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I have an 18-month-old son and some questions about possible autism.

I had a complicated pregnancy: I had premature rupture of membranes and at 36 weeks I went for a check up and needed to have him straight away. He was delivered at 37 weeks weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces, but he didn't need any help (was just on Special Care Baby Unit to keep an eye on him.)

When I had him, they said he had experienced a lack of oxygen, so he would need regular check ups to check for things such as autism.

He is now 18 months and just started walking. He doesn't talk (he says 2-3 words and just screams everything else.)
Also, he:

  • uses hand signals when he wants something (drink/food)
  • flaps hands when upset, angry or happy
  • doesn't make eye contact (if he does it's no longer than 5 seconds)
  • focuses on little things when he plays (car wheels, seats, etc.)
  • hates other kids and barely wants to play with his older brother
  • is sooo loving and cuddly it's amazing
  • loves TV
  • repeats everything he does (he could be playing with a toy for 3 hours doing the same thing)
  • has a set routine for bedtime and nap time and he knows exactly when they are and if he doesn't stick to it he flips
  • hates going outside and screams constantly
  • hurts himself all the time (he chucks himself off furniture, he bangs his head against doors/walls/everything to the point where his head bleeds)

He does quite a few things that worry me. I have a doctor's appointment but I just want some advice on it until I get to the doctors. I know they won't even acknowledge it because he's still young but my baby's hurting himself and nothing I do will stop him.
He has never said mommy.

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  • Any updates on this? – Dhara Mar 15 '18 at 13:45
  • Don't worry to much. People with autism can and do lead normal productive lives – pojo-guy Dec 20 '18 at 13:17
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Your child does have some symptoms worrisome for autism, and some that are not, but he certainly should be evaluated for it.

The doctors should take this seriously (I'm not sure why you think they won't. They should.) In the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics

recommends developmental surveillance [for autism] at every well-child visit and developmental screening using formal, validated tools at 9, 18, and 30 months or whenever a parent or provider concern is expressed.

If your primary caregiver doesn't believe you, ask for a second opinion. In the meantime, you can read about autism so that you can pinpoint the most concerning of his behaviors, and videotape your child playing/displaying concerning behaviors to provide a visual record for them. If you are looking for good websites on autism, I hope you have discovered the CDC page on Autism Spectrum Disorder (it has a wealth of information) and Autism Speaks (more of a help after diagnosis).

Autism
Top 10 Autism Websites Recommended by Parents

  • 5
    This is a great answer, however I will point out that Autism Speaks has some controversy surrounding it; main points revolve around focusing on the problems of having autistic children, but doesn't focus on advocating for autistic people. A good collection of the issues in this article: psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-alive/201311/…. In addition, they have been a strong supporter of the anti-vax rhetoric, despite any link between vaccines and autism being refuted. – Ida Feb 23 '16 at 19:47
  • @Ida - Thanks for your input. I don't have an autistic child, so my experience with the site is peripheral. I have looked the site over and think it has some helpful links to valuable services, but again... it's an outsider's opinion. (I didn't see the anti-vax stuff; that would concern me greatly.) Personal experience is very welcome and often more valuable. – anongoodnurse Feb 24 '16 at 3:16
  • I don't have any direct experience either, but I am aware of some controversy. They do seem to provide good resources etc for parents. – Ida Feb 24 '16 at 23:32
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It is not for anyone here to diagnose your child, but it is enough that you are alarmed and upset for you to seek help. Talk with your doctor. When ours was diagnosed at 3 we were told that autism was difficult to diagnose before then. The practice seems to have changed since. Do keep a behaviour diary as well. Such a thing is very helpful and can even be comforting as you record your child's development.

Speaking from experience, remember that if a diagnosis of ASD is where you end up, it is not the end of the world. You still have a beautiful person on your hands who sees the world in unique and funny and surprising ways, as every child does. And just as a deaf child can be taught to sign, your child may, with your help, find ways to negotiate the world with you.

Oh, and avoid the vodoo people who promise cures: they are lying.

The UK's National Autistic Society has some fabulous resources: http://www.autism.org.uk/

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It's very difficult to tell with a child that age, because many very young children display traits such as most of the ones you describe, and the majority of them grow out of them. Nevertheless it's worth looking into, because early interventions can be very effective.

As the parent of a child who is identified as displaying ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), I'd advise you not to lose too much sleep over the labels. Every child is different, and every child will have some kind of challenges and difficulties in life. "Autism" can be a scary word for parents, but all it really means is a particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses. The silver lining for ASD is that there are nowadays quite a lot of good help and resources for you as a parent, as well as for teachers and caregivers that may work with him in the future.

I was personally very reluctant to get my child tested and diagnosed, but it ended up being very helpful both in terms of giving us access to helpful strategies and resources, and also in helping teachers, schools and other children understand my child a little better. There have always been children who interact with the world a bit differently, but they used to just be labeled as weird. In recent years however, a lot of strides have been made in helping these children leverage their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

  • "I was personally very reluctant to get my child tested and diagnosed, but it ended up being very helpful both in terms of giving us access to helpful strategies and resources, and also in helping teachers, schools and other children understand my child a little better." Thanks for sharing this. It's important for parents to know that getting a diagnosis can make a positive difference. – anongoodnurse Mar 15 '18 at 2:12
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Autism is a sensory integration disorder which develops in the neurological system with characterized conditions such as social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and nonverbal behavior.

‘I had a complicated pregnancy: I had premature rupture of membranes and at 36 weeks I went for a check up and needed to have him straight away. He was delivered at 37 weeks weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces, but he didn't need any help (was just on Special Care Baby Unit to keep an eye on him.)’

One of the probable symptoms of ASD autism spectrum disorder can also develop during pregnancy and may affect the baby. Though the main cause of the autism spectrum is still indefinite.

My experience as a Special Education Trainer has shown me no single child is likely to display every exact symptom of autism and with toddlers, it becomes difficult to perceive until a proper diagnosis is made.

ASD assessment is a helpful point of reference to measure your child’s progress when he starts to use the interventions.

With the signs you have mentioned, it is better to consult a doctor to help you diagnose better.

‘He does quite a few things that worry me. I have a doctor's appointment but I just want some advice on it until I get to the doctors. I know they won't even acknowledge it because he's still young but my baby's hurting himself and nothing I do will stop him. He has never said mommy’

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability from which most of the parents, however, have mixed feelings.

‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid'

Well, in my advice, the sooner your child gets early intervention, the more effective it is and your child can get the right support.

Also, diagnosis at this stage is quite difficult to completely recognize the signs of the autism spectrum. So, it is better to prefer for a second opinion as well. A complete knowledge should be obtained along with a proper diagnosis.

  • As functional brain scans become more prevalent, it is becoming apparent that "autism" is a symptom of several possibly unrelated root metabolic and/or structural issues in the brain. At least six unrelated patterns of unusual metabolism have been identified, and no one knows what they mean yet. – pojo-guy Dec 20 '18 at 17:33

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