Very worried 15 month old DS had ASD

(48 Posts)
Hedger Tue 04-Mar-14 12:10:06


I am so worried about about 15 month old DS and was hoping for some advice. For the last three months or so I have begun to think he may have ASD. He has always slept well, ate well, crawled and walked at the right times, etc. but the things that worry me are as follows:

- He doesn't have much eye contact. He will look at us from time to time but not as much as other babies his age. He does smile and laugh but perhaps not as much as other babies his age.

- He babbles a lot (and has done for a long time) but no words at all.

- He doesn't seem to follow instructions like other babies his age. For example, at his baby classes he doesn't follow any of the movements (clapping hands, etc). We can get him to play with toys and can teach him how they work (putting things in slots, etc) but we really have to spend time showing him and he won't consistently do it.

- He doesn't seem that interested in things. For example, we took him to the zoo the other day and he just wasn't that interested in the animals. He seems like he's daydreaming a lot of the time.

- He doesn't really interact with other people. Again, at his baby classes, he ignores the other babies and adults and wants to be off doing his own thing away from the others most of the time.

- He doesn't point at all, show us anything or seek to get our attention.

- He waved goodbye for the first time the other day but only after a lot of coaxing.

- He loves swinging doors and spinning things.

- He only responds to his name some of the time. Often he ignores us.

I watched a video yesterday of babies his age comparing ASD behaviours with normal behaviours and that's when it really hit home. We just started employing a nanny a few days ago and she says she can see the same lack of interest and communication.

I am just so upset I keep bursting into tears and I don't know what to do with myself - I feel like my world is crashing down around me. I am going to the GP tomorrow to ask for a referral but what I suppose I am looking for is (a) reassurance (has anyone's child's had similar traits but overcame them with time?) (b) advice as to autism experts in London (we are prepared to go private to get early treatment) and also any support groups or helplines for just someone to chat to as I really am struggling with this.

Thanks so much in advance.

BarbarianMum Tue 04-Mar-14 12:41:44

A lot of what you have written - not joning in at music group, not being interested in animals at the zoo, not playing w toys 'properly' sounds exactly like my ds1 at the same age. He is entirely NT (neurotypical) and I never had any concerns about him (he's 8 now so I'm confident in saying this).

Not pointing or saying words is also entirely normal at 15 mo.

But - you are worried, you have a gut feeling that something is not right. For these reasons alone its worth discussing things with a GP (what you want is a referral to a developmental paediatrician if you want a formal assessment).

Can I also suggest that you copy your post to the Special Needs:children section. Lots of good advice, support and reassurance there and many mums who know about gut feelings.

DontWannaBeObamasElf Tue 04-Mar-14 12:53:15

I forgot to add in my PM that you may feel better after getting the ball rolling with regards to referral. I know that LittleElf will be seen so it has relaxed me a bit.

You will get fantastic support here.

ClaraFox Tue 04-Mar-14 13:04:59

Goodness! He's a baby and all that you describe is entirely normal. There is no autism expert in the world that can diagnose at 15 months anyway.

What exactly is it that terrifies you so much to the point that you're crying all the time? I have a ' quirky' little 7 year old ... He's probably on the spectrum. Believe me , it's not a life sentence anyway!

I think this is more about your anxiety that anything else. Are you generally an anxious person?

ClaraFox Tue 04-Mar-14 13:08:24

And what treatment do you want exactly? Autism is a whole spectrum of behaviours and there is no 'cure' ... It's a social condition and not something that can be treated in the medical sense.

The doctor won't be able to refer you at 15 months. Just continue as you are and see how he is in a year or so. Not many babies wave/ talk and interact at 15 months. Some do, some don't, a few will speak , a lot won't bother. Also young children tend to play alongside others - not with them. That doesn't come until age 3 or 4 and even then , not always.

Try and calm down

Lottapianos Tue 04-Mar-14 13:12:26

OP, I'm an Early Years SLT. You are doing the right thing by not waiting - go see your GP like you planned and ask for a referral to a speech and language therapist. Do you have a local Children's Centre? If so, pop along there and ask about communication groups - they should have groups running which all children and parents are invited to attend where you can get more advice and information on how to support his communication skills at home.

ClaraFox is right - he won't get an ASD diagnosis at his age and he is still very young. However, we advise not to wait - if you're concerned, ask for referral. If children do need support with their communication development, the sooner the right services get involved the better.

Feel free to PM me if it's useful

cargotrousers Tue 04-Mar-14 13:13:04

I would echo what the posters above have said, re. it being too early to tell. However, if you have concerns, maybe chat to your HV or GP as she may be able to put your mind at rest. Going forward, if you remain concerned then it is a good idea for these things to be picked up early, as early intervention is really important for kids with ASD. I'm not suggesting your son does have ASD, but don't worry yourself sick about it. Talk to someone who can help you deal with your worries and enjoy your DS.

Forgettable Tue 04-Mar-14 15:16:48

One thing to consider is hearing -ask GP or HV for a test

FreckledLeopard Tue 04-Mar-14 15:20:50

You may not be able to get a diagnosis at 15 months, but if you do have concerns, then early intervention can be extremely helpful. ABA is one form of intervention which can help and is better the earlier it's started.

I'd have a look at the SN boards for more information.

I don't think there's any harm in following your gut instincts. Wonderful if they are wrong. If not, at least you're doing something about it.

chocgalore Tue 04-Mar-14 16:14:08

clara - there is no cure for asd but a lot of intervention that can make a massive difference for the child. I also know DC who have been referred at that age and got a dx around the 2nd birthday

OP, I think your post contains a few red flags. I would write them down and push for a referral to a developmental paed.

have you looked at the M-Chat? Not sure if it is for 15 months (might be only for 18 months+)

And pop over to tbe SN board. A lot of us there have been where you are now .

ClaraFox Tue 04-Mar-14 16:44:11

oh I agree choc. I have a child with significant SEN among other things. early intervention is a good thing

I just picked up more on the op hysterically.crying and how her world was over. a 15 month old baby and her reaction is disproportionate. hence why I asked if she was generally anxious as a person

Lottapianos Tue 04-Mar-14 16:55:03

Clara, I'm not sure how helpful it is to tell someone that their reaction to anything is 'disproportionate'. Some people are more anxious than others and that's ok. But OP has concerns about her baby's development and is seeking answers and I think it's understandable that she's upset.

chocgalore Tue 04-Mar-14 17:00:14

I was told by GP and HV (and family and friedns) that i was overly worried about nothing. DD now has a dx of autism (severe end of gbe spectrum). Not helpful at all.

ClaraFox Tue 04-Mar-14 18:18:30

Crying all the time and talk of the world crashing in? Over a baby displaying NT behaviour for age?

Yeah I'd say that that was disproportionate alright.

KinderBoris Tue 04-Mar-14 18:24:24

My son had traits like this (and others as he grew) and I have in the past been advised to get him assessed by the nursery, the speech therapist and the school, only for the health visitor, gp, paediatrician and even the behaviour team at school (!?) to say things like "he's just busy", "he's bright and bored", "he just really likes cars".

I think everyone (us parents included) are so much on the look out for sen that normal behaviour triggers things it shouldn't. Is your hv happy with his development.

sebsmummy1 Tue 04-Mar-14 18:31:55

I have to say most if that sounds like my 15 month too and I don't feel he is at all odd. I think you are putting yourself under extraordinary stress and pressure with little evidence that your child is anything other than normal.

My understanding is that Autism tends to show itself later on and whilst there may be some early markers I don't think anyone could assess your son at 15 months and diagnose anything other than a baby.

daytoday Tue 04-Mar-14 18:34:50

Poor you. Lots of big hugs and breathe . . .

I can really relate to your post. My 15 month old DD was very similar. I wound myself up into a state. I kept thinking 'if I have this gut feeling then there is probably something wrong.'

But there wasn't. She didnt really blossom till nearer two. She didnt start talking till 2.5. But now at nearly 3 she is fine!!

She was a passive content baby. She is now a lovely toddler. She is my youngest of 3.

But - we did discover she had glue ear. And I did buy 'it takes two to talk' a really good book which showed me she was communicating. Retrospectively I think I had post natal anxiety.

as others have said, he is really really young. I was convinced there was something different about her I cried to my husband and mum. There wasn't - I was just really anxious.

JessePinkmansMom Tue 04-Mar-14 18:35:20

Sorry to point out the obvious but are you sure everything is ok with his sight and his hearing?

Frusso Tue 04-Mar-14 18:36:21

Speak to your gp. Request referral for a hearing test and referal for a development paediatrician.
You may not get a dx this early but you can get the ball rolling as appointments can take 6months+ to come through.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 04-Mar-14 18:38:22

It is fair enough to be concerned if your child is displaying different behaviour from children around you if sane age.

It is wrong to belittle someones concerns and treat then as if they are neurotic.

The description could apply to NT children but it could also have applied to my DD who has autism.

I first wondered if she had autism at 10 weeks ol

She does.

No harm in the OP getting her son assessed.

Marne Tue 04-Mar-14 18:41:39

Hi, I have 2 dd's who were diagnosed early on with ASD, we knew from a early age that dd1 was on the spectrum, she wasn't a easy baby but hit all milestones at the correct time, she was referred at the age of 2 and diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 4 (though we knew she has AS as soon as it was mentioned at our first appointment), dd2 was referred by our gp at the age of 20 months and diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2.5, tbh we didn't have many worries about dd2 until the gp picked up on the lack of eye contact, we thought she was not talking as her sister was talking for her sad.

My point is, if you are worried then push for a early referral, if you feel there is something not right then push for answers. It can be hard at such a early age to get a referral, you may be told to wait 6 months (again, if you think theres something not right then say you want him seen now).

Autism can show early on but also a child so young may show traits and they may disappear but its worth keeping a close eye on.

wellthatsdoneit Tue 04-Mar-14 20:38:51

The M-CHAT will be a useful tool for you. As others have said, you're unlikely to get a referral at this age, but the sooner you are on a waiting list, the better (they are long). There may also be the option of private referrals?

My son got a referral at 16 months via a research project who were researching early intervention.

In the meantime, there is lots you can do at this age if you are worried. Google Floortime (a therapy founded by Stanley Greenspan). The Hanon books are also brilliant. Also check out the biomedical route and see if it is for you (gluten and/or dairy free diet).

Also, ask advice on the special needs board - they are brilliant, and very very knowledgeable.

Let us know how you get on.

curiousuze Tue 04-Mar-14 21:20:09

He's still so very young OP. No harm in keeping an eye on things but not talking/pointing/following instructions at 15 months is really ok. There is a great book (expensive though!) called 'it takes two to talk' by hanen if you are very concerned about his communication.

Hedger Tue 04-Mar-14 21:32:34

Thanks everyone for your responses and support - it really helps. I've added my post to the special needs board as suggested. Thanks for the suggestions re books and Floortime, etc, will look them up.

I think it's a very good idea to have his sight and hearing checked so I'll raise that tomorrow with the GP. We'll get a private referral if the wait is too long - everything I've read says getting him help in the first few years is crucial.

Chocgalore - Yes I did do the MCHAT and the results were that he is "medium risk".

Clara - I probably am an anxious person and I imagine that, should ASD be confirmed, I will eventually come to terms with it and it won't seem such a disaster but at this early stage it's very hard not to be extremely worried and upset.

PJ67 Tue 04-Mar-14 23:07:06

Hi. I can see why you are worried and don't think it's unusual to be really upset when you first start to worry that something may be wrong. I think like the others say, it's a matter of time but won't do any harm to get him assessed so that any intervention can start if required.
I also get very anxious if I feel something is wrong with my children and when my son was a similar age, maybe a bit older I also worried about asd. He used to line his cars up and didn't have good eye contact and I remember taking him to the zoo and all he wanted to do was spin the wheels of his pram and wasn't remotely interested in the animals. He turned out to be fine however and it was obviously just some little quirks he went through.
Good luck and try not to worry yourself too much.

Paintyfingers Wed 05-Mar-14 00:30:16

My DS was similar and he had glue ear - I would definitely push go for hearing test ASAP. The Hanen book it takes two to talk has been wonderfully useful for us - lots of stuff in there about how to interact with babies to encourage first words.

Ardiente Thu 06-Mar-14 17:47:50

OP, my DS behaved exactly the same way when he was 15 months: no pointing, little eye contact, not following instructions, nightmare to get him interested in any of the baby classes activities. I took him to the Paediatrician who took a look at him and said he was perfectly normal and just wanted to do what he wanted to do. He is now 2, talks a lot and is super sociable, interested in many activities, etc. Like you, I had this sinking feeling that he wasn't behaving like other children, but now I realise I shouldn't have been so stressed. Get him seen by professionals to have a clear picture of what is going on and go from there. Good luck.

Hedger Thu 06-Mar-14 18:20:00


Thanks so much, you are all so kind to take the time to reply.

PJ67 and Ardiente - My goodness your posts are reassuring! Thanks for sharing that - it makes it a bit easier to think there might be a glimmer of hope. I am a real worrier by nature so maybe there is just a small chance I might be over-stressing and looking for worrying behaviours. I hope so!

We are seeing a well respected speech, language and communication therapist tomorrow and a neurological paediatrician next week so hopefully I will have a better idea then what I am dealing with.

I'll report back - I am so pleased I found Mumsnet, it is very therapeutic to be able to write about my worries and have such lovely support from you all.

RnB Thu 06-Mar-14 18:36:30

OP you are absolutely doing the right thing being on the case. My son was similar at the same age - I asked the HV to refer at 18 months and we got a diagnosis at 23 months. This was essential in accessing resources and starting the Statementing process. We started early intervention at 26 months and he made fantastic progress. He is now 12 and is a wonderful boy.

I wish you both well. Feel free to pm me if you like.

stoopstofolly Thu 06-Mar-14 18:36:43

You could be describing my DS at 15 months. I was concerned, the nursery also raised concerns- lack of interaction, off in his own world, babbling but no speech etc... Its sounds like we watched the same video and I recognised a lot of my son in it.
He's now 3.6 and pretty much NT. He's a bit of a loner (like his dad) who enjoys taking things apart and building models but who also plays well with others and has lots of friends. A lot of my concern was probably down to the fact that he was a slow developer in the social sphere (just like his dad!) but the main problem turned out to be his glue ear. The NHS are not good at referring young children so we went privately (I can recommend a chap in London who's expert in very young children) and he had grommets fitted at 2- with amazing results.
Investigate all the options and don't worry too much. Even if he is somewhere on the spectrum this isn't necessarily a bad thing- my DB is AS and has made a huge success of his life in business and academia (and married a lovely patient woman!)

Hedger Thu 06-Mar-14 18:53:43

RnB and Stoopstofolly - thanks for your posts, both reassuring in that maybe he doesn't have ASD and, even if he does, maybe it won't be severe and he will respond well to help.

Forgettable Thu 06-Mar-14 19:40:45

Good luck my dear x

MabelBee Fri 07-Mar-14 07:14:21

We had our referral to the community developmental paediatrician at 16 months so it definitely isn't too early for you to start the process. Referrals on the NHS can take forever, so the earlier you go, the better. I had ClaraFox's "there, there, you are a bit anxious aren't you?" condescension from 5 GPs I went to for help before we got our referral from the health visitor instead. It took 2 months for us to see the paediatrician and we are still waiting for speech and language therapy over a year later, so get the ball rolling. My thinking is that even though we are too young for diagnosis, the more intervention you can get your hands on the better. One of the most helpful interventions we have managed to get is Portage who have weekly sessions at home with my daughter and she has come on loads since they have started. They are helping to narrow the gap between her and her peers when it comes to playing and participating and it is really noticeable in the 6 months we've been seeing them.

For what it's worth, I also did a lot of crying during the period where I started admitting that there was something wrong. That starting point can be very hard.

sebsmummy1 Fri 07-Mar-14 09:35:31

Mabel what made you think something was wrong if you don't mind me asking?

MabelBee Fri 07-Mar-14 09:50:18

It's tricky to define because it was gut feeling. She is a twin and both had some late development initially because of prematurity, but it became more and more apparent that something was different about her. I started asking for help for her at 7 months old but at that stage it was almost impossible to articulate or even pinpoint what I was asking about. She makes eye contact, I was told, is a good weight. Stop worrying. Even now, at 2.5 years old, with referrals to portage, physio, gastroenterology, salt, dietician, feeding clinic and after our CDC 2 day assessment I still have no answers and still don't have any idea how to define what I'm dealing with. It is very vague and intangible. There is just something not right.

MabelBee Fri 07-Mar-14 10:28:43

Actually, I'm not sure my post is strictly correct. I find it quite difficult to post coherently about this. My initial worries were about happiness (try explaining that to a GP!). She just wasn't a happy infant. She seemed happy as a newborn baby but started crying at 6 months and didn't stop. She didn't seem to want to progress at all, wouldn't play with toys, would scream her way through every outing. Would only calm down if I sang the same song, over and over, for hours. At playgroups when other children were toddling around, playing or participating, she was rolling on the ground screaming and covered in snot. A lot of her problems these days are centred around anxiety. Her current referrals are addressing her severe delays in speech and cognition and some as of yet undefined stomach issues. She is "of concern" to professionals but the vagueness, I think, comes from being pre diagnosis and wanting doctors/therapists to tell me she is absolutely normal but still knowing somewhere at the back of my head that this isn't going to happen. Hoping but without hope. I suppose that her problems are being taken seriously is vindication that I wasn't just being overly anxious and a bit precious when I first started asking for help. This doesn't make me feel better.

StrawberryGashes Fri 07-Mar-14 10:39:41

I was told that these were all normal baby things too, my son now has a diagnosis of ASD amongst other things. If your instincts are telling you somethings not quite right then you're right to find out more. The CHAT test can be done at 18 months and observations can begin now too. It's certainly not too early. Ask for a referral to a paediatrician.

If you're really worried and you feel things aren't moving quick enough you can look at early interventions and see what you can start doing yourself with him. These interventions won't hinder the development of a nt child but can help a child with ASD.

Purplelooby Fri 07-Mar-14 11:18:10

Hi. Firstly you are not being 'overly' anxious. Our children can evoke emotions in us that we had no idea we were capable of feeling. You are upset because you are scared and I've been there too.

I wanted to let you know about something that helped my son with eye contact. Up until about 11 months old he simply didn't make eye contact and I read a helpful post. Sorry I've lost the link but it was about teaching them to make eye contact and communicate - so if you are a mother who is very 'in-tune' with your child's needs they don't bother to communicate with you.

An example is holding up a toy they want and encouraging them to make eye contact with you then handing it over. Or during feeding giving the spoon when they 'ask' be that by eye contact or pointing or speaking, whatever you are working on. This worked wonders with my son. He still has concerns but is so much better at 18 months.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 07-Mar-14 12:15:10

Aww Mabel. It is hard. I remember. PM me if you want to talk ever.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 07-Mar-14 12:17:41

And you too OP and anyone else in fact.

MabelBee Fri 07-Mar-14 19:35:51

Thanks Fanjo. Just soldiering on.

Enjoyingmycoffee Fri 07-Mar-14 19:40:37

Pls pls do not worry. This was almost exactly my boy at 15 months. It did not occur to me that something could be wrong.

At 3.5, he is just about the most loving sensitive emotionally astute person I know.

Enjoyingmycoffee Fri 07-Mar-14 19:42:10

Oh he does have speech and language therapy though.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 07-Mar-14 19:55:07

My Dd is also loving and sensitive wink

Hedger Fri 07-Mar-14 19:56:19

Thanks everyone. We took him to see a speech, language and communication therapist today and as a first step he is going to have his hearing checked. I am hoping against hope he just has glue ear or something. Will report back...

RnB Fri 07-Mar-14 21:16:26

Er my son is also 'loving, astute and emotionally sensitive'! He also happens to be on the autistic spectrum

StrawberryGashes Fri 07-Mar-14 21:59:51

Mine too RnB, very loving and emotionally sensitive infact.

Parkbench123 Mon 12-May-14 23:11:26

I've posted on here a few times about my concerns for my son, but just noticed this old thread and I wanted to say what a helpful and positive thread this is. Hedger, have you had any feedback on possible glue ear? My 9.5 month old son is showing all these signs - just seems to ignore us so much of the time, and everything else you mention. sad Thanks to everyone who commented on this post too! smile

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