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Possible Autism or normal toddler behavior?

My 18 month old son has been showing signs of Autism: limited speech (Mommy, Dad, Papa, Dog), dependency on signing and babble/noise, refusal to eat solid foods or new foods, tantrums, terror of loud noises (blow dryer or water running in the tub), and the need for a very strict routine. The only signs I am really concerned about are his speech development and finicky eating habits. The others seem pretty normal for a toddler. Am I being paranoid? If not, does anyone have any suggestions on what the best path is? I have posted this question once with some negative responses and had to rewrite it. Please understand that I am scared and seeking poitive suggestions.

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Asked by LovinKai at 12:35 AM on Mar. 1, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (17)
  • Finnicky eating habits & slow speech development are also very normal toddler traits. I would go to the Dr & ask for some advice. Nothing there screams at me autism yet, there can be a whole host of other factors affecting them. Has his hearing been assessed recently (particularly if he had ear infections as a baby) Has his eyesight been checked. Tantrums are hand in hand with this age, & the finnicky eating ... often they reach the point when they realise they actually have the power to control what goes in their mouth, The fact he has some speech is very very encouraging. I wouldn't panic yet, I think he might just be a little slow on the speech- ask for a referral to speech therapist. So much is in the media (and on CM) at the moment about autism * it is easy to see things that may not be there. Please try to not stress too much, this is all normal . HUGS

    Answer by myheartx4 at 12:45 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Thank you so much for being supportive!!

    Answer by LovinKai at 12:49 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Sounds pretty normal to me too... you worry about autism if they stop talking, if they have problems with change, fixations with shiney or spinning objects etc... and so many other things. My daughter talked fine till she was 2 (which is typical age to show signs) and then suddenly stopped... when my hubby got glasses or wore a different hat she acted like she didn't know him, all of her toys had to be size and color matched as well as type (all pink my little ponies were together in groups of their size) and I could go on and on about things that scream autism to me, but the dr's say she is fine and she has improved in time. If you're concerned tho, have your child screened and early detection really is the key so they can be taught new ways to learn and for you to be able to deal with teaching and helping your child. No shame, no blame :)

    Answer by lisa_ann_p at 12:56 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • I think that autism is a fear that ever parent has, and if you feel concerned it may be worth checking out (However, I'd go in with a list of things you've noticed, so that he doesn't just brush you off either way, as i'm sure our dr. would...) My son, whom I'm not too concerned about, doesn't speak all that much- he's 18 months- and he throws tantrums. I really think that it has to do with the level of intensity on all symptoms- everything is normal to a point. The dr. may be more concerned about speaking and whatnot for reasons other than autism, or ask about digestive issues. Either way, hang in there. Good luck!

    Answer by sweetphoenix529 at 1:08 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Thank you all! I feel so much better already!

    Answer by LovinKai at 1:16 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • You are very welcome. I have a son on the ASD spectrum and 3 girls all typical.- What I want you to know is that ASD is not "rainman" that is a worst case scenario. My son has aspergers & would be described as quirky ( i could have written lisa anns post above - except we arranged plastic sharks according to their geographic locations & breeding patterns) He is 15, has a group of friends, attends main stream schooling & can give his history teacher a run for his money on war Trivia, has a part time job, can hold an articulate conversation & I am sure is going to succeed in life, where ever it takes him. The fact that your son is speaking fo rnow is really great, I wouldn't do any more immunisations until you speak to your dr, some people believe they are a catalyst for autism. Hang in there Momma, this is most likely just normal behaviour & your little guy is just transitioning from babyish toddler to determined preschooler

    Answer by myheartx4 at 1:17 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • I will probably not be of much help, and my kids are a bit older so I do not remember everything from the toddler age that well. I am taking a developmemtal psychology course right now and we just learned that 18 months is the peak of fearfullness, so cross that off your list of worries. My daughter (who is 9 and NEVER shuts up) did not start speaking until two. Don't worry about that. My 13 year old., perfectly healhy son, may be the pickiest eater on earth. My professor has wraned us that drs. are being very liberal with the autism diagnosis these days, so beware of that. You know your child better than anyone. Give him a chance to develop and remeber that parents usually know best. Trust your gut )but don't let your fears get the best of you). Did that make sense?

    Answer by flgator87 at 1:20 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • My professor has warned us that drs. are being very liberal with the autism diagnosis these days

    it does seem to be true in US, I am in another group and there is a person who said her dr was waring of autism at 6 months... I can't understand that, sure enough the child has the diagnosis, but I wonder if they saw the signs because the idea was planted so early. Here is Australia it is almost impossible to get a ASD diagnosis, they are very cautious and cross off every other possibility first, it took 14 yrs for us to get a firm diagnosis.
    Either way OP I hope you feel a bit less stressed and worried, happy to habe you as a friend so we can keep in touch... it's all GOOD !

    Answer by myheartx4 at 1:29 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • What's funny is, I have taken sooo many classes on development and psychology, I have read enough books to fill a Starbucks, I have researched online, I have talked to everyone I could get ahold of. My only goal in life is to be the absolute best mommy and I feel like I am failing him. I bought so many programs and DVDS and books. I sing to him, talk with and to him, read to him and I can't get him to talk. I even bought that "Your Baby Can Read" program in hopes that it would help. If I trust my gut, I think he is fine! He is such a sweet, silly boy and he cracks me up! If I trust the books, I am a failure as a mother and don't know how. I work full time, but every second out of work is spent with him. I don't go out, I don't socialize, I don't sleep, and I even schedule myself so that most of my work falls on the time that he is asleep so I don't miss time. I devote myself to him completely. How am I failing?

    Answer by LovinKai at 1:34 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • some kids just dont want to talk. my oldest was like that. i could barely get her to talk and i knew it wasnt because she couldnt but because she didnt want to. it wasnt until this past year that she started to really talk now she says everything in the owrld . but again it wasnt until she was 3. just try not to push it too hard they will get around to it when they feel like it. my youngest talks and babbles way more than my oldest did at a year, its like everyone says they develope at their own pace. dont worry so much just love him and encourage him.

    Answer by laura970 at 2:01 AM on Mar. 1, 2010

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