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20 month old, no words, pointing or pretend play

(4 Posts)
doll84 Fri 13-Jan-17 15:34:06

Hello all! I am just after some insight for those of you with children who have ASD. We are currently in the process of having DS2 evaluated for Autism. At his 18 month development check there were a few red flags highlighted. Up to this point I had no concerns about him so it was a bit of a shock to hear the paediatrician talk about possible problems.

Currently he has no words, and he seems to have little comprehension of what I am saying to him. He doesn't point or gesture towards things and he does not bring things to us to show us.
He has always been a perfectly happy and content little boy. As a baby there were no problems, and people used to remark how smiley and happy he was. He's still like that to this day. He is very affectionate towards us and has excellent eye contact. He will look at things that we point to, but he has never pointed himself. He holds his hands out to us when he wants to be picked up and will hold his hands out and/or cry looking in the direction of his bottle when he wants it. Around 12 months old he was trying to copy us when we sang "ee-eye-ee-eye-OH" and this progressed to him saying "quack,quack". In the park he used to run towards the ducks saying "quack, quack". However, since his 18 month development check my husband and I have both made an extra effort to work on his speech with him, but have both noticed that since we started this he had stopped saying anything. He has lots of babbling and other noises, but anything remotely legible has stopped in the last couple of months. He loves to sit down and flick through books and when we make the sounds of "moo" and "baa" he smiles and looks at our mouths making these sounds but doesn't make any effort himself. When we sing nursery rhymes to him he smiles like he recognises the songs. He loves being chased around the house by both my husband and I, and his brother, and will sometimes initiate this with his brother. He seems to understand when we say "ready, steady, go!" because he takes off expecting us to chase after him. My husband plays peek a boo with him and he loves it, and he also loves to jump on the bed with his brother which he finds hilarious. He also likes to hug other children, but Im not convinced he has any meaningful interaction with them. He will sit down with toys and play with them, like building blocks etc, and he loves to sit at the piano and press the keys.

He has always been a good sleeper and is also a good eater. From early on he mastered feeding himself and drinks from both a bottle and sippy cup by himself. He has no problems so far in busy or crowded places and will actually embrace it quiet well. He is a big climber and is obsessed with water, but so is his older brother who has no signs of autism. He only usually responds to his name if he isn't distracted by something else, or if it is my husband or I calling him. He never has tantrums and friends and family members that know him describe him as being the most chilled out child, but I'm beginning to think this isn't necessarily a good thing.

I feel like he has great connection with us and his creche report they have no problems with him. Sometimes I do feel like he is in a world of his own and I catch him sometimes just staring into space. When he gets excited he sometimes flaps his hands, or else will run up and down the room bent forward with his hands behind his back like he is about to take off flying!

We have a speech and language assessment coming up soon and I guess I am just stressing over all about it. It doesn't help that Im 36 weeks pregnant with boy no.3!!! I guess I am afraid his behaviour will start to deteriorate and we will lose our happy, loving little boy, and I am just apprehensive that a new baby soon will make things worse because he is very attached to me.

I know there is a process to go through with various professionals and we are still a long way off a diagnosis, but there is definitely something there with the language and communication delay right? I feel like I am scrutinising everything he does.

Any reassuring words or advice would be greatly appreciated.

FrayedHem Fri 13-Jan-17 22:23:59

You're doing the right thing in going forward with the referrals and assessments. It can be a real see-saw of emotions when you start to realise your child may have some difficulties, especially when they in themselves are quite content.

Pointing is expected by 18 months and that with the lack of speech and pretend play are very much things to get looked at. It may be autism but only a thorough assessment will determine that. I did find the assessment process at times just felt very negative, but the reality actually was it was a recording of his abilities, not a criticism IYKWIM. More importantly it should give you some ideas on how to help him and open up any relevant support for him.

I think all siblings can struggle with a new arrival, it's anecdotal but DS1 (who has ASD and was 20 months when DS2 was born but was not dx then) was besotted with DS2 (until he learnt to crawl anyway!).

I'm not sure any of that is helpful, but I just wanted to reply as I recognise the feeling well. Oh and good luck with the new baby!

zzzzz Sat 14-Jan-17 09:21:44

I have no idea if he has autism or not, but he is developing differently to most nt children from your description. Just to put one fear to rest my ds probably has the dx you are worried about (severe language disorder and asd) and is still at 11 a lovely cuddly affectionate child. He attends a SS and is disabled not just quirky. He is the middle of 5 children and very loved and loving. What really benefitted my son was being allowed to grow at his own pace. He needs more of the same sort of things you would do for any child. It's tiring but we are happy.

Biscuitrules Sat 14-Jan-17 15:23:49

Hi, your little boy sounds lovely. My DS2 sounds similar to yours at the same age, a very affectionate happy easy going child who interacted with us non-verbally and fit in very easily with family life but had no language and limited social communication, e.g. rarely responded to his name and didn't do back and forth joint attention.

I just wanted to offer reassurance in that DS3 is now nearly 3 and is currently being evaluated for ASD. I don't know where we will end up on that particular journey - he still has limited social communication and no spoken language - but he is still exactly the same affectionate easy-going character, incredibly happy, and a complete joy to be around. He has a decent level of receptive language and fits in with family life easily. All children with ASD present differently and there are a lot of unhelpful rules and stereotypes (e.g. people have said to me that DS2 cannot have ASD because he is affectionate, which isn't true at all).

Your description of your son's character makes it sound as though he may be fine over a new baby. Just do all the usual things (presents from baby, lots of praising him for being a big boy) and see how it goes.

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