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Signs of ASD in babies.

(24 Posts)
staryeyed Mon 20-Jul-09 15:22:49

Im curious becasue I am watching out for DS2 as DS1 who is now 4 has ASD. I would say he was showing signs quite early. He never looked it a mirror- would avoid looking and has just started to have a quick look now. Was very late to notice his hands and feet. Went from being very unsettled to being quite easy and passive. Didnt like toys etc.

What were the signs that you noticed with your ASD children and did your NT children show these signs too?

BTW at what age do babies start looking in mirrors?

Davros Mon 20-Jul-09 18:45:56

I think DS showed clear signs as a baby but I didn't know what they were. He was also very unsettled and then became quite routine-lead (dependent?) and suggestible, e.g. ate3 all sorts of food until he became very selective and eliminated lots of things latger. He didn't follow things with his eyes, e.g. beads in toys, he had little attachment.

Marne Mon 20-Jul-09 18:56:41

Dd1 (Aspergers) was really hard work as a baby, wouldn't sleep, cried at everyone except me, would never really settle, hated being in a pushchair, never slept in the car (just cried). As she was my first i thought it was my fault and didn't understand how other mothers coped.

Dd2 (ASD) was a really easy going baby, very cuddly, slept well, would let anyone hold her and hardly ever cried. We thought she was fine but at 2.5 was still not speaking so we got her reffered to a pead.

Davros Mon 20-Jul-09 19:18:36

My DS was the same as Marne's as a baby. I didn't dare stop to speak to someone or at a check out. I think the early signs were quite sensory-related, liked movement and background noise etc. I think he screamed so much for the first couple of months because he had sensory overload when he was born.

coppertop Mon 20-Jul-09 19:36:17

Ds1 spent the first few days of his life screaming almost constantly. This was followed by what I now suspect was some kind of shutdown where he slept for 3 straight days apart from the occasional few minutes here and there.

The lack of a need for sleep once he was home was the biggest sign. There was a lot of screaming for the first few months and then he became extremely passive. I could have left him alone in his pram for hours and I doubt he would have cared. He had no interest in toys whatsoever.

Ds2 was quite a sociable smiley baby. He was fascinated with anything red and anything that could spin. With hindsight he didn't sleep much but it was more than his brother had done. Tbh if he'd been my first he would probably have been 4+ before I realised that something was different about him.

The big difference between dd (NT) and her brothers was that she would do anything for some interaction. I'd always thought of ds2 as being very sociable but it was only when I had dd that I realised that he had never tried to seek out company. If someone smiled at him or talked to him he would smile back. If they turned away he wasn't the least bit bothered.

Dd has always been fascinated by toys and generally uses them in the way they were intended to be used.

mysonben Mon 20-Jul-09 22:14:53

My ds1 (NT) is now 16 y, so when ds2 (asd) came along 3.8 y ago, i didn't realise that something wasn't quite right.

Everyone one agreed that ds2 was a very different baby.
He slept less than ds1, had lots of trouble falling asleep from birth to about near his 3rd birthday when we stopped his daytime nap and that helped.
DS2 was fascinated with mobile phones lights, and the ceiling fan. To stop him crying we'd turn the fan on.
He was fascinated by the tv and could sit there watching it for ages by the age of 1.
He was very hard to wean onto lumpy foods.
DS2 was easily scared of strangers and cried a lot with other people or new places.

By age 16 months he started to line up anything he could get his hands on, shoes, pegs, bricks, car toys, tv remotes...were his favorites. Always played in the same spot , kneeling by the sofa , pushing a car or a shoe,... then putting it back into a line. I remember saying to everyone how good he was , he 'd play like this for hours.
My friend babysat a few times for me , she said "he'd kneel at her coffee table and play and line up a few cars all afternoon totally ignoring her little girl".
That was ds2 by defintion, eyeing up close his line or group of things/toys for ages.

DS2 always gave us the sense that he was very AWARE of us and of his world. But we found he didn't respond to his name and to our talking easily, we often had to get down to his level and touch him for him to stop and "listen".
DS2 didn't point at things , he took us to what he wanted and just whined or cried for it. We taught him to point to what he wanted. (I remember saying all the time " but show mummy! what do you want? " and me holding his finger to things.
Then by age 2 he only had a few single words of unclear vocabulary, but lots of jargon.

Nyrrem Mon 20-Jul-09 22:31:59

My experience is similar to other posters. The only other things I can add are:

I think there's something about shared attention in the research by Simon Baron-Cohen - from what I can make out it just means that a nt child is likely to point stuff out to you.

Now I think about it my ds didn't like mirrors, hadn't thought about that before.

Another thing that came up at a Aspie support group that I go to, not sure if there is any scientific basis to it, but apparently it's less likely for ASD children to successfully breastfeed.

I have thought about this a lot bit as my dd is 7m. I have decided to try not to overthink her baby years. The way I parent now is fairly ASD friendly anyway, so she shouldn't suffer from us not knowing. I guess at some point things will become obvious one way or the other.

siblingrivalry Mon 20-Jul-09 22:32:19

DD1 also had a lot of sensory issues as a baby and was a TERRIBLE sleeper -she was 3 before she slept a single night through. She was extremely passive and 'easy' through the day. I was quite smug, really, at what a 'good' baby she was sad.

cyberseraphim Tue 21-Jul-09 09:50:13

I agree with Davros - in retrospect there were many signs but I had nothing to compare him with. The main thing was lack of interest in me and no sustained social eye contact. He did like mirrors though ! I remember thinking DS2 , as a baby, was telepathic or had strange powers as he seemed to click on to everything that i was doing.

amberflower Tue 21-Jul-09 10:42:33

I think one of the reasons our DX came as such a shock was that we didn't have any real issues with DS before he started school, so if anything we probably confound all theories that ASD children can present with symptoms in babyhood. Admittedly I don't yet have any other children of my own to compare DS to (I will be with Nyrrem in trying not to over-analyse the baby years once our second child arrives this autumn) but he seemed no different to any of the children we socialised with.

We are seeking a second opinion on our DX because the issues only manifest themselves at school and we just want to be 100% sure - but having said that I do observe my DS in school a lot and admit that he does show ASD traits there, so in many ways I am expecting the original DX to be confirmed.

So if I work on the basis that he definitely IS ASD/Aspergers he blows all theories out of the water. Breastfed easily, took bottles easily, weaned to solids and lumpy foods easily, slept through night from 9 weeks and napped well during the day, was happy and smiling, loved peep-bo type games and mirrors too, could take him anywhere, played in the same way that all the other babies his age seemed to be playing, fabulous eye contact, very sociable, went through normal developmental stages of separation anxiety. No sensory issues as a baby though developed fear of loud noises as he moved into toddlerdom; no repetitive behaviour; no developmental concerns, really. He was later to use the 'shared point' than other babies (15 months) but from that age he was always sharing interest, and his language developed normally.

The only things I could pinpoint would be some grumpier behaviour prior to crawling and walking, which we put down to frustration as DS was later to crawl (11 months) and walk (16 months) than many of his peers. And I definitely used to have to get 'out and about' with him more than some of my friends did with their children - he was always one of those babies that would get really crotchety and bored if you tried to stay at home for a whole morning, for example, and found toddler groups hard for the same reason - he'd enjoy activities for maybe 20 minutes and then ask to go.

Maybe that was a sign of discomfort in a social situation - he'd be whinging and stropping and asking to leave, but as soon as we were back in the car or buggy he'd be content again and happy and laughing. He was also very reluctant to get involved in many of the 'arty' type activities on offer at these groups, which could well have been a pre-warning of the fine motor writing/drawing/cutting issues he has now. I guess at the time I just put it all down to his being a boy and wanting to be on the go (and so many friends said 'oh well he's a boy they are often not interested in drawing etc they just want to be out and about') but perhaps it was a sign, now I look back.

But he certainly didn't present with anything that made us worry. And even now it is only school where issues arise, he is very outgoing and happy and cheerful everywhere else. Just goes to show I suppose how different they can all be.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 25-Jul-09 11:55:55

Message withdrawn

cyberseraphim Sat 25-Jul-09 12:13:33

Snap Starlight - but watch out this can change in time - DS1 is very attached now and is more like a jailor who eyes me suspsiciously if I even look at my coat or the door ! In a way it is so nice as I remember thinking how unlike other toddlers at the playgroup he was as he seemed to have no need or desire to be with me.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 25-Jul-09 12:26:13

Message withdrawn

tiredmummyoftwo Sat 25-Jul-09 15:01:59

oh,how different my DS was. He suffered from separation anxiety so severe that he did not even go to his DH. I had him 24 hours on my chest, even going to the loo middle of the night. Mind you he is just 4 now and he still follows me to the loo, waits for me to finish and then flashes the toilet (obsessed with flashing). Looking back, I am not sure I noticed anything different in him as a baby as he was an early walker, saying hello, bye by nine months. He did not say anythingelse between 15months to 2.5 years though. Apparently other people noticed that he did not respond to his name, but I did not. He was also interested in other kids, so not sure even that applied as a baby. I guess what I am trying to say is I am not sure you can tell when they are a baby unless it's so obvious. Having said that I have noticed my nephew aleady pointing to his bottle of milk and he is only 10months. DS definitely did not do that.

tiredmummyoftwo Sat 25-Jul-09 15:03:49

Sorry, I meant to say his dad

Greenmillie Sat 25-Jul-09 19:35:24

My eldest child was clearly ASD and I knew he was on the autistic spectrum by the age of two. His signs were textbook. Never slept for more than two hours. Would have screaming fits several time a day for no apparent reason (we think now it was a sensory issue and also that his speech was delyed and when he wanted something he would not point at what he wanted, he would just look at the floor and repeat the word "some"). DS never made eye contact and got upset if you tried to make eye contact. Really fussy about food. As a baby he was developmentally VERY delayed. And at the time, what was very upsetting for me was being constantly told I was being parsanoid. 13 years on and a lot of research has meant Josh goes to mainstream school and copes just fine, he averages on a C grade (I am happy with that I am not pushy). He has issues with bullies but seems to have developed the persona of class clown to deflect them. He is a good boy really and has finally caught up with other boys in his age group. I hope this helps.

MannyMoeAndJack Sat 25-Jul-09 20:16:51

When my ds was a baby, he presented with lots of clear signs that he was different but I only realised just how many signs retrospectively because I was an inexperienced first-time mum when I had him!

In the first year (starter for 10!):

Wouldn't bf or even seemed to 'know' what to do....but loved bottles from the first attempt and still has bottles now.

Very poor quality eye gazing, joint attention, object tracking and sharing.

Would not follow points and never pointed (still doesn't point and follows points very inconsistently, depending on how many other cues you give him).

Didn't care whether I was in the room or not, had no separation anxiety and didn't seem to know his name. Was very independent.

Would not be carried on my hip,
almomst as though he didn't know how to support himself.

Had problems with solid food and vomited a lot.

Only bashed toys or threw them, was not at all interested in playing with toys.

Preferred to be moving, so the second the car/pram stopped, he would protest fulsomely.

As he was non-verbal at 18mths, we got a referral to a SALT and the rest is history.


MannyMoeAndJack Sat 25-Jul-09 20:19:04

....however, he slept for 12hrs each night from 3mths old (phew!)

thederkinsdame Sat 25-Jul-09 20:35:51

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fatslag Sat 25-Jul-09 21:25:23

Fascination with spinning, poor eye contact, flapping from 7 mths, no pointing, no pretend play, liked watching peekaboo but wouldn't do it, wouldn't wave bye bye.

OTOH, slept fine, bf fine for 11 months, no eating problems in the first year until he developped his profound dislike of vegetables.

Always had to be moving, cried when car or stroller stopped. Addicted to baby neptune dvds and watched them over and over again as many times as I would let him. Would not play.

5inthebed Sat 25-Jul-09 22:02:48

DS2 hated the bath from day 1. Screamed blue murder as soon as he was put near water.

Slept pretty much for the first 6 months he of his life, and "slept through" from 6 weeks olf for 12 hours. When I say sleptthrough, I mean slept for a few hours woke up and stared at the ceiling and went back to sleep.

He rarely cried, even for food. If he did cry for a feed you would think he was being tortured. Strangely enough, he is the only one of my DC that took to BF. MAybe there is something worng with my milk hmm

He refused to hold anything at all in his hands, he was 16 months before he even had finger foods. Before that he would pick food up in his mouth if put in front of him.

He didn't crawl til 1 and walked at 15/16 months.

Was terrible to wean. Gagged on lumpy food. Had to be spoon fed milk as he refused the breast and bottle from 4 months old.

No interest in toys but would spin wheels, open and close foors and flick switches as soon as he was mobile.

I could go on, a lot of similarities to other peoples DC. I knew from a very early age that there was something not quite "right" with him, I voicedmy concerns all the time.

mum2fredandpudding Sun 26-Jul-09 00:03:43

my DS shares quite a few things mentioned above - repetitive play, difficult to get the attention of. BUt he was our first child and we thought he was very on average with a lot of things and it wasnt until he was 2 and his speech started to show realy signs of delay that we even considered something was amiss. We didn't expect it to be ASD because he only showed a handful of secondary characteristics on what we considered to be a pretty mild scale. He was certainly a very easy and engaging (with us!) child.

But my DS2 is about to turn 1 next week and since DS1s dx i have been quietly worried. DS2 is a significantly different child, very much the definition of NT at this point. Still a worry though. However this week he started pointing and whilst that might not mean anything, DS1's lack of doing so was a big factor in dx apparently, so im estatic over that.

WHo knows. It is so hard isnt it? ASD manifests so differently....

troutpout Sun 26-Jul-09 20:11:41

my ds (aspergers/dypraxia) was the same as Marne's first baby.
Nothing placated him. He was stressed all the time.He was by contrast an easy toddler...but missed a lot of what was going on around him.

lingle Sun 26-Jul-09 21:04:59

staryeyed, my DS1 sang tunefully for a year before he talked, I think he pointed very late, he wouldn't let others join his songs, he didn't really understand language at 18 months (I recall being astonished at other kids obeying commands to fetch things).

But he's 6.5 now and he isn't autistic. He has huge amounts in common with autistic kids in the way he developed language, that's all.

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