I need a little help, My son has so many developmental delays its unreal, is there a chance he has autism?

User - posted on 01/07/2012 ( 28 moms have responded )

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My 20month boy has only just started to sit him self up and pull him self up onto his knees, he can't talk, put weight on his feet,always has tiptoes on the floor never full foot.. he rocks back and forth with his head hitting the floor infront of him (sometimes turned sideways) He has a very bad temper, headbutting everything, scratching everyone including himself, loses his temper very easy,makes strange noises when rocking.... Theres so many things he cant wave good bye nor can he point at anything, theres not alot of eye contact, he will give cuddles but not often and if you try to give him a hug he pushes you away and starts having a tantrum.. theres many more things that he does or can't do.. All this shouts to me Autism but i dont know, one doctor agrees the others say it could be a number of things wait and see!! What do you think please id like to know if im thinking down the right path??

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Jurnee - posted on 01/07/2012

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Speaking from experinece of raising kids and caring for kids most of my life, I would definitley get another opinion. It sounds like it could be autism, but I dont have much experience with that, but clearly there are delays which should be adressed. I would push for more services, even if they are not sure what is causing the delays there should be some kind of interventions they can do to help him and you. Good luck!

Holly - posted on 01/09/2012

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Hello, I'd suggest looking into sensory processing disorders (SPD) as well as if his responses are triggered by certain foods (example loss of eye contact or overly violent behavior after having foods with artificial dyes, artificial flavors). My son (3 yrs) exhibited some of these same traits and we found out that he was sensitive to artificial food dyes, artificial flavors, and a few other things (most kids are, just some not as profound as others).

Kids/Adults can have sensory issues and not have Autism, however people with Autism usually always have sensory processing issues as well. The toe walking (which my son also does) is a very common sensory seeking item. The balls of our feet is where all the nerve endings are. Try touching the heal of your foot, you cant really feel anything. So he is trying to feel the ground better by walking on his toes. In other cases, there could actually be some tendon issue (maybe too short) or just tightness.

I could go on forever here about the behaviors, issues with too many people around, too much noise, not making eye contact, the rocking, chewing on non-food items, toe walking, personal control etc.. all of these items could be sensory issues along with allergy issues. They can also be Autism traits. However, either way, they are a sign that your son is in some sort of distress and is looking for ways to sooth and cope with his surroundings. The earlier you find out what is going on with him to sooner he will be able to feel better and you will be armed with the right tools to help him cope in any situation.

Here are the steps I took to find help for my son:

Get an appointment for an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist who specializes in Sensory Processing Disorder. Your Pediatrician should be able to recommend one. They will ask you a bunch of questions, and work with your son to see how he responds to different games/activities. They will do an assessment and then set up a plan for either therapy or other items. I think they can also test for Autism or recommend an appropriate person for that evaluation.

The Occupational Therapist can also put in a request for a Physical Therapist to examine your son's legs, feet, etc. to identify if there are any physical or neurological issues going on that could also be affecting the toe walking.

Check out www.feingold.org for some great research into behavior and learning issues that have long been associated with diet (easy and healthy fixes are available). We saw improvements in behavior, tantrums, listening, eye contact, and personal control after 3 days.

This book was EXTREMELY helpful: The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder. I wish I would have read it sooner and stopped questioning what I was doing wrong and why my son wasn't responding the same way his friends were. You can buy it at any book store, amazon or out-of-sync-child.com.

Good Luck!

Greta - posted on 01/09/2012

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Speaking as mom of autistic teen.. reach out now.. early diagnosises is key. Look for any program in area to get help. In oregon we have a program called esd.. they work with under five age for developmental delays etc.. need to start things now to help.. consistant routine.. look into brushing therapy, weighed blanket, some games to encourage eye contact.. good luck

Shannon - posted on 01/09/2012

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As a parent, I would not second guess my instincts! It sounds like you are concerned and as such I would see specialists (SLP, Audiologist, Developmental Pediatrician, etc). As a parent of special needs children, I started any and all treatments (OT, Speech Therapy, Sensory Therapy) regardless of the label my children had as early intervention has been proven to provide the greatest outcome.

I utilized any 'Healthy Baby' programs as well as Preschool Speech and Language programs as my children were not eligible for any Public School board resources until they had been enrolled and in attendance.

I too have utilized the Feingold Diet and notice a difference in behaviour when/if they have eaten anything that was not on the 'food safe' list.

Labels (as far as I am concerned) only help in gaining educational rights and or special designations for taxation purposes. Go with your gut and create a "treatment plan" so your son will benefit from as much early intervention as possible!

Jaymi - posted on 01/10/2012

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Sandra, I have a son who is 9 and severely autistic. Much of what you described sounds some like my son. Every child is different, though. I agree you are blessed with a beautiful son whether he has autism or not. My Elijah is so precious to me. Yes, it's been a really hard road, but I wouldn't trade him for anything. I also have four children. Elijah is my only child with autism. He speaks little and isn't potty trained. He has been very aggressive in the past. He still hits now, but it isn't nearly to the frequency or severity that it was before. He is very smart and has made incredible progress in the past few years. We still have a lot to work on, but I believe in him. You can do this. You are the best Mommy Adam could have. I have a friend who's son used the SonRise Program, which is in the UK and eastern US. They saw amazing results. We didn't use it, mainly because we live in western US and we couldn't travel with him cross country.

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Kate - posted on 01/23/2012

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As a mum to two kids on the spectrum (one diagnosed and one under assessment) I urge you to get early intervention. Push and fight for it if yo have to. Please don't ignore your insticts. People like to try and sooth you by saying not to worry and that kids develop at different paces. Whilst this is true - mum knows when something isn't right. As far as your little one goes - the earlier you get him into see an occupational/ speech therapist the easier it will be for both of you. even if you can't get an official diagnosis at this age - the OT & speech therapist will help greatly. I wish you the best of luck!!

User - posted on 01/16/2012

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We have tried to contact people but its always answering machines which we have left a message, we are still waiting... we have a doctor appointment tomorrow so we will ask him to chase it up...

Danielle - posted on 01/16/2012

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Do not wait and see!!

Depending on where you are it could take years to get an evaluation, and Diagnosis. At 20 months there are major developmental delays that I would assume Autism as well!

Early Intervention is the key!!



We are in Canada and started to notice regression in our 3 year old at 18 months old. After having to do all the little assessments like Speech language, Occupational, Behavioural, and ENT, we are finally on the Diagnosis stage where hopefully we'll get some answers.



Good luck,



I would also recommend watching the HBO t.v bio of Temple Grandin.. or basically anything to do with her. She is an Autistic woman who changed the way the world looks at the condition.

Her life is very inspiring, especially if you are concerned, and looking towards Autism as a diagnosis.

Angela - posted on 01/15/2012

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I also would like to mention I am the mom of 8 children 2 with Autism and I can tell you these behaviors scream Autism, like I said have him tested in your citys regional center, it wont hurt, but waiting will.

User - posted on 01/10/2012

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Hi lisa, im in the uk so its nhs funded, but we do have places to get help although we can't get anywhere unless our gp refers him.. this has been done but we have to wait now, he has not got to the stage of being tested as we moved county, i dont know about the family having any delays apart from speach..

Lisa - posted on 01/10/2012

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I would check with your county for early intervention services there should be a birth to 3 program. They cannot diagnose your child but will be able to address the issues he is having now and offer help and intervention. Have the doctors done an MRI, have you had any genetic testing done? Is there anyone else in your family with a history of developmental delays? You should also see a developmental pediatrician. They will have more information for you and possible some answers, Even though it may be too early for any type of diagnosis, it is definitely not too early for intervention.
Take care, Lisa (Early childhood special educator)

Gabrielle - posted on 01/10/2012

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Autism and most other developmental issues can be diagnosed at eighteen months. Don't wait, don't let a doctor disregard your concerns... Demand a referral to have your child tested.... If it is no concern, it'll put you mind at ease...however; if it is cause for concern- early dx and intervention therapies can do wonders for a child. Listen to your inner mommy senses...and stay strong.

User - posted on 01/10/2012

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Kim, i understand what you are saying but at 18 months thats not that late for the walking, my daughter who is now 5 toe walked, my son who is now 10 didn't so i know alot of children do, but its everything put together that makes it sound like autism.. my daughter who is 8 months old is more alert than him.. she can turn when spoken to.. so everything put together makes him not just a late developer.. And also if he is in a temper he will head bang anything and anyone, he is too strong for us to hold him down he can move almost anything when he is in one.. so its hard for us to try and interact with him at that time.. we have been told to let him get it out of his system first...

User - posted on 01/10/2012

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My doctor has raised red flags with adam and they do think its possible that he has autism.. We are getting him assessed, they and me know there is somthing other than late development.. but there is a time scale on late development.. At the age of two if a child has not yet pulled them self up at least then theres other reasons why... I have four children, two boys and two girls and as i said to my doc i know how children are and they are all different, If i said to adam where is you juice? can you get it? he would not understand a word infact he wouldnt even know ive spoken to him.. Oh ive had him to the E.N.T and he has a blockage in his ear, but it will need looked at again.. All i say to the docs is see for your self when they ask me about him because if you see him you would understand.. I just wanted to see what other people thought, My new doctor has said it could even be brain damage from the birth but i am just waiting to see what the hospital say.. I am rubbish at waiting though...

Esther - posted on 01/09/2012

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I agree with Misty. My daughter went through the Early Steps program and it was great. And I had to fight her doctor the whole time to take her when she clearly needed the therapy. Pediatricians don't know everything. Follow your instincts.

Kim - posted on 01/09/2012

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Hello there, I have a 18 mth old son. He is mot walking yet pulls himself up and lazy crawls and walks in walker on tip toes. He is only speaking in baby language and does not cuddle very often and like ur child pushes u away and tantrums. All children develop at different rates and he will catch up when he is ready. Development in boys is often slower than girls (I have 3 girls and 2 boys) I am afraid to say he is entering the " terrible twos" stage as is my son, I shouldn't worry about autism just yet. The rocking back and forth could be a number of things including frustration, boredom and attention seeking. When he does it try to distract him by interacting with him and playing his favourite game he will soon forget about temper tantrums. Hope this has helped, like they say patience is a virtue even tho I first hand know it can be very frustrating. Take care, Kim x

Kayte - posted on 01/09/2012

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The best thing for you to do is to take him to his pediatrician. They can better diagnose than anyone on line

Misty - posted on 01/09/2012

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If your pediatrician hasn't given a referral for testing this late you need a new dr! It's insane that your childs Dr hasn't raised red flags when he's just now at 20mis sitting up that is something they start around 6-8mos and your Dr should have sent a referral back then. You need to report your Dr to the AMA and the AAP for letting your child slip through the cracks. I don't know what it will be called where you are but where I live it's called Early Steps and they will evaluate your child for free and arrange treatment up until age 3 then refer you to other agencies after age 3. Check into that in your area.

Sylvie - posted on 01/09/2012

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Hi I have 2 autistic boys.I am no doctor but you need to see your child's doctor asap. I got my second son evaluated early and I was dead on on the diagnoses.First I told the doc that he is late in everything so he got the diagnose of Global developmental delay.And the doc got a recommendation to have my son evaluated by CHEO in Ottawa where we live.He was 12 months and at 18 months got the autism conformation from the specialist at CHEO children hospital. Get help now. Forget denying it like I have seen many parents do here. The sooner the better.And there's the first words program too.Hope that helped.God Bless

User - posted on 01/09/2012

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We have had his legs looked at and they are fine, no tightness or anything.. he was seeing a physiotherapist before we moved and she notice that he would rather use his feet to explore than his hand, now he uses his lips, everything he holds or is near he explores with his lips, we have had him seen by a pediatrician of the childevelopment unit who said he thinks there is a strong possibilty he has asd... he wanted to have the assessments done but we were moving so he couldnt.. When he eats food (unless its very small) he gags and sometimes vomits..He mainly has baby food because we find he is ok with that most of the time, all he eats of our food is meat, veg and potato's, we have been told he also has a cows milk allergy..we have been under everyone he would need to see untill now as we have moved county.. the list of things that does/doesn't do that he shouldn't/should do is huge.. we will get him assessed here it will just take time, (ive been told should be the end of january) the doctors here look at him and i dont have to say a word they know theres somthing wrong with him.. If it is autism then it is, he is still my baby boy but i will know where to go from here.. he is also very big for his age, he is the size of a 3-4 year old and has out grown his pushchair so its also hard to get him around as he can't hold his weight at all on his legs even with help.. Thank you for all your posts.. im sure when we find out i will be proud of him no matter what!!

Ckesa - posted on 01/09/2012

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as stated please contact your local public school district... they have occupational therapists this would be no cost to you!!!!!! STATE FUNDED.......

Ckesa - posted on 01/09/2012

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have you taken him to an ENT? (Ear Nose Thorat) to have his hearing checked.... and for intervention check with your local schools (administration) public schools provide early childhood intervention... Call them ask for the special education department.. explain to them the problem... state that want help for your child... they should be able to help you.....

Heather - posted on 01/09/2012

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Autistic. I would have him checked out. Sounds about right, but they all want to wait and see. Try looking into a place locally that offers Occupational Therapy, they call it OT. They will test him and play with him, see how he reacts and ask lots of questions. If they diagnose that he needs help, they can set up some OT therapy for him. Your insurance might or might not cover it though. Do some research online locally in your area. I did.

User - posted on 01/09/2012

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no we have been told he has a learning disability for sure, he can't do alot... He can't hold his weight on his legs, not a single word spoken.. He has passed the window for the 'late development' stage now.. We can't get close enough to do anything with him as he just lashes out all the time, see to be honest i dont want it to be autism, i do know he is something more than a late developer. oh yeah and he has never responded to his name even when you shout it... (doctors have also tried) x

Kaitlin - posted on 01/09/2012

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I would wait it out a little longer- some kids just develop very differently- maybe he is a slow developer on the outside but is thinking big thoughts and developing reasoning skills. I think it is too young to really tell if it is really Autism. However, there are lots of things you can do on a mommy level to engage him differently- one mom already posted a great site.

User - posted on 01/08/2012

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Thanks, We had some sort of trouble at the birth where his heartbeat was lost along with my pulse so im not sure if thats related.... But if you ask anyone his birth was ok

Katherine - posted on 01/07/2012

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I would wait and see like the doctors say. It may be too early for a diagnosis.

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