How early do symptoms show up for autism?

Sandy - posted on 10/22/2009 ( 43 moms have responded )

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My son is 8 1/2 months old and doesn't talk yet. He babbles a bit. He also doesn't always turn around or look at me when I call his name. Sometimes he'll be staring/fixated on something and it's like I'm not there. Other times he is just fine and laughing and looks when I call his name. I'm not sure if he is acting "normal" or if I should be concerned that he may be autistic? Any feedback would be great. Thanks

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Veena - posted on 09/13/2013

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Hi Shalu,

My son is 2and 1/2 and diagnosed with mild Autism, can you please tell how was your son and what was the delays he was label with Autism and what therapies you have given him, please let me know. Thank you so much, hope hear from you soon.

Sheila - posted on 10/22/2009

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HI Sandy,



You know what, people who say you have nothing to worry about don't have a clue as to what you are worried about! Does that make sense or what???



I am not an alarmist. I really believe though that developmental milestones are there to guide us, and red flags are clearly there to warn us. You will probably hear things like, my little guy didn't talk until he was 3, or he's just not interested in what you want him to do...NO WAY! Everyone tries to re-assure you, but really if it is autism, they are wasting your precious time with their comforting words. It was my best friend who said to me, you know what you are seeing, so do what you think is best. It was the first time anyone acknowledged my fears....everything else was, there, there mommy...he's fine, you worry too much.



Infants crave, desire, NEED, your attention. They smile because they get such a big reaction that they know that big person with the wiggly face is coming back.



Infants do not "zone out" for no reason (they are not teenagers, after all) Your concern is autism...but according to some, that means you are worrying too much . (here is where I sound alarmist, but I am not....I have a professional background working with children with various and profound disabilities) .



Zoning out can be caused by seizure activity (epilepsy, tumour, and a host of other nasty little bits!) All seizures are not full blown....



So, for the sake of your peace of mind (if nothing else) see your family doctor, and go over your concerns. An MRI to rule out seizure activity should be performed. Head to toe physicals are a must!



And, many people think that if a child shows emotional attachment and reactions that they can't be autistic...there's this bizarre notion that all children living with autism are "cut off" from the outside world....my son has always laughed and enjoyed smooshie hugs...it is a spectrum.



Follow up on your concerns. Autism is a neurological disorder, not a label. It is a medical condition that, when treated aggressively and early, can sometimes be shoved back into the corner so that it is just part of who your child is...not the boss of him!



Good luck.



Sheila

Shalu - posted on 09/13/2013

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today i m so happy bcz my son at 16 month was diagnosed with autism but now he is 3yr old nd today i did reassesment nd he is out of range of autism nd he has good cognitive level now he is normal child so i request all d mom plz if u hav any doubt abt ur child go for diagnosis as fast as possible bcz early diagonisis n early therapy will help ur child a lot n dont discontinue therapy although it takes a lot of time but belive me it works
god will always with u

Kelly - posted on 10/29/2009

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Hi, I knew my son was different from the day he was born. He had such bad colic and was crying all the time, he went for his regular pediatrician appointment with an ear infection and we just didn't know because he was crying all the time. The biggest "tell" I think we his rages. I can't remember a time without the rages. He was tested at three but not diagnosed at that time. Delayed speech is sometimes a clue, but not always. I will tell you, the EARLIER THE INTERVENTION, the better the results. If you think something is going on, you can have your child tested by FIRST STEPS (I don't know if it is called the same thing in different places). The testing is free and depending on the results comes with services. I think, but don't know for sure, it they will also testing hearing. I would certainly check that out first. I know that one son who is autistic didn't speak at 2, and the other that isn't didn't start speaking fluently until 18 months. My last child met all his checkpoints late, and he doesn't have autism. He was just stubborn, and didn't do anything until he was ready. When he finally decided, everything went really fast. The bottom line is if you feel something is up, get him tested. It can't hurt, and can only get your child services he/she may need at an earlier age. And if there is nothing wrong, then you can be happy about that.

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A - posted on 03/04/2014

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It depends on the Severity of their Autism. We have 4 kiddos. 2 have Autism. My son is high functioning so his wasn't really recognizable until about 18 months but my daughter is Severe. There were red flags as early as 3 months. I have an Autism Blog and FB Page if you need more help. I help a lot of parents get services in their areas and also with IEP meetings. Regardless of what anyone tells you, never wait to have your child evaluated. It's the worst thing you can do =) You can find me here: https://www.facebook.com/AutismJourney or here: http://therestulipsinholland.blogspot.co...

Shez - posted on 11/09/2013

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I think you check the level of eye contact he gives you when called. If he smiles at you and gets engaged with you also his eyes follow you in the room. If so, all seems fine.
It's alarming if he is crying most of the time. Not giving eye contact, excessive interest in tv and cell phone screens, or flashy objects. Lack of interest in people. Not cooing when you talk to him.

Cheyenne - posted on 09/01/2013

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I hate to be the person that posts for personal reasons on here, but I'm trying to write a play about autism and I noticed that the way you're all describing your children, is what I need to know, not the medical definitions. If you'd be so kind as to check out my post: http://www.circleofmoms.com/autismasperg... I'd be eternally grateful for your contributions. Or, if you'd prefer, I'm looking for one specific piece of help for one scene in my play. I'm going to use names and one word descriptions that mothers have given me as to what autism means to them. This can be from your perspective, your child's, society's, whatever but for example I received a comment from one mother that said, "saintly", so I'll use her name, (with permission), and her word, as part of the last scene in my play. If you want to just reply to this comment, that'd be equally wonderful. Thank you in advance for your bravery and your love.

Michelle - posted on 08/28/2013

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@Kholofelo - I don't know where you're located but most cities in the US have services for children who are delayed in speech/motor skills and if your child has those delays you can demand a referral. The specialists can then often see the other needs.

Morgan - posted on 08/27/2013

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Thanks to my mothers instinct,iknew there was definately something wrong with my son at 6 months. He was very delayed in gross motor and social interaction(smile,cooing). After several visits to a pediatrician, ifinally had it and insisted on a diagnoses. He has severe autism. Now at the age of 6 years old he is able yo use 3 word commands and doing really well with his intensive 6hours a day of therapy :)

Michelle - posted on 08/27/2013

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Many 8-1/2 months olds are really doing much more than babbling. Every child is different, some people don't notice untl 3 or 4, a lot notice about 18 months, when other kids language skills explode and their child's doesn't. My mother noticed signs in my daughter well before 6 months and was certain by age 1 but my daughter has great adaptive behaviors and it was masked from many until about age 3 when other kids make the leap to cooperative play and she couldn't do that.
If you're concerned I'd bring it up with a pediatrician and if you can afford it get a behaviorist to take a look (that can be expensive though if there's no referral).

Kholofelo - posted on 08/22/2013

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where can i go to get help for my son,he has many signs of autism,where do i start.please help

Joni - posted on 01/07/2013

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Each child is diffrant. As a mother to 3 one with autism I do not believe they are born with it.
My son had one sign at 9 months old I just didn't know what to look for. He had a vocabulary of about 6 words until 13 months old smiled had good eye contact everything. That why I didn't think anything of it when he waved his hands and kicked his feet back in forth when he got excited that was the first sign which I totally missed. At 13 months he began to lose speech @ his 15 month appoint I mentioned it to his dr he said he was fine.@18 months speech was gone told dr again I was once again told he was fine that he would talk when he was ready! @ 2 yr check up I saw a diffrant dr in his peds office and told her the story and said somethings not right but I don't know what it is! She explained autism to me and wanted me to take him to speech therpy asap to see what they thought they said the same. Finaly at 33 months he was dignosed mild to moderate autism. If you think somethings not right get more than one opion also contact early intervention through your local help me grow its free and they can do a developmental screening. At the time I did not know of these services. Trust your motherly instinics if you think somethings not right then its probley not. Dr do not know everything as I had to learn the hard way! If they would have listened to me my little boy wouldn't be so delayed in speech and other areas!

Alicedavis - posted on 01/07/2013

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my grandson is 5yrs old and he disables all his toys that are put together.Thomas the train all messed up with the tracks taken apart and trains and cars piled up on each other.

Another train set with bateries all messed up with trains and cars on the tracks.bridges taken down.

Is this part of his disability? He also has ADHD

Please respond
Alice Davis

Elizabeth - posted on 08/03/2010

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Sandy, I have the same concerns about my 9-month-old son now. I noticed you posted this question about 10 months ago and I'm wondering how your son Jack is doing now?

Renee - posted on 10/30/2009

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If he is babbling that is a great sign but not definitive. The fact that he does turn to you when called is also a good sign. My son did not look toward us at that age when we called his name, we thought he was going deaf but after a hearing test he was not deaf it wasn't until he was 4 years old that we found out about autism. Don't let it go that far. Talk to your pediatrician about the signs of autism and if they won't evaluate your child take them to a developmental pediatrician who will. It's never too early. And if the diagnosis is autism it's never too early to begin therapy in fact the earlier the better.

CORSALIA - posted on 10/30/2009

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I guess each child is different---with my child I notice around3-4--------He injured himself and show no sign of pain. The hospital thought it was abuse---but in the end believed me. I also noticed he would line things up in a row---which I found strange and didn't seem to relate to having a playmate around. Through the years he has undergone many changes----improving in some area and declining in others. Countless trips to doctors seemed fruitless. Trust your instincts as a mom and just keep the faith.

Sandy - posted on 10/30/2009

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My son was talking and reading some before he was 12 months old then by the time he was 16 months he stopped talking. He started refusing to do anything I asked him to do or even answere to his own name and right down hill from that point. If you even think he may be Autistic by all means get him tested. The sooner he gets help the better he will do. And if he isn't the testing won't hurt him and you will have the answers you need. Good Luck

Jen - posted on 10/30/2009

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I knew for sure at 18months he was different but doctors will not diagnose until later of course...or at least then. My son is now 7 and has been diagnosed with ASD, tourettes and ADHD. He is doing well but all I can say is DO EARLY INTERVENTION. My family was in denial but now says they were all so glad I took my son to therapies early. He did not qualify for speech according to child find or state so I did private at 22months. From there we started OT at 3, supplements for brain development, behavoiral therapy and now social groups. My son is now doing so well is in 1st grade on the high honor roll. Good luck and good for you that you are asking and not ignoring. With you as his mom and advocate he will soar!

Kellie - posted on 10/28/2009

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As other mums have mentioned i would just take notes for a while! My eldest child has an ASD and this didnt get noticed until he was 8yrs old as he was my 1st i had nothing to compare too until then i did not know alot about autism and now looking back to his behaviour and development their was a problem and in ways i feel guilty for not noticing this, Just follow your childs development for a while longer and them if you still feel unsure seek proper advice. As a parent you know best!

Chantelle - posted on 10/28/2009

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In all honesty I would wait until your son is about 18 months old before you make any attempt with all these tests and so on. Public waiting lists are extensive anyway so you would be waiting a long time to see someone. Private is a lot quicker and more beneficial yes but it costs money. I would save your money until you are completely sure there is something wrong - like autism.



I knew there was something wrong with my son very early on but didn't know what. He used to stare at things for long periods at a time from about 4 months, then he would not eat food. He started head banging the floors and walls at about 6 mths, plus eat objects that were inedible (still does this at age 7). He did not make eye contact, did not talk (yet he could) and would constantly hit, bite and scream at other children if they came near him from age 12 mths.



He would line up his toys in straight lines from about 12 mths also, or anything else he could find like the cards in my wallet. He had separation anxiety, would not sleep at night (still struggles with that), would not play with other children and so on and so on.



Just give it a bit more time and take notes on your childs development. Keep a record of everything he does so if you are sure he may have autism you have the information you need to back it up. Hope this helps you and good luck with everything.

Crystal - posted on 10/27/2009

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Hi Sandy. I'm not sure what "the doctors say" but my son began having trouble at 18 months. Severe tantrums that lasted hours, screaming over anything or nothing. He also didnt like to be cuddled as an infant. only slept 2 hours at a time even after his 1st bday. I finally got a diagnosis at age 4.

[deleted account]

I think I realised that from approx 12-18 months that my middle son was not quite developing like he should have been, he would hand flap, toe walk and pick up toys, sniff, lick and then rub them against his cheek before playing with them, he also would sort out my pegs (when I used to hang out the washing) into groupings of colours and shapes, he would line up his toy cars in straight rows and he had no real words and was always happy, it took me until he was 8yrs old to get his diagnosis so I say to any mum - you know your child best if something does not seem right no matter how small get them seen by a paediatrician a.s.a.p and if you feel they are still not taking your concerns seriously keep going back til they do.



With regards to the staring, not trying to panic you or say that your son has this but some diabetics and epileptics stare like that, so for your own peace of mind get this checked out.

Alison - posted on 10/25/2009

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Get him into the early intervention program in your county/state. In South Carolina it is BabyNet. The program will offer speech, occupational and physical therapy and I am sure other support as well. But I agree with the other posts talk to your pediatrician and trust your instincts. Also it might be helpful to keep a journal and document your conserns with multiple examples.

Rachael - posted on 10/25/2009

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If your child is the autistic/asperger's type that has trouble with communication and motor skills and the more physically noticeable symptoms you can tell while infants otherwise I would say around 18 mos to 2 yrs. Late in talking, making up words for normal words, throwing toys, being by themselves, sooky, late to toilet train etc Hope that helps. xx

Erica - posted on 10/24/2009

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my son gabriel was born on may 28th of 2007, and diagnosed pdd on june 16th of this year. he is number 3 out of 5 children!! i never really knew much about autism until now but i will tell you my son started showing signs at about 8 months. all of a sudden he started screaming all the time!! even if i held him he would scream even louder. he never talked, at all. I took him to the doctor sooo much and everything was a "phase" i called my local early intervention office and scheduled an evaluation in march of this year because i was sick and tired of doctors telling me everything was a "phase" and friends and even family telling me i was "lazy" and my son was a "floor baby". needless to say he was approved for all services and then diagnosed pdd on june 16th. i look back on pics now and even infant pics i see that there was no eye contact!! i always knew that there was something wrong and i now defiantely go on how i feel. my son could have gotten help a long time ago if i would have gone on my own instincts!! please, always listen to your heart!! you are his mom and you have the power in your hands!! if you feel that there is something wrong don;t wait, get him evaluated and they could even tell you that your baby is absolutely fine!! i wish you the best of luck!!

Diane - posted on 10/24/2009

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A suggestion: Take the ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist), developed by a panel of doctors to help parents to get an idea of where their child stands developmentally - http://www.autism.com/ari/atec/atec_form... ; General info: http://www.autism.com/ari/atec/atec-onli... (We used it to gauge where our son was developmentally. Helped us get a better idea of where he was compared to typical development.) BTW, his first ATEC score was a 96 (zero is neuro-typical).

The ATEC will give you a better idea of whether or not your concerns are warranted. You might get a relatively low score that will help calm your fears. My husband took it as well, and had a much lower score, though he spent much less time with him, being at work all day. But even his score confirmed the need to schedule a detailed evaluation by a professional, which just confirmed what we already suspected.

Here are a few other links on developmental markers / early signs of autism:

CDC – Learn the Signs / Act Early:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/actearl...

FIRST SIGNS – For Early detection and identification of Childhood delays:
http://www.firstsigns.org

FIRST WORDS PROJECT: http://firstwords.fsu.edu/index.html

Developmental Delay Resources:
www.devdelay.org

Diagnostic Criteria for Autism: http://www.tacanow.com/autism/diagnostic...

DSM-IV Criteria for Autism:
http://www.tacanow.com/autism/dsm_level_...

Cindy - posted on 10/24/2009

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You can get him tested now. Like Barbara said it is never to early. I feel the earlier the better. My son was like that he didn't talk and when he did he only said one word. He would tell me when he wanted to "eat". Then he stopped saying that. My son did the same. I was in denial for a while because I thought he would grow out of it. Now he talks to much.

Sandy - posted on 10/23/2009

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Thank you everybody! Jack's head is actually only in the 50% the rest of him is 90-95%, so this was a concern to me as well. He does get separation anxiety when I leave and is excited to see me come home and gets sad if I don't go right to him (like going to the bathroom first) so maybe he is going on track. But the staring and not listening to me still concerns me. I guess time will tell. Thanks again to all!

Paulette - posted on 10/23/2009

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My son is nearly 6 and I have been having him assessed for the past 8 months. 2 weeks ago they diagonised him with PDDNOS.



I think I was always a little suspicious that there was something different about my child even from the day he was born. He was sensitive to the sun, bright lights, loud noises, cutting his nails or hair and didn't like to be cuddled or restrained in his car seat, pram or trolley. He didn't smile until he was 4 months old and just had a blank kind of stare. He cried all the time and hardly slept. By the time he was 1 and could walk he was into everything and never stopped. I would take him to swimming lessons or the park to try and tire him out because everyone said he would sleep for hours after these activities but I was lucky if it was 30 minutes. When I left him with family members he never showed any separation anxiety and never showed any joy or excitement upon my return or acknowledged I was there. It felt like he didn't even know who I was. By 14 months he was having the most severe tantrums about what appeared to be nothing sometimes or very minor things that didn't seem to bother any other children his age. My son appeared to be perfectly normal and achieved most of his milestones in the normal range.



I repeated asked advice from my family, friends and teachers but all kept reassuring me that "it was just a stage", "he would grow out of it", "he is just a real little boy", "I am being too strict", "I am not being strict enough. Just after he turned 5 and started School he was having horrendous meltdowns for up to 2 hours after school and would obsessively line up anything he could find, toys, books, cars, cards, rocks. I was at my wits end and finally went to get a referral for some help.



Now that I understand more about it I have started noticing traits in my 2 younger children as well who are 3 and 1.

Brianna - posted on 10/23/2009

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stick to your instints and get his hearing tested again (it cant hurt) and if you still feel his speech hasn't inproved by a year of age get that tested as well as gross motor ect. I went to CYHS to start the process and was referred to the child development unit for further assesments they will know. Good Luck.

Vanessa - posted on 10/22/2009

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I initially noticed when my son was 2 but when I watch videos from about 6 months on I can see it now that I know what I'm looking for. It was mostly stims I noticed. flapping his arms and waving his hands in fromt of his face

Alicia - posted on 10/22/2009

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I would have his hearing tested again. The initial test is just a screening. They can do a full audiological exam on him if you are concerned. Answering part of the time doesn't always mean there isn't a hearing problem. It may be that different pitches or background noises effect his hearing.

Other than that I just have two things to add to Sheila's post because she covered a lot that I don't really want to retype. Pay attention to the way he plays. Does he pick up his toys and bang them or push cars around like a typical baby? Does he play with his toys appropriatley for a baby his age or does he examine them? One of the earliest warning signs of autism is inappropriate play with toys. If he is picking up his toys and studying them ( looking at them from different angles or trying to dismantle them) instead of playing with them that may be a red flag. Also lining up toys and stacking them are classic autistic behaviours. It is especially concerning if he has a negetive reaction when you move one of his toys out of the lineup or immediatley puts it back in place. A typical 9 month old isn't usually that rigid. My son lines up his cars in order from largest to smallest. He could also spend a ridiculously long time stacking blocks as a baby.



The other thing to pay attention to is eye contact. My autistic son will make eye contact with me briefly but usually not for more than a few seconds. I usually have to ask him too as well. My neurotypical son will stick his face in front of mine and look me right in the eyes to engage me on his own if I am not giving him my attention. "typical" kids want you to share their enjoyment in games, objects etc. and will seek your attention. Autistic kids have a hard time with this. They may not avoid eye contact all together although some do, but they will not engage socially like their peers.



And do take her advice about getting on a list now for an eval. It can take months to get in for an assesment. In some areas if you got him on the list now he might be evaluated finally at 1.5 years of age or older. I know that sounds ridiculous but it is absolutely true. You'll want to have a developmental pediatrician or pediatric nuerologist do the assesment. You could also go to a shild psychologist who has experience with autism. The best approach, especially with such a young kiddo, is a team approach. He should have a team of three to four different specialties looking at him-a speech therapist, a psychologist, a doc and hopefully an occupational therapist although they aren't always involved in the initial eval. If you are in the states you can contact the autism society of america to find your state chapter. They will be able to give you local resources for both testing and treatment if it's determined he needs it.



Good luck,

Alicia

Sandy - posted on 10/22/2009

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He does stare at fans, he doesn't cry out. If he gets sad or crabby I can usually comfort him or make him laugh. He reaches out for items of interest and gets mad if he drops something and he can't reach it. He does hit me and laugh if I say no. I'm a first time mom and people say I have nothing to worry about, but it bothers me if I have him sitting in his high chair and I say his name and he continues to stare at nothing (like the floor) and won't look at me.

Sandy - posted on 10/22/2009

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Thank you for the feedback. I know his hearing is fine, it was tested when he was born and he does listen to me sometimes. It's just that sometimes he ignores me and it seems like he is deaf. I don't want to be a worry wart, but I don't want to wait to long to get help if he needs it.

Sheila - posted on 10/22/2009

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Is he staring at fans, or spinning objects? Flapping hands? When you say doesn't talk, do you mean babble? My typical child was nine months when she began to form words that were understandable to others (besides myself). Does he reach out for items of interest? Does he splash in water? Are there any excessive periods of screaming/crying that you just can't figure out why? Does he throw his head back if you try to comfort him?



I remember shouting, literally shouting at my son when he was 15 months old and he did not turn his head (I was calling his name in a very, very loud voice). I asked the first doctor at 18 months and was told he was perfectly normal.



I can look back on videos of him at 6 to 8 months and I realize that he never grabbed for the camera the way his sister did...he also never left the blanket that I put on the grass when we were outside (at over a year). I thought, at the time, what a good baby...now I realize the feeling of the grass was too much for him and he stayed on the grass due to sensory reasons.



Is there a developmental wellness screening program in your area?



You're the mom, and moms know their babies. Document, see your doctor, explain your concerns...get on the waiting lists now!



Good luck!

Beth - posted on 10/22/2009

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My son was doing the same thing so I went and had all these different hearing test on him and they said his hearing was fine. My son would do the same staring and fixated on something. But I knew something was wrong with him when he was born. He would only sleep in his swing during the day and sleep up under my arm at night and cry all the time. But I really didn't know what was wrong until he was 2 years old and the signs of autism started to show. He liked sitting in front of the TV for hours so I had him watch education DVD's and he didn't like anyone touching his toys or in his space. He started lining everything up it a straight row and heaven forbid should you move any of his toys. So if you think he may have autism, I would talk to your doctor I would get him a hearing test done and you have to be his advocate you will have to do the fighting for him or people will not listen to you!

Barbara - posted on 10/22/2009

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Its never to early. I noticed my sons lack of talking and at 15 months he started speech therapy. If talking to your ped gets you no where contact your county health dept or school sys and they will point you in the right direction. Stick to your guns you know your child best

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