Autism, Autism Tests & Diagnosis

Signs of Autism in Toddlers and Infants

With autism, early detection and treatment is critical but what should parents be on the look out for?

The average age for an autism diagnosis is between three and four years old. Yet many parents first become concerned around 18 months old. This age coincides with some vaccinations and has caused many parents to blame the vaccinations for autism. However research over the last few years has indicate that many autistic children show signs of autism in their first year.

So what symptoms of autism should you look for in infants and toddlers?

Firstly, is the child hitting all the normal milestones of development? There is an excellent guide from the Centre of Disease Control that gives all these milestones from birth to five years (Learn the Signs). Your doctor or health professional will be able to give you more information. The difficulty in detecting autism is that some children do develop slower than other so being a few weeks late reaching one particular milestone is nothing to worry about. When a child is late over a range of these milestones then seek advice.

Research in the last few years has highlight other symptoms of autism to watch for in early development. Much of this work has been done by using home videos taken sometime before the child is diagnosed. Often these are from the baby’s first birthday because its an occasion many parents video. The movement and behaviour of the child is analysed and compared to similar videos of children who are not autistic.

What these videos reveal is that even at one year old, autistic children have different patterns of behaviour. They lack or rarely use the ‘social gaze’, the process of looking at someone when giving them attention. ‘Joint Attention’, when parent and child are both giving their attention to the same object or person, is also rarer. These early signs forewarn of the two of most notable symptoms of autism, a lack of empathy for others and a tendency to withdraw into a world of their own.

One of the distinctive symptoms of full blown autism is the child’s patterns of movement. Clumsiness, violent outbursts and repetitive movements are all common in autism. So researchers looked at how the infant moved to see if any signs of later problems can be detected.

One study noted that the autistic child still showed signs of retained primitive reflexes. These reflexes are present at birth and help the infant brain learn to move their body. For example, the grasp reflex is what triggers the curling of a baby’s fingers around an object placed in its palm. Other reflexes help the baby to roll over and learn to crawl. During normal development these reflexes drop away as the infant grows but in some children they are retained. This makes it harder for the infant or child to control their body because moving one limb may reflexively make another move. Making the child appear uncoordinated or clumsy.

There is growing evidence that it is possible to spot autism in infants. It may not be possible to formally diagnose autism at this stage but if the signs are their at infancy it best to assume the worse and begin treatment. Early intervention can make a significant difference to a later development.

Previously on Myomancy: Autism Tests & Diagnosis; Is This Why We Have Primitive Reflexes?

Recommend Reading: First Signs especially their screening tools for Autism

Research: Infants With Autism: An Investigation of Empathy, Pretend Play, Joint Attention, and Imitation [ PDF ]; Early recognition of children with autism: A study of first birthday home videotapes; Early recognition of 1-year-old infants with autism spectrum disorder versus mental retardation; Movement analysis in infancy may be useful for early diagnosis of autism; Infantile Reflexes Gone Astray in Autism [ PDF ]; Toddlers With Autism: Developmental Perspectives.; The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers: An Initial Study Investigating the Early Detection of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders


  1. jessica

    My best friend and myself was pregnant at the same time. her son is a month older than my daughter but my daughter talks and inter acts more than him. he will be 3 in feb. and just started saying mama a couple of months ago. all he wants to watch is cartoons and he doesnt listen at all and he still cant talk. now my daughter can talk all day and night and half of the time im amazed at what she says. im not sure why her son can only say mama and dada. i think he may have autism

  2. caroline afifi

    My nephew is a little slow at speech, clumsy and does not hold eye contact with me or cuddle anyone other than his parents. He always seems distant and repeats things. He has started pulling a face like gurning in a repetative way. He is four years old. I am concerned but my brother is not.

  3. Joanne North Wales

    My nephew has been seen by his Consultant and he is now waiting for an MRI scan. Reasons for this is he “stomps” rather than walks and he keeps on falling over, then has problems standing back up again. We are all ver concerned.

  4. Jennifer Colorado

    I have a son that just turned 2 years old this March 2008. He is not talking yet. He says only no, ju (for juice), what, ball, and sometimes dadda (we have not yet determined whether or not he is associating this word with his father.) He does not yet say momma or mommy unless prompted. He will repeat words if prompted to, but will not use them again for personal use. There are other things like temper tantrums that sometimes even scare me. I do believe that these tantrums are a sign of frustration and he is scheduled for evaluation, but what can I do to help him? I feel desperate. I don’t know how to know exactly what it is he wants and he has become so emotional. What can I do?

  5. Shelly

    I have a 2 and a half year old son..I am worried that he might have autism because every time I take something away from him or tell him to stop doing something he will slap his face, pinch his self and scream and yell.
    I am a stay at home mom and pay all my attention to him. He just stands out in a group of kids his age. He plays be his self and doesnt like anyone touching anything of his. I try to show him affection all the time but he just pushes me away and yells. I can rarely get him to give me a hug. I hate to take him to the doctor because Im afraid of what they are going to say.. Please give me some advise to what I should do. What are the exact symptoms for autism?

  6. kim

    I have a 2 and a half year old son that i believe may ahve autism. He does styrange things like running in circles chanting things, lining up his cars and studying them in a very strange way, he also hates when his sister touches him or any of his things. Today i have an evaluater coming to see him but i am so scared he may have autism.

  7. Angie

    Wow, as I read these comments, these children are exactly like mine! Before he was 1 year old, he was really progressing. He would say the typical words: mama, ball, bye bye, etc. But it was like over night, he stopped. That was before 1 year, somewhere between 6 & 12 months. He’s now 4, just turned 4 a few days ago. He didn’t speak again until after 3 years old. He just started sleeping through the night around 6 months ago. He would awaken, sometimes, as much as every 30 minutes. This went on for years. He also wasn’t potty trained until around 3.5. Now, I can tell that he’s not the typical 4 year old. When we’re in public, people will talk to him “how old are you little boy?” Things like that. I’m ashamed to say that I get embarrassed when people talk to him, because he can’t understand them and can’t talk back. He’s saying words now, but nowhere near complete sentences. He also has extreme temper tantrums. His face will turn blood red, he’ll pull his hair, slap himself in the face. In my eyes, he’s at a 2 year old stage, instead of 4. I’ve had him to the doctor, several times, years ago. It even went as far as him having a CAT scan. Several people suggested that he was tongue tied. My doctor keeps telling me the same thing……He’s just spoiled. I’m holding out hope that he’s right. I’m a stay at home mom, and he’s never been in a day care or head start. I don’t know how he’ll do, but I really don’t foresee Pre-K working out later this year.

  8. Wendy Johnston

    I have a 3 year old boy who is having a second assessment this week. He speaks very little and has many other quirks, which cause his nursery staff concern. I’m surprised so many of you are concerned about 2 year olds not speaking. My daughter (now 6) didn’t speak until she was nearly 4 and my younger son (just turned 2) knows only a few words. I think a lot of under 3s talk because their parents have trained them parrot-fashion. Normal conversation comes when a child is ready and shouldn’t be pushed because of what people think.

  9. Beth

    My daughter was a very fussy baby, did not & still does not like to be cuddled. Has always been afraid of loud noises & new situations. Thrives best on a routine. Her speech is delayed – about a two year old level. When talked to it has to be very simple, short sentences or she can only remeber the last thing said to her. She is in a special ed pre- school & is socially doing better. It took six months for her to go by herself to preschool & not have me waiting by the door. I started in the room with her, then waited at the door & now I am able to leave all together. She is a visual learner. She recognizes letters by associating them with a family members name. M for Maddie & so on. She learned her colors & shapes by watching Barney over & over. She always wanted to watch the same video & never new ones. The preschool teachers say she will eventually go to kindergarten but I just don’t see how she will learn when she can’t stay focused or take in what a teacher is talking about. Does this sound like autism? Any ideas?

  10. Michelle

    I have a 17-month old daughter which is my 3rd child and she throws the most awful temper tantrums over least little things and the tantrums are so bad I have to hold her as tight as I can to keep her from hurting herself, and they usually last for about 3 to 4 minutes at a time, does this sound like an autistic tantrum?

  11. catherine

    Hello, I have only read a few of the posts
    above & I would like to express my concern &
    offer my own experience (I have eight children–ranging from 21 years-one year old) Most all
    of these children need to get tested ASAP by clinicians very experienced with autism & autism spectrum disorders: there is a window of time that can make all of the difference
    in the world for these kids while their brain
    is still developing. (Kindergarten is too late)
    They can get speech therapy, occupational therapy–etc..(financial help is available for
    these kids) My seventeen year old twins were
    tested at 3 & started school & therapy through
    the local public school system. (They were found to have developmental delays–also
    diagnosed with ADHD–in reality they had
    aspergers–nonetheless, they were still helped
    tremendously) Had they been diagnosed earlier it would have been even better. My
    severely autistic cousin was tested at 18 months & he can speak & communicate because of all
    the early intervention that he received. A famous
    autistic –Temple Grandin claims that half
    of the autistics could start a regular first
    grade class with early intervention.
    For the person who wrote about the boy who
    spoke at four–that is not uncommon for a
    person on the higher end of the autistic
    spectrum (my brother whom I believe has aspergers spoke at 4) to speak at four. The
    diagnosis for autism & autism spectrum disorders depends a bit on early speech &
    speaking at four is quite serious. There are
    also other needs that he may have. I mean the
    best for him. (My brother is bright & kind &
    wonderful in many ways–but life is very
    The early testing & help would benefit these
    children enormously–change the whole course
    of their lives.
    Forgive me for offering such an urgent appeal.
    The other piece I would offer is to find mothers in a support group–they have a wealth
    of information & are often sharper than most
    of the doctors–they also will help you find
    the best evaluators, advocates, doctors & (doctors to stay away from–I had some terrible
    advice from illinformed ones)
    Also, the support is tremendously important so
    that you do not go through this alone. These
    women are incredible & balanced & inspired by
    love. The best to all of you & your precious

  12. Brie

    My son turned 2 in Feb. and was diagnosed with dyspraxia (also known as Apraxia) very little words, temper tantrums, etc. BabyNet is a wonderful organization (free, regardless of income, each state has their own organization similar to this, BabyNet is the one for SC and NC I believe) that will evaluate the child and IF NEEDED offer free speech therapy, Occupational therapy, or Physical therapy. My son’s pediatrician kept telling me just to give him some time and he would speak…….she would have never referred us to a specialist. We found BabyNet on the net and it was a Godsend! Be your own advocate and look for help yourselves!!

  13. Thai

    My son will soon be 21 months old. After birth, at 3 days of age, he began to have Grand Mal seizures. At this time no one knows where or how these seizures came about. At 4 months, his pediatrician told me to seek help from our local Early Intervention group because he showed signs of developmental delays. At 6 months he still couldn’t sit up alone so he was given a Physical Therapist. At age 1 he still couldn’t hold his own bottle so E.I. gave him an Occupational Therapist. At 18 months he finally began to walk and hold his own bottle, but still something was not quite right. At his 18month check-up his pediatrician referred me to a doctor whom specialized in developmental delays in children because he is seeing early signs of autism. My son rarely gives direct eye contact, he doesn’t like to enter-act with other children much and we have a large family with pleanty of kids! He constantly walks in circles no matter where he’s at, he’ll find something to walk around and that is what he’ll do. He has since be given a Developmental Interventionist. It’s hard because he’s so reclusive; he doesn’t want any bother from new people. He holds his ears and screams at certain noises, but yet he makes a lot of noises. He only says “Dada” and gets fustrated if no one understands what he wants. He slaps and bites if you cannot satisfy his needs or he’ll “fall out”. This is all new to me since we’ve had no one in my family with any type of disability. I am currently at home with him since his birth but I need to return to work soon because I am a single parent; unfortunately his father is not here to help out and he’s our 3rd child. I’m afraid to leave him at daycares because I don’t know what will happen while I am gone, but yet I need to provide for my family. I am not looking for sympathy, but more like a guide and help. Everyone in my family rallies around him to help his progress, but this is still alot to digest.

  14. emily

    I have twin boys they are going to be three in 3 months. I am concerned about one of my children. he talks fine for a 2 almost 3 year old but he has tempertantrums and he gets this primitive look and his eyes and therre is no stopping him. he spits at you if he dosent get what he wants and he also hits. sometimes he gets this look in his eyes that concerns me. I am not sure how to approach this because everything else is developing fine. i am not sure if this is terrible twos or what

  15. Cindy

    Friends of ours have a son who is 3 1/2. Immediately upon meeting him, I could tell something was not right. His pupils are dilated, he stares past you, and does not make eye contact. He is unaware of others in the room. He walked into our house, indifferent, no social awareness of us even being there. He has very angry outbursts, especially when his mother stops him, to talk to him, or to touch him. He plays very differently from other children, and has extremely poor language. The mother has expressed concerns to me, that she feels there is something not right with her son. The doctor, says, he’s normal and meeting his milestones. How can a doctor diagnose when he does not see him in his environment and interacting with others? How can the mother make her doctor do further testing? I do not want to just come out and say to her…hey I think your kid has autism. Her husband is in denial and says nothing is wrong. She does not know what to do. How can I help her get the help she needs for her son?

  16. Heather

    I have a 14 month old that was recently diagnosed with childhood epilepsy about 3 weeks ago. He has been on Keppra (anticonvulsant) now since his first seizure. These small convulsians literally came out of the blue. I just read Jenny Mc Carthys book (Louder than words) about autism. I can relate very much to her beautiful Evan. My son loves to stare at fans all day (if I let him). He has never been too fond of his toys I have gotten him. He doesnt hold eye contact very well. And he has yet to speak his first word. I am very concerned at this point. I am hoping for early intervention.

  17. Andrea

    I decided to do some internet research on early signs of autism in infants. We can’t seem to get to the root of her (my niece’s problem). She is 6 months old. She was born with jaundice which caused her to stay in the hospital an extra week. She started having problems keeping down her formula. She was throwing it up through her nose and mouth after every feeding. We changed he bottle nipple size, the type of bottle, the type of formula (in the event she was allergic to something or lactose intolerant)…nothing solved this problem. She had hiccups all the time, clenches her fists all the time, does a weird pout with her lips all the time, and never closes her mouth if she isn’t pouting. A doctor told us that she had colic (hiccups and constant bubbles in her mouth). So we gave her medication for that. But she continues to vomit through her nose. This vomiting is way more than the usual baby spit-up. Recently she started shaking (like mild seizures). She’s been rushed to the hospital, but doctors can’t find a problem with her through their blood work and other tests. I’ve been looking at her and for the first time she looks different…in an abnormal way. Her eyes resemble a friend’s child that has autism. I’m wondering if any of the things I listed above have been symptoms that have been seen in the children who have been diagnosed with autism. I don’t know too much about autism, so pardon my ignorance if I am way off. We are just desperately searching for answers right now.

  18. tanya mckenzie

    Our son is 23mnths.He recently had his tonsils and adenoids removed. He also had his ear syringed for mucus that had built in his ear. We had seen certain behavior patterns, but figured things would change after the operation.Only things seemed to have gotten worse. He hits objects very hard on his chest and fans them quickly in front of his face while crossing his eyes. He cries for hard objects, other than toys we purchased for him.He has lost the ability to say good-bye and count as he did when he was about 11mnths old. please help don’t know what to do.

  19. Katherine

    I am very concerned about a nephew of mine. He will be 3 in 3 months and he only says maybe 4 or 5 words. I noticed when he was very little, the blank stares he always has. It is impossible to get a candid picture of him. He will not focus on anything. His dad says he throws things when someone comes over. No matter what is in his hands. His parents have Never acted concerned. This is their only child and they are young. My husband has tried to approach his concerns to the grandparents BUT were quickly dismissed. I can’t believe their doctor has not red flagged these signs. The daycare is Not allowed to say their is a developmental concern. What to do? I have 2 kids who are in school and both of them hit all milestones growing up. My son who has had 4 ear surguries was talking in complete sentences by 15 months old. (and not like a parrot, He would see things and comment on them) I hope I am wrong…about my nephew having autism but would love to show I CARE.

  20. Andrea

    Re: Shelly w the 2 1/2 yr old: You should take your son to his ped. It’s a scarry thing to think about what they’ll say, but if it is something, it’s better to know now and get treatment then wait and have it get worse and be harder to treat. My boss’ daughter was diagnosed w severe autism @ 2 and is now 7. You would have no idea she was autistic at all because they caught it early and got her the help she needed. Good luck and I wish you the best.
    Re: Angie with the 4yr old: If you call the nearest elementary school they can give you information on evaluations. Make sure it’s a complete eval-not a screening (my daughter got a screening at 3 and were told she was fine, but she wasn’t and her ped told us to get full eval-found she did need help) and they can recommend solutions such as head start or developemental preschool/PreK. My daughter got evaluated at her school and was enrolled in the developemental PreK program. She has improved so much after being in the class. She will be going into a regular Kindergarten class with two speech therapy lessons a week this fall.

  21. Christine

    This is for Andrea: This sounds like acid reflux. My baby has the same thing, has been tested and it is just acid reflux. Take your LO to the Pediatriac GI to get tested.

  22. Stormy

    My son is 2 3/4 years old, and very active child. Very loving, and loves to “things” and toys, and constantly on the move. He smiles whe we smile and shares his love with us, and comes to us with things he wants us to do with him. All the family, but two members see him as normal and ok. His two serious problems are his speech is very delayed and though he’s babling allot, and many words come out, its very hard for him to pronounce things. Sounds to me like a serious issue with his brain to his mouth. Also, at school he doesnt like any of the boys to play with him and is very violent and hits and puches and strangles them, if they get in his way. His teacher is very concerned and we had a younger teacher actually say she thought he had autism. I did the MCHAT and he passed all the items in the list but pointing, which he does now. Like I said, he is a very loving boy and very active and athletic (ie lovs to run, ride a bike, etc) but this speech and hitting makes me think he’s got Autism. Also, he can be great in a store, but if he doesnt get some item he is fixed on, he goes beserk and arches his back and his behaviour is bizarre. Turns colors and hits us both in the head and face. After he is in time out, he’s a great kid again.

    So, how much of this is the terrible two’s and boys, and how much a precursor toi a serious disorder. Again, no concerns from our doctor, we have a speech therapist, and no one except one family member has mentioned we need to get him tested for autism. But he;s definatley got issues.

  23. Insanemom

    I have a 3 and a half year old boy who has been diagnosed verbally as borderline Autistic but given a diagnosis as global development delay on paper. He is increasingly violent. I have 3 other children aged 4, 2, 1 years. He has become ( I hate to say it) A danger to my other children. He was recently caught choking some of the neighbourhood animals. I love my son with all my heart as I do all my children. They are not abused neglected or anything that I thought would cause this behaviour. what do I do? Is this a trait of Autism? How do I discipline this behaviour? How do I protect my other children? The Doctor has also stated that I need to put him In Junior Kindergarten which he starts in September but I fear him harming another child What do I do???

  24. Joel L. Fritsch Sr.

    my nephews little girl (6 mo.s) is exhibiting some of the symptoms listed. The back of her head is flat also but I attribute that to lengthy stays in a car seat or carrier. Her mother smoked during her pregnancy because her doctor told her it would not harm the baby (or so she says). I cannot take her to the doctor without their permission but I am concerned.

  25. Vanessa

    my son is 16 months he does not talk or walk he is standing on his own crawling everywhere loves to play with all kinds of toys likes to swim and watch tv he was born at 36 wees and develops late. he barely got his teeth at 15 months should i be concerned he nods for no and yes but does not speak am i over reacting.

  26. sandy

    My child is going too bee 3 in sep, he’s very active hyper at all times, he’s very smart like if he needs something he will bring it too me, he understands majory all the time when I tell him something like get his shoes, or clothes, but im getting worry cuzz he only says little words like ball, dog, mamma etc.. He does say a lot of words but he needs 2 b remended too say something, also when I try 2 teach him like colors, shapes he hardly focus I have a hard time trying too teach him staff because he don’t pay attetion he’s always playing n think dat everything its a game also I been partying train him this whole year n he would go on his underwear if I don’t reminde him too go should I be worry?

  27. Kimberly

    My niece is going on two and half months now and usually be then babies will look at your face or at least towards your eyes,..She on the other hand always seems to look at the top or over your head…? Does this sound like anything to worry about, has anyone ever experienced this, is it just slow eye development? I am starting to worry about her and they have questioned autism but the doctors haven’t said anything yet. Anyone have any advice or info to lend?

  28. Bridget

    Hello everyone,
    As a parent of a toddler with autism, I have some advice for anyone who is concerned about their child. Please do not think that you are overreacting. Your are your childs ADVOCATE. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, you owe it to you and your child to seek answers. It is not borrowing trouble, overreacting, or being paraniod.
    See your child doctor and voice your concerns. Visit your county health department and get a referral to Help Me Grow (may have a different name where you live). Every child that is developmentally delayed has a right to receive services and evaluations. You will be amazed at the services that are available to you and your family. Please understand that autism does not mean your child is “broken”. These children are smart and sweet and deserve to get every resource they need. You are not alone and you deserve to know so you can help your child be his/her best.
    A helpful website to visit for information and videos to watch is Good luck to all of you that have concerns….

  29. Kamilah

    I have a 21 month old and I’m starting to get concerned with him having autism. At his 18mo check up, he wasn’t speaking like he should. He has Speech Therapy 2x a week and about to start Occupational Therapy as well. He only says mama, dada, hey, yeah, no, and hot. He understands what’s being told to him and responds by bringing you things. He runs in circles when he plays. He doesn’t like to be touched with his hands. His therapist tries to teach him sign language and he’s resistant to being touched. He won’t feed himself foods like oatmeal and throws the worst tantrums in the mornings. I thought he was just being clingy to me and wanting me to hold him, but sometimes when I do, it doesn’t always work. After reading these comments, I think I will take my child to be evaluated for autism. I’m very concerned and yes I do think I’m overreacting or overanalyzing these signs, but I’d rather have a sigh of relief than to wait until its too late.

  30. Sarah

    My son is almost 4 and he doesn’t say much at all. He has a very wild temper. Very mean a lot of people seem to think that he has autism. Everything I have ever seen or read about autism matches my so to the T. He goes to speech therapy
    2x a week and he see an occupational therapist 2x a week for over a year and nothing is seeming to work. If anybody has any advice for me please feel free to email me at

    Thank you

  31. Concerned Grandmother

    My grandson is 4 months old and exibits two symptoms that I am concerned about. 1. It took him until about three months to smile back at you. 2. Although he will interact with you now (he’s 4 months) he still and has always looked off and you have to hold his head to see you or turn his entire body to get engaged. 3. and He at times seems to be hard of hearing. I am so concerned about my little angel. Please let me know what I can do. Does this seem like autism?

  32. lucy

    parents, stop freaking out so much. if you look up anything, you will find a syndrome that fits your child. my brother didnt say anything till he was three, he made noise and was wild but not words. once he started talking, at about 3 years a few months, he was able to string words. there are reports of some kids not talking till FOUR and still being fine. its important they have some UNDERSTANDING, what they call receptive language. normal toddler behavior can mimic autism. this does NOT Mean your child is autistic or has ADD. start with two criteria, what were once the MAIN criteria- is your child social meaning does he respond to parents? children under three generally dont socialize. girls usually do more than boys.the other is- does child have REPEAT obsessive patterns. all kids toe walk, hand flap but its a matter of frequency. all kids have tantrums, all kids. this autism madness needs to stop. it is madness. i think alot of kids with ASD diagnosis are falsely diagnosed.parents say later their kids are “almost normal.” all kids are almost normal. kids catch up. they may not catch up as fast as you like but trust me, most therapists stink. theyre overpaid and barely do anything. youre the best teacher/helper/motivator for your child. i can prove these checklists are insane- they reference things kids wouldnt possibly do a hundred years ago. if you really believe, WITHOUT READING ON THE INTERNET, your child has a problem, ask your doc but dont load the question with panic. dont think your “instinct” is what other relatives say or what you read. Remember FREQUENCY IS A GOOD INDICATOR. if a child acts in a way that concerns you,monitor the frequency. you may find it isnt as often as you think. I love when people brag their kid is an early talker, then i ask them about their other child- no two kids are the same!!! if your child has a motor or verbal delay, WORK WITH HIM,you can do wonders. im not saying dont ask a doctor. im saying dont panic and dont use the internet as your authority. when i hear this crapola that 50% of late talkers are autistic, i know its garbage. about motor, true story, knew this kid, didnt walk till 17 months, total klutz anyone would think there was something wrongwith dragged him to 20 doctors, a zillion tests, fast forward three years he’s running around fine with the other kids.

  33. lucy

    we’ve created an industry because all kids are imperfect in some area. kids have bizarre habits- thumb sucking, spinning, hair pulling, tooth grinding, you name it. in my opinion the ONLY benefit of therapists is sometimes kids respond better to strangers because they take advantage of your parents. because your toddler doesnt self feed doesnt mean he CANT! the older he gets, Im sure he’ll self feed. they say no one gets married in diapers. my son hated sand but i worked on it and now he has no problem with it. tell this to a therapist- he has sensory integration disorder! i loathe these morons. they prey on parental panic. if a child doesnt like or is afraid of something, DISORDER. most of my kids tantrums- i knew what caused them but sometimes i was baffled. kids who are late talkers will usually become more easily frustrated. you have to work with your child. regarding tantrums i have two bits of advice- one- at some point you have to show displeasure. it wont stop the tantrum but a child needs to know youre unhappy. at some point you should put him/her in a crib/time out spot for 15 minutes to cool down. it shouldnt always be hugging and soothing. then they win and you reinforce the behavior.the other- toddlers tantrum when they perceive, rightly or wrongly, a loss of control. try to allow them to do something to get the power back. this is when they start calming down. you have to wait out any tantrum but you dont want it to re-cycle. toddlers give you signs they will tantrum, sometimes they can be distracted with toys or humor. some kids are placid, some are mission impossible, we dont pick and choose.

  34. lucy

    concerned grandmother- the only way id be concerned about a four month old is if they never wanted to be touched. all kids space out. at every age.

  35. lucy

    I lost so much of my life needlessly panicking about my baby. newsflash- there was never anything to worry about as a baby so if you think youre free from worry, it NEVER Ends. you could always be a panic machine. your baby could be like X on monday and Y on tuesday. they change. dont surround yourself with worry the best parent you can. dont turn your life over to other people. whatever your child is, you cant change it. you can only make him or her the best they can be. what if your child is totally normal but with a low IQ?are you going to send them away? no, you show them that certain traits will get them far in life like perseverance and other good habits. this autism machine is so nuts we have people worrying about infants. unless your child is really autistic, you will NEVER know when theyre an infant. even toddlers are hard to diagnose before three. stop the madness!!!!

  36. lucy

    one last note- WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN DAMN KIDS. it is not your place to diagnose other peoples kids. how would you like if their kid told you you were fat and needed to lose weight? lets say youre right about someone elses kid and frankly i think that rarely occurs, you are NOT the parent, they are. respect their authority even if you are a relative. acting like you see something they miss even though theyre with the kids all the time, is a vile act. they didnt “miss it”, they just dont agree with you. and if they do miss something, theyll deal with it when the time comes. real friends and good relatives just love and enjoy kids as much as they can

  37. Scott

    Lucy sure does have some opinions. Maybe she could write a book…or maybe she just did! Wow, where to begin? I’ll begin by saying she does have a couple good points, BUT ONLY A COUPLE. People should stop freaking out when their kids are 12 months old or younger. Just keep working with them and make sure they’re hitting their milestones. If at 12 months you are concerened, if you see odd or curious behavior, then express those perceived developmental delays/behaviors with your doctor. Now, if I had personally taken Lucy’s advice and stuck my head in the sand, I seriously doubt my daughter would be as well off as she is today. My daughter hit every milestone up until she was about 2. I won’t address the MMR shot debate here, but I can tell you she took a huge step backward at age 2. She stopped talking, started lining up toys in a straight line, among other things. For a little over a year our Dr. told us everything was ok, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t. She was our first child though, so I didn’t have the experience or fortitude to speak up at the time. Finally at age 3 or so I demanded she be tested. At that point she was diagnosed with Asperger’s and started getting the help she needed. Once she got speech therapy and occupational therapy we saw vast improvement. It literally changed our daughter’s life and our lives as a family. She is now almost 10. She still has social issues and some difficulties in school, which is a symptom of Asperger’s, but had she not gotten the help she needed I doubt she would be as well off today. She’s a very smart and loving little girl, but she does need to work harder to understand concepts (math in particular). My whole point to this is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you truly believe there is something wrong with your child, DEMAND a referral to a specialist. If they won’t give you one, GET A NEW DOCTOR. There are plenty around. Again, do NOT stick your head in the sand and ignore problems your child is having. The longer you ignore it, the harder it will be for you AND your child. I’m guessing if we were talking about a suspected illness that caused your child to great pain, Lucy would probably not stop in seeking opinions/testing to determine the cause and to treat the illness. Why is this any different? Lastly, I will say I am NOT a therapist. I’m just a regular guy who works in the real estate field. Maybe Lucy had a bad experience, but calling therapists “morons” is just irresponsible…

  38. Jennifer D

    My son is now almost 12 years old. He has been diagnosed with ADHD (used to be ADD, because he is not hyper). To give a little bit of background- when he was 7 weeks old, my husband at the time abused him, breaking his femur. Because I refused to say at that time that I knew he did it on purpose, he was taken from me and placed in foster care. After almost 3 years of court, therapy, counseling, parenting classes, drug/alcohol abuse meetings(which I DIDN’t need), and everything else I finally got him back at the age of 3. I have attributed the difference in my son to his displacement, going from foster home back to me, and thought he was different emotionally because of that.
    I hesitated until 3rd grade to put him on medicine for ADHD, at the suggestion of his teachers (ever since Care-preK) because I hate it, and I keep taking him off of it because it does not seem to help him, in school or at home. He would come home and stare at the wall, literally for 2-3 hours and not speak unless spoken to. He is not social at all, only until this year has be started making friends at school. He reacts strangely at times inappropriately. For instance- I accidentally ran over our new puppy with the car last year and when I got home from work, Donovan came running out of the house laughing, asked me why did I hit the puppy. But he thought it was genuinely funny, and was joking about it- when everyone else was crying and upset.
    He continuously lies about homework, refuses to bring it home. He gets in trouble constantly grounded about grades- lectured yelled at etc- he just gives us the “blank stare” we always talk about- like he doesn’t even hear us. My husband (new one-his real Dad is not in the picture after going to prison) kind of joked that he has autism, and I really didn’t know much about it aside from a friend at work who has 2 step kids with autism, and my son doesn’t seem to have any of the same problems she descibes.
    When he was little, he was fascinated with fans, would stare for long periods of time- would flap his hands in front of his face. He could watch the same movie over and over- one was “alien autopsy” the other was “the posiedon adventure” He literally watched them until they fell apart. I always said he was a “good kid”- so quiet- never a problem. He never had temper tantrums like others on here have said. Was always quiet- never a problem. He is being tested on the 7th with the school. They are stressing, he is near flunking, every year he is- with or without medicine. They want me to put him on different/stronger medicine. My doctor said maybe there is something more than ADHD, and will not change the rx…I agree with him. Sorry so long- any ideas???

  39. My grandaughter just had her 1st birthday. She doen’t crawl, pull her self up, or walk. She can sit up but need some help getting in to that prone position. But what freaks me out is she will not hold eye contact, and does this repetative motion with her fingers like she is spinning something. Like her hands are facing each other and her fingers are flapping quickly especially when she is focusing on something that spins like a wheel of a toy or a pinwheel..anything that spins and she is off in another world. Also the Backyardigins cartoon, that is all she wants to watch since 6 months old. She would cry if you walked in front of the TV. If you do get her to look at you ,it is like a blank stare with no blinking, a dead on stare. She is a beauty but it is weird. My other kids and grandkids all walked and talked at 9 months, she is 1 and her only vocals are “EEEEE” which is also odd when added to the had motions. What happened to BABABA. Her fine motor skills are very good but she has had problems with her gag relfexes since birth. She chokes on her own saliva and to the point of turning blue. We have to puree all of her food even though she has teeth. But her parents just don’t see this. HELP, this is weird right?????

  40. Brandi

    Dani, I’m so sorry to hear about your little grandaughter. My son is 9 and severely autistic. Unfortunately, you just described his behavior as a tot, to a T. Being a boy there were tons of little trucks, etc. laying around. He would turn them over and spin the wheels over and over again. As he got a little older he would spin the lids to jars, tupperware, anything round. The only difference is his show was Thomas. We live with “EEeeee” to this very day.

    As far as her parents are concerned, all you can do is make suggestions. They may genuinely not recognize a problem yet or they may, deep down, have concerns of their own, or they may still be in a safe state of denial. My husband and I ebbed and flowed through all of these states of mind for about a year before we were ready embrace the fact that our child was seriously impaired. We did have him receiving therapy by about 20mos but we still didn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of his disability. I know it’s hard for you as a grandparent but I ache for her parents. Try not to push your observations to forcefully. Even if you’re spot on it won’t do her any good if Mom and Dad aren’t ready to see it. If she is autistic they’ll have the rest of their lives to deal with autism. Of course, the sooner she gets help the better, however, in the mean time Mom and Dad need to know that you respect and support them as her parents. When they’re ready to accept the reality of the situation they will be in for the heartbreak of a lifetime. When that time comes they will likely question themselves as parents, especially where you are concerned, since you have tried to point out observations that they may have missed. The last thing they’ll need is a lingering “I told you so” echoing their minds”. It’s very easy to become isolated when dealing with a child with autism. Even from immediate family that, prior, you had a very intimate relationship with. You want to be a person that they can trust is supportive without judgment. Remember, she’s their baby and the best way to support her is to support her parents. When they’re ready, the thing they’ll need most from you is love.

  41. mel

    Iam a young single parent with one 3 year old son who is smarter than most 5 year olds i know. He can spell, read, write, identify all shapes, counts in spanish and english, and can sign many words including the alphebet. Everyone thinks im crazy for being concerned including his father. He doesnt eat, shows no interest in using the potty, and has severe tantroms. I never felt like he cared about playing with other children but will play in the same room as them. He talks but mainly repeats what i say & if its not what he wants he says no. i took him to the child study team in my area and had to practically fight for an evaluation. They said it was an “educational program” I know my child is inteligent and able to learn but that doesnt mean i shouldnt have concerns. if they do the evaluation and tell me he is fine should i take him to a specialist? if so what type?

  42. Ami

    hi – i have four children. my first has asperger’s and i don’t remember much from her babyhood other than being stressed out a lot. she was definitely different than other babies – cried a lot, wanted me a lot, and rarely slept. my next two kids seem fine. easily went to a schedule, slept, social, fine. with my last (5 1/2 mos old) i am becoming very concerned. he won’t look at us for very long and it is VERY HARD to get his attention – at all – unless he’s laying down, and even that is getting harder. my concern is that when folks try to catch his gaze he will not do it and then they give up and aren’t social with him, so it seems like a reciprocating problem – even less socialization than your average baby. if any baby needed more it is him. i don’t think he is crying way more than other babies, doesn’t seem to become too overwhelmed with loud settings unless he’s extremely tired. i am wondering if anyone here who definitely has children with integration issues or autism had this happening with their child as a baby. please feel free to contact me at my personal email account as i have asked the doc several times and she says there is nothing to worry about. she is inexperienced with autism, however (she’s fantastic with my other kids). he seems strong and coordinated for his age. can roll over both ways, but prefers to lay on his back. please write me too, if you may have had a baby who would not look at you at the age of almost 6 months and is fine now. any info would be really helpful to me. thank you so much.

  43. Ami

    just posted earlier – my son who won’t look at us much is on a pretty good schedule, and sleeps alright. this is literally my main concern. thx.

  44. Kelly

    My son is nearly 3 and a half years old…..He is speech delayed and has a few quirks to his behavior. After much back and forth with his doctor I had a speech evaluation done and was told his language development is at the 18month old level and that I need to go to a specialist and have him tested for autism. I think it is finally hitting me that this could be real and this is a lifetime thing. I am so frightened and can’t seem to stop crying. I would say to all parents to trust their gut instincts and to pursue any issue your child may have. Even if they are perfectly normal, to followup and get them additional help can never hurt.

  45. staci

    i have an 18mnth son who is finally walking all by himself no crawling anymore,Now i’ve heard him say uncle 1x at xmas he’s with my family right now til i get on my feet in another state an I’m picking him up in may this year he’s in daycare recently started thats where he decided to walk at. because my family doesnt want me to pick him up an bring him to another state away from them now thier telling me they had him evaluated he’s behind in speech ,he plays well very mellow lil boy wakes up happy cause he wakesup on own instead of being wokeup.knows how to grsp things but only makes lil noises like huh huh i think let him be he’ll talk an quit giving stuff to him let him ask for it maybe he just aint got nothing to say yet he jus recently started daycare so give him a few to interact with other kids he’ll pickup on it I think they’re jumping gun an trying to get me to let my son stay with them longer,vaccines maybe,I feel maybe he’s waiting when he’s back with me to say his words

  46. staci

    i have a question for anyone who reaaly knows has anyone ever been told that isn’t recommened to move 18mth boy from aunts uncles house to mothers house in different state,though the boy hasn’t been tolately diagnosed with autism has just been evaluated behind in speech that if moved may stop walking

  47. Yomima

    My son Dio is 27 months,until now not a single word comes out from him,when he need something he will point or grab my hand or my husband to go with him.
    at some point he likes to put his toys or anything in order and these bevahior happened once in awhile.
    Also dio likes to roll his eyes and make a circle movement over and over.
    my husband and i are concerned that he develop early sympton of austism.
    we need help….

  48. Jessica

    Hi To All,

    i really need a response to this comment!!! My son is thirteen months old. He does not talk. My main concerns are two behaviors over anything else. He consistently body rocks back and forth in any position. (standing,crusing,on all fours,etc.) He is not walking yet. He also will flip all his toy trucks over to spin the wheels. He does get fixated on the wheels. Perfers the wheels over any other toy. And sometimes when he rocks back and forth he will make a humming noise. Why? I’ve never seen another child do this rocking thing.

  49. Jesse

    Hello everyone,
    Let me first say thank you for sharing your stories. It is somewhat comforting knowing that my wife and I are not alone in this matter. We are not sure if our son is autistic since he doesn’t show all the tell tale signs. Our son Aaron is now 25 months. He babbles and laughs but has not spoken a word yet. He does seem to be in his own world at times and doesn’t answer to his name. He doesn’t walk on his toes but loves to spin the wheels of his toys. He’s not totally engulfed by these actions, he spins them for about 30 seconds then he’s off to other things. He smiles and likes to be cuddled but He doesn’t make very good eye contact and pushes you away when you try to give him kisses. He LOVES to jump or hop around. Constantly jumping up and down. He is fixated on the tv show The Backyardigans! It grabs him and he will move whatever is in his way to watch his shows. We are a little embarrassed to post this because our son’s symptoms seem to be very mild compared to the other posts. We are still very concerned. Oh and the other thing he loves to watch ceiling fans or things that spin, but again he only watches for 20-30 seconds at a time then loses interest till it catches his attention again. We have scheduled an appointment to see a specialist like many of you have. Hopefully early detection will help us and our son. Thank you for reading this. This is a bit therapeutic to post this. Good luck to all you parents out there! Your child depends on you.

  50. Athina

    my daught is 3yrs old she has had hearing problems since, birth dut to fluid in her ear. Had,tubes put in a year ago. Her speach is very delayed. Now she does have symptoms of autism of lining up toys, doesn’t really want to play with other children, or make much eye contact. Can anybody tell me is this due to her hear loss, that she had or is it autism. Because i’m getting told by doctors that their not to sure. Nobody can give me an answer.

  51. Sarah

    I have a friend who’s son is 4 yrs of age I tried telling her that her son is showing signs because My mom and myself have experianced because I have a 15 yr brother who is autistic.Her son have been repeating himself over and opens and closes things continuous she says its been driving her crazy.She claims this is just a stage hes going thorough. He speaks but in very short sentences. He didnt learn to roll over till he was 6 or 7 mos. Are these signs of being autistic?

  52. julie

    I have a two and half year old son that likes to line up his toy vaccum.. it seems to be that or walk next to his sisters crib or a clothes basket he will circle around.. if he dont he will circle around anything he doesnt do it all the time constant but he does it daily… he show affection, says mom dad, blue, no and also spells no.. I just find the circling thing odd, he doesnt have tantrums, hes hit all his mile stones til the talking thing, but we do live in a rural area an not exposed to a lot of children his age. The only time he shows anger is when his sister takes his toy vaccum..

  53. Britany

    Hi all. I have a son who is 3, he will be four in August. I have noticed that something is not right with him. He has an obssesion with Thomas the train and has to go to bed with his trains every night or he gets very upset. My sister told me that when she watches him he will be doing something then all of a sudden he will sit on the floor and start spinning!
    He does go to a developmental preschool because he was not walking or talking. He was 22 months old when he started walking and about 2 and a half years old when he started saying simplewords. He also has violent out burst and he is starting to become violent with his brother…hitting, biting, slapping, etc. He also throws horrible tantrums and somtimes he will even start slapping himself and he bites himself. Can someone shed some light onto this plzzzz…I am going to take him to the doctor to see what I can do because I am concerned. He is also not potty trained doesn’t really show any interest in it like my 2 year old does….I need all the help I can get because I have had several family members tell me that he might be autistic!

  54. Steffany

    I need some advice please. I have a 3 year old nephew who i am concerned about. He’s very smart and he repeats what he hears in the way of learning how to talk, but he’s showing signs that make me worry. He often repeats hisself(says the samething OVER AND OVER) and i’ve saw him get off by hisself to play or just stare’s out into space, like he’s in his own little world. Are these things that should be told to the Dr? He also will just have sudden outburst of anger and he’s only 3!! He throw’s shoes through the house and will go and get under a table and sit and cry for no reason. I’m so worried and don’t know how to bring this to my brother’s attention, he denies anything is wrong with him!! What do i do, can someone help??

  55. jennifer

    my daughter will be 18 months next month and she still isnt walking. Nor is she talking, waving her hand bye bye, giving kisses, and she does these facial expressions. At first we thought this was cute. But now that we have really paid attention to these faciall expressions, my daughter acts as if she doesnt even know she just did this. should i be concerned and who answeres these questions on here?

  56. crystal

    i have a 17 month old girl who is my second child she used to say about 3-4 words around 1 year old now she wont talk at all all she does is make a sound to tell you what she wants she can understand what you say if you tell her to do something she will even things you wouldnt think she would understand but she wont say any words and sometimes she seems like she is off in a different world if you talk to her its like she dont comprehend that you are talking to her and she can play with a toy for hours one minute and the next she cant sit still do you have any advice thank you

  57. JJ

    I have twins boy/girl, they just turned two June 29th. My daughter talks complete sentences, spells her name and is potty trained. My son at one time was saying mom, dad, bye-bye, eat and a few more simple words at about 18 months…now nothing. He does spin around but that’s something I started doint with them when they were able to walk. He always has to have two of the same things in his hand, perferrable the exact same and he does spin tops or whatever. I have took him to his dr and she said he had a developmental delay. I have now scheduled appointments with a speech therapist and developmental therapist. He seems very normal, understands commands, his name and so on just doesn’t speak…I’m very concerned…HELP!

  58. kailene

    i have a friend whos 2 year old screams whenever you look or talk to him high pitched ear peircing screams. he also doesnt talk he mumbles to songs on radio but never actual words, do you think this is normal behavior or could it be a sign of autism?

  59. amy

    my son is now 5 yrs old and is being tested for the second time for autism…the first time he was tested the specialists said that there were enough symptoms to say that he was but there was also more than enough to say that he wasn’t…but yet to this day he still shows signs…lining up tha toy cars,temper tantrums, says his tummy hurts, didnt talk till after he was 2 yrs old, in his own little world, sometimes will play with others, will not CUDDLE unless i go to him and give him a hug then like struggles to get away, if there is anyone outh there who can relate to this please tell me something anything…

  60. terryann

    my son is 13months old and he is not talking i worry because i think he might be autistic and it scares me. he only says mama i am so scared i dont know what to do.

  61. Staci

    I am so thankful I found this site! I believe my 2 year old daughter is on the autism spectrum….I spoke with her doctor when she turned 2 about my concerns and was told she was “right on track.” As a mom, I KNEW something was different about her-almost as if there was a dis-connection from the world…she was in her own world. I contacted a service called First Steps (Indiana) They have been amazing in my journey to help my daughter. I encourage everyone who has heard there is nothing wrong, but feels there might be, to continue…look on the internet, in the phone book..gather resources, take video footage, write down things you are noticing. You have to be your child’s advocate in this process!

  62. Sarah Sultana

    My son is 4 Yr old and he didn’t spoke until he was 3 yr and I am not quit sure about his behaviour, he is very social but he repeat his actions and follow routine, like always holding cars in his hands even while he sleeps he hold cars and trucks and if they fall down, he is awake and cry for them and couln’d demostrate the problem or complain instead just cry as he is unable to explain his problems, always want the stuff in its place like shoe my husband drives car and I sit beside him but sometime if I have to drive he cries and wants me to sit and let my husband to be a driveer. It tooks months to teach him how to write the letter “A” and letter”B”. 80% of the time is he nice in public but 20% of the time he rolls on the floor if he doesn’t like anything and when he is excited he shouts and laugh loudly, eat only cereal and he doesn’t want to try any new food. Can anyone explain if these are the signs for autism?

  63. Kate

    To parents of children with autism could you share any “signs” of the disorder that you observed from Birth to 1 years old. I would greatly appreciate your responses.

  64. Tina

    I was just curious about something. I was at my niece’s dancing school today and I was observing this little boy who is about 2-1/2 years old, according to one of the instructors and noticed that he does not like to interact with the others and would rather be by himself or with his mother. The instructor just says “He is not sure if he wants to be here.” Now, just to let you know, my niece has no signs of autism. She is very loving, playful, and loves to be around others. Actually, she talks about the boy and says that she helps him, which I think is very sweet. It is quite obvious that he has a delay issue. And, I also noticed that he was doing something in a repetative motion, I think it was clicking the pen open and close. But, I couldn’t tell. One thing I know is that whatever it was he was opening and closing it repeatedly. He didn’t last long in the class today, but I guess he has his good days and bad days. I think the mother said, “We’ll be back next week and see what happens.” So, my question to you is, “Is he autistic.” It seems like he is off in his own little world and when you try to bring him into your world he gets upset and creates a scene! I felt sorry for the little boy when he got upset. Anyways, just a little curious, that’s all.

  65. Kate mcgovern

    My daughter is 18 months and we first went to the doctors after her first birthday as she wasn’t responding to her name. The doctors thought it was a hearing problem but after tests this doesn’t appear to be the case. Our doctor referred us to speech and communication therapy as she wasn’t taking at all or communicating in any way. ( pointing, waving etc). At our last review (last week) the doctor says he is concerned she may have autism. I really encourage you as loving parents if you are worried you need to find a doctor who will listen. Sometimes as parents we do worry to much or over react, just like we should as our children are precious gifts that are relying on us to fight for them. I am scared what the future holds, but I feel so blessed that we are getting help so early.

  66. sharrie

    i have a 2 1/2 year old boy who i think might be autistic. he shows alot of the sigms of a milder case of autism. ive tried to find help to get him diagnosed at an early age but because hes not a sever case no one will help. here are a few of his signs:
    -seems deaf at time
    -seems to hear sometimes but not others
    -will talk for so many months but now wont
    a little advise will help on who to see (mind you im from IL, quad cities)

  67. desiree

    I am concerned about my 13 month old son. He is showing alot of signs of autism .when he was 9 month he had two eeg test because he twitched and jerked his head.he also had a development test done and it showed poor motor skills.he says ma and da and dont walk.when all his knees he will repeatedly dive on his belly and stiffen up but dont lauph during.he also sits on his butt then go in circles sometimes this behavior last about 20-30 min.he has poor eye contact.dont cuddle. and rarely smiles.i need advice

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