Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

developmental delays.. Autism?

My son (13 months) is really delayed in communication and I'm starting to think he may have autism. I've read that autism is not abnormal behavior but the absence of normal behavior and this is exactly him. I am a FTM and I know that there is a wide range of normal for babies but I just can't help but worry. I have talked to his ped about his delays before and we are now working with Early Intervention. I just want to know if his behavior seems normal to y'all or if I should be worried, and/or if anyone has experience with autism I would love some insight. First I will tell you what he DOES do- he waves hi and goodbye, he loves to look at books and turns the pages by himself, he claps and dances along to music, he responds to his name, he responds to some phrases I tell him to do like "go get your ball" "wheres your monkey" "wheres Dada" he will go find them. My main concern is he does not say anything at all, not even mama, and he doesn't even try to imitate words that we say at all. He says dada but not TO my husband. Its like he doesn't know how to communicate or just doesn't try. Also, he DOESN'T point, blow kisses, shake his head yes or no, or anything like that. We've been working on kisses for like a month and he will just not repeat/imitate anything we try to show him. He also doesn't play with toys in their intended purpose like he doesn't stack blocks, make cars "go", etc. He pretty much just throws everything, bangs stuff together, puts things in and out of containers, and still mouths EVERYTHING. The only thing that is not in line with most AUtistic children is that he is extremely social, he is always smiling, loves to laugh, smiles and waves at everyone he meets, and is very engaging with people, shares his toys etc. I just don't know what to think. His speech teacher says he's about 4 months behind in communication and the way he plays.
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Re: developmental delays.. Autism?

  • Honestly he sounds completely normal to me. If you're thinking that your son is autistic because of these things then my DD would be too... which is most certainly not the case. In fact, almost everything you described that he does and does not do was exactly my daughter at 13 months. She is 17 now and does most of those things. She said Dada or daddy all the time at 13 mos but not TO my h. She didn't start saying mama AT ALL until she was 15 mos. I won't tell you that you're overreacting since mother's intuition is a powerful thing and you certainly know your child better than everyone, but I will say that it does sound like your expectations of him are a bit unreasonable for his age..
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  • He sounds exactly like my kid at 13 months, she didn't say anything until 18 months. She's perfectly fine. 

    I'm kind of surprised your pedi wanted to you to do EI already. Unless they saw something else, it seems like an overreaction.

    My office doesn't even start the Mchat screening for autism until 18 months.

    I agree w/ PP, your expectations seem unreasonable.  

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  • I'm with pp. At 13 months my kid didn't say much either. She was more like 15-16 before she started verbalizing and making connections.

    Also, my almost 2 year somedays still doesn't play with toys as she should. Blocks are more fun to bang together than stack apparently.

     I would seek EI for the lack of wanting to imitate though. Could be entirely normal, but that wouldn't hurt. Most kids love to that, but some just don't care/don't have the attention span and it's not really an issue.

  • Sounds exactly like my 13-month old and I have never been worried that he is behind. He is just this week starting to say mama and dada somewhat disciminately but still very inconsistently.  My pedi asked all of the "does your child do...." questions and I responded no to her asking if he is saying mama and dada discriminately (she asked does he say mama/dada as one question, and does he say it discrim for another question). She didn't even bat an eye when I said no. I would not worry and get a second opinion.  This second year has an extremely broad range of normal for cognititive, speech and motor skills and especially at 13 months...still so young!!. 

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  • Your kid sounds like a normal 13m old to me.  IMO the biggest indicator of autism at this young is social, not verbal. And if you LO is interacting socially and has receptive language that's a pretty solid sign he's fine.

    Most kids don't have more than one or two words at 13m. And my kid didn't start 'playing' with toys until closer to 18m. Imitating, blowing kisses, etc. all around 18+m.

    There is a pretty wide range of normal, and your LO isn't doing anything that screams 'warning' to me. 

    ETA - I also think it's important to note that even if your LO does have speech delays, that can happen without autism.  



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  • Thank you everyone, I really appreciate and value your opinion. I have been driving myself and dh crazy over this. Maybe other babies I've been around were really advanced or something. At 1 years old my niece was saying mama, dada, oh boy, uh oh and could sign more. And my friends LOs were saying mama at 9 and 10 months old. Also it jut really alarmed me that the speech therapist said he is 4 to 5 months behind. I guess I'm just searching for an explanation for peace of mind.. Sometimes it's easier to have a name for something than just wondering what's wrong with my child
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  • My pediatrician said he isn't worried at all if they have no words at 15 months, and only one or two words (and he counted sign language) at 18 months.  DS didn't say a thing at 13 months.  He was really focused on his gross motor development.  He was mastering walking and balance.  At 18 months, he's got probably 20 words now.  I would say 16-18 of them showed up within the last few weeks.

    FWIW, you can check the CDC milestone chart about acting early and alerting your doctor.  Here is the link

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html

    But your kid is still waaayyyy early to be evaluated or even really be showing any red flags.  And it is mind boggling the changes that go on from 12-18 months.  It is night and day.

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  • Kids with oral motor weakness tend to have difficulties initiating facial movements and are late to talk. Not trying to armchair diagnose your kid-just giving you another possibility. 

    It's too soon to tell whether your child has autism or not. With that level of social skills its highly, highly unlikely but not impossible. My daughter had a lot of signs of autism at that age and beyond-so much that we got a referral to the head neuro developmental pediatrician who specializes in autism. Her social and play skills took off after her second birthday and she has no delays in either area anymore.  

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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    image LalaMama81:

    He sounds exactly like my kid at 13 months, she didn't say anything until 18 months. She's perfectly fine. 

    I'm kind of surprised your pedi wanted to you to do EI already. Unless they saw something else, it seems like an overreaction.

    My office doesn't even start the Mchat screening for autism until 18 months.

    I agree w/ PP, your expectations seem unreasonable.  

    This 100%. I understand that parents worry, especially FTM's but let the kid be a kid! They tend to do things in their own time :)

     

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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    image mnb311:
    Thank you everyone, I really appreciate and value your opinion. I have been driving myself and dh crazy over this. Maybe other babies I've been around were really advanced or something. At 1 years old my niece was saying mama, dada, oh boy, uh oh and could sign more. And my friends LOs were saying mama at 9 and 10 months old. Also it jut really alarmed me that the speech therapist said he is 4 to 5 months behind. I guess I'm just searching for an explanation for peace of mind.. Sometimes it's easier to have a name for something than just wondering what's wrong with my child

    This is the problem right here. Try to stop comparing your child to other children. This will only make you crazy.

     

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  • I agree with PPs, sounds normal. My DS barely said a thing at 13 months and we panicked too. He still wasn't caught up by 18 months so we did EI and he qualified in speech.  By the time they found a SLP for him, he started saying more and more but we started therapy anyway. He's almost 23 months and adds new words every week, he even has two word phrases at this point. He's still not completely caught up but he's progressing, which is what  my pedi looks for. 

    Is your DS more focused on motor skills? My DS was super good on his feet and fine motor skills, so we think he was focusing on that. Whatever you do stop googling!! I drove myself crazy! 

  • My son has some fine motor and communication delays and has been evaluated 4 times now by ECI, the most recent time was this morning. Everyone is confident that he is just fine and he wasn't doing nearly as much as your son is when he was 13 months old. When he was evaluated at 13 months, he was 3 months delayed with all communication and 5 months with fine motor. As of this morning he only has a slight delay with fine motor, is now on track with receptive language, and is 4 months behind with expressive language.

    I think ECI will be a big help for your son. It took about 2 months before we started noticing a big difference and then everything just started falling into place at once. He had almost 4 months with no fine motor or language development, and then around 14.5 months, he was making multiple advancements every day.

     

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  • I was reading this and thinking, "Hmmm, that's not good."  

    And then I saw your ticker and realized you were talking about a 13month old.

    Yeah, he's fine.

    I teach preschool for a class of twelve 8-16month olds.  Your son sounds perfectly normal.   Every kid is going to develop at his own pace.  Some kids may be quicker to speak, others may walk first, some may have better social skills than others.  Don't worry.  

    We have 2 year olds who only have a few words and 15month olds that are just learning to stand on their own.  Several of the older kids in my class still put everything in their mouths.  When we take the toys that they were mouthing away, they put their hands in their mouths.  It's usually because of teething, but sometimes it's just curiosity.

     

  • my son sounds similar to yours. My son is very social but really does not say much at all consistently. My son does not even wave. But he imitates some things and he does play with things appropriately. Like building with legos and stacking rings correctly. It reallly doesn't sound like your child has autism unless your leaving something out.

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  • image Booger+Bear:

    Your kid sounds like a normal 13m old to me.  IMO the biggest indicator of autism at this young is social, not verbal. And if you LO is interacting socially and has receptive language that's a pretty solid sign he's fine.

    Most kids don't have more than one or two words at 13m. And my kid didn't start 'playing' with toys until closer to 18m. Imitating, blowing kisses, etc. all around 18+m.

    There is a pretty wide range of normal, and your LO isn't doing anything that screams 'warning' to me. 

    ETA - I also think it's important to note that even if your LO does have speech delays, that can happen without autism.  

    Yep, this :)

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  • My kid is 22 months & completely nonverbal. 

    Just because he MAY (& I emphasis may because 13m is still young) have a speech delay doesn't mean he has autism. 

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  • As a mother, you know your child. I work in a school with pre-k through 6th grade.  I have been so lucky to witness the difference that EI makes in the life of any child who needs it.  I think it is great that you trusted your instincts.  I would put your worries about your LO being autistic on the back burner and focus on whatever play and exercises your speech therapist is recommending.  It sounds like your LO has many good skills.  The speech therapist will guide you and give you ideas to help him carryover newly learned skills.  I am sure with time, love, and patience your LO will see improvements in the area of expressive language.  Good luck!
  • My brother has autism things my mom said he exhibited were not social, no eye contact while eating, very sensitive to sound, was overly stiff. Language was not an issue until age two when he became non verbal. Your ds sounds normal to me. 
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  •  This sounds just like a normal 13 month old.  Why is he seeing a speech teacher?    And what kind of teacher would say he's 4 months behind?

     

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  • My son is 18 months and just started talking about two months ago. Our pedi said at his 12 and 15 month appointments that if he was walking and climbing it was ok that he was not talking- their little brains can only handle so much at a time. 

    And our LO is still putting everything in his mouth he can get his hands on... Don't stress yourself about it! Give him hugs and kisses and he will catch up!  

  • image Pear2012:

     This sounds just like a normal 13 month old.  Why is he seeing a speech teacher?    And what kind of teacher would say he's 4 months behind?

     

    This. From what you said in your post, he doesn't sound behind at all. My DS had 1 word and 1 sign at 12m. He was not waving or pointing then. At 15m he had about 3 words. He's had a bit of a language explosion in the past month and has added several words (and is just now waving and pointing).

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  • image M&MHaveMyHeart:

    My kid is 22 months & completely nonverbal. 

    Just because he MAY (& I emphasis may because 13m is still young) have a speech delay doesn't mean he has autism. 

    This.  There's a lot more to autism than a speech delay, if your LO even has one.  And honestly, my son is over 3 and still loves to smash toys together and play with them in non intended ways :-p 

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  • Sounds quite normal and typical of a 13 month old to me. In fact, my DS had to see a PT from 3months to 10 months for tort. I asked then what some signs of autism are to be on the lookout for and she said it's almost impossible to diagnose it until they are closer to 3 because all toddlers developeyat their own rate and speed. Not that I was worried, figured I'd ask just to know. She did say one very early sign is that LOs that are autistic do not make eye contact and seem more interested in shadows of objects rather than objects themselves. But again under 2, very difficult to diagnose. I would get a second pedi opinion and lower your expectations of what a 13 month old is capable of.
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  • I agree with everyone else for the most part.  But I will just add this.  My son has Autism.  He is on the milder end of the spectrum and if I don't tell people, I think they just assume he is quirky, hyperactive, and not very verbal.  Even my closest friends have brushed off my concerns at one time or another. 

    I started worrying about Asher when he was less than a year old, maybe 8 months.  I really did think it was sensory processing disorder.  As he got older, the communication stuff became really apparent....but it was subtle at first.  There were other signs of course, but all subtle.  When ever I expressed concerns my other mommy friends and my close family brushed them aside and said "He is completely normal!"  

    When Asher was finally diagnosed with PDD-Nos, I was shocked.  Mostly because I had really started to believe people and I guess in my head Autism looked different than Asher.  At first we got very little emotional support, because people looked at my son and didn't see anything wrong.  But other people don't know your children the way you do.  I asked the second neuro we took him to for a second opinion about this and she told me that from age 1-4 the differences between neuro typical kids and autistic kids are so subtle that most parents don't even know what they are seeing that is bothering them, just that they know something isn't right.  Those differences become more obvious later on.  

    I was in denial about my Asher for a while.  I would say things like "he might have autism"  but he is over three now and I can tell you with absolute certainty that my child is autistic, I can def see it now.  

    My advice to you is this, follow up on the feeling you are having.  Call early intervention or a developmental pedi and have your child looked at.  The best that can happen is they tell you "nothing wrong here".  They will most likely say "come back when your child is a little older".  And the worst they can say is "we see what you're talking about too"  It took me a while to realize that that worst case isn't the worst thing that could happen.  It doesn't change who your child is, just opens the door for therapies and services.  

    I will add this before I go, because posts like this always get me down.  After 18 months of intensive speech, ABA, developmental therapy, and occupational therapy, my son is doing amazing!  

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  • Uh, based on what you've described your child does not sound developmentally delayed in any way. 13-month olds don't 'talk.'

    At 13 months mine wasn't even walking, much less saying anything.

    Be patient. They grow up fast enough the way it is.

     

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  • I can totally understand the worries about being a FTM but honestly, your son sounds perfect to me! The fact he's as social as he is doesn't scream autism to me. We have a friend whose son needed to see a speech therapist because he just wouldn't talk. He COULD but just wouldn't. My daughter is almost 13 months and she does a lt of the same stuff as your son. Still puts everything in her mouth, loves to put things on containers, etc. If your son seemed to be in his own little world and not social then I would be concerned. My daughter JUST started clapping! We've been waiting on that for months! Hang in there mama. :
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  • image ABColeslaw:
    I agree with everyone else for the most part.nbsp; But I will just add this.nbsp; My son has Autism.nbsp; He is on the milder end of the spectrum and if I don't tell people, I think they just assume he is quirky, hyperactive, and not very verbal.nbsp; Even my closest friends have brushed off my concerns at one time or another.nbsp; I started worrying about Asher when he was less than a year old, maybe 8 months.nbsp; I really did think it was sensory processing disorder.nbsp; As he got older, the communication stuff became really apparent....but it was subtle at first.nbsp; There were other signs of course, but all subtle.nbsp; When ever I expressed concerns my other mommy friends and my close family brushed them aside and said "He is completely normal!" nbsp;When Asher was finally diagnosed with PDDNos, I was shocked.nbsp; Mostly because I had really started to believe people and I guess in my head Autism looked different than Asher.nbsp; At first we got very little emotional support, because people looked at my son and didn't see anything wrong.nbsp; But other people don't know your children the way you do.nbsp; I asked the second neuro we took him to for a second opinion about this and she told me that from age 14 the differences between neuro typical kids and autistic kids are so subtle that most parents don't even know what they are seeing that is bothering them, just that they know something isn't right.nbsp; Those differences become more obvious later on. nbsp;I was in denial about my Asher for a while.nbsp; I would say things like "he might have autism"nbsp; but he is over three now and I can tell you with absolute certainty that my child is autistic, I can def see it now. nbsp;My advice to you is this, follow up on the feeling you are having.nbsp; Call early intervention or a developmental pedi and have your child looked at.nbsp; The best that can happen is they tell you "nothing wrong here".nbsp; They will most likely say "come back when your child is a little older".nbsp; And the worst they can say is "we see what you're talking about too"nbsp; It took me a while to realize that that worst case isn't the worst thing that could happen.nbsp; It doesn't change who your child is, just opens the door for therapies and services. nbsp;I will add this before I go, because posts like this always get me down.nbsp; After 18 months of intensive speech, ABA, developmental therapy, and occupational therapy, my son is doing amazing! nbsp;


    Thank you so much for sharing this. Would you mind telling me what the earliest signs were that you saw in your son? You can send me a private message if you would rather, I would really appreciate the info!
    Thank you everyone for your input. It's not that I have high expectations at all, I'm just going by what his ped and speech therapist have said. Whenever I bring it up to my family and friends they all say no way he cannot be autistic. No one thinks so because he is literally the most social and happiest baby ever, people come up to me wherever I am with him to tell me they'd never seen such a happy friendly baby. Butttt the fact thy he doesn't try to imitate anything we do or try to say words are red flags to me, and his therapist as well
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  • What you are saying is not a glaring autism diagnosis to me. I just posted above about my son's lack of communication, if you want to read about it (he's 20 months tomorrow). One of the things our pediatrician said was that she considers pointing to be possibly more important than talking because it's a form of communication that shows that the baby understands that you are a different person from them and they want to show something to you, or ask you for something. Have you flat-out asked the speech teacher for their opinion about autism? The fact that he is so social and smiling and waving at other people is a pretty significant sign that it is not autism to me, but I'm not an expert.
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