Yes, a child can cover their ears with noises and not be autistic. I know of 2 kids, they are older, and are definately not on the autistic spectrum at all. Neither have been diagnosed with anything, possibly a sensory processing issue, but it has not been diagnosed.
It is hard to say, because many behaviors are typical of this age, its more about the pervasiveness of it. Cause and affect is very big developmentally at his age. With the lights, can he be redirected to do something else, or does he want to do this repetitively for hours?
Being particular about doors is something that both my autistic sons have done, but that need for routine is also anxiety based (a little OCD), so is it really the autism, or is it more the anxiety component?
Beginning speech is a great idea. I would ask for an OT (occupational therapist) to evaluate him for a sensory processing disorder.
This assessment tool is very sensitive to picking up kids on the spectrum. My middle son, diagnosed at 9 months by a pediatric neurologist with PDD.NOS (atypical autism) when 12 month old diagnoses are only 60-80 percent accurate, this assessment picked him up at 7 months old with a score of 49 (scoring 0-50 is no PDD), 50-100 is mild. My son went on to score as high as 88. He is turning 4 next month.
My youngest son, was diagnosed with a speech delay, and has some atypical behaviors, he is getting services for ECE, OT, SLP. His initial score at the same age 7 months was 23. His highest score has been 29. He has an encephalopathy diagnosis, and ADHD diagnosis (since 24 months)
My oldest son, age 8, has had a PDD.NOS diagnosis. This currently is disputed depending on who we see. He does look PDD to me, however, he attends school with children who were previously diagnosed on the autistic spectrum that are completely typical and have been by kindergarten. The spectrum isn’t static, if you get a diagnosis, this does not in any way mean that it is accurate.
I find that other autistic children and adults are the best at evaluating if a child is on the spectrum. I am an autistic adult, I have known that my youngest son who will be 3 and has never gotten an autistic diagnosis that he is not autistic. The speech/language pathologist (whom is not a clinician and can’t diagnose) disagrees with this. She believes he is also autistic and tells me things like his eyecontact was better today.
And, I have known that my middle son was autistic spectrum since 6 months old. My father (asperger’s, and a clinical psychologist for autistic children) has said by 8 months that child is asperger’s. I wasn’t buying it, till 18 months. Our highly reputable neurologist wasn’t buying it, till he turned 3 and developed hyperlexia (despite speech delays). Now, the diagnosis he is carrying is encephalopathy, however she believes he is asperger’s.
My oldest son, the neurologist dropped him at 6, saying he isn’t on the spectrum. The psychologist at 7.5yrs old says he is PDD.NOS, ADD, CAPD, dysgraphic/dyspraxic. My father has said all along, he is not on the spectrum. I feel he is, but he has alot of overlap and basically an ABC diagnosis. He does have anxiety, an ADD dx, has SPD, autistic features, and mood swings. I do feel he is bipolar, dyspraxic, dysgraphic, with SPD and PDD.NOS. My father feels he is ADD, SPD, dyspraxic.
My oldest currently scores betw 47-52 on the childbrain assessment, middle son scored 82 last time some months ago. Now scoring a 71.