How to tell a friend to check her baby for Autism?

Gretchen - posted on 03/28/2012 ( 53 moms have responded )

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I have a dear friend who has a 19 month old baby boy, he is very intelligent and active but I think there is something wrong with him. He does not talk at all, hates when someone other than his mom caress him or tries to hold him, doesn't look at people in the eyes, does not waves his hand good bye or send kisses. I have no idea of how to tell her that I have noticed all this things in her baby. I have a 10 month old girl so I see the difference in their behavior. I just want her to give him the help necessary before its too late. pls help!

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Alicia - posted on 03/30/2012

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From what I have been told, girls are far different from boys; they develop quicker, talk sooner, walk sooner etc. That being said, I would suggest listening to your "spidey sense" on this one, not full on freak out by any means, but, be a fly on the wall for a bit.



Once my son hit 2 (which is usually when Autism symptoms become apparent) I knew there was something wrong; no "normal" child would be perfectly happy twirling a straw, while making up a story aloud for hours on end. No one believed me, not even my husband, I even had a friend ask me if I "wanted something to be wrong" with my son.... Yeah. My doctor asked questions, but never questioned anything, I knew something was wrong and pushed for testing. It took 3 more years to get an Asperger's diagnosis. at age 2, I started Occupational & Physical therapy to help with his fine/gross motor delays as well as sensory therapy to help with his aversion to light, sound, and texture, also his social deficit. Years, and years of research on my part helped; but it all started with my intuition. When I had our second son he didn't coo or babble and would smash his face on the floor when he got angry so, of course, I thought Autism. He does not have Autism, he has an unnamed neurological disorder, and a severe speech delay and has been in speech therapy since he was 18 months old (he's now nearing 4 and only has vowels). And yes, EVERYONE told me not to worry, "some kids don't speak a word until they're 3, then one day, they talk, and never stop". Not always.



This being a friend, even a close friend, is a touchy, touchy line to cross; she may be incredibly offended if you approach her, it could mean the end of your friendship. On the other hand, Autism is a lot of work, and the earlier you can start behavioral therapy, OT/PT therapy, sensory therapy, dietary changes (if you choose to try it) the better. Autism is by no means a "death sentence" but, it does take a lot of work, patience, and understanding. I completely agree, you can't treat them differently than any other child, however, there are coping techniques that are nice to know about for the times that they are over stimulated and start to climb the walls and can't come back down themselves. I found a book called "The out of sync child" and that changed everything for me. My advice would be to suggest without judging (obviously), and then drop it. If she comes to you for advice, or questions about where your concerns are stemming from then you can go from there. She's very lucky to have a friend like you, good luck.

Hilary - posted on 03/29/2012

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Absolutely you should talk to your friend because, 1) early intervention is critical for autism, and 2) pediatricians do not always have good screening for it!



My nephew was not diagnosed with Asperger's (an autism spectrum disorder) until he was 10 years old. My daughter has a related disorder, SPD, and the pediatricians didn't notice a thing -- they are not trained to. (It was her preschool that suggested we get a diagnosis).



Here is a list of early signs of autism that, according to Autism Speaks, warrant immediate evaluation. (No speech by age 16 months is one of these signs, by the way)

http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/...



And another website that mentions several of the red flags you described:

https://www.firstsigns.org/concerns/flags.htm



Here is a link from the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/conce...

) about how to talk to another parent about these concerns:

https://www.firstsigns.org/concerns/parent_parent.htm



Good luck!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/29/2012

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Unless its a VERY close friend who has solicited your opinion on her son's developmental progress, or lack thereof, I would not say a word if you are not a professional dealing with autistic children on a daily basis.



There is actually nothing more hurtful than "well meaning" friends "mentioning" treatment options for symptoms that they think they see.



If your friend's son isn't meeting benchmarks, trust me, unless her pediatrician is a total loser, she's aware of the situation, if one even exists.



IMO that is a personal issue, one that, unless your opinion has been specifically solicited, I would consider it rude to bring up.



NOW, if she's said "johnny doesn't seem to be doing things as quickly as susie"...that's your opening.

Terrie - posted on 04/01/2012

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You may have already talked to her, but I am going to put in my response anyway. This is a very touchy subjects and some parents will be receptive where as others will not. If you talk to her this must be delt with in a most delicate manner. Do not compare your child to hers making it sound as those your child is the better of the two. I know you would never want to sound that way in the least, but she may take it that way. The idea is just to say that you have observed in your her son this or that. The last thing you want to do is insinuate that her child has Autism. The word is overwhelming and to much to take in. The most important thing is that she get her child tested and on on the right track. Let the doctors be the one to give the diagnosis. It could be that she really just does have a child with delays and he just needs time to catch up. That does happen. Let her know you care and you are behind her one hundred persent. Who knows she may have been waiting for someone to agree with her and a sigh of releif may come over her face and a whole new level of your relationship may begin.

ANNA - posted on 03/31/2012

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Sounds like he may have developmental delays or aspergers syndrome. I have 2 children who are in that range, one with each. You might just say to her...."since ______is so smart and he still is not talking or interacting as much as other kids his age, I am thinking maybe you might want to talk to your pediatrician about it" I wish we would have gotten help for our first child sooner. I knew something was up, and no one took me seriously. You might find an online article about it that talks about some of what you are seeing and send it to her as well, with a note saying " I was reading this the other day and noticed some of the things in this article sounded a bit like _________and thought it might be helpful to you"

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Kristin - posted on 04/04/2012

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I have 2 sons, ages 6 and 5. Many people "accused"my younger son of having all kinds of disorders. He still does not talk, but is making progress. The special school district does preschool screening if you consent to it (here anyway). Many of the ' professionals' told me he is autistic. When we went for special testing at TouchPoint and a few other places, no diagnosis could be made. Currently he is considered to ' just' be a Young Child with a Developmental Disorder. I would tread lightly... Very lightly.

Janice - posted on 04/04/2012

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I'm glad your friend will be getting her son evaluated. I'm sure your support is greatly appreciated.



I do have to note that masturbation in toddlerhood is 100% normal and since they have very little or zero understanding of what is appropriate in public its not strange that he does it when company is over. My daughter does it occasionally when tired. We always just told her she could only do that in her bed, and now at 2.5 she only does it there.

Gretchen - posted on 04/04/2012

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An update on the situation: I spoke to my friend last week...The conversation began kind of casually because now her son is having another behabior which worries her and she began to tell me about it. She was telling me that when the baby is anoyed or sleepy he goes to the sofa and begin to masturbate himself. She is kind of worried about it because she says he does it all the time even if there is people in the house. When she told me about this I asked her if she noticed any other thing in her baby that she tough was not normal behabior and she began to talk about the baby not saying a word and his social behabior. Today we went to talk to the psycologist they have on the playground we take our kids and she told her to take the baby to the center to be evaluated. At least it is a begining.... I didn't say anything about autism or anything else because I didn't want her to get upset or offended, but I got to tell her about some minor things I also found strange in her son. She took it ok and I believe that she will follow up on the situation.



Thank you all again for your coments.... I will keep you posted on the developments!

Catherine - posted on 04/03/2012

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I have a 14 year old with aspergers we just found out 3 years ago that he had this we knew he had ADHD,ODD an OCD so it has always be a hard road for us with him. He was a chatter box when he was little he talked so plane an clear an everyone thought is was so cute to see a 1 year old talk like he did but he could not walk yet or crawl for that matter he would pull him self up an walk holding on to a table but that was it he was 14 months before he walked on his own. An 16 months before he could crawl an not do the ARM scoot on the floor all the dr's said he was fine that he was just a late bloomer with the walking. It wasn't until I was about 6 months pregnant with my second child an his Dr moved so he saw another in the same office an he told us that he disagreed with the other Dr's diagones at one time I had asked her if it was possible that my son might have austim an she told me no. The new Dr said he deffently did an he did not understand how she missed it an all the signs like his social enter action skill not be were they should be an thwarting fact that I questioned it as well. I just wish I would of had a friend like you when my son was younger cause maybe I would of been more persistent with the old Dr. I think you should say something. You could maybe ask her if he can do some of the things that you mentioned in this letter don't ever be scared if she is truely your friend she will thank you she may not at first but I believe in the end she will an there are programs out there that she can get him/ her in now to help with developmental delays I have my 2 year old in a program called First Steps here in Lexington you see we are still unsure if my 2 year old has aspergers as well but he does have a bad speech delay until 2 months ago he did not talk an since starting this program he now talks an all the time an he all so uses sign language to communate with us. I believe they have this type of program in other citys all you would have to do is Google it hope this has helped in some way

Melisa - posted on 04/01/2012

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Honesty is the best way to handle this situation. The earlier she can get him tested the earlier she can get early intervention services going if he needs them.

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it sounds to me like he is spoil and a mama's boy. I have a nephew who is 3 and does the same thing. I call him stubborn. I believe in manners, you speak to someone when they speak to you, and he refuses to do it. I also don't do temper tantrums, falling out gets you no where in my house, but in the corner. The things my nephew does with his mother, he doesn't do with me. His mother has allowed this type of behavior and he thinks its ok.My god daughter is 1 and she does more than he does. Maybe something is wrong, maybe not. If it was my friend I would talk to her about his behavior, but I wouldn't say your son is autistic take him to the doctor. Maybe yall can have a small conversation about his behavior, and see what happens.

User - posted on 03/31/2012

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I think with the Autism Awareness Day coming up on April 2, maybe you could bring it into conversation in some way. There's so many signs and each Autistic child is very different. I have a little guy that was diagnosed at 14months and is now 3. He did a few words after the diagnosis but has lost them. He does do quite a bit of stimming and hand flapping - so it was easy to diagnose. I knew at 7 months there was something wrong and your friend my has some feelings about her child. Best of luck and it's a tough call but the sooner these angels get services the better!!

Robin - posted on 03/31/2012

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No one took me seriously either. Currently they minimize my daughter's struggle... No professional has said she will grow out of this though. We continue to do all kinds of therapy, and follow every recommendation. Early intervention is important, and "intervention" isn't the same as "treatment."

Tanya - posted on 03/31/2012

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There is speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA, medication, diet etc. My son was put on a gluten and dairy free diet and his speech and behaviour changed for the better in about a week of being on the diet he also has a speech therapist. It is different for all children as autism varies in strengths but there is plenty of help out there but it just depends on your child and what works for them.

Veerle - posted on 03/31/2012

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About possible treatments... I had concluded there is no therapy or special treatment for autism because I went to talk to psychologists and a neurologist and they couldn't propose any specific therapy.

Tanya - posted on 03/31/2012

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If she is talking to you about the issues then she is obviously thinking something isn't quite right with her son's behaviour/speech. This was me nearly 3 years ago. My mother handed me a pamphlet on autism and as I went down the list I ticked 11 out of 15 things to look out for. I guess because she was my mother it didn't really bother me although I knew it had to be something so was up for researching anything. My GP kept telling me my son was just a little slow in talking etc. but I KNEW that my son was different. I kept pushing, had his ears checked in case it was a hearing problem and it was this nurse that suggested I call a speech therapist. From there my son was seen by a paed. and was diagnosed within half an hour. My son was 2 1/2 (he's nearly 5 now) when diagnosed but I knew from around a year old because of having no eye contact, hand spasms, etc. and then with no speech by the time he was 2. I do believe if she's talking to you about it she's just as concerned as you so maybe she won't be too angry if you approached her, but for me the pamphlet was wonderful, I didn't have to read it but I chose to for the sake of my son and it turned out to be a godsend. Good luck and I hope your friend finds the answers she's looking for.

Elaine - posted on 03/31/2012

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I have a son who hAs Autism. Repetition and not pointing at things is factor in Autism. When he was younger he wouldn't eat any biscuits that were broken and really get upset if they were on hos plate and loved lining his toy cars in a row.

Melissa - posted on 03/30/2012

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@ Veerle - i don't think it's a question of how the mother should treat her child differently as much as about getting therapy for the child early on in hopes of giving them a better chance of becoming socially adjusted. As well as preparing the parent for how best to handle certain situations. As you can probably agree, having an Child with Autism, or any developmental disability can be difficult on the entire family and getting early intervention is as much about the child as it is the parents.

Grace - posted on 03/30/2012

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I have two friends I will call Lindsey and Sylvia. Their kids are close in age and they spent lots of time together, both at church and play dates. Around 18 months, Lindsey finally told Sylvia that she had noticed that her son had problems and that she should have him tested. Sylvia was surprised at first because she was so used to her son the way he was. She doubted it at first, but after some tests she realized that he was severely autistic. Most of us at church had figured it out--just not poor Sylvia. Once she had him tested, he began early intervention and therapy which is the best possible treatment for autism.

Melissa - posted on 03/30/2012

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Very sensitive subject and you definitely don't want to alienate your friend, making her defensive to the point of not seeking help but then again bringing awareness might just be what it takes to get her to question the behaviors herself. I agree with everyone that early intervention is key, even if it's not autism and if you recognize that something's "off", it probably is. If this is her only child it makes noticing these things a lot harder, not to mention the denial of having a special needs child. I noticed very early on that my daughter wasn't developing right and we sought therapy by the time she was 6 mths. She is the twin of a normally developing brother and I had 2 older siblings as well. She is now 6 yrs. old and was diagnosed at 2 with a rare chromosome abnormality - one with no "disorder" associated with it and only 6 other cases that have been written about. She is awaiting an evaluation to see if she has an Autism spectrum disorder so that we can get better assistance with educational issues. She is a very highly functioning child with developmental delays in several areas as well as a low IQ but regardless I don't feel she would be where she is today if it weren't for the continued therapy we have been receiving. It's best for the child if someone says something...just be compassionate & offer help!!

Jessica - posted on 03/30/2012

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My 3 year old is autistic, EVERYONE had just kept telling me he was a late talker ad would be fine. Finally at 2 1/2 I called the Early Intervention program, they couldn't give me an official diagnosis, but they approved him for ABA therapy. Maybe print up some information on your state's EI program and tell her you've noticed her 19 month old is struggling with speech and EI could get him the right help if he needs it. The testing is 100% free. If they think he might be autistic they'll bring that up to her and point her to the right doctors for a diagnosis.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2012

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I wouldn't worry about anything as of yet. As long as she is keeping all her baby check-ups, the doctor will ask her about her child's development and will express their concern if they see something that might not be right. You seem like a great friend for having concern over your friend and her child. A lot of people would overlook it and just hope for the best.

Aunt Cece - posted on 03/30/2012

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I wouldn't worry too much about your friend's child. I had a cousin who never said a word until he was 3 years old. His mother fretted over it, but suddenly, he not only began speaking, but spoke in sentences..Also, some children are just very clingy. Some are also very shy and don't like to interact with other people. If he is very intelligent, his social behavior might be something they will need to work on as time passes..About my cousin now? He's 62 years old and never stops talking once we get him started on any subject..and he owns his own trucking company. If after age 3, your friend's child displays strange behavior, then, the parents need to look into it more..But first, allow him to grow a bit!

Shelly - posted on 03/30/2012

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Why don't you open the discussion with a simple question like "Have you had his hearing checked?" Followed with how you've noticed he doesn't talk as much as your daughter. Autism can be very scary and she may not be ready to go there. My son is three and has speech delay the first step was a hearing test and after that an evaluation by a behavioral specialist. Also she may already be looking in to things but afraid to talk. Go slow, nobody wants to heart that their baby isn't perfect, no matter how small the problem.

Robin - posted on 03/30/2012

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The next times she asks you questions...I would tell her she has great questions/observations. The best person to give you answers or direction would be her pediatric doctor, tell him about your concerns and see what he says. You no longer are the bearer of bad news if you are correct or worse if you are not correct. Autism is a very scarey word to people. My nephew is in 6th grade and still can not carry on a conversation, walks on his toes, focuses on trains for hours with out stopping, struggles in school, yet he has never been diagnosed with anything. . He has no friends. Parents are in denial.He is under that autistic umbrella and I feel bad he is not getting help. But we have to be very careful of what we say...and this is my nephew.

Veerle - posted on 03/30/2012

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I'm confused by the remarks that it is important to diagnose Autism/Asperger early on. Why would it be important? What treatment would you give a young child and what are the benefits? I don't treat my son differently since I know he has autism.

Kelly - posted on 03/30/2012

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I have a son who is special needs. My peditrician missed it. I was told every child develops at their own rate. Finally, my sister in law said something when he was 21/2. Thank God she did. At first I was upset, that didn't last long. I wish someone would of told me sooner. Early intervention is so important. I think u should try to approach the subject. Good Luck...it's hard but if u really r good friends u outer it to her

Taryn - posted on 03/30/2012

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I agree he should be tested if there is concern there, the earlier treatment, the better! My community offers testing clinics at the health department and various locations. Why couldnt the two of you go together? Make a day out of it, bring the kids to get checked out then have lunch together? That lets you off easy by taking both kids and turning it into just a friends day out. That way you know hes been tested properly and avoids the awkwardness of bringing up the topic directly. Its hard not to be defensive when someone points out something wrong with your precious little child, let her direct her fear/anger toward the drs doing the testing rather than at you, whom im sure she will need if anything does come up. Kudos to you for being a concerned friend, no matter how the subject is addressed, if there is an issue with her sons development she will appreciate your noticing it in the long run, even if she doesnt you still did the best thing for the child, which is whats most important in my eyes!

hope this helped and good luck!

Robin - posted on 03/30/2012

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Sorry just noticed you are in Italy. The play group is a good idea. DO NOT suggest she look it up online, it will only cause personal distress.

Robin - posted on 03/30/2012

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I have an autistic child. I would suggest she meet with your state's early intervention program regarding his speech. She does not need a doc referral to do so, and would get the ball rolling with professionals and a possible dx. It is a touchy subject, but this may work next time you see her struggling with him. They may even start by teaching him some signs so he can communicate with her.

Kalyn - posted on 03/30/2012

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If you are close friends than you should be able to talk about anything,ask her if you could ask her a question about her son without her getting upset or offended and see what she has to say,then wait until you are alone and just say to her, you know I noticed that your son has exhibited many same behaviors as my friend with an autistic child, and I know that.you are a great,caring and loving mother but maybe you might consider having your son tested for autism by a specialist, tell her that if he is autistic then you can get him help now because the sooner hes to get help the better he will be and better yet if he is tested and shown not to be autistic then even better. If the specialist notices that he is not autistic but does have developmental delays then he can point you in the right direction as to where to get him services. Make sure you tell her that you are her friend and care for her and her son very much and would never say anything to be hurtful.

Lsnader008 - posted on 03/30/2012

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I worked with kids who are autisted and i also had schooling on it and it sounds like maybe go online search Google and take test to see if he is. i wouldn't say anything though the doctor will if they think something wrong. it might ruin ire friendship.

Gretchen - posted on 03/30/2012

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Thank you very much all for your responces. I have to say that everyone's opinion has been very helpfull for me. I'm very closed to my friend, even if we just met 4 years ago. Well.. for me the biggest problem is that we do not live in the US, I'm actually living in Italy and here things (doctors and evaluations) are very different from the US. I think in the US there is a little bit more of awareness about this than where I live. I'm not saying that here in Italy they do not know about Autism but from what I have seen not all doctors seem much worried about it. I know my friend is worried about her child's development because she "does" talk about it with me. We are also neighbors so we see each other almost every day. One of the things that began to worry me about her son was the fact that even if he sees me everyday and sees my daughter he does not acknowledges our presence. It is like if we where not there until the minute that my daughter touches his favorite toy or he needs my finger to point at something or read a book.

My friend is the one that points out most of the differences between the babies. She worries when she sees that he doesn't even consider playing with my daughter. Even when we go out he doesn't look at anybody it is like if he was in another world. When we go to the playground together he doesn't play with other kids and passes all the time looking at the cars that pass by. He is not in school or daycare because his mom doesn't work so an evaluation from school will be far way. I don't know how to approach my friend most of all because of our cultural differences... maybe it is hard to understand but you would have to live here to see the differences and how people in general think.

There is a center here where you can take the babies to play and interact with other children and they have a psycologist one day a week. We usually take the kids to play at least 2 days a week and I told my friend to ask her about the speach delay. Since it is one of the things that worries her the most I think this could be a good to begin with.... hopefully by next tuesday she will go and at least have a different opinion than mine. I don't know if this will work but I'm crossing my fingers... Thanks again everybody!

Testa - posted on 03/29/2012

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I assume that you are pretty good friends with this mother and have the best of intentions for both her and her child. This is definitely a tricky situation. Using the term "Autism" might be a bit premature, but suggesting that she talk to her pediatrician about language development might be met with less defensiveness and alarm. Usually pediatricians will suggest a hearing diagnostic to rule out an hearing problems and give a referral to Child Find or other such similar services. Through those few tests the child will at least be given more careful monitoring. Then if Autism is suspected other evaluations will usually be recommended. It is definitely important for children that have autism to get early interventions, especially with the rate of autism being 1 out of every 110 births. I am confident that you will find a gentle way to approach the subject of at least encouraging her to talk with her pediatrician. I wish you both the best of outcomes.

Patricia - posted on 03/29/2012

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i was in the same situation 7 years ago. My good friend had two children and I had one. I noticed all the differences amongst her children and my son. I felt something was wrong, but didn't know how to say it. One day I read an article about signs of autism and one was walking on the toes.....I just got up the nerve to tell her that I think she should get her children tested. She was devastated, but it ended up that both of her children (son and daughter) were autistic. I was devastated as well and stood by her, did research with her and really just made sure I was there for support. Her children got the support they need and are doing well. good luck...

Tammie - posted on 03/29/2012

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Don't. I had someone do that to my child and it was horriable. She was a daycare provider and had no training. She gave me several reasons why, none that I saw but it freeked me out. She said she was unable to give my child the special help she needed but once she got in the system someone would be able to help. I had my daughter tested and the docs have a hard time proving a negative and kept testing. They did not want to miss anything and did not want to say they could not find any reason why. Now 3 years later my well adjusted 1st grader is reading at a 3rd grade level. Just don't.

Vicki - posted on 03/29/2012

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I would suggest early intervention, which is free in most communities. A therapist will come in and screen the child for any developmental delays and then set up appropriate therapy, if needed. It is true that boys can talk later than girls, and personality differences can account for a lot of what you described. However, there is nothing wrong with getting a free evaluation. I wouldn't even mention autism to her, I would just say that maybe she would want to have him screened so he could get speech therapy.

Dannielle - posted on 03/29/2012

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I would lead into it gently. If he does something obvious while your around, ask if he has any other behaviours like it etc. Then lead into how you know some other people who have had to get their kids tested with similar signs and how that worked out well for them. Keep it positive and use praise towards herself and her son.



I, personally, lack a brain to mouth filter. So people know exactly how i feel and think about things. Doesnt always go down too well. However I have learnt this is a softer approach to getting across what you need to. Also makes you feel better by planting that seed to her and knowing you go it off your chest.



I dont see it being a bad thing at all. Its all about approach. :)

Ma. Patricia - posted on 03/29/2012

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If she is really close to you, I think it would be best to tell her your thoughts. I'm sure she wouldn't mind and might even thank you for the idea. It's best though to observe first before saying anything. It could also be the baby is just a little bit different than other babies. If you often see the baby and in a few months still acts that way, it's time to tell your friend about it.

Tammy - posted on 03/29/2012

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My two birth kids have Autistic so I think early intervention was key in them growing up into successful adults. They are 21 and 19 now and I am so blessed to have figured it out early.

Tammy - posted on 03/29/2012

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Just say you think her son was really bright and had she considered having him evaluated?

Janice - posted on 03/29/2012

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Well, as you probably know early intervention is best for children who DO have autism, but it is never "too late". However, at only 19 months it is very difficult to tell whether these "sign" are actually autism. It possible that he is just very shy. Does she ever show concern? If she does, maybe you could direct her to an article or something. Or something very general like pretending you are asking about milestones for your daughter. Maybe if she is gently shown there are differences than she will seek out more info. I would tread lightly. Most likely if he keeps falling behind then the pediatrician will catch it.

Kimberly - posted on 03/29/2012

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This is such a hard question, and I think it really depends on your relationship with your friend, whether you think she is looking for help, and if you can find the right approach to bring it up. When my daughter was diagnosed with high functioning autism at age 4.5 years I wondered where everyone had been for the last 3 years when I knew something was going on but didn't really know what it was. Relying on "experts" to break the news may or may not work. My doctor didn't screen and didn't listen to my concerns as something that he needed to follow up on. We had even taken our daughter to the school district for language delay (that part was pretty obvious) but they didn't tell us they thought there was more to it until THEY started having problems with her in class (I had already told them about her behavior at home). I wish someone who knew more than I did had pointed out some of the warning signs to me.

That said, I know other moms who have reacted very badly to someone telling them they think "something's wrong" - and that certainly wouldn't be the way I would phrase it, by the way. If you are good friends, and if your friend has asked you what you think about any of the challenge she's having then she values your opinion. Finding an empathetic and kind way to tell her what you've been wondering will be crucial. Autism is a big enough topic these days that you could probably bring it up fairly casually at first and see how your friend responds. She might even be wondering about it herself already.

Also, just a note that while early intervention (before age 3) is highly recommended, intervention at any age is helpful, so it's never really "too late."

Proceed with caution and with your friend's best interest in mind.

Fiona - posted on 03/29/2012

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My own son did'nt start talking until he was 2 yrs old, he was'nt potty trained till he was 2 and a half not because I did'nt try he just was'nt ready. Once he started talking he never stopped from the minute he opened his eyes till he closed them at night and he was potty trained in 2 days and never used training pants and rarely wet the bed only on about 5 occassions where he had been upset at school. My uncle was 3 before he uttered his first words only because his siblings did all the talking for him, he is now 66 and has retired from his job as an electronic engineer and is still taking college degrees. Boys develop differently from girls and unless you are someone who works in the area dealing with Autism, ADHD or any of the other letters psychologists like label kids with I would advise that you say nothing because in about 5 to 9 months time you are going to see a very different child who will blossom and once he has his voice he wont only be affectionate to his mother. If there is some problem when he goes to school it will be picked up but I doubt that this is the case.

Veerle - posted on 03/29/2012

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Just as a mother of a 10 year old diagnosed with autism... the kid you describe may or may not have autism but I totally don't see why it would matter at his age. Only if he would start to have problems in school and parents and teachers feel at a loss of how to deal with him, it might me useful to diagnose as it can help understand and finding better ways to deal with the child or get some specialized help. I would not worry.

Sarah - posted on 03/29/2012

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Every child develops at different rates. Not every 19 month old speaks. My daughter is that age and sees a speech therapist (she had a few delays due to a medical condition), and the speech therapist has said what they look for more at that age is engagement in expressing their needs. Does he point or gesture? Does he grunt or cry and look at what he wants? She also said many parents are so in tuned with reading their children's cues that the kids actually will develop a delay as a result, this is not a sign of autism, but rather a sign of very attentive parenting. I don't know your friends baby, but if you are that concerned, than tell her. Maybe she's noticed "delays" but thinks she's imagining things. If she thinks he's fine than drop it.

Lynn - posted on 03/29/2012

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You may want to suggest to have him tested. There are great pre K programs out there to help her out. If he is Autistic you may offer to go with her to support group. It is a great way for her to meet other moms. Some even have play groups. My son has asperger. When he was younger. I had him in play group at our local church. If there is not one maybe you can start one. You could meet at a local park.

Iridescent - posted on 03/28/2012

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You may want to find an article in a current parenting magazine that discusses the symptoms of autism, and simply bring it up and say, "Hey, have you noticed that ___ does quite a few of these? Maybe this is why it's so hard for him, and he can be checked." I wouldn't push it off, and it is appropriate for you to note these differences. I have two autistic children, and while many symptoms of autism are part of typical development in toddler age, the combination of development and whether or not they move beyond it determines whether it's autism. Another suggestion - you can let her know she can call her local school district for a development evaluation for an IFSP. If he's delayed, whether or not it is autism, they can help find out how severe the delay is and provide services to help treat it for free. It needs to be requested soon though because they can push off an evaluation until the next school year if you wait too close to the end of the school year. Last - autism cannot be accurately diagnosed until 36 months old. Some children diagnosed earlier do not have it, and some with it are missed earlier, but by 36 months it's very accurate testing if you go to a good clinic with several professionals that perform the evaluations. So treating now (because the earlier treatment is started the more progress there is) and worrying about a diagnosis later is fully appropriate.

Kaitlin - posted on 03/28/2012

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how old is your friend's child? You can always set up playdates for the three of you ;) I'm currently obsessed with play dates/new mom friends, which is why i suggest it. I didn't know my neighbor two houses down was a sahm of kids the same age as mine, and we've been here two years! Sometimes i forget how to make new friends.

Gretchen - posted on 03/28/2012

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Kaitlin thank you for the reply... you are right, maybe its nothing to worry about and I should not compare my daughter's development to his. I don't have much experience (only have a friend with an autistic child) but I did read a lot about this when they diagnosed my friend's child. My concern was only because I have seen almost the same behavior that he has on my friend's child. I see my friend struggling every day with some of his behavior that she doesn't understand. What I mentioned first are just a few of the things I see, he does a lot of other things like have tantruns out of nothing, turn in circles, obsessive behavior, eating problems, sleeping problems, etc etc. This is why I was comparing him with my daughter but I understand that every child grows at his own pace.

I also had the same pediatrician for my daughter but I changed him because I felt that he was too fast and superficial when checking the kids. His mom (my friend) is a great mom, she is wonderful with him and gives him a lot of love an attention. I guess I should just wait and hope for the best. :-)

Kaitlin - posted on 03/28/2012

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What is your own experience with Autism? Unless you are very educated on this or have an autistic child yourself, I wouldn't talk to her about it. It doesn't sound like Autism to me (though I have never met the child, obviously), it sounds like the drastic differences between children, especially between boys and girls. Comparing him to your own child's development isn't an accurate theory (nor is the junk you can find online- google is crazy!) If there is a real problem, she's probably already aware of it, and if she goes to doctor appts regularly, the pediatrician will have noticed it as well (you say he's 19 months, so he JUST went to one, right?) If there IS a problem, it may not even be Autism, and it's never to late. She's providing him with love and attention. I would let it go for now.

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