Autism in 17 month old or too early to tell?

(3 Posts)
Moonshine160 Tue 18-Aug-20 16:07:56

I know there have been many posts similar to this but I’m hoping for any advice/guidance/reassurance that I can get. I have raised my concerns with family members but I’m instantly told that I’m being paranoid and looking for problems that aren’t there!

My DS is 17 months old tomorrow and is under the care of a consultant, but our appointments at the moment are every 4 months. Due to lockdown he hasn’t been physically seen since November last year. He was initially referred due to excessive flattening of his head (would only look to the right before he gained head control) and had a delay with his gross motor skills. He was finally referred to physiotherapy and after one session we saw dramatic improvements. He couldnt sit unsupported until he was 11 months, but once he could do that he then rolled, crawled etc on his own and he also started walking two weeks ago, so there is no longer a concern as far as his gross motor skills are concerned. The consultant at hospital has said he has a potential cognitive and language delay, but again this isn’t going to be explored further for another 4 months.

My concerns are as follows:
- He doesn’t point, clap or wave.
- He won’t feed himself unless it’s a food he loves.
- He can’t say any words other than mama and dada, which he doesn’t seem to associate with mum and dad, he’ll just randomly say it. He will babble a lot though.
- He is selective when it comes to responding to his name, he will look at me occasionally but not if he’s engrossed in something, or he’ll just be staring into space.
- he doesn’t bring any toys over to me or try to show me anything.
- he doesn’t seem to communicate anything with me, for example I have no idea if he’s hungry or wants a drink or anything like that.

Other info -
- he’s very smiley and sociable, and enjoys interaction with other children. He’s very inquisitive and loves to people watch.
- he’s very active, doesn’t sit still for long, always climbing.
- he isn’t very cuddly but will occasionally come over for cuddles and he kisses us.
- he will put his arms out to be picked up.
- he will copy certain things we do, for example brushing teeth, brushing his hair, trying to put on his dads glasses, cleaning the floor with wipes.
- he understands some things I say, for example if I say ‘daddy’s home’ he will excitedly go to the back door to greet him from work, or if I say breakfast time he will go to where his high chair is.
- he sleeps well and eats fairly well.

I know he’s still so young and it’s probably a waiting game at the moment but does anyone have any advice? I go through phases where I try not to think and worry about it, and I hate to compare, but when I see him around other children of the same age he just hardly seems to communicate at all in comparison. Also, autism runs in DH’s family. Both his aunt and uncle (his mums brother and sister) have it. His uncle is severely affected by it and has lived with his elderly mother all his life and never been able to work. Neither his aunt or uncle have ever had any relationships. Is there anything I can do other than wait? Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
BlankTimes Tue 18-Aug-20 18:52:16

Sorry, I think all you can do is wait and see.
The MChat-R screening tool isn't used until 2 years of age.

In the meantime, you can ask for his hearing to be checked, a lot of very young children whose mums suspect autism because of limited communication have hearing difficulties.

I understand your concerns and reasonings to want to know, but professionals won't diagnose unless autism is very, very obvious in young children, you may have a while to go where they'll tell you to wait and see, so do try to prepare yourself for that. It's beyond frustrating.flowers

LightTripper Tue 18-Aug-20 23:38:24

He sounds lovely! I do think it is early to tell though. All autistic kids are a mix of autistic traits and not.

You might want to look up the "Nurturing Neurodiversity" YouTube channel and Facebook group. A lot of the members there are in the "watch and wait" phase, and the lady who runs it (Faye) is very positive, and very insightful on all the emotional crap you go through when you're wondering but without much useful input from anybody.

Our daughter was at physio from a similar age, but didn't get her autism diagnosis until she was 4, which I think is still fairly early/typical. She's doing very well now (still has her challenges obviously, but very happy kid most of the time). Knowing is so much better than not, so whichever way it goes there is "light at the end of the tunnel", and you will learn a lot more about how to parent your son by going through the process, whether he turns out to be autistic or not.

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