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lining up things...red flag for autism?

my son is 22 months old, and recently he has been lining up his ride-on toys, tonka trucks and take-along thomas and friend trains all the time! he doesnt do them in a specific order, although sometimes he does line up the smaller trains by size hahaha. He gets speech therapy because he is a little behind verbally for his age (according to the pediatrician). I told her about this new thing he does and she said she doesnt like hearing that (because it is a red flag). But I dont see it as a red flag, I see it as a new thing my son does. He lines up his toys as if making a long train....and he only does it with those things. Do you consider this behavior a red flag?

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Owl_Feather

Asked by Owl_Feather at 3:59 PM on Feb. 23, 2010 in Kids' Health

Level 22 (13,272 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • I wouldn't worry about it. My daughter had a lot of "red flags" that pointed to autism. But she is by FAR not autistic. Doctor's are too eager to diagnose something wrong with someone, when their really isn't even a problem!
    ali_1107

    Answer by ali_1107 at 4:03 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • i agree ali! my sons dr. is really good, but she is very chart-focused. Not crawling on time? problem! Not saying 8 words yet? problem!
    Owl_Feather

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 4:10 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • It isnt a red flag to me until it becomes obssesive. Yes lining things up is one of the 100's of things they look for but it is also very typical of children at this age to do. If he starts doing it by color then size and type and it is constant then i would think hmmm maybe i should watch this.

    My son had wooden train tracks and made elaborate designs going in and out of different rooms in the house, he would spends HOURS lining up the tracks so they fit perfectly and went up and down over things. Now that is a read flag he was 2 1/2, if one piece of track was moved out of place he would spend an hour re aligning the whole thing. Honestly the designs and difficulty of it were amazing and you couldnt believe a 2 y/o had done it, but it was a red flag.
    3_ring_circus_

    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 4:27 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • no my son doesnt go to the point of matching by color or size. he did line up all the yellow trucks at playgroup yesterday, but all of the trucks they have are yellow in the first place lol
    Owl_Feather

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 5:11 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • My daughter did this from like 18 months to 3 1/2 or 4 yrs.
    She would line up her toys and trucks and crayons and stuff.
    She would remember exactly where everything went when I would clean her room, and she would INSIST that's where it went from then on.
    We all kind of wondered if something was up with her but she pretty much grew out of it.
    Try puzzles though! My daughter could put 25-50 piece puzzles together at 2 yrs old.
    Does he seem to have a "Talent"? My daughter is artistic (she's 6) she can also draw things she "sees" Like her K teacher said It's raining out today, draw a rainy day picture...
    She drew a girls standing in the rain, in a yellow raincoat with a ducks face on it, a yellow duck hat, a yellow duck umbrella and yellow duck face boots, and the rain was splashing off the umbrella... it was AMAZING. lol
    Don't stress or worry though. He'll probably grow out of it or ask his Dr if it bothers you.
    Malibustacy

    Answer by Malibustacy at 6:29 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • It could be a "red flag", but I don't see autism as a bad thing...so if it was my kid, it wouldn't be anything to worry about for me. If it was severe autism, you probably would have noticed before this. If this is a sign that he has mild autism (which I have), it is not a bad thing, it just means you need to understand his personality difference and support it.
    metalcowgirl34

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 6:33 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • I think the reason it's a red flag to her is because of the speech delays. Speech delays/issues are often the start of realizing a child is autistic, especially in boys. Then you report he is also lining things up, another big sign. She's right to be aware, because if it is autism, the earlier you know and can help him deal with daily life, the better it is for him. It may be autism...not a death sentence. Like Metal said, understanding and supporting his personality can do wonders. We aren't an alien species, we are just a little different. A little understanding and support can do amazing things.
    roachiesmom

    Answer by roachiesmom at 6:58 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • Malibustacy, it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye on your daughter, and make sure she really has "outgrown" her quirks, instead of hiding them. Trust me, you would be amazed at what high-functioning girls can hide disguise and skate by on, while inside they are really confused and often going through hell because of it. I was hiding a world of stuff by her age, and much of it was because, despite the big vocabulary I had even then, I lacked the social abilities to communicate feelings and thoughts in the right ways.
    roachiesmom

    Answer by roachiesmom at 7:03 PM on Feb. 23, 2010

  • I dunno roachiesmom... Shes seems happy... does well in school... very social... Shes just artistic and organized. I'd say her only problems are that she's slow. Physically.. not mentally.. Like it takes her 10 mins to brush her teeth.. 8 to put her shoes on.. 30 to eat dinner.. But I don't think it's related..?
    Malibustacy

    Answer by Malibustacy at 2:23 AM on Feb. 24, 2010

  • If he's lining up his toys, but doesn't care if you move them or re-arrange them, then I wouldn't be too worried about it at this point. By the time my son was your son's age, he was also lining up his toy cars into parking lots, but the difference with him was that if you dared bump one or move it out of place in any way, all heck would break loose with him and he would be inconsolable for hours afterward (I'm talking screaming for 5 hours straight or more, basically until he passed out). My son did not have a speech delay at 22 months, that came later, so it was really only his rigidity, OCD-like behaviors and incredible tantrums that tipped us off that something wasn't quite "right" with him. He was eventually diagnosed with PDD-NOS.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:54 PM on Feb. 24, 2010

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