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Recognizing Warning Signs of ASD/Developmental Issues in Young Toddlers

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#26 Hoborat

Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:05 PM

Just borrowing the red flags list to *erm* compare to my 21 month olds Nate-isms XD  His daycare raised concerns with me and we do have him on the wait list to see a paediatritian......whenever that happens.

The child:

* doesn't consistently respond to her name Very rarely, if at all.
* doesn't smile at caregivers  Smiles often but usually only when smiled at.
* doesn't use gestures independently -- for example, she doesn't wave bye-bye without being told to, or without copying someone else who is waving  Only waves or blows kisses when prompted.
* doesn't show interest in other children Very rarely wants to interact with other kids.  Often plays beside but not with.
* doesn't enjoy or engage in games such as peek-a-boo or patty cake.  Likes peekaboo- but that could be because he loves the feel of his towel over his face (yes, its the only way it gets played.)

The child:

* doesn't use gestures to get needs met -- for example, she doesn't raise her arms when she wants to be picked up or reach out to something that she wants Does grunting and being shoved count?  OF course that could mean anything from pick me up to move mummy.
* doesn't use eye contact to get someone's attention or communicate -- for example, she doesn't look at a parent and then look at a snack to indicate she wants the snack It is very rare that I get to look into my sons eyes.  Even when I do its brief.  He does not look at things to tell me he wants it- he just throws himself down and tantrums when I guess wrong.
* doesn't point to show people things, to share an experience or to request or indicate that she wants something -- for example, when she's being read to, she doesn't point to pictures in books and look back to show the reader Nate has only just started pointing at pictures in books.......however there is no looking back.  Its like the person reading isn't connected to the book.  Until you stop reading.
* doesn't engage in pretend play -- for example, she doesn't feed her baby doll Aside from everything is a phone, nope.
* doesn't sound like she's having a  conversation with you when she babbles Babies babble in conversation?  Yeah, I don't get this.  Or at least not all the time.  Only very rarely.
* doesn't understand simple one-step instructions -- for example, "Give the block to me" or "Show me the dog." Yeah, instructions don't work.  I think I have managed to get Nate to hand me something maybe three?  Four times.  I keep prompting him though.

The child:

* has an intense interest in certain objects and becomes "stuck" on particular toys or objects Milk cartons and hose fittings.  And light switches.
* focuses narrowly on objects and activities such as turning the wheels of a toy car or lining up objects Yes.  For hours.
* is easily upset by change and must follow routines -- for example, sleeping, feeding or leaving the house must be done in the same way every time ABC for kids is a curse.  He knows when his day care ride is running late by when the next show comes on.  It does not make for peaceful mornings.  He also has to shut doors, turn off the tv before leaving the house/going to bed.
* repeats body movements or has unusual body movements such as back-arching, hand-flapping and walking on toes.  Hand flapping, face slapping and pulling his own hair.

The child:

* is extremely sensitive to sensory experiences -- for example, she is easily upset by certain sounds, or will only eat foods with a certain texture Will not eat puree.  Or yoghurt with fruit in it.  Food has to either be smooth (yoghurt or custard) or pieces.
*seeks sensory stimulation -- for example, she likes deep pressure, seeks vibrating objects like the washing machine, or flutters fingers to the side of her eyes to watch the light flicker. I never realised about the finger fluttering for light flickers.  This is Nates latest.  He finds a patch of sunlight and does that- or stands by a curtain and flicks it back and forth.  He also loves cocooning himself in blankets- the heavier the better- no matter the weather.

I think i needed reminding about this- because I started doubting that the behaviors that I have seen with Nate and that the day care has picked up could place him on the spectrum.  I started wondering (and my mother is the worst one for doing this) that maybe it is just Nate being Nate.

Further information I found also tells me that because he was premature it puts him at a higher risk of ASD which kind of......left me with more guilt to try and deal with- I know that neither his birth or that if he is on the spectrum is my fault- it just makes the emotional side of me . . . . . . feel like it is to blame.

#27 baddmammajamma

Posted 19 November 2014 - 10:05 PM


Please don't blame yourself. I appreciate that you probably have a lot of different emotions and thoughts swirling through your head right now.

It's good that you are planning on getting things more formally checked out. My strongest advice is to make sure that you are seeing a developmental (specialist) paediatrician -- or if not -- a paediatrician who has rich experience with kids on the spectrum. Unfortunately, not all paeds have deep expertise/experience in this area.

If Nate ends up being diagnosed, there is a lot you can do to support his development (and actually, there is a lot you can do to support his development regardless!) We have a terrific group of autism parents on the special needs/disabilities board -- please feel free to drop by (diagnosis or not) to ask questions or just to get some good support.

#28 Hoborat

Posted 25 November 2014 - 11:05 AM

Working through the self blame was something I had to do- I mean I know logically it isn't my fault- what we have gone through already has resulted in my beautiful little boy.

I'm actually not too stressed over it.  If he is on the spectrum- all it means for me is that I learn how to see the world like he does.  I learn how he processes things and help him understand the world from a neurotypical view.

I've been researching and reading and chatting with people who are either on the spectrum or who have children on the spectrum and have found it helps a lot- even with how to understand the why's behind some of his behaviors.

*hugs*  I will definitely drop by and chat- I love learning- because you never know when information or skills will come in handy.

#29 baddmammajamma

Posted 25 November 2014 - 11:37 AM

View PostHoborat, on 25 November 2014 - 11:05 AM, said:

I've been researching and reading and chatting with people who are either on the spectrum or who have children on the spectrum and have found it helps a lot- even with how to understand the why's behind some of his behaviors.

I love your attitude. Autistic young people and autistic adults can be an amazing source of information.

If you are keen to gather a little more information, may I suggest the following Facebook pages?

Thinking Person's Guide To Autism:


The Autism Discussion Page:


Diary Of A Mom:


All share really good information and valuable perspectives but don't treat autistic people as needing "curing" (unlike Autism Speaks & company).

#30 Hoborat

Posted 25 November 2014 - 11:45 AM

Oh god, don't get me started on what I have heard about autism speaks.

Autism doesn't so much need curing as understanding.  Its a different way of looking at things which doesn't make them wrong, or broken- it makes them different.

People forget that no one thinks the same way- and that ASD is just one way of how people thing- its just not what is seen as normal- and i hate using the word normal in this context because what is normal for one person isn't for another.

#31 febwest

Posted 09 July 2015 - 02:09 PM

I have a 6yr old son with ASD.  He was diagnosed at 4.5yrs of age only due to my own instinct that something was not quite right.  He is high functioning, verbal and has many friends and yet I found parenting him very challenging.  I put this down to first time parenting, my own issues and him being an active boy.  However I now know it was because of ASD.

Since his diagnosis and informing some of our friends and family it astounds me how many people have said 'oh I thought there was something not quite right about him' or words to that affect and yet never did they discuss their concerns with me incase they were to offend.  Offend?  I dont get it!  I have not done anything wrong, ASD has nothing to do with parenting styles.  It is a neurological, genetic life long condition that as a mum I did not cause through my parenting style.  So why would raising a concern about my childs development offend me? I am not blaming others however by their failure to start a conversation they have failed my son and myself. For many years I was struggling, suffered depression and family issues due to my sons challenging behaviour.  If another person, family member or professional had spoken about their concerns not only would I have had support my son would have been provided the support he needed earlier.

Lets keep talking about this so that all families are informed and given the help they need when and if they require it.

#32 Lokum

Posted 09 July 2015 - 02:35 PM

febwest - I totally agree with you. Someone said, when I told them about DS' diagnosis, 'I suspected as much. I've thought so for quite a while.'

I am still angry. I asked, 'Why didn't you say so?' and they replied, 'Oh, I thought time would tell.' Grrr. I half suspect they DIDN't think so, but it's easy to say so after the fact.

OTOH, I know someone who DID get totally offended when the MCHN! mentioned that she might consider seeing a speech for her child, as he was a bit delayed. She told us (mother's group), and a couple of us were saying, 'Yeah, well, it can't hurt..might as well get it checked.... ' but the louder voices were very supportive of the mother, saying the MCHN was overly concerned and child would get there in the end. The mother was saying she felt it was a criticism of her parenting, and she would be looking for a new MCHN, and she knew he would speak in his own time. And cried. Very awkward.

Child is now 5, and has very, very delayed language. I don't see them much so don't know if mother gradually came around to therapy. However, I have seen first hand how embarrassing and upsetting it was when she was given a message she did not want to hear.

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