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Do you think my 18 month old DS is autistic? Need opinions please.

70 replies

honeybee95 · 01/04/2021 15:59

Probably not the best place but just wanted opinions and there is always high volumes of traffic in aibu.

My DS has just turned 18 months old and I’ve never been concerned about his development, however my sister keeps making comments so I just wanted some outsider opinion.

He is very interactive and expressive, gives me constant eye contact, he will follow where I point, he will point for things he wants. He answers to his name. He will join in with make believe play, he will feed the baby, answer his little phone. Loves the company of other children, he babbles constantly, he currently has around 10 words. I’m not sure if that’s a good amount for his age? He’s always been quite advanced in his physical development. He was practically running at 11 months. He loves physical contact, loves to cuddle and sit with me, gives kisses etc. He loves to play with me and daddy, he will bring toys for us to play all together, such as his track to build for him and then he’ll get his cars to play.

He goes to nursery one day a week currently and they don't have any concerns. He can be quite shy with new people and lots of children overwhelm him, but he will get involved after about 5 minutes.

The last few days, he’s been moving objects from one place to the other. Like his bricks, he’ll move them all out of the basket and onto the sofa and then move them all back. I thought it was just a stage of play all kids discover. If his favourite tv show comes on he will completely zone out to watch, you pause it and he’s back in the room. My sister said these are signs of autism. She keeps making comments constantly about him being autistic and it’s starting to get at me. Are those two things enough? She seems pretty confident. My two younger brothers are autistic and I do know some of the signs to look out for, and I’m obviously more aware he’s at a higher risk because of the family link. Just need some opinions as a worried first time mum. Should I be worried?

OP posts:

ColonelPine · 01/04/2021 16:04

Your little boy sounds like an absolute treasure :-). I don’t have much experience of autism, however, I will say that my son and daughter were both much as you describe at his age and they do not have autism. I don’t think the brick moving and TV ‘zoning out’ tell you much at all - sounds perfectly normal to me.


Confrontayshunme · 01/04/2021 16:06

If you think theren is a risk, start with your health visitor, nursery or GP. They will know better than your sister. He sounds normal to me, but only a professional can tell you. Also, they may say to wait until he is older and see how you get on.


GoWalkabout · 01/04/2021 16:08

It's too early to say but it doesn't seem like there's anything to worry about to me. The trouble is that won't satisfy her because you will know there can be a regression of skills and it's hard to prove a negative. The important thing is she is being very annoying! I think I would pretend to take her incredibly seriously and then tilt my head and say 'and you saying this repeatedly helps anyone how?' or 'you seem to be taking pleasure in some kind of armchair diagnosis that is frankly incredibly annoying and for someone less confident than me could really upset them'.


FlibbertyGiblets · 01/04/2021 16:13

With regard to moving the blocks, this is a classic schema, developmental stage, here's a link about schemas and child development, link here

Zoning out with a t.v. programme is so usual and ordinary, it is as normal as breathing, honestly.

I understand your sister's concerns of course I do. But she is not correctly interpreting the behaviours, imo.
Pointing and following a point are not indicators of autism for e.g. in fact the absence of pointing and being able to follow a point are red flags.

So in conclusion (sorry for the essay) no don't worry, tell her to wind her neck in, is she a child psychologist, a paediatric doc? No? Get lost then.


NoIDontWatchLoveIsland · 01/04/2021 16:15

Oh my lord. Zoning out to the tv is standard at 18m. My DD is 19m and appears to be thoroughly NT so far and she is like this with the tv! Same with the moving blocks but replace it for tipping small beads into tea set cups repeatedly.


greeneyedlulu · 01/04/2021 16:17

When did your sister get her medical degree/training to diagnose autism?


Monkeytennis97 · 01/04/2021 16:17

No. Based on my DS (severely autistic) at that age. He didn't follow a point, not interested in people and barely babbled but my DS liked grabbing my hand and throwing it to something he wanted and was far more interested in things than people. DS also (and still does aged almost 20!) tip toe walks.


BrumBoo · 01/04/2021 16:19

Nothing you've mentioned would flag autism, especially at 18 months. At that age is usually quite difficult to distinguish many autistic traits over delayed ones, and there's not even anything that suggests a developmental issue here regardless.

Tell you sister to mind her own, that no one has yet to shown a concern about your son, and she's scaremongering for the sake of it.


Monkeytennis97 · 01/04/2021 16:19

My DS never fed a baby or answered a pretend phone or (at that age... probably until he was about 4) looked up when his name was called.

Your DS sounds like my other DS who is neurotypical.


FeelLike · 01/04/2021 16:22

I’ll never get over how many people think their kids have autism because they do something at one years of age. I actually know people in RL who go on and on about it and their kids are perfectly fine developmentally etc. Lots of moms on fb baby groups asking if they get more benefits if their kids have got it and how quick can it get diagnosed.

You more than likely won’t know until they’re older and IMO I’d imagine it’s even harder right now to diagnose autism with a lockdown baby that hasn’t experienced as much as a normal 18 month old unless you’ve got very strong and obvious signs.

If you’re not worried don’t be worried by what your sister says.


spanktastic · 01/04/2021 16:23

My two boys are autistic and nothing you have said sounds concerning, but if you are worried then talk to your health visitor, I might be wrong but I think they check development at age two with a questionnaire.


TigerBeetle · 01/04/2021 16:24

I wouldn't be concerned at all. Your DS sounds typical for his age.


Crunchymum · 01/04/2021 16:24

YABU to post this in Chat and AIBU.

Honestly, stop listening to your sister (who I assume is jealous as she has to have her child in full time childcare)


Beseigedbykillersquirrels · 01/04/2021 16:26

Your sister sounds like she has a real bee in her bonnet about this. Does she want to be the one to have spotted something first? Something that doesn't appear to even be there in the first place. Ultimately, there's nothing you can do about it if your son does go on to get a diagnosis, it's not something that can be 'cured' with early intervention. Besides that, it appears from what you have said that your son is following an entirely typical developmental path and there are no flags to even suggest autism so I think you need to find a way to tell her to keep her unhelpful opinions to herself.


2bazookas · 01/04/2021 16:30

Your baby sounds lovely and totally normal.

Your sister is off her head; you should suggest she gets some professional help.


GrumpyHoonMain · 01/04/2021 16:31

Zoning out while concentrating on little things is often a sign of autism, and it’s not that kind of zoning out. My friend’s asd son can zone out for 3 hours at time while playing and he’d suddenly drop to the floor or sit and stare at the wall - you literally couldn’t get him to snap out of it. Even when my friend shook him to try and get his focus. That’s why she asked for a referral - she thought he was having fits.

He never looks anyone in the eye, never looks where you point and has never done that, and you can’t have a back and forth conversation with him. It’s almost all imitation. He has high functioning autism and with treatment has started to improve in certain areas - eg the zoning out and imitation but you can tell he isn’t neurotypical.

Nothing you’ve mentioned about your ds is even close to this. Just tell your sister to keep quiet.


MrsMaryMystery · 01/04/2021 16:36

I used to zone out to watch Neighbours. Dad couldn't get a response out of either me or my sister when he walked in the door and called "Hi girls!". DS is in the zone with Chuggington right now.
Normal normal normal. Might burn the TV to the ground though.

10 words sound about right for 18 months, my DS was about there, I think he said his first word at 15 months, then by 22 months he had 200, and now he's 33 months and says things like Mummy shall we go to the shops and get some chocolate for me - that's a good idea! It exploded. Cherish the journey and record as much as you can :-)


honeybee95 · 01/04/2021 16:36

@Crunchymum I had actually requested to delete one of the threads. Didn't think I'd get much advice in chat so posted here too.

OP posts:

Megan2018 · 01/04/2021 16:37

Sounds exactly like my 18 month old although she’s not shy.
I have absolutely zero concerns about DD, and if my sister started spouting nonsense like that I’d tell her to shove it.

For the record at nursery today DD spent most of the day transferring eggs from one bucket to another, it is a nursery designed activity and entirely normal (although there was lots of other things to do but DD opted to do this for hours).


RedMarauder · 01/04/2021 16:38

When did your sister get her medical degree/training to diagnose autism?


I have a family members, close friends and acquaintances who do different work with children including diagnosing children with autism.

At different times over decades they have all pointed out to me that normal toddler behaviour can be seen by some people as signs of autism. Yes I do catch some of them analysing children I'm in charge of.

In your case I would minimise your interaction between your son and your sister until he can talk more. (Doesn't have to be clear.) He can then annoy her by not shutting up :) I can guarantee she will find something else "wrong" with him then.


Cabinfever10 · 01/04/2021 16:39

Your sister is a very good example of the saying "a little knowledge is dangerous "
Your son sounds perfectly normal for an 18 month old. Especially as he has been in lockdown for a year.
Please don't worry or listen to your sister or give her any headspace. Also Dr's don't like to even asses children for ASD until around 4 years and I'm saying this as someone who has asd and has a child with it too.


Msmcc1212 · 01/04/2021 16:44

Personally I would just accept him as he is and enjoy him regardless. It sounds like he’s easy to love and isn’t posing the adults in his life a challenge at the moment.

Even if he did meet the criteria for a diagnosis it wouldn’t change anything right now. It’s mostly helpful if he hits problems so that people understand his needs better. The only benefit from asking for an assessment now might be so you avoid waiting if things do get tricky, but I doubt that he would meet referal criteria for an assessment at this point anyway.

He sounds lovely. You are doing great. Enjoy it and if he starts to struggle you know what to do. Smile


Puffalicious · 01/04/2021 16:46

Can we all stop with the 'normal' chat? I find it wholly inappropriate. Neuro-typical (NT) and neuro-diverse (ND) are the standards. My little boy has enough to deal with without being labelled abnormal.


Iusedtoliveinsanfrancisco · 01/04/2021 17:00

He is absolutely not doing anything to raise any concerns. Your sister is understandably over anxious.


Monicuddle · 01/04/2021 17:07

I’d tell your sister that you’re very concerned because she is showing signs of obsessive behaviour and anxiety and you think she should be assessed ASAP.

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