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Questions about pointing and joint attention (long, sorry)(9 Posts)
Hi, I am hoping some of you can answer some questions I have about my 12.5 month old DS and his development. He is not yet pointing to share interest, which has me greatly concerned, and I am trying to work out whether there is something problematic in his development or if he is just coming along at his own pace. I feel like he does demonstrate joint attention, but please correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly. If I point to an object, he will turn round and look at it - both things close by and across the room. He has been following my point for many months. Also, if I look past him to something behind him, (if he' spaying attention) he will turn round to check what I'm looking at, even if I don't point. He looks to my face when something or someone is new and unfamiliar, and he will often look for my reaction when he does something in his play (not constantly, but pretty often), and he will catch my eye and smile when he is proud of something he's done or is being cheeky. He does hold up objects and toys for me to see, and enjoys handing me things. He will point to things he can actually touch (such as the dog or pictures in books) so more like poking with his index finger. He will occasionally point to food he wants when he's in his high chair, but also sometimes reaches toward things he wants with an open hand. He does not yet point to direct my attention to something of interest (such as an airplane or bus). Are the other things I mentioned demonstrating joint attention? Should I be worried?
Other things of note. He babbles a lot and it is progressively becoming more speech-like, but I don't know whether to say he has any official words. I think he might say Mama, maybe Dada, and dog. However, these seem a little inconsistent, and I'm not sure whether it's true words or conveniently timed babble. He does seem to understand some basic language - looks to the correct person/thing when named (Dada, brother's name, Grandma, dog's name, Christmas tree, outside, trucks, etc.). He understands "come here" and "no" and maybe a few other words and commands. His play seems normal for the most part, but he does do some repetitive actions, which I recently posted about on behaviour/development, as I know some repetition is normal in young toddlers, but not sure how much. He likes to put things in and out, up and down off a table, things like that. He can usually be easily distracted from this, but does seem to enjoy it. Other than that, he plays with things, bangs things, throws things, drives cars along, pushes his push toy, and likes to check out whatever his big brother is doing. He is somewhat interested in books but won't sit still for more than one or two quick ones. He is very attached to me and wants to be picked up a lot, and currently has quite a bit of stranger anxiety. He smiles and laughs a lot at home, but rarely smiles for strangers while out and about - he likes to stare at them but studies them warily and will bury his face in my neck shyly. He is very uncooperative with doing baby "tricks" on command - has occasionally waved a cute greeting but will not wave bye bye when asked, used to give high fives but now fusses and pushes away my hand or laughs about it, will sometimes point to a body part when asked, and other times fuss or ignore me. He does reach to be picked up and pulls up on my legs to be scooped up for a cuddle. He seems very strong willed and likes to do things on his own terms. He is not yet walking, but seems very close, and he crawls and cruises very well. He eats mostly anything and drinks water from his cup.
Sorry for the extremely long post. I guess I am just wondering if it seems like his joint attention is developing properly, as with the absence of proper pointing I am a bit worried and I tend to be a very anxious person. Obviously no one can tell me for certain whether all is well. I do have a nephew on the autistic spectrum so I have a little experience but he is older and I don't remember toddler days very much.
Thanks for taking the time to read and help.
He sounds absolutely fine - and very sweet.
At 9 months my son did not point to attract my attention to things of interest. He did lots of the things that your DS does. At 7 this year we got his diagnosis of ASD. Asperger variety based on comments by the paws. We had known for along time that he was "quirky". The diagnosis helps us advocate for him at school but if it weren't for that we might never have bothered with it. He's socially active (ignored most children until 3.5y) but makes mistakes which might start to cost him as he gets older. You may be worrying about nothing but you may have good reason, so just in case keep notes of developmental milestones and things you think odd. You could consider trying to do a drop in at a children's centre with a SALT for an opinion and maybe a referral to check hearing. The fact you are here posting probably means there may be something- mothers do know in most cases.
Thanks all. Tartanterror, can you tell me a bit more about what your DS was like at 12 months? You say he was not pointing to show at 9 months, but was he pointing soon afterward? Nine months seems pretty young - or at least most of the babies I know were not pointing at that age. However, as I said, I am starting to worry about my DS not doing it as he approaches 13 months. I was hoping the following a point, showing and giving objects etc. was enough to show joint attention, but as I said, I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly so attempting to clarify. Thanks for the help.
9 months is early to worry - DS1, who is neuro-typical, didn't point until 15 months.
If you're worried take a look at the m-chat - even though it's for older children.
Pointing is expected by 18 months and if he is able to follow a point and brings you things I would say that was joint and shared attention. DS1 who has ASD was pointing by a year but he never brought me things and he still can't follow a point aged 11.
I would never dismiss parental concern as sometimes you pick up on something that you can't quite articulate, but his development as you describe sounds very typical for child of his age. The talking point website has ages and stages information you may find useful and I think they have a helpline/email help facility if you wanted clarification on joint attention. www.talkingpoint.org.uk/
Hi. I'm afraid I can't say too much as I hadn't noticed that he didn't point! It was years later I realised the significance. I think it was 9 months as we were in the control group for a Pointing study (we wrecked the researcher's sample) which was presumably the ASD research in early development which came out around that time!! I will look out the certificate and check dates....
Sorry - not 9 months at all! He was just under 16months - don't panic! Sorry!