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15 month old with very little eye contact....

I've noticed my son doesn't make a lot of eye contact, never really has. He'll give it to you for a second or two and then look away.

Is this normal?

Everything else seems to be fine. He's not talking quite yet, but is always babbling. Always smiling. Will give me things. Will go get his car or sippie cup when I ask him to. He's just starting to walk too. So he's reached most milestones as he should be.

I just wondered how often he should be giving us eye contact? We go to his 15-month appointment next Friday so I'll be asking his doctor too.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 11:59 AM on Nov. 25, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (8)
  • If you force him to make eye contact, does he maintain it?

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:06 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • I've never really tried to force it. Once he gives me eye contact, sometimes it can be for 1-3 seconds, but nothing more than that, usually. He just seems to be more interested in everything else in the room.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:09 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Listen, do not force your child to make eye contact. Eye contact at this stage should be natural. Screen her/him for autism with your pediatrician. Insist on it. My son's pediatrician blew me off when I started noticing things an valuable time was lost because if your child is in the autism spectrum earlier intervention is the key to a better outcome. Also contact an Occupational Therapist and have her evaluate your child, an OT can give you strategies to help you train your child to make more eye contact which is the basics for joint attention. Nobody knows your child better than you and if your gut instinct tells you something is off, believe me most likely it is. Don't wait, act early. Have your child screen for autism.

    Answer by bebita at 12:12 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • My youngest has Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism. He makes very little eye contact, did not speak until well after age 1, and even still at age 4, he can speak, but a lot of times his words are mixed up and sentences make no sense. He also stutters. With therapy, my son can now bring me things, show me things, and has lessened his robotic talk, repeating everything instead of answering questions. He is on milestones as far as motor skills go, though he's very clumsy. Does your child flap his hands or try to spin? There is so much more to discuss. Doctors will often try to brush off your concerns and play the "Wait and See" game. That is very dangerous for your child. If he is on the Autism spectrum, the earlier you start treatment, the better. Do not let your doctor do that to you. Request 2nd opinions if you have to. PM me if you want to talk more.

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 12:12 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • I don't think he's autistic at all because of what he is doing. He's very alert. He'll play hide and seek. He'll play with his cars like he should. He interacts with us and strangers very well. He's always babbling. He points to things he wants. He cruises everywhere, crawls like crazy, which is why I think he's taking his time walking. He's definitely a people watcher and will watch what other people are doing. He'll imitate things that we do.

    I just worry about the eye contact. I'm not sure if this is just something we can work on or not.

    Thanks for all your answers!

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:18 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Try not to give him his juice or desired item when he requests it. Place the desired object on top of your head kind of tricking him to follow the item with his eyes while you start moving it in front of your face. The second that he establishes eye contact praise him for looking at your eyes and reward him with the requested item. Keep doing this and consult an Occupational Therapist. they are trained to help you achieve the outcome you seek.

    Answer by bebita at 12:30 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • One of the things they look for during an autism screening is if you force eye contact if it is maintained. Duh. Been there done that.

    There are different levels of autism and eye contact is only one part of it. No one here should be suggesting he is autistic only based on that.

    Eye contact is not learned. You have to teach your kids to look at you when you're talking to them or they will constantly be looking around and not listening to you!

    What about eye contact with others...not caregivers.

    No, it doesn't sound like he is autistic, but start working with him to look at you when you talk to him. Gently guide his chin, turning his head so he does look at you...and watch...does he watch your eyes, or your mouth? My son (who is on the autism spectrum) will make eye contact briefly...but then continuously look away if not prompted to look at us. And if we don't remind him to look at our eyes, he watches our mouth.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:31 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • not to contrdict the women on here but my DS has never madde eye contact for very long and is not autistic. He is now 4 and still doesnt make very much eye contact. I think his problem is that he is very shy and always has been.

    If you are worried though (which it seems like you are) call your ped and get on them about testing.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:46 PM on Nov. 25, 2009

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