Is My Toddler Autistic?

My Toddler is Speech Delayed, Is it Autism?

My first child was a girl. She hit all of the developmental milestones right on schedule, if not early. Of course, for your first child you track these milestones carefully by reading all the books and signing up for all the Baby Center emails. Then my second child came, a beautiful boy. We were so happy to have both a girl and a boy. As everyone knows, your second child gets a lot less of the hoopla. We didn't even blink an eye when at 8 months he wasn't even attempting to crawl. He was such a happy baby. He was content with just having his favorite toys beside him and he would play quietly for hours. he smiled all the time and it did not take much to make this kid laugh uncontrollably. I couldn't believe how easy this kid made it for me. My daughter demanded ever ounce of attention from birth until now (almost 5 years old). I used to brag to others about what a good baby he was. At 11 months, he finally started to crawl. My friends children who were the same age, were already pulling themselves up and taking their first steps. A couple months went by and no signs of standing or walking for that matter. Still, I didn't worry, he was just a little slower than most. My husband and I even joked around with each other saying "he must take after your side of the family" At 15 months, I started to worry. We made a visit to the pediatrician and he did not seem worried. He told me that if he wasn't walking by 18 months we would re-visit the issue, he is just taking his time. I felt relieved and by 16 months my son started walking.

I took my soon to his 18 month wellness appointment with his Pediatrician. I was looking forward to gloating about how he was finally walking. During my visit, I mentioned to the Pediatrician that it just seemed like he did everything a little slower than others and that he still acted like an infant and not a toddler. He was not babbling or pointing, but he was very engaged, made good eye contact, played with toys appropriately, and laughed when you were silly with him. Was I being oversensitive? Afterall, I was comparing him to my little girl at home who did everything early. The doctor listened to my words carefully. he then brought out a checklist called M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers). Yikes, this made me nervous. He asked me questions such as, does he ever point, imitate you, or respond to his name most of the time? I answered No to the above questions. There were several questions on that check-list I responded positively to however, there were many that my son was not doing. The doctor informed me that 3 "wrong" answers meant he did not pass according to the check list and it warranted a referral to the Early Intervention Program at the Regional Center in our county. He also wanted me to pursue a Hearing Evaluation to rule out hearing problems as that can be attributed to speech delay. I began to panic. I called my husband crying and said "I think our son is autistic". Of course that brought panic to him as well.

One Month later we found ourselves going through the intake process with our local Regional Center. They asked us questions over the phone and said they wanted to schedule an Assessment with our son. Prior to the Assessment I spent hours on the Internet looking up autism stories, symptoms, treatment, etc...I found thousands of sites about autism and most of them had the same information. Nothing I saw convinced me that my son had autism. Yes, our little guy was delayed with some milestones, but other than that he was perfectly normal. He made eye contact, he smiled at funny things, and he played with toys appropriately. I became hopeful again. Family and friends were divided. Some would say "oh relax, boys take longer to do things" or "he's not even 2 yet, don't worry". Other's gave you the sad face when you explained what was going on, especially when you mentioned the word autism. I started to become worried that if I started telling too many people about these events, that he would be labeled "autistic" and always be viewed that way regardless. I decided to keep quiet about our upcoming assessment until we knew more.

On the day of the Assessment with the Regional Center, we found ourselves nervous and doing all we could to ensure our son would perform his best at the Assessment. The Assessment took about 2 hours. We were in a small room with a Pediatric Neuropsychologist anda case manager. I could tell they were strategically playing with him. As a parent, you find yourself making excuses for your child when he didn't follow instruction or would throw toys, or cry for no reason. You so desperately want your child to be viewed as "normal" and you make yourself crazy. Once the assessment was done we all went over the scores and observations. I was told my son was a visual spatial learner which means he thinks in pictures rather than words. For expressive communication he scored at 12 months (he was 19 months old at time of assessment). For receptive communication he scored 6 months. In the areas of Cognitive and Motor he scored right around his age group. We were pretty shocked to learn that he was that far behind in communication. I asked the Doctor and Case Manager if they thought he was autistic. They talked a lot, but never answered my question exactly. In the end they said they could not answer my question because he was too young. They recommended Speech Therapy one time per week through the Regional Center and again inquired about his Hearing Evaluation which was scheduled in two weeks. We thought we would be leaving the Regional Center knowing if my son was autistic or not. Frustration begins.

The hearing evaluation was certainly an experience. It was performed at Children's Hospital Oakland. My husband and I both attended. They brought us back to this very small dark room which my son did not like. They tried to put ear phones on my son, which he kept taking off. After several more attempts the audiologist gave up on that and decided to switch to speakers on both sides of us. By this time my son was so agitated you couldn't get him to cooperate for anything. At the end of the evaluation, I was sweating, my son was crying and my husband was overwhelmed due to the total chaos. The audiologist said we think there is a mild hearing loss, but we can't be sure. bring him back again in another month. He would later have another hearing evaluation that was inconclusive. We would not bring him back again. Frustration level rises.

At 20 months old, speech therapy once per week started. The first few sessions, I felt like my son had an adult play friend. The Speech Therapist would come in with a bin full of toys and would play with my son. I am not quite sure what I was expecting, but I thought it would be more skillful than what it was. I started to ask questions of the therapist about his observations with speech delayed kids and about certain signs. He gave me responses that I was not expecting. I got a lot of "I don't know" and "I'm not quite sure". I finally asked him how long he has been a therapist and he said "I just graduated'. Frustration level up another notch.

After 4 months of speech therapy we were not seeing a lot of progress. My son was approaching 2 years old and I felt like we were going nowhere fast. I had been told by the speech therapist that by age 2 a child should be saying 50 words or more and using 2 word combinations. Well, that was real bummer. My child was saying only a couple words at best. I felt defeated right then. Finally, right after my son had his 2nd birthday we finally started to see some signs of communication. He started pointing at the things we wanted (remember he should have started doing this at 1 year). Because of his prior hearing evaluation results, I scheduled an appointment with a Pediatric ENT at Children's Hospital. Yet another person to poke at my son. I figured this specialty see speech delayed kids all the time. Maybe he could help us. He recommended Myringotomy Tubes (ear tubes) and felt his communication delay was due to fluid in the ears. He said "imagine being underwater, that is how your son hears sound. He felt confident that our son had ear infections and just didn't have the normal symptoms other kids have, i.e. fever, irritability etc...I thought no way, if he had ear infections I would know it. The ENT said "did you know he has an ear infection right now?" Of course I did not because my son was his normal happy self. We thought this might be the answer. This doctor went as far as to say "your son is not autistic". He told us that many kids do not talk until almost 3 years old for all kinds of reasons. This was the best Pediatric ENT in the Bay Area, of course we clung to his every word.. We scheduled the surgery for the following week.

Ear Tube procedure went off without a hitch and we continued with once per week speech therapy. We decided to approach our case manager and our therapist and discuss the lack of progress. Our son did not seem to be benefiting from this once per week speech therapy. This is when I really took the role of advocate for my son seriously. I needed to drive his care because if I left it up to a recent grad and a case manager that probably had a case load of hundreds, we would be stuck in this non progressing state. I inquired with his Case Manager about increasing therapy. This is when I heard about ABA therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis). ABA is a mixture of psychological and educational techniques that are utilized based upon the needs of each individual child. This therapy is intensive and is 5 days per week. Therapy is provided in a facility setting (preschool) and the child also gets Speech Therapy twice per week. When I researched ABA therapy on the Internet I saw the work "Autism" on each website. That feeling of sadness struck me again. Is he autistic? Why would they recomment this intense therapy if he is normal? After much discussion andmore research my husband and I really felt like our son could only benefit for intense therapy, whether he was autistic or not.

We decided to bring our Pediatrician back into the mix so we made our 2 year wellness appointment. The Pediatrician carefully listened to us about all of our concerns. As we spoke he observed our son for about one hour and he really felt like he did not exhibit the major characteristics of autism. He did however feel there is something going on that is causing these significant delays. We asked about his thoughts about putting our son in ABA therapy. He did not know if our son needed that intense of a program, but he didn't think it would hurt him either.

At 2 years, 1 month we started our son in ABA therapy. It took him a while to warm up to the teachers and the school. After three weeks he stopped crying and started working. We could not believe the progress we were seeing. Our son started to imitate words, identify pictures, and showed the desire to learn all in a matter of two months. We knew the therapy was a big part of his progress, but we also knew he had the tubes in for several weeks now and he just turned 2 years old which in itself is a milestone in development. It was difficult to determine why the big and sudden turnaround. The school and therapy were just fantastic and we were so glad we made the decision to sen him there. Still, we could not stop being our child's advocate. The goals the therapists outlined for him were unacceptable to me. I knew he was capable of much more. I had to challenge their evaluations and goals and worked with them to set new ones that were attainable, but challenging.

I write this story because I know the frustration and anxiety of not knowing what, if anything is wrong with your child. I have been the parent who one minute believes their child exhibits autistic characteristics and the next minute believes there is no way. There are limited resources and support for the child that MIGHT be autistic. The Internet provides little relief to a worried parent as the signs and symptoms on the websites are often vague. I have witnessed many non-autistic children exhibit some of these behaviors. For whatever reason, parents bring a lot of anxiety to themselves. I believe this is because society judges you as a parent If your child is not walking by 12 months, or talking by 15 months, or doing math by the time they are 2 (kidding about the last one). Experts establish milestones for child development, but I have to wonder about some of them. I think a lot has changed in development, maybe due to the environment or maybe something else. I think it is time for these developmental milestones to be reviewed again. Experts told us that our child should have a vocabulary of 50+ words and use two word combinations. I don't know any 2 year old boys that say 50 or more words. I think that is incredible and can not be a coincidence.

Do I think my child is autistic? I really don't know. In my heart, I do not believe he is autistic, but something is causing this communication problem. He continues to make progress everyday, but we have a ways to go. We have definitely ruled out a hearing problem as he can hear Mickey Mouse starting on TV from two rooms away. I am trying to learn more about visual spatial learning and I am sensing some sensory processing issues (no pun intended). He loves to play with his sister and most older kids. He does not engage with peers as much, but I believe that is the age. He loves to laugh and and be silly and initiates games. He smiles at people and I believe is a very social little guy. He is growing his vocabulary, but still has difficult initiating words. He instead waits for you to say it and then he will repeat it. He will initiate when it is something he really wants. I know there are parents out there who are in limbo just like us. If you feel in your heart there is something not quite right about your child, don't ignore it. Many possible diagnoses, like autism, will come up and it can be a lengthy and frustrating process. My child has been through 2 hearing tests, ear tube placement, 6 evaluations by different doctors and therapists, and we still do not have definitive answers. I encourage you to tap into your local Regional Center, it is free, and worthwhile. Early intervention will only help you and your child. It will never hurt them. Please also remember that as the parent, you are the ONLY real advocate for your child. Empower yourself to challenge the health care system, ask lots of questions, and do not get discouraged no matter what happens. Our children have something to say and we need to find the tools to help them say it.

Comments 21 comments

Diana 6 years ago

I could have written this entry. This describes exactly my experience with my son. He is now 27 months old and we have just added 10 hours / week of ABA therapy to his speech and occupational therapy we began at 21 months.

Mary 6 years ago

Very very similar to my experience with my son (now 27 months). I filled out the same checkist (had 3 wrong answers) and was referred to Early Intervention and for a Hearing exam as well.

KM 6 years ago

Can you please let us know the progress of your child? We are in the same boat but just starting as our child just turned 18 months and has all the symptoms you have mentioned.

Meaghan 5 years ago

Like all the other posts on here... YOU HAVE MY LIFE!!!lol I didn't realize how many other parents were in limbo with their child like i am! Its so frustrated because i myself flip flop a lot with what paul's diagnoses will be, a lot of parents say oh well it doesn't matter dont label him just keep him in speech therapy, which i disagree with, yes i will always keep my son in some sort of speech and OT therapy , but i do want to know the diagnoses , you cant give me a solution to the problem if you cant tell me what the problem is!! There are sooooo many different disorders now , that its impossible to know which one your child falls into! Autism spectrum , its pretty over whelming to me and my husband... and our doctors have not been much help, and birth to three just comes in plays with him for like 5 minutes and then spends the rest of the time asking me questions , then giving me suggestions that i have tried a million times!! I have heard of this ABA therapy , but do not know much about it , i live in wisconsin, how do you get in contact with aba therapy , is it through birth to three? Anyway any help you can give me about getting my son better services like aba , or any good books to read up on would be great , im just beginning this already looong and frustrated journey but i am determined to make sure my son gets all the help he needs and is not tossed to the side and forgotten about!!


sillytraveler 5 years ago

Kbaldwin, thank you so very much for sharing your story. You sound like a very wonderful, caring mom. I am glad you did not give up an became such a good advocate for your son. He is truly lucky to have you. 

I am have a similar story. It might help you in finding the true cause of your son's delay. Could be the ears, but that does not rationalize with his delayed gross motor skills.  

My son is very similar to yours. Could not walk, crawl, roll over. But was bright, interacted, happy... I also had problems with my ped who kept telling me that all children develop at different levels & did not take my concerns seriously. He even went as far as to tease me that it was "ok that my child didn't know Latin yet." As if I was an overbearing mom who was pushing

my child too much. Finally when my son was nine months and could not roll over, push himself up, or hold his head up when he was on his stomach, (never mind crawling). I demanded to be taken seriously. The tricky part was that my son if placed in a sitting position could sit well. He could move objects from hand to hand, scrap toys towards himself & had excellent/advanced fine motor skills. The doctor sent me to the Boyer Foundation Center (Seattle) for testing. At ten months they tested & diagnosed him with Mild/Moderate Hypotonia. Which means loose ligaments. My ped had heard about it, but did not know much about it. I have found out that it is VERY common among boys (especially if they were premies or had small birth weight). Most boys are mis or undiagnosed. At 11 months we started physical therapy for an hour once a week. An amazing PT came to my home & also taught me "games" to play with him & techniques to work with him. Once in PT he responded quickly. He did not "really" start walking on his own until 20 months, but now practically runs everywhere. He is physically not where other two year olds are but catching up. 

He JUST turned two (3 weeks ago) and does not speak many words (which is also normal for Hypotonia). We have him in a special pre-preschool twice a week for two hours (I go with him) at Boyer where we continue to do physical therapy & he is now in speech therapy. Pre-preschool was hard & scary at first but now he loves going. 

I'm sharing this with you because your son sounds like my son's twin. Earlier the physical part & (especially) right now the speech part. Mine son understands EVERYTHING but rarely speaks. We have also included sign language because he started making up his own signs to communicate with us. Do not give up on the speech. It will come. Try to find a program that includes playtime (preferably with music) with speech as well as signing. For some reason my son will sometimes try to say the word when he signs them. 

Hypotonia affects speech. It might be hard to get him diagnosed with this now that his gross motor skills are much better. But if it is, this will help make sure your son continues to get the therapy that he needs. 

Another idea (my nephew had this) is called "Tongue Thrust." is common with children who have allergies. They hold their tongue forward because they do not breath through their nose (too clogged). Therefore making speech difficult because the tongue rests in the wrong place. 

But just from reading your story I think your child & mine are similar. In Washington we are lucky. They really try to catch all problems before the child turns three. After three is a little scary. We get kicked into the school system where therapy & programs are no longer getting funded. So I am trying to take advantage of everything that is currently being offered to us. 

I'm surprised the doctors didn't recommend sign language when prescribing the ear tubes & speech therapy. 

Feel free to contact me. I am curious if you were able to get any more answers & if your son is continuing in speech. (my son is learning at the same rate as yours.)

Your son does not seem to be Autistic. My brother works with Autistic children & this seems more of a physical problem. Of course, I am not your physician. But he sounds like he has mild/moderate Hypotonia. Good luck. Thank you for being such a good advocate for your son. All children need a mom like you. 

Yours, Ildikó

kbaldwin profile image

kbaldwin 5 years ago Author

Thank you all for your comments and for sharing your story. I haven't posted a status in a long time. Brody is now 3 1/2 years old. We have just moved from California to Arizona for a job transfer. California has very good early intervention services, but we were beginning to worry about public school once we reached Kindergarten. With increasing class sizes in CA we thought we would make the move. The Regional Center in CA assessed Brody prior to turning 3 to see if he would need long-term services. They also gave him his first medical diagnosis. Their finding were PDD NOS which is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, but can offcially diagnose him with Autism. It is kind of a catch all bucket for thos who have something going on, but it is too early to tell what it is. At age 3 brody was still fairly speech delayed (both receptive and expressive communication) however he caught up quite a bit. Brody did not qualify for long-term services. At age 3 we also had to go through the IEP process through our school district. Most states make the school districts accountable to get developmentally delayed kids prepared for kindergarten and the burden of those costs are on the district not the state. The IEP process was frustrating. Don't have time to go over everything that happened, but let's just say we fought the school district and ended up being transferred to another district who had more experience with kids like mine (you can't be black and white about these kids). The IEP in California has 5 categories to place kids in (remember this is not a medical diagnosis, just an educational one). Brody was placed under the Autism category and we were offered 5 days week of special education pre-school (Speech therapy, behavioral therapy etc...). We left California and found ourselves having to go through the IEP process here in Arizona. We moved to Scottsdale and they have a good school district. Since Brody had many Assessments done in California, they utilized those for their IEP. Here, they do not label children with Autism category. They just categorize under severe, moderate, or minimally delayed. Brody fell into the Moderate Delay catgory. The Scottsdale school district also does a peer model approach. This means they take preschool children who are meeting all of their milestones and include them in the class, so the delayed kids have something to model, other than other delayed kids. We LOVED this. Currently Brody's biggest delays are communication (he is saying 3-4 word sentences) but is not conversing with us, or is not very inquisitive like a 3 year old should be. Also he has difficult with transitions. Transitioning from one activity to another usually come with crying or trantrums. This is most difficult in the educational setting. His congnitive and motor are appropriate for his age. His IQ was average for his age. We still cross back and forth over the autism line. Asperger's is something we have prepared ourselves for. We still have hope he is just a delayed child. You can make yourself crazy wonderfing if a tantrum is regular 3 YO behavior or if it is an autistic-like behavior. We have decided to give Brody as many services as possible and surround him with love. No matter what, we know he will be fine!

Amy 4 years ago


I have boy/girl twins that are 2.5 years old. My little girl is now making 2 work sentences and my little boy is delayed in speech. He knows several words (animals, numbers, etc.) but he doesn't communicate. It worries me because he has odd behavior at times. I am just wondering if your son ever outgrew his delays. Lately I've been doing too much reading on the internet and everything I read really scares me and I'm looking for some hope. Everyone in my family thinks I'm crazy including my husband but given the amount of research I have done they dont know much about autisum so I can expect them to see the red flags that I see. Both the twins are very lovely laugh and play but they both have issues with responding when they are being spoken to. Sometimes I feel that my son doesn't know his name because he only responds to it about 2 out of 10 times. He has recently starting referring to everyone as dada which is also weird. I know he knows I'm mama because if you show him a picture of me he says mama but he has never yelled out my name it get my attention. I was concerned about my girl a few months back but lately shes been making improvements. My boy has always been a few months behind her so I'm hoping that this is really the issue. Any updates/information you may have would be greatly appreciated.

John 4 years ago

Thank you for your story . I have 20 months baby boy with fair mototr skills but he is not responding to his name and very weak communication skills ... He started pointing in last month only and only saying mama ... My biggest worry that he doesn't respond to his name .. Like you said I did hearing test for him and he is fine ... He can hear Barney from 3 rooms away .. He is playing with toys properly ... Same thing doctors tells us to wait another 6 months to tell us the results ... We are tired and want to do everything for him ... We are doing ABA 4 hours a week and speech therapy 2 hours a week ... Is this enough ? We are outside US and don't have early intervention programme but we have hired therapist to do the ABA and speech therapy. His motor skills are very good and started walking at 13 months old ... He has ear fluid inside his ears and we don't know if we should surgery for him or no ... How is your child now ?

Marlies1 4 years ago


Incrediable to find other parents in this same place. Our son is almost 5 and barely talking (can imitate words and say the basics only). Yet he is happy, points, sings jiberish, talks jiberish fluently, jumps, plays games, laughs all the time and seems bright enough. It is like he is two years delayed but hitting milestones for a toddler instead of a pre-schooler. He is adopted so we don't know his birth hsitory but he is very small boned so looks 2-3 yars old. We know his mother was very short so that fits. When he was three he was in the local developmentally delayed program which he enjoyed. But I am not sure it has made him move faster. This past year we put him in a regular daycare with a great provider and he moved as quickly there - maybe more quickly as he was with "normal" kids. Now we have him back in the pre-school for delayed ikids and I am concerned as he is starting to immitate behaviors he sees there- i.e. screaming when he wants attention, hitting etc. which he never does at daycare, but it is more common in the school as there are kids with all kinds of disabilities. We are torn. Everyone says that the early childhood intervention is critical but it seems to me that if you don't put these kids in amongst the more 'normal" kids, how are they going to learn the best behaviros to model? No one knows what he has and no one has speculated autism since he is so social. Our pediatrican suggests genetic testing to see if he has fragile X although he does not show the facial signs . We love him whatever he has but we may just forego all the experts and let him develop at his own pace with his peers of all ilks if we can

Venu 4 years ago

I really do not believe in new autism definition they have. If it is a classic autism, yeah i do agree but for god sake s stop labeling small children. Specially with your so called autism evaluation process. Being delayed is not autism, if you do not agree that, then except a topper in a school, university every one else is autistic guy. Children learn things how you teach them, or by noticing things that attracts them. If child is behind some thing then its entirely parenting fault, how could a child walk no matter how old he/she is if you put them in closed box or in an environment where no one walks ?. we can not label that child as autism, its their parents, parents has to be label autistic guys.

one of the questions usually they ask is 'does you child respond to his/her name' and answers are 'YES' or 'NO', really ? yes or no ? my child responds to his name 7 out of 10 situations, what should i answer now ? those questions seemed like they have check list, check list is good for some things which does not have interests like machines, computers.... but you are dealing with a human being damn it... they simply ask that questions to parents, even that kid is right next the person who is evaluating... i say 'PLEASE CHECK YOUR SELF WITH SOME DOCTOR, BEFORE YOU TEST SOME ELSE', Apart from that.

CC 3 years ago

Do a search for "specific language impairment" - it's little heard of here in the states, but children with SLI can exhibit autistic-like behavior due to the difficulty in processing language.

a_mom 3 years ago

Would really love an update on Brody's progress.. Thanks.

Jeannine 2 years ago

My daughter is now 23, and did not start talking until three years old. At that time, we never heard of autism. I was a little concerned but not too worried. Well, to make a long story short, once she started to talk she didn't stop. She must have just been a little late with speech. Knowing about autism is probably making us worry prematurely.

yklumbia 2 years ago


Thank you so much for your story. After reading your story, my wife and I started Intensive Therapy for our son at his 22nd months. We decided there is no point to wait for assessment result, they label all speech delay children with autism spectrum disorder. But your writing (especially the sentence "I really felt like our son could only benefit for intense therapy, whether he was autistic or not" ) make us take action immediately. I would like to sincerely thank you for this article, you touched the heart of many.

Kim12 2 years ago

Hello, In my family, some nephew(boys) talk when they are 3 or 4. Then they catch up.

I worry about my son who turned 3. he had early intervention because he was delayed because he wasn't able to do shape sorter and stack blocks and doesn't look when we call him. When his pediatrician said it could be mild autism based on his 3 year check up, i get worried. Motor skills are ok but speech is quite delayed.We will be scheduling with a pediatric neurologist and will check with the special ed pre-school. He can say numbers 1 to 100, say and sing ABC, knows some words, points/ makes gestures for what he wants. If i shuffle numbers, letters and shapes puzzle, he can identify which is for which and build 3 puzzles at the same time. He can now stack up to 10 blocks and do shape sorters. He repeats what he hears on TV. But he will not often only gesture instead of asking.

What worries me is he doesn't look when we call him. I was wondering if he knows his name. He will come if we gesture with our hand. He always come if i call him from bathroom and know he will get to play with water while bathing. He used to call us Mama and Dada when he was 1 but that stopped when he was 2.

A month ago his ENT told us he had fluid in his ears, got steroid for it.

Upon next check up he is ok now. I hope that will help him.

As parent...I am worried for my son. I hope the therapies will help him.

I go to you tube and look for ABA therapy. In most reasearch I found, most parents said this had better progress results.

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Anaydena 2 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA

This sounds like my hub How My Son Was Stolen A Personal Autism Journey - Part 1, I knew early (3-4 months), but I was in total denial. Good luck sweetie

cp 2 years ago

Your son sounded like my daughter expect she was advanced her first year (despite being born 9 weeks early). However after 12 months she just stopped advancing. By 15 months her doctors and therapists were concerned (she had been getting Early Intervention since 2 months of age when she came home from the nicu). By 18 months I started to worry, and by 20 months I sent an application for her to be tested for autism (she had failed the mchat multiple times by then). Luckily there was a cancelation and we got in when she was 22 months. At that time she had just learned to point the month before (after I spent many hours teaching her), she only had 2 words and a few signs, she didn't know to express any wants or needs, and she didn't know the name of simple everyday objects (if you put a book, doll, ball, block, and stuffed dog in front of her and tell her to pick up one of the things she would continuously pick up the wrong object). She was very social though and would bring me objects to show me and at that time her favourite activity was putting to pictures in books and saying da until I told her what the picture was. She would do this over and over again. She also had a sensory diagnosis since 14 months of age. Well long story short, my daughter doesn't have autism. She was found too social to be autistic since she showed joint attention. She was labeled with a global development delay diagnosis and that was the reason for her failing the mchat. Her lowest score was in receptive language which was at a 6 month level (she was 22 months at the time). After this we had genetic testing done and it was discovered she had a deletion on one of her chromosomes.

This was 2 years ago and she is almost 4. She is still delayed, especially in language, but has come a long way from hardly speaking and not understanding anything 2 years ago. She now speaks in small sentences and can follow simple commands, but she does have trouble with questions so I can't have a proper conversation with her. She goes to special ed preschool 2 half days a week where she gets 30 min of ST and OT. I also take her for private ST and OT each for 45 min. I have come to accept my daughter will have life long problems. Both her SLP and OT have commented that she has auditory processing disorder, but looking up about this it can't be tested until age 7 or 8 so we have a while to wait.

I do want to offer people hope though that just because a toddler looks autistic at 1 and a half doesn't mean they really are autistic. Before my daughter was 2 I was so worried about her future and now that she is older, I'm not so much. Yes she has some disabilities, but most people don't realize unless you are very in tune with child development.

Drew 2 years ago

Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me how your son is now, as my son is about the same age and is in a similar situation. He was diagnosed with autism a couple weeks ago, but upon discussing his results with the evaluator, I am in some disbelief. He definitely has something going on, but I don't know that it is autism. Please let me know.

Angie 2 years ago

It's been 4 years since you wrote this, how is your son doing now? I can really relate to this and am so worried about my 2 year old.

Beatriz 2 years ago

Hello, would love an update. We are in limbo at the moment and I can relate to your story! Hope all is improving! I can tell you are a very devoted mama!

Emy 2 years ago

Hello ,im checking the page every now and then ,i wish to hear from you and know your updates with your son

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