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Can signs of autism be seen in an 11 month old?

(30 Posts)
MorningTime Thu 05-Dec-13 13:28:57


I have a few little worries about my 11 month DS & I am wondering whether it is worth mentioning them to the health visitor or if this is just 'normal' behaviour for some babies. I'd appreciate opinions as my DH thinks I am worrying about nothing.

We have three other children, one is DS's twin. He is actually very easy to look after & good natured. He sleeps a lot, rarely cries & entertains himself easily.

My main worries are:

- he seems obsessed with opening & closing doors (big doors, doors on small toys, door on small kitchen etc). He will do this for long periods of time & seems annoyed if I move him away from the door.

- he laughs for no apparent reason. I know this sounds a strange thing to complain about but it just strikes me as odd! He has started laughing while opening & closing his doors. Sometimes he just starts laughing randomly. In the back of the car, lying in bed, just suddenly laughing loudly to himself. Everyone else says "he's such a happy baby" but when I see him sitting laughing at a door, I do feel worried.

- he doesn't seem very keen on me sad. He will look at me if I sit in front of him & call his name & he does laugh when he sees me when he wakes from his nap. I can also make him laugh by tickling him. But other than that, he just isn't that interested. If we are in the same room, his twin sister (it is hard not to compare them) will follow me around, try & get involved in her siblings games and generally love watching & being involved. DS just sits in the corner with his door, smiling to himself as he opens & shuts again & again. If the other three are doing something together, DS doesn't even notice. If it isn't the door he is playing with it will be something like a toy car, with him moving it back and forth repeatedly.

Aren't all babies supposed to be sociable & want to interact with other people? DH just says that DS is "laid back". Sometimes I will specifically try to give DS 'one to one' time (as I feel guilty about being busy with the others) but when I pick him up he just squirms to get back down to his door or the other object he is playing with. I might just be worrying because his sister is so much more social, and so were my other DC's at the same age.

He has just started crawling and he does babble. It's hard to explain what it is that makes me worry about autism but I think it is the lack of 'connection' I feel. It's not that I don't love him, it's just that I feel that it's hard to get to know him in a way.

There's probably not much the health visitor can say anyway, is there? Apart from keeping an eye on his milestones.

MorningTime Fri 31-Jan-14 13:51:30

Seems similar in the way he behaves (no idea where the 'eat he bags' came from!)

MorningTime Fri 31-Jan-14 13:49:40


Just wanted to quicky reply to say I have read all your posts and that they have been really helpful. Sorry I don't have time to reply individually at the moment (it is nap time so I am going to grab some lunch before they wake!)

DS saw a Heath vistor, then a different one (the one we saw after the twins were born) came to do a check. DS scored well in most areas, but scored about 5 months behind for his language and vision. He is being referred to have his sight & hearing tested and to see the peadiatrician.

The HV visitor was optimistic that she can't see signs of anything major and that she said that he does make some eye contact. She did see though that he doesn't know/respond to his name at all & he also doesn't imitate anything I do. She has suggested putting aside one-to-one time everyday to work on response to his name, imitation, nursery rhymes etc.

I am going to focus on these things (will look at your suggestions bialystock) for now and try to distract myself from worrying more - not easy to do though! - as at least the referrals are in place. The HV seemed to think the apt night actually come through quite soon.

Thank you again to everyone for responding. I looked at the first.signs videos and found those interesting. There is one little boy in the videos that seems quite similar to DS in the eat he bags behaves. That prompted me to push a bit for the referral to the peadiatrician, although, of course, I am hoping that he will progress so much that I won't need the appointment when it comes through.


bialystockandbloom Tue 21-Jan-14 21:59:11

Yes I agree with the others here, the signs can be seen at this age, but usually only with hindsight. I had inklings with ds around this age, but buried my head in the sand for far, far, far too long. At 1yr he would very rarely respond to his name being called, didn't point, didn't respond to the most basic of back-and-forth communication (eg rolling a ball to him, he would just sit and look blank), loved watching the washing machine, loved spinning things. All of which could be explained away as "others do that" but as someone said, it's the extent to which they're doing this, and the quality of their interactions and behaviour which is a real red flag.

Trust your instincts - you are being very brave imo for facing this as a possibility (far more so than I was), so if you can, don't let GP/HV fob you off. Ask for a referral to developmental paediatrician - it's likely to be a longish wait in any case, so by the time an appointment comes either he will have caught up in development (in which case, great), or not, in which case great that you have started the ball rolling so early.

In the meantime have a look around at interventions you can be doing - Floortime, DIR, ABA, play therapy, Hanen books all worth a look.

Wishing you all the best, it's a really hard time.

MorningTime Tue 21-Jan-14 19:39:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DigestivesAndPhiladelphia Tue 21-Jan-14 19:38:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ouryve Sun 19-Jan-14 21:57:08

DS1 didn't give a hoot about the distraction tests, either. It didn't help that the noise maker was the same noise as a toy that he had, but had grown bored of.

Thankfully, DS2 got the newborn hearing test, so we didn't have to be chastised for not making him cooperate.

StarlightMcKingsThree Sun 19-Jan-14 12:10:30

Yes. I have videos of Ds at 2 months showing quite obvious ASD signs.

My childless DB is holding him and on camera says, 'I don't think he likes me. He is trying to get away'. He also stimmed at that age.

HoleySocksBatman Sun 19-Jan-14 11:07:42

I remember the infant distraction tests - before the newborn hearing tests were rolled out. Done at 8 months old by a team of HVs.

DD1 missed the hearing test rollout by 3 weeks so we had to wait for a distraction test. She failed 2 of them, and was sent to a hearing centre with questions over her hearing.

She has perfect hearing, and has autism instead.

ShoeWhore Sun 19-Jan-14 09:05:01

If he's not responding to his name it might be worth getting his hearing checked. An undetected hearing problem can make a child quite introspective.

I don't know much about ASD OP but I would trust your instincts - I knew for ages something wasn't quite right with dc3 and well meaning people kept telling me not to worry - wish in hindsight I'd ignored them.

JJXM Sun 19-Jan-14 08:56:28

Looking back, there were red flags with DS even at that age. But he was my first child and I didn't know any different (DD is like a different species). DS would be happy to entertain himself and didn't really engage with us unless he wanted something. He made little eye contact and didn't point or use gestures. He was totally undemanding and slept really well and we were told we were lucky to have such a contented baby. But he just didn't need us - he wasn't content - he was passive.

Even at 26 months when he still wasn't speaking, we were told by our GP that he was just a late developer. At 40 months, he still doesn't speak. I heard another parent say that her DD would turn away from her in the hospital cot when he was born.

All you can do is ask to be referred - and be prepared to be persistent. It might be nothing but if it is something, then early intervention is best.

eatyourveg Sat 18-Jan-14 19:11:13

ds2 was diagnosed at 21 months - its very rare but the paeds had been monitoring him for a long time. As others have said - you should act on your instincts.

youarewinning Sat 18-Jan-14 18:55:47

Sorry meant to say it can be something and nothing but you know your child.

youarewinning Sat 18-Jan-14 18:53:54

I don't and can't diagnose over internet. But do say follow your instincts. Your describing my DS - especially doors thing!

He is currently awaiting ASD assessment at 9yo.

Everyone here is so helpful.

ouryve Sat 18-Jan-14 13:07:24

That's often the problem with looking for a perspective from friends. Just about everyone can say that their child does a particular thing that yours does. The problem is that none of them do all of it to quite the same extent.

specialmagiclady Sat 18-Jan-14 08:06:08

Trust your instincts, and ACT on them. I knew my son was different from about 2 - and indeed posted on Mumsnet about him, only to be told the behaviours were normal. I also talked to friends about him and they all said "oh my son does that!" or whatever.

So if you have concerns, get professionals involved as quickly as possible and keep plugging until your child gets the support he needs.

I really regret not listening to my instincts better and listening to the outside world too much.

lottieandmia Fri 17-Jan-14 12:17:03

My dd has severe ASD but at 11 months she looks quite normal on videotape.

I would say that generally if you feel something is not right you are in the best position to know. It does also help if you have other children to compare with.

HoleySocksBatman Fri 17-Jan-14 12:16:43

Your first post has some red flags, to me. The length of time an 11 month old baby opens and closes doors for is what interests me.

At 11 months, DD2 was putting a tshirt on and off the back of her neck as she walked round in a circle. For 45 minutes to an hour AT A TIME.

That's what alarmed the GP and the paed - we had video footage of her doing it for an hour at a time.

People here on MN, bless em, tried to be supportive and positive and comforting but all it did was frustrate me because i felt i was seeing autism and all i kept reading back on my posts was "oh, it'll be ok".

Two things: If you do the MCHAT, do the parent interview afterwards - it will change some of your answers.

Secondly - have videos on ASD in babies 12 months and upwards. Go there, look, and see for yourself if you think your child's behaviour matches up.

Keep in touch and keep believing in your gut reaction. Our paed told us that the parents suspicions are paramount - if the parent believes there's something wrong, 9 times out of 10 there is.

HoleySocksBatman Fri 17-Jan-14 12:12:16

Short answer to the thread title: YES, autism can be seen in an 11 month old baby.

We took DD2 to the GP at 11 months because we KNEW she had ASD. GP referred us immediately to DD1's paed, and though they didnt diagnose until 25 months, she did/does indeed have ASD.

ouryve Fri 17-Jan-14 11:44:10

He wasn't interested in anything that wasn't given to him,

Definitely did not describe DS1. Nothing was safe! He started bellycrawling at 4.5 months, such was his determination that he was going to get at stuff! This is where the PDA characteristics fall down with him because passive he was not.

We used to offer to hire him out to anyone who wanted to check that their babyproofing was sound!

PolterGoose Fri 17-Jan-14 11:22:27

So, yes, trust your instincts smile

(I found some research a while back that evidenced how a very high proportion of parents who think their children have a developmental delay/disorder/disability are right, even when faced with often years of professionals saying there's 'nothing wrong')

PolterGoose Fri 17-Jan-14 11:20:05

This thread from last year is about early signs, it's more about toddlers but there might be some posts of interest.

It's only with hindsight I really see the signs in ds as a baby, he was very hard work for his first 12 months. As soon as he was able he would push my face away if I looked at him when he was bf'ing. He had no interest in people or children at all, he had a proper 'death stare' if anyone looked at him. He wasn't interested in anything that wasn't given to him, we never had to move things or hide stuff, he was quite oblivious.

ouryve Fri 17-Jan-14 09:51:46

The CHAT is aimed at toddlers around 18 months, but there's a really good list of red flags in babies on this site. You might find it helpful to refer to when discussing your concerns with your HV

There was something obviously different with both of my boys as babies. DS1 was what is euphemistically described as a "spirited" baby and showed incredibly uneven development. For example, at his 9m check, he was given some small bricks to check his pincer grasp. He stacked them up! Everything got stacked at that age. Nappies, clothes, cushions, toys.... DS2, OTOH, was simply so delayed with everything that I cancelled all those baby milestone emails because they made me cry. He was incredibly passive. We had real difficulty introducing solids and he never accepted a bottle. Time and time again, he'd appear to be making progress with something and then it'd be gone. Overnight.

All I can say is, don't let anyone fob you off with wait and see. As you said, as a twin, he is more at risk of neurodevelopmental delays and, even if it's not ASD, there's so much that can be helped with early intervention.

MorningTime Fri 17-Jan-14 09:14:26

I would like to say a belated thank you to all of you to replying to my post.

I'm sorry I didn't come back before. I looked at the CHAT test that ICame suggested and some of the questions made me think about a few things DS does. That lead to me taking a "head in sand" approach and deciding that I wouldn't think about it anymore grin. That was why I didn't reply.

Anyway, DS will be having his 12 month check with the HV next week. I put it off a bit to give him a chance to catch up. Unfortunately, he hasn't progressed much. In fact, I think his eye contact had reduced a lot since I posted before. I put on my last post that he looked up at me if I sat in front of him.

Now, he completely refuses to look at me if I am anywhere close to him. He turns his head away and the harder I try to get his attention, the more he refuses to look on my direction!

I have noticed that if I am further away (about 8 feet away) then DS is a lot more likely to look at me if I try to get his attention, it's just closer eye contact that he is avoiding.

I know that DH is a bit worried too because he recently said to me: "DS doesn't even know his own name does he?" when he was calling DS and being ignored. Actually, DS does sometimes smile when you call his name, so I think he does know it, he just doesn't bother to look up. He doesn't even look up when DH walks into the room after being at work all day. At least I know it's not just me though!

I think the HV will probably be happy to refer us to the peadiatrician anyway because DS isn't pulling up to stand yet or taking any weight on his legs. I'll mention the other things as well & just hope that by the time the appointment comes, he will be showing more interest in people. He still loves doors. His other activity is putting an item on a shelf and then taking it off again, this occupies him for some time!

He does actually interact with his twin though - I've seen him making eye contact with her a few times & they babble to each other sometimes. He also follows her when she leaves the room and sometimes he even follows me (still no eye contact, but he will crawl into the room I've gone to so I'm hoping he likes my company to some extent smile ). I read that twins often have some developmental delays so maybe it is just a 'twin thing'..

Ifcatshadthumbs Thu 05-Dec-13 22:44:32

Looking back retrospectively then yes I would say there were signs as a baby.

Russianqueen Thu 05-Dec-13 22:41:34

If you're worried, definitely ask a professional about it.

However, I see nothing particularly unusual in the behaviours you describe. Opening and closing doors is such a common baby/toddler obsession and just because you can't see the reason he is laughing, doesn't mean there isn't one.

As for the sociable thing, all babies are different. My daughter is a toddler and is only now becoming interested in other toddlers and what they are doing. When she was younger, she would only go over to another child if she wanted whatever toy/snack they had.

But like others said, it's your child and you should trust your gut.

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