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Dr. Navitsky
Dr. Navitsky, Board Certified Pediatrician
Category: Paediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 1037
Experience:  US Pediatrician licensed in California living abroad
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Could my son have been misdiagnosed autistic if he had moderate

Resolved Question:

Could my son have been misdiagnosed autistic if he had moderate hearing loss from 19 months that went undiagnosed
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Paediatrics
Expert:  Dr. Navitsky replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Navitsky :

Hi there and welcome to Just Answer. My name isXXXXX and I am a general pediatrician.

Dr. Navitsky :

I would wonder how old your son is now and how his development has continued since the diagnosis....but yes for sure if he had moderate hearing loss this could have resulted in an inability to participate socially essentially from babyhood on.

Dr. Navitsky :

As a matter of fact any child that has not started talking or making sounds that progress I do check a formal hearing test just to make sure I don´t miss any hearing loss.

Dr. Navitsky :

If he is not hearing really it is difficult to respond to social cues and develop socially as we would expect him to. However autistim also has other characteristic features such as repetitive play and sensitivities to stimuli that hearing loss should not affect.

Dr. Navitsky :

19 months is really on the earliest side of making an accurate diagosis of autism thus my question of how old he is now...to see if I could advise you on his current progress. I seem to have caught you offline. I will try to check back periodically thus if you would like to chat please just type in a reply and I will get back to you. I hope your afternoon is going well!

Customer: Hi thanks for the reply it's a long story but when Johnny (he'll be 7 in April) was 19 months old I noticed he started " talking less and not answering when I called my friend suggested maybe his hearing so I brought him to a hospital and they said his both ears were completly impacted with wax and that he hadn't been ignoring me he couldn't hear me so we had his eyes cleaned but it kept happening due to this everytime his ears were red and he started head butting thing in frustration I would bring him to the doctors but they couldn't check for glue ear due to the wax blocking there view anyways when he was 3 I was sent to a special development centre to have his development checked at this time the health visitor mentioned autism but the doctor said he didn't think it was autism as he had no traits and his motor skills were perfect so he sent me to a ent specialist but unfortunately Johnny would not let him near his ears to look or do a tympatomy test(prob spelt wrong test for glue ear) anyway he put it down to behave urial problems and said his ears would be fine in time anywa long story short Johnny started special school where he came home flapping and hitting himself every appointment I had with specialist I consistently said there was a problem with his ears and that he wasn't improving at all well a year and a half ago I was at my mums and Johnny's ears got blocked again again the doctor told me it was impossible for Johnny to hear me with his ears that way and to use olive oil again and once unblocked bring him to go when I did this my mums gp referred me straight away to ent in london( I'm from Brighton) she was convinced like me Johnny could not hear properly she said the words he could say ie like bridey he would should and stretch out well I went to guys and thankfully for the first time he let them do a tympatory test it came back flat line in both ears and the hearing test came back at 55 in one ear 45 in the other which the ladie explained ment he wasn't hearing all the words just the sound so we went for a follow up in Brighton 6 months later with the same results at this time they sent me to see the ent specialist again he asked why I had gone to London I stated that I had been convinced Johnny couldn't hear and he had said he could so I wanted a second opinion he stated that he hadn't said that that he had said we'd wait and see so where was my follow appointment after 3 years and that the autism route had been taken because he said it wasn't his hearing anyway Johnny had grommets fitted in September and the change is great his understanding is improved greatly I've read a lot about autism and hearing showing a lot of similar thing in toddlers and I just wanted someone's advice about it thank you
Dr. Navitsky :

I am about to drive home so I will be brief but I am more than happy to continue to talk to you later on this evening if you would like.

Dr. Navitsky :

It sounds like you have had a rough time getting his hearing loss diagnosed for sure! How is he doing developmentally now?

Dr. Navitsky :

I will catch your response in a little while thanks!

Customer: His understanding is going great if I tell him to put his trousers on for instance he will he has now started to interject with his brothers and sister and cousins everybody has noticed the difference I'm just worried if his hearing is perfect now because he went so long without the specialist noticing I feel like I can no longer trust there judgement I know it was not all there fault but I asked the surgeon at his follow up appointment to do a hearing test while his sedated but he wasn't happy to do it but I stated that after 5 years nearly I want to know for sure as he has started getting red ears again and screaming trying to put my finger in his ears and I don't know if I could try and get him reevaluated my dad sId he might be in the wrong environment at school maybe he thinks his behavior is normal because his always around children who flap etc as his siblings usually don't really pay that much attention to him over him being so solitury only lately has he been trying to socialize and join in which they love
Dr. Navitsky :

I am having trouble viewing your most recent response...If I can't see it after a few more tries I am going to switch the format to question and answer...

Dr. Navitsky :

Hi I can see it now! hold on a sec

Dr. Navitsky :

So even though he is comprehending much better if he continues to struggle socially he still may have some other behavioral concerns separate from his hearing issues. As you feel that the specialist in fact did not properly diagnose him than I would strongly encourage you to listen to your gut and get another opinion.

Dr. Navitsky :

At his age if he is exposed to other kids who don't flap like his siblings for instance it is unlikely that he does it due to the influence from other kids in his class.

Dr. Navitsky :

Many kids who once had a autism diagnosis do end up "growing out" of it, although they continue to have behavioral differences with their peers, but more time and development gives us more information and allows for a more accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Navitsky :

Meaning that probably they never had autism in the first place, but it is really hard to diagnosis a much younger child as with age things may change.

Dr. Navitsky :

I do agree that someone should have checked his hearing long before it was done and this alone would probably cause me to look for another specialist.

Dr. Navitsky :

I hope this has been helpful for you. Please do not hesitate to respond with any further thoughts or concerns you may have. Thanks!

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