What were the first signs and at what age did you find out your child has autism?

Cheri - posted on 10/20/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I was just at my son's 15 month checkup and the Dr. referred us to a neurologist because she feels that my son might have autism. The reasons why she says is because he doesn't say any words yet, he walks on his tippy toes and in circle a lot, and he doesn't seem to respond when his name is called. He is also my 4th child in a busy household with a very active 3 year old sister. Could I be missing something, or could he be just developing slowly? He had colic for about his first 6 months of his life and I think that I just haven't spent enough time with him one on one. He does have a step sister with aspirger's syndrome, but does that make it more likely that he could have autism? Please help with any thoughts, I am so freaked out right now, I am an emotional wreck! Thanks :)

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Ruthie - posted on 03/21/2011

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I have 2 sons with autism. my oldest had some odd behaviors when he was a baby like cutting his fingers and not feeling it but was always just hes a little off acording to drs. At around 5 they started saying he was haveing behavioral issues. We got lucky with a teacher that noticed his figiditing and other odd behaviors and had a friend whos kid had autism and asked if we would mind a school screening test for the spectrum. With that we were finaly able to get on the right track he was about 7 -8 when he got his clinical diagnosis. As for my youngest he did not talk much and had some issues walking so they screened him at 3 from a doctoers recemendation beacouse he was delayed. Oddly out here they do a screening for school redniesses at age 4. Me and my husband between us there are 4 kids total. The 2 with autism and he has one with adhd the last is completly normal. I can understand the freak out part.I love my kids and its hard as at times you can tell that the thoughts are locked in trying to get a way out.

Terri - posted on 10/28/2009

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as a grandmother of him i recognized it when he was around 6 months old..but doctor would not listen to me nor his mother..when i got guardianship and mother left i enforced the decision that if no one was going to help then i will do what i can do..so started at TAP for autistic children..spoke with a counselor there..and got on the way of helping him..now he is 4 and just a few months ago the doctor actually seen him rock back and forth, throw a temper tantrum by banging his head, and hard to control..of course i grabbed him up started to stroke the top of his head and he finally calmed down..then i grabbed thomas the engine out of the bag and gave it to him and he went off to the side of the room and jabbered to thomas..then she made some phone calls..and easter seals has requested some paper work and i finally mailed that in and i should have an appt. soon to have him actually diagnosed..once that is done a lot of doors will open for him finally.

Betsy - posted on 10/21/2009

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15 months does seem young for a firm diagnosis. I would see a specialist. I knew my son was a little differnt from other kids even as a baby. I realized he was an Aspberger's kid in his early grade school years. I didn't go get a firm diagnosis until he was a teenager. I guess I didn't want him to carry the label but looking back I think that was silly. He does well in school but is isolated socially both because he is a bit different and because he resists getting involved with others. He has had some trouble with depression and sees a psychologist regularly. That being said, he is a sweet, loving boy and a great joy in my life. Relax. Your child is still the same boy. Don't let the label scare you too much. Do have him checked out. It is always better to know what is really up. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 10/21/2009

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my son is nine and diagnosed with aspergers he was diagnosed at 5 but I knew when he was new born that there were some problems. We now are able to get the therapies that he should have been getting when he was younger. I guess it's better late than never. I took him to the doctor at 9 months and thought maybe he had ocd and the doctor said he was just mimicking me. The earlier you find out the better. Even if it isn't autism at least you'll know you checked everything out. I very proud of my son's progress he is doing better today than he ever has .

Myshon - posted on 10/21/2009

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My 9 y/o son was diagnosed about a year ago with Asperger's . But I could see signs of it back when he was about 18 months old. He was originally given the diagnosis of ADHD but I kept thinking it was more than that. Especially with all of the sensory issues he had (aversions not just loud noises but noises that irritated him, ALWAYS needing to where a parka even when it was 90 degrees outside, scratching his body when he is thinking). The hardest one is that he will shrink away from me if I try to hug him unless I ask if it is ok first. Hearing the words that my son wasn't perfect was hard and brought many tears but now I think it's easier to KNOW so I can deal with it rather than thinking constantly, why is my kid acting like this! Math, spelling, reading are never going to be his best subjects but he has so many other things that he is great at like science, dancing (he takes ballet, tap and jazz and has just landed a small role in a professional production of the Nutcracker) and he is such a kind and loving soul. I wouldn't change him for the world.

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Melody - posted on 11/09/2009

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Hi Cheri

My name is Melody. I empathasize with your emotions. I have a 6 yr old daughter that was diagnosed in Feb of this year with PDD NOS. The signs and symptoms you are describing are exactly the ones she had. I freaked out too. I still have small, manageable panic attacks. I say that with humor. I too have 4 children. Ava was my third. This was all very overwhelming to us in the beginning, too. We have a great support system and that seems to be the key. We took our child to Child Study Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Stacey - posted on 11/04/2009

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Cheri,
Take him. If you wait when he needed help, it does him a disservice. If you go and he doesn't, need help, you can relax.

Faries - posted on 11/03/2009

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The earlier a child is diagnosed, the better it will be to get help for them. Do not freak out, he is still quite young and can be taught all he needs to know. XXX

Gina - posted on 10/22/2009

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Be encouraged - there are treatments and support, and more and more information that comes out to help us! My 11 yr old son was diagnosed with aspergers a few months ago. when we started this journey two years ago, we took him to see someone for severe anxiety. first diagnosis was schizo-affective disorder, went to new doctor and aspergers seems to be much more aligned to his symptoms. Although he is high-functioning, I've seen symptoms since he was a baby, thinking some things were odd, but nothing of big concern at the time. Now so much makes sense as I look back! As a baby he didn't like to be held much, nor did I feel we could really bond. Later, he had a HUGE sensitivity to loud noises. He also can't sleep without his fan on him, but needs the covers up to his head at the same time (he needs to feel cool and warm at the same time). He has always gotten extremely frustrated when he can't communicate in words what he wants to say, but there often seems to be no connection between what he says and what he means. There is lots more, but I am just glad to have found this support. It is a tough road, but I wouldn't trade him for anything, because he is funny and clever and adorable. He is on meds that help him some, and it has enabled him to smile from the heart! and be more affectionate and let me love on him! He still has lots of trouble in school with focusing and joking with friends, but he's worth the work.

[deleted account]

Cheri, you've gotten so many good replies with plenty of good advice. Mine is for you to trust yourself. I'm sure that you want to do what you believe is best for your little one -- whether that is a "wait and see" attitude or a follow-up with a specialist. You are the mother, you've mothered three other babies. You have knowledge that others don't have. If you think your babe needs follow-up, don't accept the answers until you believe in your heart and mind (and with your experience) that it is final. You are your children's most powerful advocate. God bless you and your family.

Katy - posted on 10/22/2009

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Cheri,

Generally speaking those are pretty good indicators of autism, but don't jump to assuming things. Take the doctors advice and get him checked out thoroughly as soon as you can. If it is autism then it will be rough road but you can get through it. There is a HUGE spectrum when it comes to autism, but even at the most low functioning levels there is hope. It is not a death sentence, by any means. You can still provide your child with the best quality of life possible it will just take a little more work. Do some research around your area and check out day programs and assitance available to help with children that have autism because you will need help even if it's just for short times during the day. Reguardless of the out come, he is your baby and you will love him and he will love you and you will both get through it as long as you remember to take things slow and take lots of deep breathes. I worked very closly with a young man who had very severe autism and there were a lot of bad days and physical outbursts, but all that aside he was a very sweet loving man who loved to be held and loved to cuddle and loved music and just wanted to be loved. You will make it through this!

Heather - posted on 10/22/2009

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Please don't be freaked out! Everything will be okay. 4th children often don't talk right away, especially with so many older siblings, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there's always someone to speak for him, and secondly you are such an experienced mom at this point that you probably know what he wants before he does. Also, brilliant children often absorb, but don't speak early. My husband is actually a perfect example. According to my mother-in-law, he didnt talk until he was 2 1/2...and she was freaking 'cause he's the oldest, and she's a teacher. But when he did eventually talk, it was basically full sentences almost right away.

There are other reasons he could be on his tip-toes a lot .... like he's the shortest in a family of 6 and he wants to see what everyone else sees.

Good luck! And remember, Autism isn't the worst thing that could happen to you/him. You'll be fine!

Ann - posted on 10/22/2009

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Please have him checked for other issues such as Sensory Integration Disorder. My son started in speech therapy and they they recognized the signs of sensory problems. Early therapy has been the key to integrating him into school as a strong student. One book I have appreciated on this topic is "The out of sync child".

Taneesha - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Cheri:

What were the first signs and at what age did you find out your child has autism?

I was just at my son's 15 month checkup and the Dr. referred us to a neurologist because she feels that my son might have autism. The reasons why she says is because he doesn't say any words yet, he walks on his tippy toes and in circle a lot, and he doesn't seem to respond when his name is called. He is also my 4th child in a busy household with a very active 3 year old sister. Could I be missing something, or could he be just developing slowly? He had colic for about his first 6 months of his life and I think that I just haven't spent enough time with him one on one. He does have a step sister with aspirger's syndrome, but does that make it more likely that he could have autism? Please help with any thoughts, I am so freaked out right now, I am an emotional wreck! Thanks :)



Good morning,



First,  I believe that you are doing the right thing by getting him checked. Do what the doctor says, and always remember that you can get a second opinion. Have FAITH AND STAY POSITIVE, and know that PRAYER works. It does not hurt to have you son checked. It is never to late.

CJ - posted on 10/21/2009

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first signs for my child were: at 6-8 weeks old he stopped making eye contact while nursing, but that came back around 3-4 months (my boy "out-grew" many of these signs along the way) next, when he was crawling (8-9 months) he'd get mad and crawl to a wall and bang his head - hard enough to bruise his forehead! He stopped that when he tried it in the bathtub once - he still dislikes water in his face. Also around that age he'd line up all the loose objects in the room across the floor - shoes, toys, keys, purse - anything he could move he'd put in a line across the floor. very odd but not really a problem. Then the aggression started, but eased a bit when he started talking, although he had (and still has) an odd use of language. examples: first word: vacuum; called VW bugs "motors", if he has a sticker in his shoe he says something is "spiking him". He's 6 1/2 now and seems to be mostly in the ODD (opposional defiant disorder) section of the spectrum - spent kindergarten in a day treatment program and is in a special ed 1st grade now.

Michelle - posted on 10/21/2009

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My 11 y/o son was diagnosed about a 4 yrs ago with Asperger's. He is concidered high functioning and is able to goto main stream school and is very intelligent. When he was younger he would say a word and couple of times then didn't say it again for months. I agree to have your son assessed so if something is diagnosed you will be able to start understanding the way your beautiful little man works and how he likes things done. My son isn't on medications as I really wanted to be able to help him without meds which I have successfully done so far with patience and routine, he is on a low sugar diet and we have a great routine for the day/night which is key to a happy person on the autistic spectrum. I'm here if you need more info. Good luck.

Janis - posted on 10/21/2009

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Those are some of the early signs of autism. Does he point? Does he bring things to you to show you? Does he has repetitive play (lining up toys, stacking, flicking wheels)? I wouldn't freak out yet though. Make sure you take him to a neuro-psychologist or neurologist who deals with children who have autism often. Autism is a spectrum disorder, and there are high functioning children with autism, like my two sons, who are a lot like a child with Aspergers (only difference is a delay or irregular development in language. I am a special ed. teacher, and a mother of two boys on the high end of the autism spectrum. They are very entertaining, and loving children. It is not the end of the world if your son has autism, as it is just a label. He is still the boy you know and love. However, getting the label is important as a means to get early intervention services. Early intervention is proven to be effective (speech, occupational therapy and some need physical therapy). Find out now, the earlier the intervention, the better. You can get support for him and yourself. Feel free to email me if you have more questions. My boys are 8 and 10 years old now. Janis

Kaysee - posted on 10/21/2009

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If there are concerns I would definitely have him tested. My son was 18 months when they had a developmental specialist from Germany visit us at the base we were at in Italy. He was placed on the spectrum with PDD. I feel that by getting this early we were a step ahead of a lot of parents. We started getting services for him and working on his different behaviors. We made good progress with him in areas like affection and areas that dealt with touch sensitivity. Unfortunately he is now officially diagnosed with autism and has been for two years. It is definitely an emotional upheaval to have this thrown into your path. The autistic spectrum is wide and varies in how well they function at an age appropriate level. Each child on the spectrum is different, but they often show definite signs in one way or another, but some you would never know unless you were told or knew what to look for. Since there is no sure reason for autism the fact that there is someone in the family on the spectrum doesn't mean his is more likely. It is often the case, but twins have been known to have one on the spectrum and one not. Since you have a large family you can get a better idea by his interactions with the household. Does he often isolate himself when the house is more crazy or does he join in with the other kids? Does he make eye contact with you on his own or do you need to initiate the eye contact? Does he have moments that he seems to be in his own world or unreachable? At a young age my son would "retreat into himself" and refuse to interact even if you were sitting right beside him. He would look at me and acknowledge my presence, but ignore me. Things like noises and lights can set of a sensory overload in autistic children so you might see negative behaviors when those type of things take place. A good source of information would be the autism speaks website. They have a section on diagnosis that might help. The site might also help you with dealing with the idea of autism being a possibility. I wish you luck and hope it all turns out well for you. If in fact he is diagnosed on the spectrum just remember you aren't alone. There will be the days you feel that way, but there are a lot of parents out there to help you through the medical trials as well as the emotional.

Sonya - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Cheri:

What were the first signs and at what age did you find out your child has autism?

I was just at my son's 15 month checkup and the Dr. referred us to a neurologist because she feels that my son might have autism. The reasons why she says is because he doesn't say any words yet, he walks on his tippy toes and in circle a lot, and he doesn't seem to respond when his name is called. He is also my 4th child in a busy household with a very active 3 year old sister. Could I be missing something, or could he be just developing slowly? He had colic for about his first 6 months of his life and I think that I just haven't spent enough time with him one on one. He does have a step sister with aspirger's syndrome, but does that make it more likely that he could have autism? Please help with any thoughts, I am so freaked out right now, I am an emotional wreck! Thanks :)



my son was 5 when they tohugh he was a bit slow as they put it  but i fought for him to go to school with all his friends from nursery and he got on fine , we did not get a diagnosis of aspergers untill he was 10

Robyn - posted on 10/21/2009

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I am an early childhood teacher who has worked with children with special needs. The systems you have described are common to children on the autistic spectrum but can also be exhibited in "normal" children. So I agree you should see a specialist so you can find out one way or the other. There is a great range on the autistic spectrum.

Many parents who receive an autistic diagnosis think back and then realise they have had seen symptoms earlier. Autism also presented in so many ways it can be very difficult to diagnose without substantive testing. However the early diagnosis is made the more that can be done to address any development concerns and learn how to manage any behaviours that you consider difficult to understand.

[deleted account]

It's always good to be safe and find out. Go to the neurologist and see what he says. Good luck!

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