No pointing! Worried mum seeking advice

(64 Posts)
Welovecouscous Fri 07-Dec-12 21:50:29

My DS - almost 17 months does not point yet.

He does have quite a few words:

Cheese
Leaf
Horse
Dad
Car
Mouth
Nose
Eye
Ear
Hair
Can make noises for at least 13 different animals if he sees them in the picture book. Eg if there is a picture of a bee and I say to him what sound does it make he says buzz, or if he sees a dog he says wood woof.

So I think talking is ok BUT no pointing!

He is very affectionate and friendly with family and friends, but still quite shy in big groups. He was a high need baby and still cries more than most others the same age in groups.

Should I be concerned?

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 08:31:50

I am trying not to panic as the Mchat says most children who register on it do not go on to develop autism sad

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 08:33:37

He goes and gets a book and brings it to me and then sits on my knee asking me to read it with him, saying 'book'. He is very communicative

JellyMould Sat 08-Dec-12 08:39:28

To me his communication skills sound great for 17 months. Please don't worry too much. Have you spoken to your health visitor?

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 08:42:33

Thanks Jelly - he is a lovely little boy!

No, haven't spoken to a HV as until I realised about the pointing yesterday I thought he was meeting all milestones and just sensitive.

Goldmandra Sat 08-Dec-12 08:49:21

I think the pointing is significant because it shows that they are aware that you need to be shown what they are looking at, you won't know where to look automatically. It's an early indicator of theory of mind, i.e. understanding that others don't know everything you know. Is he pointing at his mouth to show you where it is or because you have responded positively when he touches his mouth?

My girls are both very sensitive and noise averse and probably wouldn't have been picked up by M-CHAT but they also didn't need intervention until they were much older because of their high functioning presentation and the fact that their biggest challenges are based on sensory processing and anxiety.

You need to go with your gut feeling on this one because he clearly isn't presenting with major symptoms. You are likely to be sent away if you ask for an assessment now so if you want one you're going to have to push very hard.

If he is one the HF end of the spectrum his sensitivities will become more apparent as he gets older and start to have a larger impact on his everyday life. If and when that happens you can ask for assessment of reassessment then and you'll probably be taken more seriously.

He may just be a bit over sensitive to noise and will manage this better as he gets older.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 08:59:07

Gold, I don't know about pointing to his mouth. I definitely do respond positively, so it could just be that. If he sees something of interest in a book we are reading he will touch it and say eg "woof woof" if it's a dog. Don't know if that counts.

His differences from other children are that he:

Was a high need baby
Doesn't like new situations and will cry for a few minutes before settling and running around happily like a mad thing
He is more sensitive to noise, but has grown out of this to some extent eg used to hate the hair drier and Hoover and now is fine with both.

DH and I are both very sociable, good educational qualifications, but sensitive and prone to being anxious, so he could just be like us.

He is very smiley and friendly - Jumped on neighbours lap when she came round the other day, kissed her, put his arms round her and said "hug hug hug".

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 09:10:25

Feeling really sad sad I know it will be ok whatever happens - I will love him just the same and he will still be the amazing little person he is. It may even be nothing and he will start to point very soon or just skip pointing but still be fine.

But I just so want everything to be ok - we have had such a hard year - Dh's mum has had breast cancer, I've had surgery, DH has lost his job and I thought ds was developing really well sad

Goldmandra Sat 08-Dec-12 09:48:53

But I just so want everything to be ok - we have had such a hard year - Dh's mum has had breast cancer, I've had surgery, DH has lost his job and I thought ds was developing really well

He sounds like he is! He's obviously quite sensitive but there's no way my girls would have tolerated hand driers and vacuum cleaners at that age, especially if that had previously been scared of them.

If he is just like you and your DH he will be fine. Even further down the spectrum there are positives as well as negatives but I don't think there is good reason to worry about that just now.

Do you think you need to seek assessment for reassurance for yourself? It's a perfectly valid reason to ask for it. If a professional tells you there's nothing to worry about will you feel more relaxed about it? If so, perhaps you should go for it. If you don't I think you might find yourself watching him and worrying about every little thing he does when you should just be enjoying him.

Try not to focus too much on the pointing. Look at the bigger picture. He sounds like he's doing really well to me. He may not like change but he can adapt to it. He doesn't like certain noises but can learn to manage his feelings about them. That's pretty good for a 17 month old child and his social interaction sounds appropriate for his age (depending on how well he knows the neighbour).

Are you sure he's not pretending? Would he copy the actions of an adult like pretending to be on the phone, petting a toy animal or spoon feeding a doll?

Why don't you take a few weeks to sit back, watch him and see what you can spot for yourself? If after that time you are still concerned go to your GP and ask for a referral. That will take a while and you can always cancel if your concerns go away.

Floggingmolly Sat 08-Dec-12 09:54:32

He sounds like he's doing fine to me. None of mine were talking by 17 months?

SolomanDaisy Sat 08-Dec-12 10:20:57

I actually think he sounds like he is pointing, by showing you the dog in the book. It's all about shared attention. My DS is just a few weeks older than yours. I think the hairdryer/hoover thing is totally normal, DS used to have that too and also grew out of it. Does your DS do stuff like pretend to talk on the phone? That's the sort of imaginative play they all seem to be doing at this age. nothing more complex.

Remember the MCHAT is for 18 month olds, so a younger child may register on it at 16/17 months, but not by 18 months. A few weeks ago my DS would have registered as he wasn't interested in other children, he's now obsessed with pointing out 'baby' and trying to do stuff with them!

seaweed74 Sat 08-Dec-12 12:34:32

Not all children point. By all means practice this with your ds but he may not be ready to do it yet. As another poster said its shared/joint attention that is crucial. When your ds wants something out of reach does he turn towards you at any point while making his noises to check you're looking? Does he lead you or try to lead you to things he wants? Bringing toys to you is very good.

The mchat is for 18 months and when dc are very young a month makes alot of difference to their skills and abilities. The mchat is a very reliable indicator of whether dc have autism or not, but it is not 100% accurate.

I did the mchat for my dd when she was 20 months and it indicated autism, however she was 3.1 years when we got a diagnosis.

If you can I would wait till ds is 18 months then see where you're at with pointing, etc. By all means approach your hv or gp but other than taking a note of your concerns I don't think they would do anything else at this stage. It's hard not to worry, especially when things have been so stressful recently.

MrsMushroom Sat 08-Dec-12 12:46:02

My DD did not point or wave for a long time....I never knew this was a sign of anything back then. She's 8 now and just fine. However...as a Mother, you have instincts for a reason so ask your GP about your worries....you could be stressing because you have had a bad year.....in which case you will feel better if you take control.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 14:03:27

Thank you very much everyone. I don't have any feeling that anything is wrong - to me he is just perfect, but then he is it pfb.

Nanny's comment really upset me sad and was out of he blue for me.

boobybum Sat 08-Dec-12 15:43:55

There is a link to some research about pointing on the special needs section which has just been posted. I think it is pointing to show you something of interest rather than pointing at something they want (eg.a biscuit) that is more important. How is he with responding to his name? If you have any concerns/doubts then I think it is better to act now rather than adopting a wait and see approach because if (and it's a big if because the chances are there is nothing wrong) there is anything awry then early intervention is key.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 16:14:41

Booby he is great at responding to his name. If I ask him to come over and give me a kiss he will.

He is very independent - likes looking at board books by himself - but will also run over with a book of choice - eg run over with a book about a cat saying "miaou miaou" - then sit on my lap and want to read.

Off to look in the sn section for the stuff on pointing, but can you link if you have a chance??

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 16:26:59

Booby thanks so much for letting me know about the article - I've just found and read it and it seems to say 'showing' parents things a lot means a toddler is less likely to have ASD. DS is always bringing books over, thrusting them in front of me and sharing something about them eg that there is a cat or that the book is about hugging - saying hug hug hug.

You could argue that is him just wanting to be read to - saying 'I want you to read the book about the cat ', but it doesn't feel like just a demand to be read to.

harrogatespring Sat 08-Dec-12 19:33:15

I worried about the same thing - and two weeks after he turned 17 months he very clearly pointed (had shrugged his hand in directions for things) and that was it...

And 17 months is too young for imaginative play
And lots of babies need time to settle in new places and are sensitive to noise

Problem is once you worry about one thing, it makes you scrutinise everything else - whereas he sounds like he's doing v well developmentally

They do it went they're ready - such a cliche but because its true - and you can be encouraging as you want but it doesn't change that. Plus if the encouragement is driven by anxiety it becomes a pressure for them, I think.

Try to thought stop, if you can. It's really exhausting, if nothing else

MrsMushroom Sat 08-Dec-12 23:25:15

He is very young.....he's not even two. I think you should chill out and enjoy him. If by the time he's two, he's not bringing toys to show you and you're still concerned, then speak to the HV or GP. What exactly did the Nanny say?

lisad123 Sat 08-Dec-12 23:31:43

It's not about the pointing but more to do with shared interested, so he would point to show you something, which he is doing by physically bringing you things.
Both my girls have Asd and before they were two it was clear. They hated being carried in slings, that was way too close.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 23:34:19

What happened with the nanny was that she didn't really approve of my parenting style I don't think - very attachment parenting. She gave notice after a few weeks, saying he hadn't bonded at all. She made comments about his social skills. He was 14 months. I think she was trying to imply he had ASD in an earlier conversation.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 23:35:07

He loved being in a sling Lisa and being carried and being on my knee are faves.

lisad123 Sat 08-Dec-12 23:43:04

If your worried, keep a diary for a few weeks, keeping track of his social skills ect.
It will either confirm that you think his fine, or give you something to discuss with Hv.

Welovecouscous Sat 08-Dec-12 23:43:13

He has bonded with his current carer absolutely fine btw - goes up to her and hugs her, smiles when he sees her, cries when she leaves.

SolomanDaisy Sun 09-Dec-12 08:09:32

I think there is a problem with your former nanny, not your son! Would you have had any concerns at all if she hadn't said anything?

Welovecouscous Sun 09-Dec-12 09:22:05

No Daisy - I thought he was doing really well and was just sensitive - definitely wants to be carried more than other children his age etc etc

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