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Asd? Worried

(30 Posts)
Phewsers Tue 27-Sep-11 22:21:44

hello all, I have posted on here before so sorry to post again but am getting increasingly worried about my 15 and a half month old son. This all started at about 3 months when for about a 3 week period he seemed to be determined to avoid all eye contact, however this quickly rectified itself and he is now a very sociable little fellow. However I cannot shake my concerns, mainly as at 15 months he still only has about six words excluding mama and dada, the most important words to him are "more" and "there", the latter when pointing at things. he hardly ever says mama and dada - he usually only says dada when his dad returns after a few nights away with work.

He does point and say "there!" when he wants to show you something interesting like an animal, and he does clap, he understands everything you say to him and follows instructions. However he never brings a toy to share or show, or gives you anything without being asked to. He doesn't ask for things he wants by name, he just points to what he wants or in the case of food, points and says "more!". He plays sociable games, like peekaboo which he loves and initiates himself. He joins in with bits of songs that he can say, and says "boo" when playing peepoo and "wheeee!" when on the swing. He can make the right animal noises or vehicle noises when asked.

I think another concerning thing is his fondness for spinning objects, which can preoccupy him for a while, or throwing things across the floor and following them only to throw them again. However he does have other interests and does respond when you call his name.

Finally, he's not that fond of waving although he does do it sometimes, rarely. And he still doesn't walk as his main mode of transport- he prefers to crawl, and when he does walk he can fall down quite often.

I have spoken to the hv who says about how this is well within the normal parameters, but isn't that what they always say? Views or perspectives would be much appreciated, as well as suggestions as to what I should do. I'm scared he has asd.

pyjamasinbananas Tue 27-Sep-11 22:35:31

I went through this with DS and everything is apparently normal. However I'd rather speak to a dr than a HV. If it helps my 16 month old DD can only say dad and quack! And only plays with the bear she's had from birth. Sorry I couldn't be more help

AngelDog Tue 27-Sep-11 23:07:54

DS is a spinner & a thrower - it's to do with the schema (type of play) they're working on and doesn't necessarily indicate any problems. You can read more about different schema here and here.

DS is nearly 21 months and still doesn't wave (although he has done on occasion in the past). He doesn't really clap either, although he can do it.

At 15 months I think he'd hardly give you anything voluntarily, but he does now.

My HV said they expect children to have 5 words at the age of 2 years so he's well within that. I know at least 3 20-21 month olds who have no words yet. I wouldn't be worried about him not asking for things by name if he doesn't have many words.

AngelDog Tue 27-Sep-11 23:10:14

But I would say that if you're worried, it is definitely worth asking for opinions IRL. I'd try the GP too even if just to put your mind more at rest.

lisad123 Tue 27-Sep-11 23:16:20 have a look here, this is what HV would look at.
I would keep a diary for a few weeks with concerns and then take back to HV

DeWe Wed 28-Sep-11 13:36:39

I'd say along with everyone else that what you've posted sounds normal. 6-18 words at 18 months was considered "in the normal" band when mine were little, so if anything he's got those 6 words early! And animal/vehicle noises count as words too, so you may find he knows more than those 6.

Pointing is actually a good sign, it means he wants to interest you in what he's interested in and so is a social sign.

But if you're worried, then go and talk to your GP. Our GP is a lovely chap who says he will always take notice of a worried mother as they often seem to have a second sense and pick up things that are wrong when there's nothing (to an outsider) out of the normal. Not saying there is something wrong, but go and discuss it.

thisisyesterday Wed 28-Sep-11 13:44:53

he sounds absolutely normal for his age to me. he really honestly does.

and no, IME health visitors don't just say babies are within normal parameters if they are not. they have a job to do, and part of that is picking up potential problems. If your health visitor thought there was anything to worry about she would, at the very least, ahve told you to speak to the GP

I have 3 little boys (one with ASD) and I honestly, hand on heart, think that everything you describe is totally, completely, normal!

silverfrog Wed 28-Sep-11 13:46:33

agree with lisad - read through the chat test and see how he does. this test should be passed by 18 months old, so don't worry if he doesn't pass yet. there is time.

wrt the pointing - what kind of pointing is it? does he point to eg something out of his reach, so that you know what he wants? point ot something in a book ("show me doggy"), or does he point to eg a flower when you are out walking, check to see you have noticed what he wanted you to see, and referenced your reaction?

the most important kind of point you want is the shared attention one - where he is checking to see your reaction to what he is pointing out, and sharing the moment with you, iyswim?

<is it really 5 words at 2 years, Angeldog? when dd1 was coming up to 2, it was 50 words, iirc. and she is only 7.>

Bugsy2 Wed 28-Sep-11 13:55:34

My DS, now 12, has a diagnosis of ASD. Although there are some early clues, unless your child is severely autistic no health professional would be able to make a diagnosis of a 15 month old. Also, if it is of any comfort my DS had a ridiculously advanced vocab for a boy all the way along, so vocab isn't a definitive indicator.
It is really, really important to remember that all children develop differently & that the milestones given in healthcare guidance are just guidelines. To get an average time for a milestone you are always going to get some who hit it early & others who hit it later. As a famous comedien once noted, you never look at an adult & say "Oh look, you can tell he was an early walker"!!!!! Relax & enjoy your little one.

AngelDog Wed 28-Sep-11 20:22:38

Well, that's what my HV said, silverfrog, which I was slightly surprised by as a friend said it was 3 words at 18 months. It was in the context of commenting on how chatty my 19 m.o. was.

Phewsers Wed 28-Sep-11 20:31:09

Thank you for your responses. I really do appreciate that you have taken the time to give me your opinions, experiences and advice. The chat test did help thank you silver frog, and yes he dies point to show things to us and checks our reaction. Thanks all ever so much

LizzieMo Thu 29-Sep-11 09:40:43

Is that test on the link for real? I have just done it for both my children, one has a few quirks, as yet nothing diagnosed, the other seems perfectly free of any autistic tendencies. Yet both of them scored around 16%, which is apparently an 'indication'. I then spent ages fiddling about , changing the answers to try and get a 0% score, and I could not. According to the test, if you tick yes to your baby enjoys being bounced on your knee, this is a sign that they may be autistic??? Really??? Don't most babies enjoy that???? I could not work out whether looking you in the eye was a good or bad thing either, it just seemed so random. I think you really have to take this with a pinch of salt or else parents will drive themselves mad with worry.

lisad123 Thu 29-Sep-11 09:50:18

Yes it is for real, but the reaosn you cant get 0% is that we all have autistic traits. Some are controlled questions, like the knee bouncy question, not all are autisim questions.
To put your mind at rest both my girls have dx of asd and dd1 scored 81% and dd2 92%.

LizzieMo Thu 29-Sep-11 09:57:00

'We all have autistic traits' Agree with that, the problem is not to panic if you find your child has some. That is my main concern with the test- it just gives you the score and then says a positive score is an indication. It then does not attempt to do as you just did Lisa, and put it into a reasonable context. Some parents who are already anxious may be really freaked by this.

silverfrog Thu 29-Sep-11 10:09:01

the chat test is indeed for real. it is a highly effective screening test which flags up babies and toddlers who may go on to develop ASD.

it is not a black/white test. it is looking for red flags, which should then be investigated thoroughly if necessary by a developmental paediatrician.

what it is useful for is to be able to say to a health professional who might otherwise fob you off (as happened with my dd1 - for months the hv and the gp would look at me as though I was mad and tell me "but she's beautiful" hmm) - "my dc does not pass the CHAT test. this merits investigation". it is a baseline, form which to make further observations and investigations.

a young child, by the age of 18-20 months, should be beignning (at the least) to develop social empathy, flexible thinking, and trying to show shared attention. if they are not, investigation is warranted - which does not mean that every child who fails the CHAT test will develop ASD. it means that they might need some help in some areas, at that point - it means that thy might be skipping developmental steps (for whatever reason), or going through them in a disordered way (for whatever reason)

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 10:10:47

This is why at 15 months, unless your baby is very severely autisitic, no health professional would attempt to make a diagnosis. Quite alot of toddlers, are IMHO, pretty damn autisitic at times!!!!! They often go through developmental phases, where their behaviour could easily be interpreted as quite high on the spectrum. HVs see lots & lots of babies, toddlers & children & whilst they are not absolute definitive experts, they are generally pretty good at clocking when something is not right. The other thing to remember is that ASD, is Autistic Spectrum Disorder, with probably every single one of us on that very long line somewhere. Most of us will by at the 0.1% end & then a diminishing proportion spread out all the way along that long spectrum until you have very severly autistic at the other end.

lisad123 Thu 29-Sep-11 10:14:24

sorry to disagree bugsy2 but most HV are pretty bad at spotting HIgh functioning or girls with autism UNLESS they have no speech or bvery clearly outwardly autisitic

silverfrog Thu 29-Sep-11 10:20:23

...and then there are some hv (I saw 3 separate ones!) who even when presented with a clearly stimming severely autistic child, who is non-verbal, will still say "but she's beautiful. and eating and sleeping so well" hmm

this is why the CHAT test is important - it is an easy to administer, difficult to misunderstand test that even a hv with no clue about ASD at all can manage (NOT saying all hv have no clue...) which flags up the children who need further investigation. it takes away the "oh, but s/he is too social; too much eye contact; can play role play" element.

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 10:23:45

Yes, I'd agree with you lisad123. High functioning ASD girls are very hard to spot. I know people who have spent years trying to get a diagnosis from child psychs. Maybe it is because it is so much less common in girls, I don't know, or simply that girls are so much better at learning how to mask it.

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 10:27:58

Yes, but silverfrog, my DS who has a diagnosis of moderate ASD would have done reasonably on the CHAT test. I just did it now, remember the traits he had as a child and it came up at 30%. I also did it for DD, who is at the 0.0001% of the spectrum & she came up at 25%!!!!!!

Arrogantcat Thu 29-Sep-11 11:48:52

Can girls really just decide to learn to hide their ASD traits? Is it really that simple and if so, why can't boys be taught to hide their traits too?

Bugsy2 Thu 29-Sep-11 12:08:27

That is what I'm doing with DS. Teaching him how to not to be quite so ASD. I teach him how to converse, so not just bore for Britain on whatever hobby horse is currently stuck on. Reminding him that he needs to make eye contact, however briefly, from time to time. DD & I spend hours with him, we try to make it a bit of a game, but we go over social interactions he has had, do a bit of role play, practice situations that are upcoming. We try to give him strategies to help him socially. The way I see it, is that he just has to work a whole lot harder at learning social skills, that generally come instinctively to the rest of us. We teach him jokes and even though he doesn't find them funny himself, he knows that other people will & he knows that he has a few that he can tell. We also teach him that just because you tell a joke & people find it funny once, for some reason ordinary people won't find it equally funny if you tell it over & over again. We teach him that being really close to people makes them feel uncomfortable and constantly remind him about the space that is necessary. We watch Mr Bean, an extreme example of ASD & then talk about what was weird. So, yes, I think alot can be done to help hide ASD traits. I feel sad for DS that it is such bloody hard work, but yes I really, really do think you can do it to some extent
Clearly, there are some traits, like his extremely high anxiety levels that are much harder to hide / mask but you can find strategies to help with all of it

lingle Thu 29-Sep-11 12:11:43

I have some sympathy for LizzieMo here. The online test is not exactly .... intellectually robust is it? Hard to know where to start really. There's a world of difference between enjoying peek-a-boo and actually understanding how to play hide-and-seek. And pointing with an index finger is pretty irrelevant unless you're doing it to show someone something.

I totally accept what Silverfrog says (as usual smile) but the problem is that parents don't see this as a "screening test". They see this as a test as to whether their child "has" or "does not have" autism.

I guess most people would say it's better to have a clumsy screening test than to do nothing.

LOL Arrogantcat. I think the idea is that girls often have a strategy of staying very quiet and imitating like hell so they don't get noticed. Failure to answer questions is then put down to shyness rather than not reading the signals. And I think society finds a silent girl more acceptable than a silent boy sad

LizzieMo Thu 29-Sep-11 12:47:43

Hi again Lingle!! I also think girls with ASD can hide the tendency & need to control things as they are just seen as being 'bossy', which is percieved to be little girl behaviour. Boys being 'controlling' is picked up on alot sooner because it is not seen as acceptable.

DeWe Thu 29-Sep-11 13:26:01

I've just looked at the online test. Find it strange that saying your child enjoys being bounced on the knee puts you up 5%. I haven't yet met a child who enjoys it. In the visitors' comments someone has said that that doesn't count in the marking. Firstly, why bother having it there then? Secondly, ds got 16%, then I changed only that anwser to "no" and he got 12%, so it obviously does count.

I'd be interested to know which answers (if any) give you 0. I have a strong suspicion that everyone starts on 7% (anyone get less than that?) and each +ve answer puts you up a bit, the first two questions not counting.

But in which case saying, as it does at the end, "any positive score indicates the presence of a possible marker for autism" is a little scaremongering surely, if most people would have a positive score. There must be a better way of saying it.

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