That is often the first clue that a parent has. The odd behaviors. But what I am hearing from the parents on the ES list is that you need to pay attention to the odd behaviors because they may be early warnings of autism.
Quite a few of the moms on the ES list are dealing with the dual diagnosis of both Down syndrome and autism. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that experts even acknowledged that such a dual diagnosis was even possible. All the odd behavior and sensory issues were written off as “just the down syndrome.” But now the estimates are that between 7-10% of children with Down syndrome also have (or get) autism. Wow! That is a huge percentage, and it requires that we take notice.
Here are a few resources to get you going:
First, just uploaded again, three articles on this site. Read Cyndi Ringoen’s excellent description of the types of sensory issues that are prevalent in autism, and how they manifest as odd behavior. Then Kay Ness lists steps to take toward recovery. Kay also describes sound sensitivity and SAMONAS sound therapy.
Here is the issue of Disability Solutions from 1999 in which Joan Medlen broke the ice on the issue of Autism in Down syndrome.
There is quite a bit of buzz about a recently published book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride titled Gut and Psychology Syndrome. She points to gut dysbiosis as the basis of autism and other neurological disorders, and describes a path for recovery.
Here is the first of six YouTube videos featuring Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and Donna Gates (of the Body Ecology Diet) discussing gut health. Parents discuss whether the Body Ecology Diet(BED) or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is most helpful in healing the gut.
The issue of vaccines and autism is hugely controversial, of course. But just too many parents point to a vaccine (or a day when their child received numerous vaccines simultaneously) as the time that marked the rapid descent into autism. The buzz that I am hearing is that use of antibiotics sets the gut up, and the vaccine pulls the trigger.
If you are the parent of a child with Down syndrome, please, please research vaccine risks yourself before you consent to giving them to your child. When the incidence of autism in DS is 7-10%, it behooves DS parents to be extra vigilant.
If you suspect that your child might have autism as well as DS, you might find support in the DS-Autism Yahoo group, which is highly recommended by some on the ES list.
One last thought. Kids with autism or autistic tendencies do not seem to do well on the standard formula of Nutrivene-D. International Nutrition provides a custom formula without many of the methylators which make many kids extra stimmy. Alternately many parents find that their kids do better with nutritional supplements specifically targeted to their unique issues.