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21 month old doesn't identify things in books

(33 Posts)
zen1 Mon 09-Aug-10 23:06:11

I am getting a bit worried about my DC3. He seems quite a happy, smiley sociable baby but doesn't really talk (although babbles a lot, copies expressions and sounds and says a couple of words). I'm not sure he understands as much as my other two did at the same age. Recently I've been trying to get him to identify photos of common objects in baby books (e.g "where's the banana?"), but he just doesn't seem interested. He'd rather play with the book, try and balance it etc than pay attention to what is on the pages. In general, he seems more babyish than DCs 1 and 2. He will fetch certain toys for me when I ask, but definately not every time. I know his hearing is fine because he sings lots of recognisable tunes very accurately. Just wanted some opinions really.

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ragged Tue 10-Aug-10 08:43:39

My youngest was the same. Couldn't point to any body parts at 21 months, for instance, except his head. He has come on a lot, now is 2.5yo. Since you don't have any other related concerns I would just keep trying to get him to recognise things, but I don't think you should worry.

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 08:46:27

Does he point generally especially to other things of interest? If he points out dogs in the park/interesting cars etc etc (whatever it is he's into -just not in books) then I wouldn't worry too much (although perhaps keep an eye on eyesight). If he doesn't point at anything of interest it might be worth having a chat with someone (HV, or GP?)

how does he let you know if he wants something?

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 13:43:57

Thanks for replying. Ragged, my DS doesn't point to bodyparts except head and nose.
Saintly, he doesn't really point at anything to be honest, just gesticulates a bit with his hand. It is difficult to say how he lets me know if he wants something because I always seem to know what he wants. I feel like I have let him down in some way by not spending as much time with him as with the other two. I am concerned he might have ASD, although as I said is quite sociable and will bring things to show me, for example a ball if he wants me to play ball with him. Also seems very stubborn.

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ValiumSingleton Tue 10-Aug-10 13:56:20

Glad to see that you have considered ASD.

I think you should ask for him to be assessed, as my son wouldn't have struck me as being on the spectrum. He was affectionate to me and even though he doesn't have 'friends' like dc1, he does like to be near other children. he didn't speak at all until he was 3 and 4 months, but now that he does, he has caught up very quickly and has a good vocab. don't let the word autism frighten you. It can be so mild that the social issues aren't a big give away. For some children, autism can just be a different way of learning. ie, visually? so if that's the case, keep going with the picture dictionaries, that is the right thing to do.

start with functional words, cut out the pictures. This image will give him a 'peg' in his brain upon which to hang the sound (ie, word).

I would definitely take him to be assessed. If he's not on the spectrum, then no harm done, but if he is you need to get him linked in to the right services asap.

There are a whole range of different teaching methods available for children on the spectrum now.

ValiumSingleton Tue 10-Aug-10 13:58:23

hang on! I thought he was 3. but now I read back I don't see that information after all. what age is your son?

bourboncreme Tue 10-Aug-10 14:11:44

21months says in the title.To be honest i wouldn't worry too much at that age ,my ds3 (definately the most academic and socially mature of my 3)wasn't bothered by books at all ,he wanted to do things not identify objects!!also was a late talker,you wouldn't believe it now!!he never shuts up at 8.

In contrast ds2 who has developmental dyspraxis could have done all those things ,read early and could point to body parts ,could't walk at 21 months though!

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 14:13:18

Hi Valium, he is 21 months. Thank for your info. TO be honest the word autism does frighten me. All I can think is, what if he is never able to go to pre-school, have friends, understand what people are saying to him?...I feel very dispondent thinking about it, but I will keep trying with the books. Did your son point at all? Can you teach a child to point?

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saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 14:15:06

Oh yes to asking the age - sorry I misread and thought he was 21 months. If he's over 18 months I would start to ask for referrals, just because they take so long to come through (you can wait literally a year). And if in the meantime he starts doing everything you would expect then you can just cancel any appointments that do come through.

If you have trouble getting a referral and want one then you can do an online CHAT test plus another test for a fairly cheap price which might persuade a GP or HV to refer. Let me know if you want the link.

If he's under 18 months I wouldn't worry at all.

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 14:18:20

bourboncreme,thanks for your input. I should say DS can not yet walk (he is a bum-shuffler like my other 2 DS's who were also late walkers). He has been referred for this though as I think he might be hypermobile (As he's very bendy).

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zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 14:21:21

Have had a look at the CHAT tests and think he would fail about 3 of the things they ask. He does like spinning things but all my DSs have been obsessed with spinning things and have no problems.

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saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 14:22:20

At 21 months I would refer to be honest because of the long waits.

My eldest (now 11) is autistic and has always been very social and smiley and happy. We were fobbed off for a long time because of his affection and the delay in diagnosis didn't help him.He wasn't diagnosed until 3 although I first raised concerns before he was 2 and he could have been diagnosed then.

This ISN'T to say that your son has autism, but lack of pointing (especially to show interest) is a red flag and worth getting into the system for imo. Mainly because of the long long waits.

I'd recommend checking out the Hanen programme as well - it's useful whether a child has ASD, something else, or is developing entirely normally.

bourboncreme Tue 10-Aug-10 14:36:52

Don't necessarity assume AS,have a look at the dyspraxia foundation site it has lots of useful information.

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 14:44:42

The CHAT questions aren't scored equally this version tells you the important questions So failing three items isn't necessarily a problem. There's something called the modified CHAT now as well which is meant to be more accurate.

Liking spinning things alone wouldn't worry me especially if there was other play going on. My middle son loved lining up cars (which his autistic brother never did) but I wasn't worried because there were no other signs and he was actually train obsessed and making trains. It's always the overall picture that is important.

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 14:53:17

For comparison DS1 at 21 months would have failed A6 and A7, although he would gesture to objects of interest. He wouldn't make a cup of tea but he would pretend to feed a baby doll. B2 could be dodgy and he would respond to B4 but not with a point - more a look and a look back.

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 10-Aug-10 14:55:39

copying is a really positive sign btw- ds1 never really copied anything. We had to teach everything hand over hand.

goobledygook Tue 10-Aug-10 15:06:15

My DD is coming up to 21 months and you could be describing her. She will look at books and will even bring them to me, but will not engage with them with me. I would not be able to read her a story and there is no way she would point something out to me.

She does use her index finger in a pointing fashion, but not to ask for things and not to show interest in something. She would honestly not want to show me something she has seen.

Somebody said to her the other day "you are a lovely wee girl, but I would love to be let in to your world a little". People often comment how she is in her own little world.

She is very happy and does interact, but as her Mother I feel there is something missing with her communication.

I am going to raise it at her 2 year check, as when ever I memtion anything people just shush me and act like I am an awful Mother for doubting her in some way, so this feels like a safe place to do it without feeling like I am making a fuss.

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 15:54:39

Thanks saintly, that's very helpful. I've looked at the CHAT test and DS would deinately fail A7, but would respond to B4 exactly as you describe - more with a glance. Pretend play is difficult because he has never seen me make tea. He sometimes picks up the toy tardis and sings the Dr Who theme tune but I think that might be because his brothers are Dr Who mad! Sometimes it looks as if he's going to point but then he doesn't. I will look into the Hanen programme.

bourbon, funnily enough I was looking on the dyspraxia foundation website last night and indeed he could fit the bill here too, especially with the over-excitable movements sometimes. Don't know whether it is relevent but my DH is severely dyslexic and his brother is dyspraxic, so there could be a link.

goobledegook, I know exactly what you mean about feeling something missing with the communication. That's just how I feel. As I said, DS has been referred to paeds because of his gross motor skill problems, but I will definately mention everything else when the appointment comes through (I've been told 18 weeks!).Does your DD speak at all?

At the back of my mind I am just hoping he is a bit delayed with everything and that he will catch up (didn't sit till 11 months, didn't bum-shuffle till 15 months, only now showing signs of wanting to pull up).

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goobledygook Tue 10-Aug-10 17:59:04

Hi again,
My DD says Dad (her version) and Grandma, but that is it. She doesn't really babbble in any meaningful way. That doesn't worry me so much as my DS did not speak until he was 2 and is now a great talker at nearly 4.

It is simply the communication I feel is lacking. She is sociable and happy and so very sweet. But she does not worry about bringing us in to her world or vice versa.

She would 'fail' B2, B3 and B4.

When she was a baby (6 weeks plus) she would not social smile. I could get her to smile, but it was never in response to me smiling it was in response to being physically played with.

ValiumSingleton Tue 10-Aug-10 20:30:04

ZZen1, apologies! I don't think you should worry as he's still young, but no harm to ask for an assessment.

I don't want to frighten you more but bum-shuffling is one of the signs. My son didn't seem autistic to me, he just seemed LATE DOING everyting, and at first he was dx with GDD (global developmental delays) and I remember thinking, well, not autism then......

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 20:37:00

I have been trying to get my DS to "talk" on a toy telephone this afternoon. He just keeps handing it back to me, very resistant to putting it anywhere near his ear. When I hold the phone and say "hello", he seems to want to play and tries to say hello back, but I then give him the phone and he gives it back to me again. He also seems to have a short concentration span. Like your DD,*gobble* he is very sociable and happy. I suppose the only encouraging thing is he has recently started to bring me things to show me. Are you going to wait till your DD is 2 before you seek a referral?

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zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 20:41:04

Valium, how old is your DS now and how is he doing? I didn't realise bum-shuffling is one of the signs. All my Ds's and myself were bum-shufflers!

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ValiumSingleton Tue 10-Aug-10 20:43:35

Well, don't fear the word autism, because even if it does turn out that he is on the spectrum, I'm sure it's mild. My son will now chat in to a phone and do all the things he wouldn't do a year ago. It's almost like he's missed a year. He 'presents' as they say like an NT child of a whole year younger, but that gap has narrowed. When I first had him assessed it was 16-18 months across the board with severest delay in speech.

Thanks to ABA and a great school he will go to mainstream school (a year older than everybody else but hey, no biggie).

Take control of the situation and get down to the gp and tell them your concerns. Sorry if I sound bossy. But early intervention is key. I feel so lucky that my son's failure of the mchat was picked up on so soon.

ValiumSingleton Tue 10-Aug-10 20:52:01

he's four and a half now, and can talk well, although it sounds laboured. he has a good vocab though. he seems pretty much like a normal boy now. i don't think people who know us would automatically think 'oh, autistic child'. Occasionally he is very awkward in public and causes a huge scene! and will not accept my saying no, or, he makes a huge fuss over what seems to be a tiny thing, but these tantrums are growing more infrequent thank goodness. age 2- 3 and a half was the worst! Now apart from not wanting to get his hair cut or measured for shoes, he seems quite normal. he's not quite the same as an NT child but I think that as he gets older he will have fewer sensory issues anyway. my dc1 at 4 did have friends and would talk about them, and my son doesn't miss other children, but he likes to be around them. I know when you first hear the word autism, you think of a lonely man eating a sandwwich in a bedsit on chrstmas day after you've died (oh, just me!?) and it breaks your heart, but I now believe that mild autism will be more of a learning challenge. My son probably won't be a party planner, or the most sociable person in his class, but I think he is capable of having friendships when he knows people well. The professionals are so clued up now, there are great teaching methods for children with autism. The school my son will be going to have told me all about the slightly different methods they will be using in tandem with other methods for the rest of the class. the teacher told me that she usually identifies a few children without a formal dx and uses these methods to teach them anyway!

zen1 Tue 10-Aug-10 21:01:07

Thanks Valium, glad to hear your son is doing so well now! What are ABA and NT please (sorry to sound ignorant)? You're right, all I can think about is what life could be like for my DS if he is socially isolated. TBH, I haven't slept the last 2 nights thinking about it.

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