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I’m not really sure why I’m posting this but here goes. I suspect my 16 month old is on the spectrum.
He is a lovely little boy but I’m worried about his development. He has no words, doesn’t point or wave and isn’t yet walking (he cruises and uses his Walker lots but doesn’t have the confidence to let go for more than a second)
He hates messy play but loves water, splashing and general rough and tumble play. He also likes to read the same books with me over and over again, sitting in my lap or reading books on his own. He smiles and giggles lots, loves being tickled and playing peak a boo. He plays with a variety of his toys but there are clear favourites.
He has been on the later side for all his milestones so far and was born at nearly 37 weeks after I had an accident (so not a spontaneous labour).
He commando crawled from 9 months but only started properly crawling and pulling to stand a week before his 1st birthday. He makes lots of noises, babbles lots and has variety in his babbles but not clear words. His hearing is fine, he responds to his name but doesn’t follow any instructions such as where is your book. He is fine with loud places (when we used to get to go to a baby group and swimming) and he loves being at a park watching the other children.
He also has some concerning behaviours- funny about some food textures (he eats well but will only have apple cooked and mashed for example and doesn’t like sloppy food), he shakes his head lots (particularly around bedtime) and hums to himself.
I just have this feeling that he is and as we haven’t been around a lot of other children I don’t know what is normal. All his peers I do know about seem miles ahead of him.
I guess I’m writing because I’m scared- I get so frustrated with his lack of communication as he knows what he wants but can’t/won’t tell me or show me. I have never shouted though I feel like it but I feel so guilty that I can’t seem to give him what he needs. He started nursery recently and they haven’t raised any concerns yet. I just don’t know how I will cope if he is non verbal. I’ve tried talking to my husband but he just tells me not to worry.
Just to add my HV is aware of my concerns from our check at 14months (12 month check which is the normal in my area). Told me they won’t do anything until he is 18 months and not walking, or 2 years and not talking. I think this was meant to reassure me but i just get more anxious as we are getting closer to that now and if there are things I can be doing to help him now I want to know if that makes sense.
Hi @Dragon23 I have found this post today while searching about my 17 month old son. I have taken him to the doctors with a concern about his hearing but have made the mistake of googling and am now down a deep dark hole and very concerned about autism. He is very physical and was walking at 11 months so has always been ok with those milestones. But he doesn’t respond to his name much, doesn’t really say any words, doesn’t really point, wave or clap his hands despite lots of encouragement. Because of the lockdowns I had no idea that these sorts of things were important as I haven’t had any other kids to compare him to. He’s getting referred for a hearing test to check for glue ear as that was my initial concern but I’m not so sure now. It’s really worrying isn’t it, I’m just wondering if the lockdowns are slowing their social development down.
My little girl has just turned two. At 16 months she also couldn't wave or point. She could however clap her hands from about 9 months!
She started pointing literally the day she turned 18 months, waving a few weeks later and now talking lots! Pointing isn't considered late until after 18 months. So your little one is still in the normal range at the minute.
I phoned the local speech therapist advice line for advice when I was concerned and it was actually really reassuring. They assured me that most children don't start pointing until about 15 months, but can obviously happen either side.
Hi. Thank you. It is good to hear from others that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Lockdown has made it really hard and one of my closest mum friend’s child seems so advanced (walked at 10 months and putting words together at 17 months). I know you shouldn’t compare and he will do it in his own time but it does worry me. @Justbecause88 I hope that you get somewhere with the hearing test. I think my little boy’s hearing is ok. He responds to his name (most of the time) and if I even try to eat something without him knowing he is over in a shot. I’m trying to keep off Google as it just seems to be anxiety inducing.
@CP2701 That is reassuring to hear- he claps (lots but I can’t remember when he did it first), loves anything musical (I made him homemade shakers and a drum which he loves and his toy xylophone), does kisses and high five. Just no waving or pointing. I have tried some baby signing with him and he doesn’t really do that either.
I just feel so guilty as he wasn’t ready when he came (I had an accident which ruptured my membranes so he had to be induced). the first few weeks we were back and forth from hospital with failure to thrive and jaundiced. So the combo of the above just makes me feel like it’s my fault. I’ll try not to worry and wait it out like the health visitor said. Thank you.
I wouldn't worry for now as nothing you mentioned is concerning at 16M, if he was 19M then it would be different, so he still has 3M and 3M in terms of development time is an enormous amount of time at their age. In addition being born at 37 weeks is only 1 week premature as 38 weeks onwards is considered full term so that shouldn't be a big problem in terms of potential harm affecting his development.
@AladdinMum thank you I do need to remember that 2 months is an age in terms of development as this age.
I do think his early birth could have had an affect though. He wasn’t engaged at my appointment the day before my labour and likely he would of been born a couple of weeks later if it had been natural labour rather than triggered by an accident. So although 38 weeks onwards is considered term that is to take account of the range at which babies come naturally. If he had been born before 37 weeks they would be correcting for his gestational age (base on 40 weeks). We had a tough time the first few weeks after he was born and the paediatrician at the time commented that these were probably connected to him coming before he was ready. Luckily his physical health has recovered but it is difficult to know if some of his delays are because of this or sign of ASD.
@Dragon23 If it helps, and while unproven, current research tends to agree that the differences in the brain that cause ASD (and other developmental pervasive disorders) tend to occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, so in the first three months after conception as this is when the brain and spinal cord are formed.
@AladdinMum Thank you. I’ve probably not worded that last post very well. I don’t think the labour etc caused him to have ASD. I’m aware it is probably a combo of genetics and early womb development. It is that I worry that he has the signs of ASD but equally wonder if him being on the later side of developing (in all areas) is due to him being early rather than ASD. As you said 2 months is a long time in development at this age so I just need to wait it out and I guess not worry about something I can’t change. Thank you.
Most premature babies aren't engaged when they are born. They can come early for a variety of reasons, health reasons for the mother, results of bumps, lack of growth, too much growth, etc. They are not all the results of a spontaneous sudden onset of labour. I was actually under the impression that 37 weeks was full term. This is what my midwife told me (Scotland).
You sound like you are doing all you can for him now he is here and that is all you can do! He is still young, he still has so much time to develop. Try and remain positive and enjoy him.
I'm sorry to read of your concerns, I wanted to post to offer some solidarity- this stage is my least favourite of parenting when I worry about development (did with eldest child and am now with youngest). I feel like I'm watching every little development (or non-development) so closely and worry every day.
My DS sounds quite similar to yours although he is younger at 13 months. He was born at the same gestation as your DS and likewise we were back in hospital with jaundice and weight gain was very slow. He does not understand anything I ask of him, has no words but rather likes to roar a lot, does not clap nor point. He also cannot crawl or cruise let alone walk. So he's delayed in several areas and that's what has me worried. He now does wave, play peekaboo and play with musical instruments but is a poor eater.
I'm also probably getting ahead of myself but I'm likewise concerned about him being non-verbal as he is very quiet apart from the roaring and growling that he does. HV is aware but help not forthcoming until at least 15m for the physical side and much later for anything else. Wish I knew what I could proactively do now to help, if anything. All I have done so far is started to give him omega 3 supplementation. In some ways I wish I could just speed up time a bit so I knew what I was dealing with, I can't stand the unknown.
My son never did any of those until he turned 18 months. He started pointing at 18 months but started pointing to request things and sharing interest into his 19th month. A lot does change as pp mentioned. My DS went through stages such as hand flapping at 16 months which caused alarm bells but that lasted about a month. He is speech delayed at 22 months, but this month it feels like he is picking up a new word a day. Last week he had 20 words and this week we are nearly hitting 30 words where he uses to it request things and in correct context but for ages, let's just say for months he had 5 words at a push. A lot does change op all of a sudden. Keep your hv updated but in the meantime, enjoy him.
@Bottlebottle sorry to hear of your concerns for your little boy. It is the unknown that I find hard. I don’t want to wish the time away but I also just want to get to knowing if that makes sense. He seems to be making some progress with his walking as he is using his push Walker more and using furniture lots. He also is coming to me and taking my hands lots to do some walking (something he wasn’t keen on before). Thank you for the solidarity. Hope you make some progress soon.
@candycrushsaga that is reassuring to hear. Thank you. His crawling was like that- he showed no real interest in being on his hands and knees then literally just before he turned 1 he was off. Same with sitting himself up- I saw no attempts of him trying to do it then during one nap I saw him on the monitor sat up wondering how he had done it.
Thank you everyone that has provided solidarity or reassurance. I’m going to focus on making the most of my days off with him and enjoy each moment as they come for now.
@Dragon23 as a first time mother, I would say the months between11-18 were the months I least enjoyed because of these developmental milestones. For instance, my DS was cruising at 9 months but didn't take his first steps until 14 months and walking at 15 months. You think you're not making progress and then suddenly they do it. Even with his speech, for months we had 5 words at a push and then suddenly overnight he is learning one word per day and doing all the things that I never imagined he would do. One thing I regret is I had sleepless nights for months worrying and he did reach his milestones but on the late side. Also, if he is concentrating on one skill walking for instance, he would put the other skills such as social and communication second on his list to do when he gets the chance after mastering his first skills.
I wouldn’t be concerned until he is at least 18months old. This all sounds quite normal, even if it’s later than others or whatever. My son was the same, the last of his friends to walk and then seemed behind with speech but he hit 2.5yo and boom... word/sentence explosion.
Is your little one at nursery? If not, send him. Because they will help and also be able to tell if there’s any concerns. I was quite anxious about my little boy but the nursery were adamant he was fine as he is!
To be blunt, if it is ASD you are highly unlikely to get a diagnosis at this age, or any time soon. The waiting lists are huge. None of the things you describe would get you anywhere near a diagnosis. He's too young. In short, you can't do anything about it at the moment so no point stressing.
Let's look at the reality:
He is hitting milestones within the parameters of normal. If everyone was early, we wouldn't have that age range would we. If/when he starts missing them, you can start investigation.
He is not from what you say displaying any really worrying or difficult behaviours. He's not spending hours screaming or not sleeping at all! He smiles! He giggles! He responds to his name! Brilliant!
If it IS autism, well obviously us parents want our children's lives to be easier and we think autism will make it harder for them. But you will love your child and they will be brilliantly themselves regardless.
@nanbread Thank you. Yes a lot of this boils down to not wanting him him to have a difficult life or challenges. I have severe dyslexia (completely different I know) and struggled a lot at school and don’t want that for him. My cousin is autistic and I’ve seen how much he and my aunt have struggled over the years to get what he needs. Sadly early intervention can make a real difference but you are right about waiting lists. Until he does miss those milestones there is very little I can do, I just don’t want to be that parent who could have done something to help earlier. I want him to have the best that I can give. I love him regardless but my heart does break at the thought of the difficulties he may have. I know getting ahead of myself here but I have these doubts and not being able to see him around other children probably doesn’t help that.