Very quiet baby - worrying myself silly

(128 Posts)
Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 01:22:00

Sitting here worrying myself silly in the middle of the night about my son. He is almost nine months old and he is just **so** quiet. He has a boisterous older brother, but ds2 just sits there watching him play. ds2 is a very happy little boy and is always smiling, sleeps well, is always grabbing my face, putting his hand in my mouth, loves cuddles, loves his toys and has not got a problem with eye contact. However, the only noises he makes are laughing, crying, occasional vowel sounds and a lot of "Mmmmm, mummm" noises when eating his food. I am worrying already that he has a language delay problem and have been looking at all your posts about autism and apraxia. Do you think it is too early to be worried? What else should I look for in order for it to be something like autism or apraxia?

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zaphod Sat 15-May-04 03:11:20

I too have a nine month old, that I had convinced myself was autistic becuase he would not make eye contact until he was about 6-8 weeks old. He does all that your 9 month old does, sits up and now crawls. Your ds sounds the same as mine, what exactly is your worry? My friends baby is same age, but not sitting or crawling, but he is OK, seems that you may be worrying unnecessarily. All children develop at different rates, wait until your children hit school! It sounds to me like you have a very happy little boy, who is engaged in the world. Please don't worry.

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 05:37:45

I am worried that he is just SO quiet - he doesn't talk/babble to himself. In every other way he is fine, he just doesn't seem to want to communicate verbally and virtually no sound, other than laughing or crying passes his lips.

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Jimjams Sat 15-May-04 08:09:22

Does he ever copy you? For example - first time you gave him a beaker- did he know what to do with it- or did you have to show him how to drink from it? Does he try to copy actions (although its still fairly early for that)? How was he at rolling? How about falling backwards- would he know to stop himself? What sort of things does he like looking at? Most of my son's obvious autism signs really came after a year old. No pointing, manic laughing at nothing much, repetitive play, an obvious inability to copy.

By 9 months he "should" be making dadada type babble noises, but there's lots of things that children "should" do that they do later. And to be honest the speech process (eg babbling) is the least important (and most variable) in the whole of language development.

Dos he gaze monitor? In other words will he look at you to see what you are looking at? That's an early important stage of langauge development and begins to develop around now. This eventually builds up to pointing- which develops in stages but starts from around 12 months.

My autistic son was a very passive baby- although he smiled, babbled, spoke early. Although I think he regressed around a year. My NT (but completely useless speech) ds2 didn't babble until 10 months, but could copy from a very early age so I knew he was fine.

It's easy to read too much into things. Your son may be just different from your eldest child.

foxinsocks Sat 15-May-04 08:16:28

what about his hearing? do you have any worries about that? because if he has a hearing problem it will affect his speech. I can't remember when they do hearing tests but I do know some children who get glue ear (after colds etc.) and it has affected their speech development (just talking later rather than a permanent problem).

foxinsocks Sat 15-May-04 08:22:14

oops just read that and it sounds a bit insensitive...I'm sure everything is Ok. My second was quiet for ages and I'm sure its because he had an elder child to watch. Having said that, once he hit toddlerdom, nothing could stop him and he is more chatty and vivacious than his older sister. Hearing is important and if you think he's not making sounds then it's better to get it properly checked early. Hope that helps.

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 08:59:58

He had some problems passing his hearing test. It had to be re-done and I am a little concerned they said he had passed with rather a poor result in one ear - i.e. he seemed to be hearing with the other ear and turning his head all the way around IYSWIM
He copies me - loves to drink from an open cup, doesn't have a bottle as he prefers a cup, has just grabbed Daddy's mug and started drinking from it.
He was very ill in December with bronchiolitis and his weight plummetted - his chest is still rattly after 5 months.
Agree I shouldn't compare - my eldest son has just had his 2 year test and I was told he has the speech of a 3 year old.
Still very worried as no sign of verbal sounds from ds2 (occasional Ahhh or OO - but not often)

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Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 09:18:47

jimjams - not much rolling over yet (ds1 was the same). He's 'launching' himself towards a crawl recently. Not sure about gaze monitor will test. Very strong legs and stands alone when let go for a couple of seconds. Fascinated by his brother and **has** to do everything his brother does i.e wanted to drink from his brother's cup very early on, and very pleased with himself when he did.
Just **no** consonant sounds at all and very few oos and ahhs. He just watches with no sounds.
One thing he does do is 'talk' to himself by "ummming" all through his meals. You know what I mean - the sort of "MMMummming" that says "this food is good"....

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Jimjams Sat 15-May-04 10:31:38

well if he's copying everything his elder brother does (and stuff you do) then I would think it very unlikely he's autistic! Inability to imitate is one of the major problems autistics have (and why learning is hard for them- although they can be taught to copy).

Lack of babbling can indicate verbal dyspraxia, or hearing problems (although you would probably have other clues of a hearing problem) but more often than not it isn't a sign of anything. It would be too early to tell anyway tbh. Some children with verbal dyspraxia have other dyspraxia's as well- but many don't.

TBH I'm fairly sure that ds2 does have verbal dyspraxia, but really it's not that much of a problem (except in very extreme forms- and usually that is only seen when children have other problems as well- such as low muscle tone). It is a pain in the arse, but it doesn't affect day to day life really. I do spend a bit of time with him working on speech- but having no other problems - that's pretty easy to do tbh. It's also too early to tell at 9 months. I would say keep an eye on his speech as it comes in- I insisted on DS2 being referred to SALT on his 2nd birthday- they were not keen to accept the referral and he hasn't been seen yet (was 2 in January). I suspect we'll get fobbed off until he's 3.

coppertop Sat 15-May-04 10:55:38

Bornworrier - Lots of sympathy. We're going through a similar stage at the moment worrying about ds2 (15 months). His older brother is autistic so I'm not sure how much is copying but it's not looking good.

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 11:09:24

Thanks for your thoughts and insights....

I will watch him carefully (poor chap I have spent all morning trying to 'get him to say something' by ooing and ahhing and mmming at him). He just grins at me, grabs my face and occasionally makes an odd clicking sound with his tongue. He is as bright as a button, has a wicked sense of humour with an infectious laugh which is why I find it strange that he is silent.

My husband started pointing and staring at a picture on the wall and ds2 sort-of turned to see what my husband was looking at (gaze attention?)

I wasn't worried about this until Thursday when my HV said she had never heard of a baby not babbling at 9 months (he was 3 weeks early - make any difference??? She said it didn't) She really put the wind up me. If she hadn't said that I would probably have given him more time to get there on his own. Now I am obssessed (possibly to the detriment of my other son - but I just can't help it )

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coppertop Sat 15-May-04 11:17:39

The HV said she'd never heard of a baby not babbling at 9 months??? I take it she hasn't been a HV for very long then. At his 9mth check ds2 was only making occasional vowel sounds and no "baba mama dada" noises at all. The HV said it was far too early to be worried, even though she knew about ds1's problems. Ds2 eventually started making consonant sounds at about 10mths. In comparison ds1 didn't make any sounds at all at that age. He was pretty much mute at 9mths and no one found it worrying (except us!).

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 11:36:33

Coppertop, that is not the first time she has said something worrying which I have posted on Mumsnet and she has been give a big fat raspberry by those who know better!!!
I am a little re-assured by your words and also because I left ds1&2 having breaskfast together whilst posting here this morning and there was some oooing, ahhing and tongue clicking from the little one.
Has your ds2's vocab progressed normally since 10 months? - didn't your other post say that you are still worried about him, though? I suppose I am still a little concerned since we are where you were with ds1 at 9 months. Although from other posts on here, and because he copies me/his brother, I think **maybe** I can rule out autism?

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coppertop Sat 15-May-04 12:02:29

I'm worried about ds2 because his speech seems to have regressed. At 10 months he started babbling. A few days later he had very clear words - Mummy, Daddy, his name and ds1's name. The words themselves were just a bit too clear and reminded me a lot of how his brother copies words very precisely. Those words have disappeared although he still says dada and mama. I thought I saw him point once at about 12mths but there's been nothing since. I'm not even sure that he can follow a point. He also has the manic laughter that Jimjams describes and does the same spinning and flapping that his brother did. It might just be my paranoia because of ds1's autism. He also seems to have hypersensitive hearing like his brother and the same lack of need for sleep.

He doesn't seem as badly-affected as ds1 was though. Ds1 at 9mths either laughed, cried or was silent. There were no gurgling noises or even sighs. He didn't need much sleep (at his very best he had 8hrs in every 24). I used to worry about deafness but that was probably more paranoia on my part because I started losing my hearing in my early 20's and had a relative who was deaf at birth.

When I mentioned ds2's lack of consonant sounds at the 9mth check-up the HV made it very clear that it was far too early to be concerned. As Jimjams said, they are reluctant to make referrals until much later. Ds2 got his referral to see the speech therapist when he failed his 2yr check-up. I remember actually laughing when the HV asked if ds1 had 20 words. When I said no she said "That's okay. As long as he has about 6 words he's still within the normal range." He didn't even babble until he was nearly 3 - except for a couple of occasions when he frightened the life out of me by reading random words out loud.

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 12:53:54

Thanks.
Is lack of sleep another sign of autism? I am very lucky in that both my boys sleep 7-7....(since 5 months apiece). They both nap between 1 and 2 hours a day.
I have an appt for his actual 8 month check on Weds. with the doctor. Will see what she says about it all.

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frogs Sat 15-May-04 13:28:37

bornworrier -- my understanding is that babbling is not generally related to hearing problems, as even deaf babies will babble. They just won't take it to the next stage and progress into meaningful words with it.

Also, babbling needn't just mean ba-ba, ma-ma sounds, but any kind of vocalisation with a communicative intent. This will generally start off as vowels (cooing) and develop into babbling proper as the baby experiments with consonants.

Babies vary hugely in the types of consonant sounds they use and the ages at which they will introduce them. It's common for particular sounds to feature for a while and then be dropped in favour of something else. Growth spurts and acquisition of new gross motor skills (eg. crawling, walking) often cause a hiatus in babies' communication patterns, as they change their focus from one skill to another.

It's also worth remembering that second and subsequent children may vocalise less as they've got so much going on to distract them. Your son sounds fine to me. Hope this is reassuring.

[Sorry about the undergraduate lecture -- I'll sign up for academics anonymous, I promise!]

Jimjams Sat 15-May-04 13:37:14

Bornworrier- Ahhhh the HV has been at you! Honest to God- even good HV (like mine who is lovely) couldn't recognise a communication disorder if it danced in front of them singing "Im a communication disorder". Stop worrying now. If the only sign is lack of babbling (and everything else sounds fine to me) then it is unlikely to mean anything- and if it does - it is unlikely to be anything serious or unfixable!

Coppertop No pointing at all? How old is he? Sorry I've lost track......

coppertop Sat 15-May-04 13:42:10

Ds2 is 15mths old now. I remember cheering madly when he pointed on his 1st birthday but there's been nothing since. He's very different to ds1 but they do seem to share a lot of similar traits.

Jimjams Sat 15-May-04 13:52:07

Hmmmm chat test? DS2 passed his at 15 months- although of course he has until 18 months.......

My friend has 3 boys, 2nd fairly severely autistic (similar to my ds1 I think). Anyway - she said she knew from birth that ds3 was autistic as he liked watching leaves. She took him to a SALT drop in clinic at 9 months and told them he was autistic- and amazingly they did start to work with him. Now he's 3- and has a diagnosis of semantic pragmatic disorder- have to say he is doing really well- or at least when I see him I think he is.

Also I was able to get ds2 referred for the verbal dyspraxia worries at 2 (rather than 3)- because of his brother's history. You may prefer to wait until he's 18 months- and you can chat test him "officially" iyswim - but in your position, if he doesn't start pointing soon- I would push like hell for an early referral. I think you can self refer to portage- that might be worth doing. It may just be a language delay- but they talk so much about early intervention - you may as well try and get some.

Sorry coppertop- I hope I don't sound too blunt- but I know you've been there before and know what you're doing so I'm not going to fob you off.....

coppertop Sat 15-May-04 14:10:05

Just looked back at the CHAT test and I think ds2 would fail the pointing sections. I'm not sure how much imaginative play a 15mth old should have but I know he tends to mouth his toy cars or spin the wheels rather than push them along the floor etc. I haven't been able to take him to a toddler group so I don't really have an NT child to compare to.

There is a certain element of shared interest as he will sometimes present me with his toys. He also seems to have a far better understanding of turn-taking than ds1 does. If you roll him a ball he will usually roll it back. Ds1 still has to be shown this.

Our portage worker is also a specialist pre-school teacher with the Early Years service so I think I'll ask her what she thinks at our next visit. I've gone from being 99% certain that ds2 is NT down to about 50%.

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 14:41:27

Thanks for the advice. Yes the **only** thing that seems amiss is the lack of babbling so I shall try and stop worrying.
Quick question - what is the significance of pointing? You mention it a few times.

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coppertop Sat 15-May-04 14:53:01

Bornworrier - Children on the autistic spectrum tend not to understand non-verbal communication. A 'normal' (NT) child knows instinctively that if a person points it means that they want you to look at something. An autistic child will often just look at the finger that is doing the pointing. In the same way an NT child knows that they have to let you know if they want something, and so will point at something they want or something that they want to show you. An autistic child assumes that you automatically know what they are thinking and so don't try to point at things to get your attention.

coppertop Sat 15-May-04 14:54:14

Or even DOESN'T try...

Jimjams Sat 15-May-04 15:03:40

sounds a good idea coppertop. I did the same- and asked ds1's SALT whether ds2 needed to be referred wrt to verbal dyspraxia- she did a quick assessment and said yes (but also that he definitely didn't have an asd).

Bornworrier Sat 15-May-04 15:11:14

... so by default a baby that responds every time to my big cheesy smile with a big smile back is responding non-verbally to a non-verbal communication...? Or is that just too simple? ds2 is such a smiler - always responds to people's smiles.

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