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my 21 month old shows signs of autism

(19 Posts)
user1486640640 Sun 31-Mar-19 13:45:31

hello, I've never really posted on here and I'm just wondering if anyone can help me or has any advice?
it might be nothing to worry about but my son is showing some signs of having autism. he is in speech therapy and possibly getting referred for a diagnosis in 3 months if speech hasn't improved.
he is a very social boy and loves playing with other children and adults. his eye contact has always been amazing and he loves playing games such as chase, how big is he today, round and round the garden, and peekaboo.
however he is still not talking. he says mummy and daddy but hasn't said this in a few days, he copies words we say though. he understands simple commands, but very simple. such as come here, wheres the cat, and go in here. he doesn't point (used to but not anymore) doesn't wave (again stopped doing it) and doesn't show me his toys. but he does pretend to feed me and gives me kisses when i ask for them. he head bangs when he is angry and its hard to get him out of a tantrums. he hand leads, for example, grabs my hands to make me tickle him and claps my hands for me, rarely he will clap himself. he copies you when you blow raspberries. he doesn't dance anymore.
I do have quite bad anxiety so I'm constantly going over this in my mind. sorry for rambling its been such a bad week.

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ElyElyOy Sun 31-Mar-19 20:01:39

My son who is nearly 2 is being queried for ASD and is on the assessment pathway (which I’ve been told can be 2-3 years even with an early referral) and he sounds nothing like your son. Your son sounds like he is showing understanding and his eye contact and social side sounds great.

Lots of toddlers bang their heads when they are angry, and also lots of children don’t talk until a lot later (and other factors can come in to play with that like hearing etc). Sometimes they can stop pointing because they don’t need too, have you tried “making” him point by holding two options of food in front of him etc?

Have you done the MCHAT test online? It’s quite a good tool.

user1486640640 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:17:58

hi, I hope you get the answers you need with your son,

yes I've tried the mchat and hes a 4 out of 10, he reaches out for one of the options and screams when asked to speak. I'm starting to think its more speech apraxia or dyslexia but he never really pointed a great deal anyway. and I'm told that pointing is very common among children with speech and language delays.

as a downside with mine and his fathers parenting, we didn't really engage in play with him or encourage pointing or waving because we didn't think it would lead to any issues. There was alot of arguing in the house when we were together for quite some time too. And i beat myself up for it every day.

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Goldmandra Sun 31-Mar-19 21:28:14

Don't beat yourself up. You don't have to actively teach those skills. They are learned naturally by children from observing others around them.

An argumentative relationship is very unlikely to have had such a huge effect on your child's development, especially if he had a secure relationship with you.

It sounds like a neurodevelopmental assessment could be a good thing. Don't try to pre-empt the outcome though. If they carry one out, you will be asked to provide your thoughts and observations of him and these will contribute to the outcome.

I hope you get some reassuring answers soon.

user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 06:46:23

Hi Thankyou for your reply, it’s a waiting game because they want to wait till he’s 2 before going through the diagnosis process. But I’m going to speak with some autism helplines today and see what their advice is because I hate the “wait and see” process. All I keep thinking is what if he is autistic and I could be getting him some early intervention help right now.

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user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 10:35:46

Just a quick update, he babbles to me quite a bit, depending on his mood as ALOT of his teeth are coming in all at once so i know he is in a great deal of pain.
So this morning he has woken up speaking gibberish and hes listening to questions with eye contact, and responds verbally to questions like do you want some toast and do you want a yogurt. Answering to his name perfectly today as well. If I'm not looking at me hell laugh and wait for me to smile at him.
I'm in the queue to speak with the autism helpline, I know there's a possibility it wont be autism. Also ican is calling me back when they're not so busy I've left my name and phone number.

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Mummy0ftwo12 Mon 01-Apr-19 11:26:02

He could just be a late talker, mine was (single words just before 3) and his understanding was also delayed, there is a fab website called teachmetotalk which I found really useful,

user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 13:04:02

thankyou, ill have to check it out

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AladdinMum Mon 01-Apr-19 17:16:04

No words at 21M is not really concerning, only 8 words are needed at 18M, so it would be considered as a mild speech delay - these delays tend to clear up by themselves or even faster with some speech therapy. Your description does have a few concerns, however the most concerning one would be the loss of skills - when a child looses previously acquired skills, specially communicative gesturing skills then it should always be taken seriously as it could be a regression (also referred to as the onset of autism), regressions tend to happen between 12-24M. He should be seen a developmental pediatrician.

However he does have great imitation skills, so that is great! smile However he is using your hands to perform his actions as he sees your hands as tools (and not as hands attached to a person), also refereed to as hand leading. Eye contact should be used to communicate, so for example in social referencing; it's not how long he looks at your eyes but the quality, so for example if a child only looks at your eyes (for long periods) when playing peek-a-boo, chase or other games but not in the context of social referencing or when you speak to him or while initiating a 3 point gaze then it would be classified as poor eye contact.

How is his pretend play? does he push cars while saying "vroom vroom beep beep", or play using pretend food and plates, or does he feed his teddy bears with pretend food, or does he use boxes or other items as hats? that is the type of pretend play expected at 18M.

user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 19:03:27

His eye contact in social settings is absolutely amazing, he loves playing on his car mat with his cars and plays with toys the right way, he pretends to feed me as well.
He’s been sharing and showing a lot with his toys today which is brand new.
It wasn’t many skills he lost it was just the pointing and the waving but he never pointed to get my attention anyway.
The hand leading is quite worrying for me too and the lack of pointing, he tried to wave at a kid in the doctors today but was screaming too loud lol
I’m really at a crossroads, whether to get him in for an early assessment or to just wait and see, I want him assessed early but I’m not sure he’s got enough of the symptoms for me to be panicking this badly, I just don’t know anymore

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user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 19:58:32

Isn’t it possible that the hand leading with the clapping is because that’s what me and the rest of my family constantly used to get his hands and clap them for him, till not so long ago? Just a thought

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user1498572889 Mon 01-Apr-19 20:25:05

Is his hearing ok? Does he respond to you talking when not looking at you. My son had a problem with his hearing but it was only apparent when he was not looking at us when we spoke.

Mummy0ftwo12 Mon 01-Apr-19 20:25:42

My son was 2 years 5 months before he pointed, he did it just after his second speech therapy session, I was very worried about autism have a look at the chart on this page

user1486640640 Mon 01-Apr-19 20:49:48

When he’s busy and playing sometimes he doesn’t respond but as I’ve been observing a lot and I mean a lot of kids don’t either. But he’s been responding beautifully today, his hearings fine it’s the first test they did before referring us to speech therapy.
I honestly think that I’m overly worried about it, I’ve got anxiety and OCD so at the minute I’m absolutely fixated on this and losing sleep over it. All my family are more worried about me than him and his dads at his wits end with me constantly talking about it.
His only real symptoms that I know for a fact that he has is pointing and hand leading (and he follows a point and he’s not doing as much hand leading as before, but I hand lead him to try make him do stuff and always have done so you tell me) as of today as he’s been pretending to eat from a bowl and fork with nothing in it, and he’s been sharing with me today. The tv has been turned off completely and this past two weeks I’ve seen a massive change in him, even my friends think so.

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AladdinMum Tue 02-Apr-19 10:03:14

@user1486640640 - that is great, he has many great skills, specially the showing and giving of things of interest (so not to request for help but just to show you). Yes, him using your hands to clap can be a form of imitation if that is what you do with his hands. True hand leading will be very obvious and it's all about communication. For example, if a child wants to open a door, if he is hand leading he will take your hand pull you towards the door, put your hand on the handle and try to push on your hand to open the door without even looking at you (i.e. no bids for help) while a child that is not hand leading with limited speech will take your hand, push you to the door, at the door he will let go of your hand, tap/point to the handle and if you ignore him he will look up at you (gesturing and eye contact is used to communicate). No one here will be able to tell you for sure if your son has autism or not, but if he does get eventually diagnosed then it will a very mild presentation and with a mum like you behind him he will have a very bright future ahead smile

To end in a happy note, have a look at this link, it shows how children at this age can progress incredibly quickly in a matter of weeks. The link contains a very recent example of a mother whose son at 17/18M was failing the MCHAT and ASQ, had weak pointing, had speech delays and then within six months (so at 24M) he was scoring top marks in the MCHAT, ASQ and ASQ-SE and totally caught up with his peers or in some cases beat them. The mother shows a very interesting weekly time line of his progress - worth a read smile

user1486640640 Tue 20-Aug-19 08:43:41

Hi just thought I’d give an update if anyone is wondering, my son has a speech delay and is in speech therapy, and he understands a lot more than he always lets on haha!
He’s grown out of a lot of things that looked like symptoms of autism, he’s waving, pointing and he responds to his name all the time now even nicknames. The speech therapists aren’t worried about him and he got discharged from the hospital sessions and referred to a place just for speech therapy.
He sometimes says peppa pig, mummy and variations of it, and dada and bot bot (for bottle) his childminder says she catches him practicing talking when she leaves the room but when she comes back he laughs and goes shy
He’s getting there but it’s taking a little longer than normal but that’s okay
And he’s not scoring 0 on Mchat test!

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AladdinMum Fri 23-Aug-19 00:18:50

That is great! excellent update!

Jarw Mon 26-Aug-19 22:09:39

I think your son will be okay. Like you I worried alot and worst thing you can do is google symptoms like I did, I started obsessing with him doing this and not doing that etc. My son is 20 months old and just started clapping and waving. We've waved and clapped with him since he was a few months old but once he's picked it up he's able to do it on command. Like your son mine doesn't talk he says a few words like mama, dada, shoes and I do think he really tries to say other words because I'm always naming things for him. My son is good at following commands and we do see him picking up more and more as the weeks go by. Although I'm not that worried there are a few things that do still worry me about him, he isn't talking yet, he doesn't bring he's toys to show me although he does give them to me most of the time if I ask for them. If we go out and I let him walk he just wonders off, doesn't stop to check where me or his father are unless I say bye bye then he normally stands there looking at me but will carry on and not follow us. He has no personal attachment to any toy. I think a lot of it though is the health advisors, sometimes they really don't help. My HA kept telling us that my son needed to be doing certain things by certain age but every child is different.

user1486640640 Wed 11-Sep-19 11:43:20

My sons just started waving in the last couple of months and he used to wave backwards haha (palm facing him). Does your son understand more than he can talk? The speech therapists and health visitors all said that its a good sign if the understanding is there. For example, my son is now 2yrs and 3months and if I say we’re going out he’ll run to the front door, or bath time he’ll go to the stairs, same with bed time. The other day I said to him, put the ball on the trampoline and he picked his ball up and threw it on the trampoline, the speech isn’t necessarily a massive thing especially at your babies age, it’s the understanding that they look for. And eye contact and communication etc, he sounds like he’s doing the same thing my son did, babbling and not speaking much

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