Not responding to name at nine months

(32 Posts)
Parkbench123 Thu 08-May-14 08:02:55

Hi, my 9month son has never responded to his name even when I say it repeatedly, but has excellent hearing - wakes up or stops feeding at the slightest sound. He also won't look where I'm looking or pointing. His eye contact is very good when he wants to and shocking when he's more interested in something else. He's very smily. He has imitated me clapping or waving in past, but hasn't these past weeks. As a first time mum, I'm worried about autism. Anyone else had a nine month old like this, but ended up ok? My internet search just screams "your child has autism" to me!

Clarabum Thu 08-May-14 08:48:45

I have a son who has autism, he didn't respond to his name at all, until he was about three.
I also have a daughter who doesn't have autism she didn't respond to her name until she was about 10 months. I panicked that it was happening again but she is totally fine. I guess what i'm trying to say is that it's not just about the answering name. It's more a general feeling that there's something 'different'.

My son, looking back, was showing signs from very early on.

He did have eye contact but the quality was different.
He'd look at you however it was as if he was looking through you. There wasn't that real connection.

He had little interest in things or people. If you crossed the room he wouldn't follow you with his gaze.
He didn't wave. He didn't play peekaboo. He screamed constantly at anything. He made this 'noise' pretty much constantly.
He didn't seem to have a clue what you were saying.(I know most babies don't but he didn't even respond to intonation of voice)
He had trouble feeding/weaning and gagged at various textures.

All children are different and my sons symptoms were explained away by the health visitor as any symptoms on their own can be. So the not answering his name in itself may well just be nothing but keep an eye for any other issues. I think it's more a general feeling that there's something wrong.

It's still really early to tell with any real certainty that your son may or may not have autism but please try not to worry.

I spent my sons early years worrying constantly about his development and as a consequence missed most of his baby years. Now I look back and wish i had just enjoyed him as a baby as me worrying didn't change the outcome.

Sending you hugs.

xxx

HolidayCriminal Thu 08-May-14 08:57:37

I don't have a current 9mo to compare, but I'm pretty sure mine didn't understand own name until older. 13-14 months? DC are reasonably NT.

Parkbench123 Thu 08-May-14 14:04:23

Thanks Clara. That sounds pretty tough with you ds. I'm sorry you had so much worry. Thank you for your description, and the reassurance that your dd was fine despite not responding to name. My ds does engage, and seems to really enjoy social interaction, but once you've got something into your head, it's very hard to get away from it.

Holiday, thanks for the reassurance. The literature all says should start responding to name by 7 months, and definitely by a year. But I'm sure plenty of parents aren't even aware of this milestone so it passes them by. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

ditsydoll Thu 08-May-14 17:17:41

Going through the exact same thing with my just turned 11 month old. He's normal in every other way but not responding to his name and Dr Google is screaming autism at me.
Iv posted here twice in 2 days about it. Waiting for an appointment with my gp to express my concerns.
Apparently they've not 'missed' the milestone until 12 months but dd was definately responding to her name by about 6 months or just after.

Parkbench123 Thu 08-May-14 20:10:47

Hi ditsy, I had noticed your posts too. Is your ds following your gaze? It doesn't seem to be that common. I was kind of hoping for a flood of people,saying, don't worry, mine didn't know his name till he was a year, and was fine. I've decided to,stop,testing for at least another month. He is probably sick of the sound of me saying his name now! That, and glancing at a spot on the wall to see if he follows my gaze. To be fair if I was expected to respond when nothing is happening is probably ignore me too. smile

ditsydoll Thu 08-May-14 20:39:35

I don't think he follows my gaze as such but will look where I'm pointing, for example if I say look at the plane and point up he looks straughtvaway. I think Ds would b far too busy trying to get into something mischevious to even notice what I was looking at.

Dangermouse1 Thu 08-May-14 20:48:44

Don't think I would worry too much at this stage if he is responsive in other ways, I don't think my ds was particularly responding to his name at this stage and certainly wasn't following my gaze or that interested in pointing. He caught up pretty quickly in the next few months. Possibly he is just distracted by everything else around him. Also my ds was quite an early walker and seemed to be putting most of his energy into that, whereas his cousin of similar age was not walking but communication (pointing, clapping etc) was much quicker. They have both caught up with each other now.Have you spoken to your hv?

ditsydoll Thu 08-May-14 20:55:39

We're in the middle of a move at the minute so just joined gp and not met our new hv yet.
Ds is hugely into getting around at the minute. He's started free standing this week and trying to take his first steps. I'm manic trying to keep up with him, he's pulling up on everything, climbing the stairs, getting on and off the couch. Maybe he's just quicker physicallybthan mentally?
Dd had 2 word sentances at 1 and is now just your average (but bright) 5 yo.

Parkbench123 Fri 09-May-14 12:49:00

Danger mouse, that is v reassuring. It just feels v wrong that he doesn't respond to his name. He will be sitting in the buggy staring intently at everything we pass, and completely ignore me saying his name for ages, or playing with his feet, and will ignore me. He did play peekaboo earlier today by hiding himself behind the blanket, after I showed him how to, and does look to me to get picked up. It's just so disconcerting as he looks totally normal apart from the name thing. Ditsy, that great that your ds looks where you point - that is a big non autistic trait. My ds is absolutely not doing that at all.

Parkbench123 Fri 09-May-14 12:51:18

Forgot to say, have mentioned to hv, but they say fine, loads of kids don't respond to name - just look at a nursery. But, my ds will literally never respond, except when he hears a sound coming from somewhere new. He'll look then but I could be saying anything, not specific to his name.

ditsydoll Fri 09-May-14 13:30:21

Parkbench he does sound just like my Ds, I probably noticed about a month ago that he wasn't responding, 9.5-10 months maybe. It's just become more noticeable since he's crawling off and not responding when I'm shouting to try and get his attention. I thought it would just develop but no sign as yet.
I do have to admit though he gas had about 6 nicknames since he was born!

Parkbench123 Fri 09-May-14 15:09:50

Mines not crawling yet, but I do worry what it will be like when I can't call him to stop him crawling in the wrong direction. That said, he does seem to understand no. I wonder how other parents get round that one? Any suggestions?

Christelle2207 Fri 09-May-14 15:22:59

You've worried me now, my ds has just turned 9m and doesn't respond to his name either!

MrsDeVere Fri 09-May-14 15:29:44

It may be that he has not developed enough to switch his attention from one thing to another.
This can be quite tricky for some children.

Playing peek a boo is a great way of helping him develop joint attention (that is when he is sharing his attention with you), action songs are good too. Using signs (twinkle twinkle) is a good way of getting attention from children who are a little reluctant.

You can try copying him. If he has a toy and is banging it, you do it too.

Try and get him to choose at snack time. Hold up his food and something unrelated and motivating like a brush and say ' [name] do you want your snack or the brush? Snack or brush?'

When he looks at his snack say 'you want your snack!' 'Good choosing [name]!'

If you do this repeatedly ( you may feel silly at first) he will begin to see the point in interaction and responding.

It is possible he is autistic. It is always possible a child of 9 mths is autistic. My autistic son responded to his name, pointed and loved cuddles and eye contact at that age.

I really wouldn't worry at this stage though.

MrsDeVere Fri 09-May-14 15:31:05

unrelated and unmotivating!

Parietal Fri 09-May-14 21:57:06

9m is very young. 12months is normal for responding to own name, and if the child isn't by 15 months, then start thinking about autism. But really, at 9 months, don't worry.

Notonthisplanet Fri 09-May-14 22:59:52

At my dd 8 month check up my gp told me they usually only really know their name and respond at about 18 months

Parkbench123 Fri 09-May-14 23:22:38

Thank you so much for the reassurance. I think the more I worry about it, the more signs I notice, and the less I focus on how smily he is and what a wonderful baby he is. Probably best to put it out of my mind for a few months, and give him a chance to develop at his own pace. Ill book an appt with the health visitor, who I'm sure will say "he may or may not, he's far roo young to say", but at least I'll then feel I've done what I can.

Parietal and not on this planet, are you dcs responding to their names at nine months?

Parkbench123 Fri 09-May-14 23:24:54

Oh, and mrsdevere, thankyou for the tips. I'll do them and see if I can teach him. He still loves peekaboo, and actually if only I'd called him peekaboo, he'd respond much more often! Thankyou!

Clarabum Fri 09-May-14 23:35:24

Mrs Devere, I thought that was an excellent reply. I totally didn't do that with my first son but had to learn to do it with ds2(asd) and I don't think it really is a natural thing to think of.
Please try not to worry OP. See your hv and see how it all develops.
xxx

Mybellyisaneasteregg Fri 09-May-14 23:42:33

I am not a professional and have no idea about autism but isn't under 12 months a little too young to be looking for indicators etc?

Fwiw my ds was quite delayed with communication in general. I could never really read any of his 'cues' and found all the newborn/young babies cue-reading information bewildering as none seemed to fit him.

He did have decent eye contact however.

He didn't respond to his name until after 12 months, unsure when he did actually as he always seemed to do what he liked and was an early crawler/walker who seemed to want to do what he wanted so I think he just ignored us. He just wasn't interested in the communication side of things.

Only started waving and pointing at around 18 months and we had to spend quite a lot of time actually teaching this. We were becoming concerned about autism at this stage.

No words at all (not even mama etc) until a few weeks after 2nd birthday.

Now he's nearly 3 and he is very communicative. Language is still not 100% clear, but he does not display any autism indicators at all socially/communicatively etc at this stage. His social play is actually more advanced than other toddler his age as he does play and interact with others, whilst many his age are still doing solitary/parallel play.

I think development varies so much at this stage. Having him in nursery is useful as it is good to get his key workers/other carers opinions about his development and they can give a good perspective about how he is doing.

Notonthisplanet Sat 10-May-14 00:28:43

You know my daughter is actually nearly three now, I just remember wondering the same thing at the time and the gp's response. I have to say funnily enough I literally can't remember when she did start responding, although I know it was well over a year, which was about the time the terrible twos started and she ignored me on purpose grin.

I now also have a nearly six month old and I have no expectation at all that she will be responding in a few months. I would only worry if they got heading to the age of two without responding.

It's terrible there seems to be a lot of pressure for your child to always be AHEAD of targets and if not there might be something wrong where in fact they are probably just plain normal.

Parkbench123 Sat 10-May-14 07:52:34

You all make very sensible points. It does just feel like he has t worked out how to shift his attention.

Eg this morning he woke up, babbled alone then when I picked him up went straight in for his morning feed (breast fed, no eye contact, nothing to suggest he knew I was there) and when I tried to distract him from feeding, he conitnued to share blankly ahead, or would come off, cry, not making eye contact or responding to his name or anything else, and go back on again. But then when he came off for about the third time, he'd decided he wanted to play, then looked at us.

He's now on the floor, looking through a book, babbling, and will not for love nor money look over to me. But then, when his attention shifted to an old rice cake on the floor, and I called him he looked up when I called him. If it didn't have autism as a possible end point, it would be fascinating to watch smile

It's good to hear that other babies ignore their parents. It doesn't feel on purpose yet - definitely that he's just not aware of how to respond.

MrsDeVere Sat 10-May-14 09:06:45

Thank you Clara. I do this kind of thing for a living and have learnt SO much. It didn't all come naturally to me either.

Park I would never dismiss a parent's concerns about their child's development but often have to tell parents the only thing we can do is watch and wait.
I know this is frustrating and some parents feel fobbed off (I did when my DS was little).
But children don't all develop and the same rate and development isn't always uniform across all areas, even within each area e.g. social and communication skills.

You DS really is very young and has plenty of time to develop his attention and communication. There is no need to push him but you can support him by doing every day things like reading to him, asking him to make simple choices and using pauses to get him to respond.

That means giving him a few seconds to respond each time you ask him if he wants something. We do it without thinking...do you want a drink, here is your drink.

If you say 'do you want your drink? pause, watch for response (eye contact, smiling, hand waving, wriggling) 'Oh you DO want your drink!'

This encourages communication.

Also it is worth pointing out that autistic symptoms are a bit misleading in my opinion.
A child needs to tick lots of boxes on a list to be diagnosed with autism. People often get worried about babies not pointing even when they are doing loads of other things.
Its not that autistic children are not able to point, they don't share a physical issue that prevents them. Some just don't feel the need to do it.

Autism is a huge spectrum and a lot of that are perceived as autistic traits are not across the board.
My son is very verbal and loving and sociable. Three things that wouldn't be included on a lot of tick lists.

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