still do). They do not take our insurance but, we found a dev pedi we are happy with who does (we will pay oop when she is a little older just for another opinion).

    Why the tatt? I mean, how does risking hep support or honor anything? And what if he doesn't have autism? Does she have to have it removed? Think of Jenny McCarthy, what if she'd gotten a puzzle tattoo and then found out her doctors blew the diagnosis? That'd be sort of embarrassing.

    "I mean, how does risking hep support or honor anything?" LOL! I have no idea, they are not my thing at all so I don't get it. I really hate to say this because there is enough judgement from others but, I think much of this sweet boys problems come from his upbringing. He does have seizures and speech delay and while I'm FAR from an expert I'm just not sure about it being Autism but he is still very young. My friend wanting this tatt is the biggest reason I'm trying to figure out how to nicely say you may want to wait a bit (b/c your sister is nuts and LOVES sympathy is what I really want to say). 

    Either way, the little boy needs therapy and he's getting it ( hope). The mom did mention taking him out of speech b/c it was not helping after all of 3 weeks (it was during the same convo I posted above). I told her it can't be hurting and to leave him in it, I hope she listened. I also told her, if after a little more time she did not think the therapist was a good fit to request another one.

    As always, thanks for your wisdom.

    For DD - IVF/ICSI #1 - BFP / For DS - dIUI #1 - BFP Dx:severe MFI-Y Chromosome Microdeletion Isabel born 10-15-08! / Baby Boy EDD July 2013 imageLily  pie Fifth Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
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  • I've only ever heard this term tossed around by parents.  For example: their child is seemingly "typical" as far as social skills and peer relations but have tantrums or explosive outbursts related to autism--hence, behavioral autism.  The same would go for social autism is the child's most marked impairment is in the realm of social function.

    Neither term is at all diagnostic.  Most of the people I encounter who use this term do it as an easier way of describing their child's autism.

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