Advice/thoughts please! :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2010
Advice/thoughts please! :)
Sun, 05-02-2010 - 7:10pm


I've been around on some of the boards (autism, delays, speech, etc.) but I don't believe I've posted here.

To make a long story short...

I have a 19 month old boy named Sean. At 17 months I had him evaluated for speech/hearing. At that time he passed both, but Early On thought he needed OT/PT for his fine & gross motor skills. He didn't walk until 16 months and did finger feed late, but we thought he was doing so much better in both areas we were surprised that they were concerned. So since then he started therapy 2 times per week. He receives 1/2 hour each of PT and OT and an hour in a classroom each week. Honestly I am not sure if it's helping or not, but figure it's not hurting so we'll continue through the end of the school year. My concern/worry is what to do this summer. I am a teacher and off for the summer so it would be easy for me to take him to playgroups, therapies, etc. We went to a neurologist and he said that Sean was not autistic, nor did he have any neurological or muscular issues.

I know I seem like a nut to many, but I still don't think things are right with him. I don't know if it's just a delay, or if he'll end up on the spectrum, but I believe it will be one of those. I've scored him on the MChat and he doesn't pass because he does not point. He will bring things to us (not a ton spontaneously, but definitely when we ask) he also shows other examples of joint attention. On the Mchat he fails on both pointing questions and I'm pretty iffy on the following a point. He does follow a point, but not consistently.

He has been home with my husband pretty much since birth. I went back to work at 8 weeks. For the first year my husband was working from home and caring for our two boys. (older brother is 4) The second year of Sean's life he has been home with the boys, but is now laid off from work. I know he interacts more with them, but I just know it isn't like he would have rec'd at a daycare of even with a woman caregiver. My husband takes great care of them, don't get me wrong. It's just that I don't necessarily think he gets down on the floor...points at things, shows things, etc. I do think he's tried harder since the concerns with Sean have come to light. I am not trying to make excuses, I am just wondering if this has anything to do with Sean's delays/struggles, etc.

I've recently decided that I want him to see a developmental pediatrician to give a thorough exam. Early On agrees there's more here, but they won't really say what they think it is which I understand why, especially with his age, but it's so frustrating. I really wish he was at daycare because not only do I think it would be great for him to be around other kids and learn from them, but also because I think it would be easier to tell if he's behind and how.

So basically, can a child with autism or PDD-NOS really only show the no pointing or would there be more? Any suggestions on best therapy route? He's on a waiting list for private speech. He didn't qualify at 17 months for Early On, but he definitely doesn't communicate like he should, although he consistently is picking up words.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 05-02-2010 - 9:43pm

Hi and welcome!


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Mon, 05-03-2010 - 10:22am

Two of my four children are on the autism spectrum. They were not diagnosed until they were 8 & 12yo. Although they could and should have been diagnosed earlier, I don't know that they could have been diagnosed as young as your ds because their issues were mild enough that an autism dx would have been premature.

At 18mos, my dd was a chatter-box tho' ds was non-verbal. Dd was clumsy but not constrained by her clumsiness. Ds wasn't super active, but he was not so under-active as to be worrisome. Neither liked solid foods much at that age, but they ate SOME food. All of these things could be signs of an issue, or it could be the slow side of normal development.

Honestly, my NT ds worried me more as a toddler. He was non-verbal, he had lots of sensory issues, etc. I had HIM evaluated by early intervention but didn't worry about my 2nd ds who turned out to be AS. My NT child outgrew his symptoms, but my AS child grew into his!

I do think that trusting your mommy instinct is important. Continue to watch and note any symptoms you think are concerning, but if your ds symptoms are mild, don't be surprised if it takes awhile for the doctors to figure out whether your ds development is just on the slow side of normal or whether his symptoms are more meaningful.

Also, when I presented my kids' symptoms to the pediatrician one at a time as I noticed them, the symptoms weren't concerning and were dismissed. It wasn't until I handed the doctor a list of symptoms that the doctor could see all of the symptoms as part of a bigger picture and realize there was more going on than one or two delays. You might want to keep a comprehensive list of symptoms and/or delays, along with dates that you note them, so you can develop a "big picture" to share with the doctor later if needed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2006
Mon, 05-03-2010 - 11:45am

Hi and welcome!
There's another online screening/test you can do which would be quite helpful for you to take with you to your next doc appt. Remember this is just a screen, but it's helpful information.

And I agree with Heather, the person to see is a Developmental Ped, or a Neuro-Psycologist. Neurologist's are great, but they don't do indepth testing like the other doctors do. Anyway here is a link to the screening...

Good luck and lets us know how it goes. And please remember you can hang out, lurk and join in whether your child has a dx or not.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2004
Tue, 05-04-2010 - 12:45am

I agree with the others: 19 months is very early for a diagnosis of ASD, so wait a while. Most psychologists are happy to get referrals for a child with suspected Autism once the child is eight years old, as much of the sensory processing is becoming fully-developed around that time.

However, if by the age of three or four your son is obviously not communicating with the world the way he should, you could try again. Any earlier requires GPs and paediatricians (here in Australia you cannot just go to a paed; you have to be referred, but perhaps in the US it's different) some blatantly physical condition to be apparent.

I found the easiest thing to do for my ds - who was obviously 'different' from around 18 months old - was deal with the individual issues that crop up. Where my own son was concerned (he's now 11), I dealt with the socialisation, communication and lack of hearing as separate issues, and only when these issues meant frustration for him. He never pointed - unless it was to a solar system model, or spaceship, and certainly wasn't pointing to any of these things to show US - he couldn't care less if we knew what he was looking at or not!

Remember a lot of infants do not point, but it doesn't mean they have an ASD. But it's something researchers are discovering is common amongst people with Autism. I never pointed either, and have Asperger's, just like my son.

Keep doing what you can for your son's individual issues as the crop up, but try not to push for a diagnosis of Autism until he's older, as he may well just be 'phasing' and will develop as a NT child soon enough.

Good luck! And let us know how things go.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2004
Tue, 05-04-2010 - 7:05pm

Thanks for posting that site. My husband and I took the assessment separate from each other and came pretty darn close in our scores. It is kind of hard to score your own child because you can't really be objective, but it was very interesting.