I think my 22-month-old is autistic.

Meredith - posted on 04/07/2014 ( 6 moms have responded )




I want to start off by apologizing to any parents of autistic children if my post comes across as whiny or complain-y. Obviously if my toddler does turn out to be autistic, nothing will change the way I feel about him. I just have never been down that path before with my older boys and I don't even know how I would do it.

I'm a SAHM of a 22-month-old boy and we inadvertently started attachment parenting as soon as he was born. I had no idea what attachment parenting even was then, but it just felt right to co-sleep and nurse on demand. He has slept with us every night since we brought him home; he still nurses whenever he wants; and although I will eventually break this habit (I hope), it's the least of my concerns right now. My issue is, his 2-year appointment is coming in June, and he doesn't talk. He also doesn't do a lot of the other things he should be doing at this age (2-3 word sentences, pointing to what he wants, listen to directions, etc.). He knows what the cow says, and will say "ruff ruff ruff" if he sees a doggy on TV, and occasionally he will close an open drawer if asked or throw trash away. To me, these are good signs that he does listen; maybe he's just stubborn and only does things when he wants. But as we get closer to 2 years, I seriously want to cry every day. Every article I read says he should be saying things like "pick me up" or "want milk" or something similar; but he is nowhere near this. I don't even know what to do. He is funny, and so beautiful, but I feel like there is something wrong. When we go to the playground, he doesn't talk like the other kids around his age; he just runs around screaming (in a good way, like a wild man scream) and picking up sand. My other issue is, he is very tall, so he looks like a 3-year-old; this is fine with me, except we're constantly getting stared at by people who think he's older and possibly mentally challenged. I find myself constantly explaining that he's just big for his age, he's not talking yet, etc. but inside I want to explode. Can someone relate to this? Were any of your kids late talkers? Is his screaming normal? If he is autistic or mentally challenged, we will be ok. I guess I just hate not knowing which way this is going to go. I want so much for him and no matter how much I try to say "tell mommy what you want" or "use your words", it doesn't work.


Sarah - posted on 04/07/2014




Don't leap to autism. That seems to be everyone's thinking if something is not on schedule. There are many many other things out there that could be the problem. As others have stated get his hearing checked. Just because he passed it at birth does not mean there is not an issue. Some kids have lots of wax build up in their ears and that causes them to not hear good. Sometimes an undiagnosed ear infection might have left damage. Or his hearing could be fine and he just has a speech delay for various reasons. I would have your regular doc check him out, but I would also get connected with your local AEA through your school. They will also do a hearing and speech evaluation (for free) and if they feel there is an issue they will get him into speech therapy and help with hearing aids (for free). Also what I have learned is you need to be your son's advocate. Doctors and schools want to help, but also have tons of other kids they are dealing with. Your child is just a number. You need to push for answers and for help. Right now he is at the perfect age for help. There is lots of available help and he is young that often times by time he hits kindergarten he will be caught up to everyone else. Don't wait though because some services do go away by time he turns 3yrs old. He could also be a late talker, but follow your gut on this. If you feel something is wrong don't let people tell you he is a late talker (no matter if that someone is a doc).....often times a mother's gut is right. I had a friend that was told by a hearing specialist that her son's hearing was fine and sometimes boys are just late talkers. That was when he was 2 yrs old. At the age of 5 yrs old he just got hearing aids. Imagine what life would have been like if he could have received the hearing aids at 2 yrs. old!

As for the taller kid thing....my brother had that. It is very frustrating and hard to watch others judge your child when they don't know. I also had a sister that was very petite for her age and the opposite would happen. She was always treated as a baby or younger then what her age was. My brother grew up to be more mature in many ways as he was kind of expected to act more mature due to his size. Frustrating when they are little, but can be a blessing when they are a young adult and an adult. On the other hand, my sister grew up to be more immature, which made life harder when she became a young adult and an adult.

Kayla - posted on 04/07/2014




My son was just diagnosed with a severe speech delay. He turned 2 in November, 2013, and I had the same concerns as you. My son is also big, bigger than his 4 year old sister. People would give weird looks too, and at first I would explain he's big for his age and he doesn't talk yet. Then I realized, it's nobody's business why MY son acts the way he does. I ignore the looks now. I know my son is amazing, and he talk when he does. He is starting a special education preschool program this fall, where he will have class every day with a speech pathologist.

As far as the screaming goes, I think they do it, because it is really the only way they know how to communicate at this point. And also, maybe partially because they are frustrated they can't talk like other kids.

My advice to you, would be to express your concerns to his doctor, and then go from there. In the mean time, stop worrying about, and enjoy him as he is. Like you said, he is beautiful and funny, and he is your baby boy, regardless of anything!
If you ever want to talk, feel free to message me :)


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Jason - posted on 06/02/2014




I have a 22-month old that also looks bigger than most of his peers and still does not speak. I understand how you feel and can relate to you -- the only difference is that I am a dad and you are a mom. My wife is also quite concerned about other's opinions due to his language delay but I tell her to follow her motherly instincts and just love him for who he is regardless of what other people think of him. The entire world will not be in love with him like his mommy.

The one key feature of autism is difficulty in communication and abnormal social interaction. My son is able to somehow tell us (mostly via gestures, grunts, crying, body language, or bringing me the remote if he wants to watch TV) what he wants or if he is happy or sad and thereby still able to communicate with us. He loves playing with me (Dad) and is crazy about his mommy. He very clearly understands who his parents are -- and in many cases of autism this is not the case. He also plays alongside other kids -- a recent interest of his.

He is very good in learning new games such as throwing and kicking the ball, playing with toy cars the right way (which I am told autistic children will not do), stack blocks, good receptive language (i.e. understanding a few directions such as come here). A few additional concerns are related to him responding to his name. It is very inconsistent and more likely to respond when you have an action item accompanied with his name such as "Joe, come here" rather than just "Joe". His speech therapist suggested that he may be responding to "come here" and not recognizing the "Joe" part of it.

Although I know Autism is a spectrum disorder and my son being on the mild side of things will not impact his life very much, and with therapy he could lead a normal life, my personality refuses to understand that and continues to make a mountain of what could very well be a mole hill. Many sleepless nights and tears when alone. My wife is quite confident in his abilities and feels that he is just a late talker. I don't want to share my concerns with her -- her confidence will be weakened as a result.

I completely understand your position. Perhaps we can update each other on our situation. I find it helps when you share it with others.

Meredith - posted on 04/07/2014




They checked his hearing when he was born and it was fine, but I suppose that doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme. He understands when I say "no" and he will stop what he's doing and clap, which is what I do when he listens. He also understands when I ask if he wants milky or to go to bed. I guess it could be hearing related, but because he does understand when I say things, I never thought of that. It's like he gets what I'm saying, but he just doesn't want to say it himself. He will say "ball" (although it sounds more like "baw") and he says "go go go" when we leave the house. I'm sort of at a loss.

Sade - posted on 04/07/2014




I'm not an expert by an sort but possibly could he have a kind of hearing loss? Perhaps he can also have a hearing evaluation at his check-up.

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