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Signs of autism - 18 months old
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LemingtonPolly · 22/05/2022 06:29

Can anyone tell me their experience of early signs is autism in toddlers?

My son is 18 months old and sometimes displays behaviours or developmental delay that I am concerned about. However I don't know know if this is 'normal' toddler development or not.

  • he still isn't speaking - he Babbles and maybe attempts a few words like ball or dada but that's it
  • he likes to do the same activities over and over and wants to watch the same things over and over
  • he doesn't seem to want to play with other children really, he notices them and sometimes observes and will copy but is generally happy playing on his own.
  • he seems unhappy majority of the time. He has meltdowns about a lot of things.
    He can be playing with a toy and then turn around and start screaming for no reason.
  • becoming wary around strangers. If someone says hi to him he makes a face and looks away.


    I just feel like he wakes up crying or moaning and sometimes this can go on all day.

    Am
    I being paranoid?
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Foreverbaffled · 22/05/2022 18:22

My 18 month is very similar although has a few more words. All the behaviours you describe are totally typical. Have you done the MCHAT screener? The questions on there are much more relevant to early signs of ASD

www.autismspeaks.org/screen-your-child

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MargaretThursday · 22/05/2022 18:58

Nothing you’re said here raises concerns to me:

  1. At 18 months they’re looking for 6 appropriate sounds (eg “bmm”
    for “car”) so sounds like he’s on track
  2. Same activities is what they like; it’s familiar. I have a friend whose dc liked to watch the same episode of Teletubbies over and over. Now that’s boredom!
  3. They don’t play with other children until 3+ generally. At this age the best you get is playing alongside-exactly what you are saying, watching and imitating.
  4. Again at that age they have lots of tempers. Life is frustrating. They can’t do it, they can’t make themselves understood, they’re tired and hungry and don’t understand and just know they’re cross! They do grow out of the terrible twos which start at around 15 months and continue to around 3 or 4 years….
  5. Sudden changes in mood again are normal. They can be terribly distressed by something major like the grass being green (one of my dc) and then they’ve forgotten two minutes later.
  6. A lot of 18 month olds are wary of strangers. Two of mine would kill a stranger with their glare if they spoke to them. Especially (for dd) if wearing a hat.
    Now that’s not saying that there is no way that your dc has autism, or anything else, simply that I wouldn’t worry from what you’ve put here.
    Do they point to things they want? Take you by the hand and take you to show you something, or share things with you (like a soggy biscuit or a picture in a book)? Do they hold up their hands to be picked up? Wave bye bye? Do they react to instructions? These things are far more important. You can do the MCHAT test, I think 18 months is the ideal age for that.
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LemingtonPolly · 22/05/2022 19:35

@Foreverbaffled yes I did M-chat-r and he comes out as 2 so low risk.

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LemingtonPolly · 22/05/2022 19:39

Thank you @MargaretThursday

Yes he points constantly at things he wants, he bring me toys and feed me his food too. He pretends plays like putting dolls to bed or eating pretend ice creams.

He waves bye bye and kiss sounds and yes he gestures to be picked up.

He is very switched on and follows instructions well like if he is asked to collect something, or if I say will we go out he heads to his shoes and then the door.

That's reassuring to hear so thank you! Just worried about his lack of language. I feel he's been stagnant for a long time.

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MargaretThursday · 22/05/2022 19:50

Those are all really good signs, especially understanding and reacting accordingly.

It's easy to worry about the language because it's something you'll notice when another child is similar age and seems to be speaking perfectly. If he's understanding and responding then it's very unlikely you'll have anything to worry about.

At a risk of teaching you to do exactly what you're already doing: Mirror what he says back.
Him: "Tar"
You: "That's right, it's a car."
Him: "Tar"
You: "Yes, a blue car! Good boy!"

You're then encouraging language by conversation, giving him the correct pronunciation of "car" and a new word "blue". Reading, singing etc also help in language. I'm sure you're doing this anyway.

And those children who are speaking well currently... Give a year or so, you won't be able to tell the difference between them and your ds.
When dd1 was little she was a chatterbox. We had a friend who had a daughter the same age, who was referred to speech therapy at 2yo for not having a single word-not even trying to use any. I lost contact as the children went off to nursery then we re-met when they were nearly 4yo at swimming. You would never have been able to tell that at 2yo one was in sentences and one was not saying anything. Their language was exactly the same level.
So it almost certainly will be that he'll suddenly have a spurt and then you'll be wishing he sometimes was quiet. Wink

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oakapi · 22/05/2022 22:23

Sounds exactly like mine, he had ZERO words at 18 months, lots of babble but didn't even say Mumma with meaning. By 20 months he said 30 words and over a hundred a month or so after that. It seems to happen literally overnight.

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