We had our 6 month appt with our pediatrician yesterday and I mentioned some things about my son that concern me. Listed below. I told him I was a little concerned about autism and expected that he would put my mind at ease but instead he said we should follow him closely. Are the symptoms below really red flags at this point or could it just be that I have a laid back baby? Are there other early signs I should be looking for?
- He just started rolling yesterday and his motor skills are "unorganized" as termed by his doctor.
- He is a very laid back baby and hardly ever cries.
- Has a history of torticollis.
- He doesn't respond when his name is called.
- He does a good job with eye contact when he is sitting up or is laying on the floor. When I hold him on my lap facing me or hold him close to me he looks away.
- When I pick him up from daycare he does not turn towards my voice. Although when we're at home and I or my husband walks in the room he does turn towards us.
- He has no stranger anxiety and doesn't yet have a strong attachment to me.
- On a postive note he does smile a lot and will smile back when you smile at him. He does make raz sounds but isn't saying things like da da da. He also will play with toys.
I am no expert, but I do have a son who is 15 now and I started to notice signs of autism in his behavior at apx. 4mos. DON'T BE SCARED-
My pediatrician quickly dismissed everything that I mentioned and said that it was way to early to dx at that age,and also not to worry - In all the books we read as new parents we're told that all babies are supposed to follow particular developemental milestones. BUT, just like all people, all babies are different too.
As far as the things you mentioned above, "red flags" autism wise- I have a question, you mentioned that when you call his name at daycare that he doesn't look at you, but when you or your husband walk into the room he'll turn towards you. Do you call his name at home or does he just sense that someone is there?
I'm curious, if there isn't a hearing component present.
The regular eye contact is a good thing, I can't think of why he'd look away when he's close up to you, but with the other good eye contact I would be a lot less concerned than if there was a complete lack of it.
The motor skills do seem "unorganized" as the doc put it, but is rolling over the only thing he has done motor wise?
-Does he sit up, or try to?
-eat any solids?
-use his leggs when you are holding him on your lap like he's trying to stand up?(even though you have his body weight supported,it's something many babies start to do).
-try to crawl?
My son started to show very specific autistic charactaristics(sp??) by 4 months.(He wasn't diagnosed until age 3.)
-lack of eye contact,he'd look past things, not at them.
-he had to have the same toys, and played w/ them in the same manner every time,like he was counting every bang, beep, etc..
-would get himself to any switch he could to turn lights on / off, over and over...
-turn the TV on / off, over and over
There are many other things that he did that made me concerned, but aren't necessarily "autistic behaviors" as you might find in a book,or an article in a magazine. Christopher, followed his own developemental milestone list in his own order.. There are some "experts" who think that reaching the milestones in the "wrong order" results in new neuropathways in the developing brain not being created, and therefore speech is delayed as a result of walking before crawling (for example only, not by any means an exact quote).
-Christopher stunned his pediatrician by rolling over in the bassinett at the hospital, before we were even discharged.
-he was walking at 8 and 1/2 months
-sitting up, unassisted at 4 months
-pulled himself up and stood in his crib at 6 months
-and pretty much didn't bother with crawling at all
-he started saying mommy,etc... but didn't move on to putting 2 words together, and never asked or answered any questions.
These are his experiences, and in no way am I implying that his milestone accomplishments are indicative of him being autistic, just our experiences.
I am glad that you found this board, I have found it very usefull, and hope you do also.
One more thing, have you suggested having his hearing checked to his pediatrician?
there seem to be red flags for sure but here the thing doctors are WAY hesitant to do anything about it until the baby is closer to 18 months. but you are doing the right thing by voicing your oppinions. our son was really good with all of his developmental stuff in the physical arena and the social just never came. we "knew" at 6 months he was autistic but didnt get him diagnosed until he was 3 and a half. the doctor kept putting it off because Isaac was "cuddley"
Autism is a spectrum so symptoms are soooo varied that the doctors dont do so hot at catching all of the signs. If you are concerned (and you are) keep educating yourself about autism. get a journal or notebook and keep documentation on your concerns and your son developement or lack there of. if you dont get anywhere with your doctor look into what you have for your area for early childhood development agencies. in my state we have one that serves 0-5 year old free of charge and you can self refer (wish i had not waited for the doc!) and they will evaluate your child to see if there needs to be a referral for further testing. also you can ask your child care providers about any concerns they may have about your son's development.
hearing is good to check, but it might be fine. my son responds to his name when it suits him i can say Isaac a million times if he isnt in the mood to pay attention he wont until i cue him "Isaac look at me" then he will motor development can go either way. my son had super good early development but other spectrum kids may have significant delays. my niece, who is sort of neurotypical has propreoceptive disorders, she cant judge space around her. this made for her to be a very unhappy baby! she was hard to sooth and poor thing, rocking is one of the natural things to try for a sobbing baby. imagine what it was like for her, she didnt know how close anything was in perspective to her body and then add rocking to that... she must have been terrified... she would cry for hours. anyhow, her disorder caused her to have significant physical delays but she had tremendous social development sort of to compensate. neurology is fun, messy, but fun. and lots of the times its as much a mystery to the docs as it to us.
so, basically keep good notes, keep your worries known to the doctor, ask about getting your son's development checked out by early intervention agencies, keep your chin up! Autism has a whole new outlook these days. If your son gets diagnosed with autism, as scary as the word is, he is far better of than many other disorders. because its a "spectrum" your child could very easily move up the scales to graduate right off the spectrum. where as if you have a diagnosis of MR there is only so much you can expect to gain. (and dont anybody grrrrr at me, my son is diagnosed MR too!) MR is more defined in its affects on mentality, where is Autism is still a huge mystery with the chance of getting the child you dreamed of before his birth back.
Neurotypical is never going to be reached by kids with MR (and thats cool too, it make my son much more interesting and no grrrrrr... i worked with adults with MR and it was some of the best years of my working life) but
there is that chance that if you are Autistic you could be able to "blend" or be removed from the spectrum all together.
Thank you for responding Rebecca! When my son is in daycare and I show up he doesn't turn towards me when he hears my voice. I could be standing next to him when he's in the exersaucer talking to the daycare lady or standing there calling his name and typically he won't turn to look for me. Although he will watch me walk across the room at home. He notices when a new person enters the room b/c he hears them. Because of that and b/c he does turn towards sound we think his hearing is okay. It seems to be maybe more of a bonding issue with me. He does however light up anytime he sees my husband. He loves faces and will really check a new person's face out when he meets them.
Motor wise he is rolling one way, he can sit on his own but can't get himself into a sitting position, he eats level 2 baby food, he does stand up when you hold him on your legs. He has not yet started to crawl or eat finger food.
I haven't noticed anything like what you've mentioned about having to play with same toys. I've been watching him very closely to make sure there is no repetition in anything he is doing.
As far as language he does make razz noises a lot and will scream at times just to hear his own voice. We haven't heard a whole lot of babbling and I haven't been able to get him to mock what I'm doing...like sticking out my tongue. He is super laid back and hardly ever cries except when getting shots or if he wants us to move his positioning he'll grunt a little bit. I've been reading a lot of stories of autistic children being thought of as really good babies when they were young b/c they weren't demanding.
Our doctor said that it is early but we should watch him closely. I said, "does that mean we shouldn't worry" and he said that he wasn't saying that. He is known for being an alarmist so I'm thinking about taking my son to another doctor in the practice if for nothing else, to get another read and hopefully to get more information. My son is in physical therapy for the low tone issues caused by his torticollis and several weeks ago I mentioned autism to the therapist and she said no way...that he wasn't doing anything repetitive. But now that I know more I'm starting to think that maybe she doesn't know much about it if she is only basing her judgement off of one symptom.
I'm a nervous new mother in general. I've always felt like something was a little off with my son. My mother in law once commented that he seems like a blind baby but we know he can see. Any further advice you have or anything you see in what I've written as signs or not signs either way would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
You hit the nail on the head,about the physical therapist, there are so many symptoms/behaviors on the autism spectrum that it is just pretty bold to state what she did.... However, you'll hear things like that a lot, so many people think that they know all about autism because they saw "Rainman" or "Mercury Rising" at the movies. Yea... that sums up the entire spectrum for every single autistic person on the face of the earth.What's funny is that even the "experts" will sometimes admit that they realy don't have a clue as to how to give you a deffinition for "autism spectrum disorder". Well at least they are honest about it, but not that usefull.
Your son sounds alot like mine and the other persons son who responded as well, in the respect that a lot of the not responding to his name is by CHOICE !!!! My son would just totally ignore me until I got right up in his face and said his name and even then he would sometimes still ignore me...
I think going to a different pediatrician is a wonderfull idea, as is looking into early intervention programs, he's a little young, but what does it hurt to call? At least you might be able to have an idea of what is available in your area, should services ever even be needed.
Just curious, do the people who work closely with him at daycare have any concerns or problems?
Also, you asked me to let you know if anything you had written sounded like a sign/symptom.... I see one thing that is a real good thing, you said if he's uncomfortable that he'll "grunt", that seems like a step towards communication to me- it may not be a word- but he doesn't just cry, he chooses to grunt instead (for that particular need at least..). I think that's good.
Also, he sounds like he enjoys meeting new people and exploring their faces, many autistic people don't like meeting, let alone touching/or being touched by strangers.
Oh and I can squash that myth about autistic babies not being demanding...... all babies are different,autistic or not, and I can say for sure that Christopher was a whole lot of demanding !!! Everything was his way or the highway.. or NO WAY, for that matter !! He was about 1 before he slept through the night, and that is about when his little sister was born.
Is your son a picky eater?
You know your baby best and as I said before, I think that going to a different pediatrician for their opinion is a great idea. Ask specifically (sp?) for a list of autistic behaviors/signs even if the doc doesn't have concerns. This will help you while keeping a journal on his daily activities (a good idea also). This way you can see that he has certain behaviors that should concern you or maybe that he's just on his own developemental track and is just fine, just going along on his own terms. If autism continues to concern you then you'll have more documentation for the doc's he might see in the future, and if he is autistic, early intervention is so important- the earlier it's started, the better-
Try not to worry, I know it is hard, but whatever the future holds for your son, autistic or not, I can say that your love is never going to change for him. I didn't plan on having an autistic child (who does...) but he is the light of my life. We have learned sign language together and he is also verbal now,he is a very loving and affectionate 15 yr old and it is a pleasure to be his mom. I am very proud of his accomplishments at school, and sure we had some big bumps in the road along the way, but all is well.
Have a great day, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask,and keep in touch !!
I agree with you. All children, or people, with ASDs are different, with differing needs and personalities. Looking back on things that were said about me, I think I was probably different from others from the day I was born, although I never was diagnosed with anything because there were no delays. I was able to do well in school, go to college, and get four college degrees. I did have some peculiarities throughout my life. My mom told me I was able to identify a record from its pattern and I loved books more than playing with toys. I was reading at fifth grade level in first grade, even though I didn't know much English the year before. (I was erroneously, I think, labeled as hyperactive. I was high energy, but had no other symptoms that would justify that diagnosis). As the years went by, I tended to be shy and unathletic, preferring academics.
I also have unusual interests and some social difficulties. I always thought of myself as "weird" growing up. Luckily, I had no academic problems and was considered something of a nerd in that area. English and languages were my strong subjects. I was only fair in math, although I managed to get an A in Accounting in my college Legal Office Systems program.
I think, in my case, the two overwhelming Asperger traits in me are unusual interests and a tendency to be clumsy and awkward.
I am glad you wrote what you did- and one thing that is never stressed enough is that as people,everyone is their own person. AND it is the same for people within the ASD dx. I used to have a roomate who had a son w/ autism and some MR issues, he was a jerk,(the roomate) but had one thing he always said to other people who met our sons together and would make a comment like "wow they're both autistic? They seem so different !!" He would say "Think of snowflakes.... it may all be snow, but you will never find two snowflakes that are identical." I think of that when I hear stereotypical (sp?) junk.
I noticed your location - I went to high school in Lompoc !
Have a good day, Rebecca
My son is not a picky eater at all. He'll eat anything...although he isn't onto finger foods yet. Is being a picky eater a symptom?
We went away with family this weekend and I watched him very closely. He did make great eye contact all weekend, he did reach for people a couple of times, he makes a "mmmmm mm mmm" sound when he wants something, and was very engaging with looking at people and laughing. Although we did go to a fair for an entire day in the cold. He was bundled up in his stroller but never cried. I thought that was kind of odd. I'm starting to think that maybe I'm looking a bit too much into this. It is so hard to tell!
My son is being followed by our county's early intervention program for his torticollis (a neck issue) which causes low tone. I may talk to our case worker about having another evaluation by their group to see if they have any concerns. We're also seeing a Dr of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for the torticollis next week and I'll mention my concerns about autism to see if he has any feedback.
Being a picky eater, isn't necessarily a sign or charactaristic, but something that is a common thing that I have noticed when talking to or being around other parents or their kids during snack/ lunchtime.
Go with your instincts- a lot of doc's/ agencies that screen for certain delays or autism may not want to ( or have the ability to because of age) do an assesment. But it doesn't hurt to ask, and it may be easier on you to have an evaluaton done (if possible) to help you not have to worry over his every emotion/action or lack thereof
My daughter ( who is 10 now) was diagnosed with autism at age 18 months. When she was under 1 yr I always thought it was her hearing, MAybe she was deaf or something like that. Her motor skills were pretty good she rolled at 7 months sat at 8 stood by 12 and walked at 15 months. She never reponded to her name, nor did she point to thing and she didnt speak a word until she was 4. As I think back now she did show signs as a baby not in a motor way but social way, I did bring things of concern to the dr but he always told me she was a late bloomer. Thank god he did refer us to early intervention at 12 months and we started services. I also got a referal to a developmental pediatrician at 15 months and thats how we got the diagnosis so early. I am so glad to have gotted a dx so early, I thinkit has made all the difference with her as her level right now. SHe has minimal verbal skills and cannot stay on task for more than a few minutes. Everything she does requires adult supervision due to safety and she is very prompt dependant. SHe also has a morderate MR (mental retardation) diagnosis. I think if we would have waited until she was a little older (to see a specialist and start therapy ) she would be most definatley be severe, where she is now is moderate. But believe me this kid is not MR she can figure out any lock or how to escape from my home when no one is looking. LOL~! I do think if you suspect something isnt right with your child, keep on the dr's no one knows your child like you do. Good luck~!
ok first of all i think that too many parents are way too crazy about this austism thing and i think that many children are being diagnosed with it when in reality they are not......because ur child talks later, likes turning tvs on and off, doenst listen to you at 6 months old, and is a picky eater.....umm thats called being a child and thats what they do...they all develop at their own time and almost every child is a picky eater.....as far as turning lights on and off....umm all children find this amusing....i think people need to stop EXPECTING their child to act a certain way and just relax and let the child grow...
I don't want to get banned again. So, I'll just say that was a little harsh. There's are those of us who thought the same way until autism bit us in the butt! I told myself he was just being a kid. I didn't look around and get informed. Eventually it was just too obvious. It can happen.