At what point should I have my child evaluated for Autism?

Shannon - posted on 02/19/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My daughter, born April 9th, doesn't speak. At all. She babbles (a lot) and is very happy-go-lucky and cuddly, but there are no comprehensible words in her vocabulary at this point. Around 14 months, she began speaking a little (baba = bottle, joo = juice, ja ja = Justin, her brother), but about two months later, it completely stopped. She also exhibits repetitive behavior (sorting her toys back and forth and back and forth). But, she is very cuddly and loves to be held. She craves physical attention (moreso than any other autistic child I've ever known). She doesn't use a fork or spoon and she won't potty train because she can't vocalize when she's gone or got to go. She won't even try to repeat what we say to her and ignores us when we try to teach her body parts and how to point.

I'm worried to have her checked because I don't want her to be "labeled" as Autistic. I had made a decision that if she is not talking by the time she is three I would have her evaluated but now I'm questioning whether I should do it earlier. She stays at home all day with my husband and I work so I don't know if it's due to lack of interaction with other children her age or if it's developmental. I also have a 7-year old son so she doesn't have to talk because he does everything for her.

I find myself comparing my children even though I know that's unhealthy because every child develops at a different rate. Looking back at pictures of my son, though, he was already potty trained, speaking in full sentences, and able to point to his body parts. Remington does none of that...she's not even close. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

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Vicki - posted on 02/24/2010

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I'm sure you've heard this before but children develope when they are ready and they are not always going to do things as early as other children. Your pediatrican should have a simple checklist that will let you know if your daughter needs to be checked for a developmental delay. I did it with my son at 18 months old when he stopped talking. I started taking my son to play dates with other children close to his age. I found that he talked more to playmates than he did to my husband or myself.Tell your husband to talk to her constantly while he is at home with her and teach her some sign language (more, milk,ect..)
As a former kindergarten and preschool teacher I wouldn't worry to much about the sorting of the toys at this age. If she's happy go lucky and lets you hold her these are good signs. It may be a good idea to find the children's book "Leo the Late Bloomer". I can't remember the author but it's a great reminder to all parents including myself that children develope when they are ready. Remember "Childhood is a journey not a race".

Misty - posted on 03/01/2010

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my son born 4-15 acts almost the same way!! i too have been telling my husband we need to have him tested, he does repet things all day long and maybe says 8-10 words, it is alarming but we as parents need to know so we can not only get ourselfs on track but do everything we can to try and ensure our children can have as much of a normal life as possable

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Just because she might be a little delayed in speech does not make her autistic. I have an autistic nephew and your daughter does not sound at all autistic. People are too quick to jump on that label nowadays. It is highly possible that she does need some early intervention but it doesn't mean she is autistic or even really delayed. I had my son evaluated and they said that he was not delayed, just a little lazy since mommy seems to understand everything he says he doesn't feel the need to learn mommy's language. I was told to put things that he wanted in his sight but out of his reach and when he asks for it with a babble to repeat the word for him so that he might repeat it. It is not easy but worth. I say get her evaluated by an expert but be very careful of people who want to label a 2 year old child already. My brother started speaking at 3 and he is far from autistic; he has a beautiful family and is making six figures.

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Lika - posted on 02/24/2010

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My son was born on April 15 and he used to say words like Hi, Bye, and mama and Papa etc all the sudden it doesn't happen any more. Just mama papa but lately he is really into books and babels and grunts all them time. But the one thing he understands everything we say etc when we get home he hangs his jacket up he even throw away his own diaper and takes his plate to the sink! That amazes me i decided i will wait a little longer just because. He points and what he wants and when it is bed time he gets his pillow and his blanket and he is ready to go. I think us mothers worry a lot more especially when we have other children that have reached different milestones at difference times also. I am just going with the flow because he is a happy baby with few tantrums right now (knock on wood) and he is very active. When we speak to him now he looks at our lips.

Good luck
Lika

Satyne - posted on 02/24/2010

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FYI Matthew is my 3rd (have 2 older girls and 1 newborn boy) and he is at the same stage......he says the same words as your little one above although our Jaja is Joshua!! My girls both talked very early so it has been weird not having him chatter, however since hanging out with little boys and girls his age he has expanded his vocabulary and quite quickly (my older girls are 10 and 6 and the baby is 2months) so they pretty much catered to him early on so I think he got lazy and never bothered to waste his energy---pointing was much easier.....Every child develops differently including talking....Another idea might be to have her hearing checked out...My 2nd daughter we found out needed ear tubes due to small ear holes when she was 3 from her Nursery school teacher--she discovered LIP reading....but the teacher said often speech is effected because of their hearing...Just a try, and it was such a simply fix--does your little one get ear infections?? once we got her tubes put in...wow what a difference. I also had a friend who noticed her little girl wasn't speaking as well for her age and same thing....

Shannon - posted on 02/24/2010

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Thanks...I'm going to talk to our family physician as well and see how she feels. This is just the last thing I think about before bed every night and the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning.

Tracy - posted on 02/19/2010

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In iowa we have a thing called the AEA (I work for them as an early childhood teacher.) We evaluate kids birth-3 for any delay what so ever.... early intervention is the way to go because just think of the head start you can give her before kindergarten. Waiting til she is 3 can make a big difference! Hopefully where you live won't jump to labeling her right away. we try to get to know the child and have interventions first unless it is extremely obvious that a child is Autistic. Oh and iowa has the AEA's but most states should have an early childhood program. you could talk to your local school district to find out.

Good luck!
Tracy

Kelly - posted on 02/19/2010

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I would have her evaluated. If it is Autism the earlier you start therapy the better they do. She might just need speech therapy. Better to know what is going on then to wait another year worrying. Good luck. I'm sure she will be fine no matter what the diagnosis is.

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