The Autistic Child (NOT)

Does this describe your child?

  • 2.5-3.5yrs old
  • probably male, probably firstborn
  • delayed language; doesn’t put words together yet
  • doesn’t use Yes/No correctly– can cry/temper tantrum easily
  • doesn’t call for help
  • doesn’t use Mommy/Daddy/own name well
  • very detail-oriented
  • walks on tiptoes
  • walks in circles, sometimes jabbering to self or no-one
  • spins car wheels, pokes blocks off, or otherwise repetitive play behavior
  • repeats your questions/statements
  • repeats sounds or scripts ad nauseum
  • easily distracted
  • bad eye contact
  • can’t answer comprehension questions
  • no gestures or pointing
  • few independent skills
  • doesn’t understand taking turns or people skills well
  • won’t drink milk, eat fruit, etc.
  • constipated all the time
  • difficult sleeper

Congratulations!  You have a fine, well-adjusted NON-AUTISTIC child!  No, I mean it.  Your child is likely a finicky, driven, bored and distracted little boy.  He doesn’t care about language, isn’t able to pick it up easily, and is therefore a tough cookie who is behind in some areas that he wouldn’t be if he had better language skills.  But for now, you have to suffer in the world of preschool, playgrounds, and other life adventures that really do require more English and social skills than your child has.  And guess what?  This is totally normal!  Stop worrying that he is on THE SPECTRUM because life doesn’t seem to fit his developmental timetable, and just hang in there until he’s 5.  Get a lot of structure and routine that works for you, adopt a rigid discipline ethic if necessary, and have faith that once the language kicks in, he will make up for lost time pretty much right away.  His behavior will also become less erratic.

How about this child?

  • 1-4 yrs old
  • picky eater
  • messy, clumsy, can’t dress self well
  • cries easily
  • strange phobias– water, vacuum, dirt
  • anxious behavior
  • taps or scratches self, has repetitive stimulatory behaviors (i.e. may still suck thumb, fidget with socks, etc)
  • seems lost in a group, or plays alone
  • deep, focused play skills; strange attention at times
  • doesn’t like to engage others
  • avoids conflict, checks out
  • can talk but doesn’t initiate or sustain conversation; people might not even know how well they speak
  • may speak to privileged individuals, in-depth about their favorite subject/question
  • unusual talents, or way ahead in an adult area
  • retreats to specific activities; self-soothing repetitive play
  • takes things apart to study
  • handles toys or household objects in peculiar (non-functional) ways
  • sensitive to smells, sounds, touch
  • “freak out” or “shut down” behavior
  • low muscle tone
  • allergies or inadequate nutrition

Congratulations!  You too have a sensitive, fearful, NON-AUTISTIC child!   Most people would like to diagnose your little guy with Asberger’s or Autism Spectrum, but more likely you have a misunderstood, sensory-sensitive little person.  This profile is less commonly complained about than the very first profile I outlined, but it definitely represents a portion of toddlers who are very quickly seen as at-risk for autism and usually packed right off to a specialist for a neuropsychological exam.  Whereas the first  profile I listed above is likely to see the child put in special preschool, perhaps with an ADD-type medication, this second profile is more likely to be medicated for childhood depression, anxiety, OCD, or reactive detachment disorder.  But kids come in all colors!  There is no need to panic because your little person isn’t the extraverted, sensible preschooler.  He/She may be an “old soul” or grumpy type who doesn’t fit in with the flashy world around them.  He/She probably needs a little extra nurture and coddling, as well as some occupational therapy or one-on-one play/floortime with a loved one.  Resist THE SPECTRUM curse!

** Note: Of course I am not against true autism diagnosis.  And I am not against checking out whatever symptoms worry you about your child.  I am just making light of the fact that “normal” is a wide range, and MUCH wider than we are told it is.  Usually we are told to worry, from experts, parents, or friends, because of the developmental scare climate out there.  Yet there is no reason to push the Panic Button just because your toddler or preschooler has some delayed or anti-social behavior.  Attention and special education might be necessary…as it always has been, in the case of small children who have individual tendencies and weaknesses.  But usually these are things you can do on your own or with limited intervention.  There is no need to put small children under a microscope and ship them off for multiple diagnoses so they can receive services from the state until they’re 21 because we’re afraid they’re all high-functioning autistic.**

How about this?

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34 thoughts on “The Autistic Child (NOT)

  1. I guess I feel better knowing that people out there with children like those you describe, and parents who might not otherwise know what to do, get help and therapies (while therapy is fun, which it is at that age). If they do end up being autistic and haven’t had early intervention…I can’t imagine where my [now] high functioning autistic child would be if not for those therapies he received starting at 9 months of age. And I didn’t do those therapies out of fear he might be autistic, but because I wanted to give him all the possible tools I could to help shepherd him through childhood, autistic or not.

    I guess I don’t like the “wait and see” approach because it often seems accompanied by denail about what is really going on with a child. But that’s me – I don’t mind the label, am not afraid of it, have often found it a blessing, and find my asperger’s boy the most delightful person I’ve ever encountered.

    Peace.

  2. thanks! i have a 5, 3.75 and 2 year old – this describes our middle child to a tee. i pulled him out of speech therapy almost 2 years ago when i too knew nothing was “wrong” with him – and yep, he’s now doing just fine. All children are different and grow at different rates and will be different adults – imagine that! I’ve had it with docs who want to diagnose tons of normal boys with autism, but then turn around and jab kids with enormous numbers of “needed” vaccines and ignore ANY possible connection to real autism or other problems – disgusting! why must the medical community insist they know our children better than us? they don’t.

    ps i love your site!

  3. As a preschool teacher, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the number of children who come to me already on some type of meds for an array of disorders. I find that far more often than medication, a parent would better serve their child by giving them their most precious resource…their time. I long for my preschoolers’ parents to be plugged in enough to truly know their child and to address problem behaviors and/or minor developmental delays with structure and appropriate activities. Sadly, I find that the parents would often rather find a “quick fix” for behavior that is sometimes embarrassing or inconvenient for them.

    Like asdmommy, I am an advocate for finding as many valuable resources as possible to support your child’s growth. Preschools, play therapies, and a host of other early interventions can help tremendously, not only giving the child a set of tools to pull from but to educate parents as well.

  4. I appreciate everyone’s comments here. To address admommy’s valid concern, I am not for denial or even delaying getting help per se. Certainly not if you’re convinced something is wrong. I agree most therapy is helpful for all kids, whether they turn out to be autistic spectrum or not. Two of my kids received services. Preschool and play therapy, and just attention, is a beautiful thing.

    However, it is my experience that “getting therapy” changes things for many families. Parents don’t always have peace getting tests, diagnoses, and services, especially when parents disagree on what’s going on with the child. Overdiagnosis is rampant. And I am happy for those who, without fear, can embrace diagnoses and take advantage of all the resources and information out there these days. But the system is warping and intimidating for many, feedback routes are minimal, vigilance can be scary, and the results debatable. Especially when it turns out that nothing serious is going on, I feel like more of a voice needs to be offered to the parental crowd who are following their gut that nothing is seriously wrong. But who may be worried to take that position because they are being targeted by a whole crowd of well-meaning others, that there is.

  5. I think we were lucky b/c C was a preemie and we started with therapies with that in mind…just a little premature delay. We didn’t rush to a diagnosis, and in fact knew what the diagnosis was when we got it at 5 (had known for two years), so it was no shock whatsoever. I recognize that other people’s experiences with diagnosis were not so “pleasant” as ours.

    What I don’t understand is the push for a diagnosis, when (in the states, at least), there is no need for one until at least K or 1st grade (depends on the state). Until then, the child can just receive therapy services as part of early intervention and/or preschool. But I guess some people are pushed into, or feel that they must, get a diagnosis sooner. As C’s first neuro said, “What you do with him won’t change based on having a diagnosis or not – you will still do therapies and interventions regardless.”

    I disagree with the statement that “over-diagnosing is rampant.” I don’t believe it is. I see so many kids who could benefit from a diagnosis (because of educational IEP interventions they could receive) whose parents are simply too afraid of a label to pursue it. I find that far more disturbing than a child being diagnosed and later undiagnosed.

    I’m betting if you or your commenter Stephanie met my son, he’d be one of those kids you both would say shouldn’t be diagnosed. He is fully verbal (although not always functionally so in terms of his emotional – as opposed to practical – language), completely integrated into his classroom without support, and is the “friendliest kid without any friends” you could ever meet. Yet to deny him a diagnosis would invalidate much of what he has experienced in his nine years, and much of what he will experience in the years to come.

    The average age of an asperger’s diagnosis is 11. I shudder to think of the support and help these children could have received far before their differences became difficult enough for them for their families to pursue a diagnosis. Granted, I think many “typical” children need social skills training far more than mine does, and while I am thrilled about the adult I believe my son will become, he does need help. Not so much in changing his behavior, but in understanding why others behave in a way that likely seems weird to him, so as not to cause him such emotional distress.

    Anyway, I suppose we just have to disagree with each other on this issue. But I did enjoy the discussion. 🙂

  6. Asdmommy– yes, thanks for the discussion. No hard feelings here. You know your son best, and Asberger’s can be a very high-functioning disorder, so I’m not going to tell you he doesn’t need services. I’m happy you all noticed so early since so many adults today still don’t know what they’re dealing with.

  7. Brava riddlej and all other parents who commented above. I will take this one step further and suggest parents, educators, developmental pediatricians, and the general public become more familiar with a type of child called an “Indigo” (great first book to read: The Indigo Children by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober). Whether you choose to delve into this label from a more specifically “new age” approach or just recognize it as another perspective from which to view your child that others wish to see as “atypical”, the Indigo literature and information is more than fascinating it is truly helpful.

    My children are now 7 & 9 and I am a self-professed maven on IEPs, CSEs and little classification check-boxes in our educational system such as OHI (Other Health Impaired). Trust me when I tell you, there is no “impairment” in my children and in general, I tend to never use the word disability. Instead I refer to children ALL children as having diffabilities (they’re differently abled, not DISabled). Further, one day, when I have time, I will finish the book on what I call “Beyond the Spectrum” children (which include my own as well as many, many that I recognize all around me every day).

    Just because we’re used to language parameters “experts” have created like “on the spectrum” does not mean we have to adhere to these labels or be defined by them. Regardless of the label, we know each of our children is different, special, gifted and deserves individual attention and understanding from their schools and our society.

    It’s simply time to change how we look and more importantly shed the labels on behalf of ALL of our kids.

  8. I definitely think the best answer to everyone’s questions is for parents to follow their gut feeling about their kids. I knew something was off with my now 6 year old daugther back when she was 3..everyone saw it too. But it took us until she was almost 5 to get the help we needed because she wasn’t a classic type of anything on the spectrum. She has a language delay-mostly it’s processing it correctly and she’s behind in cognitive development. She is very social now-she wasn’t always and her motor skills are great. I have to say that for the years my daughter went undiagnosed-i searched for the answer-and would come up with nothing. Even the pediatricians/speech pathologists i had come across said she’d grow out of it- and to not be concerned..wait and we’ll see how she does when she is older. What a waste of time…what I needed was direction and tools to help my daughter grow during that time. I didn’t have a clue what could help her cognitive development or her sensory issues and was struggling just getting her to finally be finiished with potty training a age 4. I just have to say that if more tools/exercises were known then yes-by all means treat your child as normal and work with them on those…But those tools aren’t readily available and for years i didn’t know what to do to HELP my daughter. It’s nice to finally have ideas and exercises to stimulate her learning growth..where before it was a struggle/tear filled sometimes all out war with my daughter in terms of communication and understanding. Bless all parents out there to have whatever it is necessary to help their children and bless them even more so to use them.

  9. We did the wait and see. Then we did the he will grow out of it. When that did not happen we did the parenting classes , the it’s moms fault and then it’s his diet. Honest, if I hear one more person bring up this new age garbage of Indigo children I am going to pop.
    My son needed therapy. He needed someone to hear me out when I said something was not right and he needed a chance to have help before he went to school. Instead he go new age jargon and years of misunderstanding.
    At 7 years old he yells at people on the bus for looking at him. He destroys anything he can get his hands on. The fridge must be locked or he will eat sticks of butter and mustard wile we sleep. He has left the house before when people are in the bathroom or busy helping other children. All soap , creams and toothpaste must be under lock and key so it is not used up the day it is bought.
    Mom’s and Dads need to know they are not alone when they have a child like my son. When you know what is going on it is much better because then you can start to make some real plans to help both your child and yourself. What if I had just stopped looking for help after I was told I needed to get tough with him and make him mind? He would still be autistic and I would be at wits end with myself feeling guilty over something out of my (and his) control.
    Autistic kids are not brats. They are not stupid ether. We are not just parents who are looking to put our kids on drugs because we are lazy. Wile I do not think that is what this mom was saying I do think that she has shown both parents who jump the gun and those who wait it out can err in judgment out of love for there child.
    My son now goes to school and gets help. He has friends for the first time in his life, although he plays along side not with them. He is a math wiz but still can not say the alphabet without help. I love him with all my heart and would not trade him for an NT child but I know others will jump to conclusions and assume he is the way he is due to lack of care or tough love on my part. They will also judge him.
    When you meet someone like myself or my son in a shop or at the playground please do not tell me about some new diet or colon cleaner that will cure him. Do not tell me prayer or some guru can help us. Instead, lend a hand by respecting our right to choose the medical route for our kids rather then the fringe ones.

  10. I really appreciate your focus on the wide range of normal– and the “special” education and attention that every child needs. And now that my 3 year old is getting older, I have wondered about him… especially comparing him to my VERY social 1 year old girl. My gut is that my son is fine and just needs things differently than I always would think that he should need them. In other words, he needs me to take the time to understand him and provide the education and support that he needs in a way that he can understand. I will, of course, continue to check in with our pediatrician and others to make sure there isn’t anything else he needs, but I appreciate your post to remind me to use my gut and my common sense.

  11. WOW. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s 10:30… husband, kids even dogs are sleeping. I’m on line obsessing (again) about my 35 month old doughter. Im not gonna get into details… just know I’m sitting here balling my eyes out reading your blog… because everything you talk about just makes sense. Thank you so much again for ALL your help : )

  12. Hello. Yesterday I was a wreck. I recently took my two year old to his Dr. and filled out a well check questionnaire. Well, because of the answers that I checked, I was referred to a “specialist”. I was informed that because my son, Micah, wasn’t on track with his speech, I should have him checked. As nervous as we were, yesterday, my husband and I sat through a grueling 25 minute analysis of my child. After what seemed like an eternity, we were informed that he had signs of autism. I just broke down crying. My husband seemed unphased. After the appt was over and we were in the car, my husband advised that he was startled that I broke down crying. While he was greatful for her critique and suggestions on how we can help my son, he wasn’t going to put all of his faith in a person. He stated that Micah (who was 4 months preemie) is a very intelligent child who is very stubborn and because he was checked early, whatever is going on with him will be okay. Reading this article has really helped me. LOL at Michelle, because I, too, have been up all night stressing and looking things up online. This has definitely been a wake up call, and whatever help my little miracle needs we will provide. I am so greatful that I found this site!!!!

  13. OH MY! im also sitting at my computer with everyone asleep crying my eyes out….I would love to hear some thoughts/ opinions but my 3.5yr old daughter is a gorgeous loving little angel. She is very strong willed stuborn but kind and fun with her 2 yr old little brother. Sadly My daughter is rude and verabally agressive and bossy to everyone else, she tells huge scary looking men what to do “You can stand there” ect… she hisses at kids on the playground, she tells them “You cant come down the slide”, she will tell little old ladies that stand too close to us in the shopping centre line to “Get back” and the most common is at a bbq she will stand up and tell everybody “Stop talking, be quiet your too loud!”. Ive been told this is a shy issue but most kids are meek and mild when they are shy, my daughter will be at kindy and be the loudest kid singing in the group, not sure how this fits with the whole shy thing. She is quite behind with her speech which has really been worrying me and she has only just conquered the toilet training. Id love to hear anyone thoughts ect….and a big shout out and thank you for this wonderful blog and to all the puffy eyed mums who are sitting around with me crying and typing..

  14. I have a 38 months old son who is a cute, very loving kid. However, he uses lots of echolalia, doesn’t sleep well, has very little functional language and some other symptoms that fit under ASD. I haven’t gone to a specialist yet because I’m scared to hear that my son is autistic. I bawl my eyes out every night as I read more and more about autism. Not autistic? I hope, I really do but there are way too many red flags, unfortunately

  15. Oh did I need to find your blog!!! I have 2 boys – one turns 3 next month and one turns 3 in October (we are adopting him). My older boy exhibits the latter behavior while my younger one exhibits the former. I’m telling you, some days I feel as if I am going to lose what’s left of my mind. While one is gagging over the smell of eggs or melting down because we just don’t have the time to visit the playground, the other will be climbing over/under something,dismantling one of my storage containers or opening the refrigerator and trying to liberate the food and then scream at me because I told him no. Thank you for posting this and for your blog!!!

  16. First of all I completely agree with Riddlej’s article. It’s a blessing that there are still critical and intelligent people out there. I’m italian and my english is a bit rusty so I won’t write a poem but I would like to say that this thing about “autism epidemy” is utterly nonsense. It’s the new terrorism of 21st century. After the communists, the anti-smoking campaign, the healthy food and fitness mania, the arab terrorism etc. we now have another “monster” to fight: the Autism Spectrum Disorder! Is it a new way for the government to control people and their children? Try to google for “autism” you’ll find more than 58 millions results…then try to search for “migraine”: 30 millions results. Is Autism more common than migraine? Or is it more “profitable” to write about autism than to write about migraine? Also parents of ASD diagnosed children seems willingly to join the army of the “Worldwide Autism War”. Have you noticed what kind of answers you can find on the internet in response of parents asking something like “my son does (or doesn’t do) this and this and this. Can he be autistic?”. 99% of the answers are “he does EXACTLY how my ASD diagnosed child did when he was at that age” “Don’t waste time, early intervention is the key!” “If you’ll wait you will be sorry forever!” If this isn’t terrorism then tell me what it is… It’s like telling to a friend “Lately my stomach ache, I’m a bit constipated and also my digestion isn’t very good…” and being warned by the friend that “my father died of cancer and initially he had EXACTLY the same symptoms, go immediatly to the doctor, your life is in danger, better safe than sorry…” It’s nonsense.
    Obviously I’m talking as a father of a children who have been there…in the battlefield of the Autism War…I’ve been lucky enough to have met an “old school” neuropsychiatrist that never believed about this autism hype and told us that Autism is a completely different story than a list of symptoms (he worked with Autistic children for over 30 years) and our son only had a mild speech and cognitive delay that didn’t require any therapy but time and patience… I’m ABSOLUTELY sure that someone less “attentive” would have diagnosed my son at least as PDD-NOS or probably worse (he had every red flag you can think of).
    I do really feel empathy for parents who have Autistic children and they have all my love and comprehension but in my opinion it isn’t “spreading the fear of Autism” that they will help other parents…

  17. i think its GROSS to subject a nine month old to therapies on my taxpayer dollar unless they have a REAL disorder. this is the avoidant parent. you cannot diagnose autism at nine months!

  18. google any of your concerns and you will find out that affect so called “neurotypical kids” too. I cant stand people who embrace the label. because then the child compartmentalizes it and they deserve better.

  19. I love and appreciate this article, your whole website in fact, SO much. I agree with you that there is a true push to pigeon hole kids into the Spectrum just because they aren’t talking. It breaks my heart because I’m the mother of a truly precious 2.5 year old boy who fits into the top catagory perfectly. I LOVE that you also stress the Mommy “gut” test, b/c, while I question myself after my Mother’s visits or a delightful call from my sister (both whom hardly ever see my son) I KNOW there is nothing wrong with him. I’m sad that he’s not communicating like the other kids, and wish he would more at home… but I see a constant growing, learning, improving change in him. He’s just not the “norm”. What breaks my heart is that his grandmother and aunt can’t just enjoy him for who he is, they try to test him, can he do this, can he do that, rather than HELP him grow and learn. Every child is different, there are exeptions to everything. I was a nanny for a child who I literally watched slip away (regress) at 18 mos and was diagnosed as autistic by 2. I’ve watched him come back and conquer it to be a fully functional 9 year old today. I have no doubt about my child, many parent who get a late diagnosis already know, they just don’t want to hear it, but I KNOW.
    I just wish there was a way to get the word out more of just what so many of your articles suggest, that while autism is real and treatable (the earlier the better) but not all children who aren’t saying 200-300 words by 2 are autistic.
    Thank you again…

  20. I just wanted to say that today, this article, and a few of the comments beneath it (especially Gastel’s comments), pulled me out of one of my sickening spirals of negativity. So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t tell you how much I needed this. My son, who is 3 years, 3.5 months, has severe speech and comprehension delays, as well as social delays. We’ve done early intervention speech therapy, play therapy, PT and now we’re waiting on the waitlist for an OT assessment. We’ve spent literally weeks in-patient doing EEGs and having surgery for sleep apnea. We’ve spent countless hours with a resource teacher at the daycare ensuring his needs are being met. We’ve done 2 extensive autism assessments (both came back without a diagnosis). So I know we’re doing everything we can….but my little man still meets most of the points on your first list, and that can send me into the worst tailspins (usually made worse by an internet google search). Thank you for giving me a different perspective and for allowing me to relax, just for a moment, and let him be. His progress over the past 2 months has been undeniable, and I want so badly to believe that it’s possible that he really will outgrow most of this. You gave me that hope back just when I needed it – and that will give me the strength and focus to be the best mom I can be.

  21. I just want to say a big “ditto” to the other comments from the puffy eyed moms doing internet searches late at night looking for answers about their children. I’m a mom to 3 boys. My 4 year old is a little mini genius, was using full sentences at 18 months and has always been WAY ahead of his peers.
    My 3 year old however has just never talked. He babbles all day long and never regressed in any way… he just never started talking. A month ago he had a handful of words. Now he is having a little language explosion and is adding new words to his vocabulary every day. He can seem at times to “be in his own world” but I’ve always thought that was because his language was so far behind. He plays well with other kids, plays well with toys, isn’t overly sensitive to anything, loves being cuddled, yadda yadda yadda. My husband and I have always said that once his language catches up he’ll be like any other little boy. Thank you thank you for putting into words what my gut has been thinking.
    And by the way I agree that as soon as you see issues to go ahead and get therapy for your child. You can do that (in the states at least) without a diagnosis. My son has been in speech therapy for over a year. I haven’t seen it help him but that just makes me believe more that he is just developing on his own schedule and there isn’t anything neurologically wrong. However he loves it and it’s fun for him so I’m glad we’re going.
    I’d love to hear updates from past commenters on how their children have progressed.

  22. all that above describes my child, he has ppd-nos I keep searching for ways to help take care of him because its so confusing he is in therapies and in a preschool program now to continue those therepies some people dont think he is autistic but after the child phycologist visit everyone finally excepted it. If anyone else is looking for answers look up NAMI they are a org. that helps families deal with mental disabilities. all kinds, for kids teens and adults they helped alot with me and my child great class. But the list up above can be autism the only way to find out is to go see a doc about it, a child phycologist is the best one to see.

  23. please excuse my grammar and spelling! ok so where to start my son brax is almost 27 months old i have spent the last year almost on line in books and talking to other moms whileall i end up doing is getting frustrated and crying a bit my husband thinks he is fine and we dont need to worry our regular pedi was out one day and we saw another doc in the office who said he was not where he should be and started asking questions that i know fall under the austisim spec she then gave us a refural to a speach therapist i orderd books right away the late talking child and the einstine syndrom did give me some understanding but not much my husband refuses to let me take our sont o the speach theraphy he was labeled as a child as sld which i cant see or understand he works a demanding job and learns new difficult things every day almost but is ide of the family is riddiled with disabilities is paturnal grandfather didnt talk till he was 5 then became a pilot in the the airforce his younger brother is dislexic and his sister has 3 boys one the oldest she gave up for adoption and is full blown austistic in the worst way from what i understand she is the only one who has seem him her 2nd son which was with the same man has been diagnosed with ashburgers when he was younger i truley thought he just needed some real parenting bc she lets him do whatever he wants he is mean voilent direpectful rude and has a strage obesion with death and no empthey for anything other then himself now im not trying to be mean when isay this im stating how i saw him imnot saying he truley does have ashburgers or that these are signgs of it but sometimes when he is around i truley think he as something far worse and i dont like him around my children for fear of thier saftey but that is just my view and thoughts on him from what i myself have seen now from whati understand while she was pregant with both of those boys she was doing alot of drugs including acid extacy cocain and pot also those boys dad from what i understand had alot of issues as well was very violnt had kid napped and the 2nd by and tried to kill them both as well as him self se manged to get away he laterdid kill himself her 3rd sonwith her new husband however seems to be what someone would say normal kid other then the lack of parenting in that house he seems very smart but product of his inverment now the reason i have explain all of this is to explain my worries and concerns there are 2 children close to my sont on the spectrum and lots of learning disabilities and late talkers run al over from wht i have heard i really would just like some feed back fromanyone really with a a child who act or acted like mine oh and the regular doc told me there is nothing wrong woth him he is just a boy and a late talker he will be fine yet im stil scared and i read some of these moms comments on here how they waited and waited and it didnt get any better so here ismy son brax he is almost 27 mths old he does ALOT of jargon he also points alot and yells and scream when he doesnt get what he wants or he thinks we cant undersand him even if we say no brax you can not have ice cream he will stand there with body languge and jargon and agrue with us (which can be so cute at time)his word are limited ball,bowl,ah-oh,ah-uh,momma ( is clear as day) dada ( he used to say all the time and now has stopped but if you ask who is dada he will go to my husband) oh, wow,man, momo ( used for drink,bath,more food, movie) no ( also very clear now) at( is for kat our daughters nickname she is 8) here,where,woah,eww,ow, booboo,anna( bannana) he make animal noises like a minkey elaphant and a dog, he has started a few muffeled sentences i dont wanna and i dont know oh and thats a ball but they sound morelike doe wanna and doe no and hats a ball he is at times very very cuddely and loving and others he want to be left alone and has no problem making that clear there are times he will want like 100 kisses and others if you even try to give him a kiss he will try to hit you he helps pick up his stuff andwil even go around the house and pick up trash he inds and throws it away he isalmost fuly potty traind we are working on the pooping part now but he isdoing realy well he knows how to work the dvd player and the som tv bottons he makes good eye contact loves baths hates the shower and will freak out has become a very very picky eater som dayshe wont eat barley anything unless ts that fod of the week like two weks in a row al h would he were bannanas and then after tha oatmeal and so one he has a terible terible temper and wants what he wants now he was even like that as ainfant if we didntget him tomy breast fast en9ugh he would ge so mad he wouldrefuse to eat and scream til he fel asleep then wae up an eat whilegivin meanloks as ababy he liked to bang his had over and over when he got mad it got worse he had suh teribler bruises on hisforehead old ndnew for abou 6months he woul hit his head on hard thins likethetile an the doorhe did however seem ver advanced in buildin tings an problem solving he loves to rip al th ewhels off f his toy cars now he loves to jump andtickle and understand almost al directions even in mutyples i can say brax turn of thefan in thelivign rom andturn on thelightandhe can do it andtheswitches are right next to each other even i get mixed up sometimes he lovestoelp swep an dmop an cook but heonly speaks abou 25 words an the arnt al clear with th family history andmy huby not wantin me totake him toa spec im alway woried andstuddin his ever moveifyouhae any advise on how heislearnin tha would tel me how to beterowrk with him i woul be so greatful thank you for taking the time to read

  24. THANK YOU.
    Right now, our little guy (he’s almost 2.5) is displaying SOME of these characteristics, but mostly language delay. He’s just not interested in talking, yet he uses sign language (my mom is an interpreter for the deaf) proficiently instead. It has gotten on our last nerve that so many are ready to diagnose him as autistic before giving him a chance. Most “seasoned” parents and grandparents give us their wisdom (instead of book knowledge), telling us not to worry, our son will get the hang of it eventually.
    We’ve done play therapy and speech therapy. Both were a waste of time for him. We’d pay someone to basically watch our kid run around. He wasn’t interested in sitting and learning to feed a baby doll. And everything they did (ie. “Look, here’s a TRUCK. Can you say “TRUCK”. Look! Vroom, vroom!”) were things I was already doing. Any progress, like the sign language, he’s made had been from my own efforts. I do think these SLP’s and therapists know what they’re doing, however, I don’t believe it was the right method for our son. It has been really stressful trying to convince others that our boy is just a boy. He likes to run, bounce, get dirty, and be silly. He likes to be tickled, kissed, and cuddled. He likes to play with other kids, but waits for them to initiate. He has the sweetest little spirit, and he does understand more than I think people give him credit for. If we felt he really had a developmental issue (autism, etc), then we would be doing everything in our power to help him. However, we’re convinced he’s just a boy. All the males on my dad’s side of the family didn’t talk until they were over 3. Once they did? You couldn’t shut them up. My great-grandmother used to say she never thought my granddad would talk.
    Obviously, I don’t advocate denial or ignoring obvious signs, but in our case, it’s been a fight to keep people from mis-diagnosing our son.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I believe kids are getting pushed too hard these days. Kids are all going to develop at different rates and in their own time. Some kids will potty train at 2, others at 4… but in the end, that doesn’t make one smarter than the other. Just means they were ready at different times. In fact, my little sister wasn’t potty-trained until 4 (rare for a girl, I hear), and she’s a straight A student with a goal to become a vet. So yeah. I’m saving this post to read to my husband. At times, we’ve felt like the only sane people in a world full of crazies. So thank you.

  25. I really appreciate that your disscussion takes a thoughtful look at the current ASD hysteria. I teach at a university but am not a specialist in education. I do have a good amount of knowledge of theories of language development. A close friend of mine who is a child psychologist specializing in autism has always held that it was being overdiagnosed and that Asperger’s children were simply introverts with different skills. At present, childhood development is, I think, becoming hyper-medicalized as if any variance from “normal” must be managed, analyzed, proded, tested, medicated, etc.

    The attitude that intervention can’t hurt is simply faulty. Most obviously, there is the threat of medicating a child unnecessarily. It wasn’t so long ago that otherwise normal but rebellious teens, especially young women, were locked away, sterilized, and medicated for being deviant (i.e., not behaving according to social norms). These things were happening in the U.S. as late as the 1970’s and are well documented. But there are less obvious dangers as well. We are homogenizing what counts as acceptable childhood behavior, and as such, stamping out what might be very productive differences. At least a quarter of the people I went to graduate school with would probably have been put on the spectrum today. Thankfully, they weren’t, and they are off somewhere getting invited to very few parties, reading and writing voraciously, and making the world more interesting.

    Children who really need help, of course, should get it. I wouldn’t deny that. But there is such a thing as too much help.

    Lastly, I’m a mother of a boy who I could probably get an Asperger’s diagnosis for if I just trotted him around to enough specialists. Every now and then I am tempted to drink the ASD Kool-Aid. But then I remember all I know about the cultural history of medical science (yes, I believe science is heavily shaped by cultural attitudes), I read blogs like this one, and I do the “gut check.”

    My little man is going to be just fine.

    Thanks for this blog.

  26. Thank you !
    I love this post and it most aptly describes how I feel right now. I have a 4yo son who was clinically diagnosed of mild autism at 2yo and I am from Singapore.
    First, I have to state that I am not in denial. I have gave up my successful career and took care of him full time on my own since his diagnosis, tried all different therapies that are supposed to “help” and even alternative medicines at desperate times and administer therapy to him at home.
    Over the past 2 years, he has shredded off most of the symptoms ( sensory, not responding to name, etc ) but his language and hence social skills are still delayed as of now. He is verbal and commenting but still learning to combine his words. He likes people but lacks the social skills. We have stopped his ABA of 2 years as we feel that it is not helping him and it is not the direction we want him to grow. (ALSO He hates his ABA ! )
    Now he attends a special preschool and speech therapy and enjoys them. Our wish now is for him to have a happy childhood and not one that has endless hours of therapy.
    We have faith that he will be a fine young man one day, he just needs extra loads of our patience, time and love in his early years.
    Personally, I see the ASD label useless in our case as we are paying for private intervention. It only serves to stereotype our children. One of my ABA therapists advised me against teaching him “happy” and “sad” as he said ASD cannot recognise facial expressions. Boy ! How wrong can he be ! My son learned in a flash. He is a manipulator, capable of reading tone of voices and facial expressions.
    Now, I have come to learnt to treat him as a normal child with language and cognitive delays. Yes, he still throws tantrums when he cannot get his way but I see this now as more of his hot tempered character and a lack of language and comprehension.
    No doubt, he is different from the narrow “medical” norm but that doesn’t put him on the ASD spectrum right away.
    His main challenge is his language and once this kicks in, he is no different from any other child with his own little quirks.
    While it is important to give the child the help he needs in his early years, many like myself in the past, get too caught up with the ASD label and this puts a lot a lot of undue stress on the child, family and the care-giver.
    Families have been torn apart because of a “careless” ASD label.
    I have heard of children speaking only at 7yo and the kid is doing fine now as a normal, functional adult. If this same child is put under special education and labelled as ASD, his chances of a normal life is probably much slimmer. Without the label and mainstream schooling, the child learns to adapt on his own.

  27. @Ruth, I just needed to say your little girl sounds like a bold and beautiful little girl , she dosent sound shy to me ether , I have three little girls my second daughter is about the same age as your girl and I’m no expert ( cuz I do ask for help on behavior issues at times 2 ) it just sounds like she might need to be corrected and reminded about behavior when those loud or “rude” moments happen , and for her speech mabe she needs some extra story time, I know its easy to worry and some times it hard so hang in there , best of luck and Godbless.

  28. Thank you for this blog. I can completely identify with all the mums crying and searching for answers – I am one too. My son is 3 years and 3 months and they the so called professionals are trying to label him even though he doesn’t fit the characteristics. Your blog has given me the confidence to believe and trust my instincts. Thank you and please do keep writing. You give so many mums hope in desperate lonely times. I wish you and your family all the best. Chanice – how is your son getting on now please? X

  29. HI dear mums,
    we are all in the same boat. I too have 3 year old boy who knows many words, sings nursery rhymes still yet to call us mommy/daddy or have a normal conversation. Calls his younger brother by name and his teachers. We have been going to speech therapy and occupational therapy for 13 months now. Actually we just stopped them. We did not see any benefit from the therapies. My son hates therapies too, he gets upset when we take him to see them, he just wants to be left alone he does not want us rushing him there or here, all he wants is to be treated like any other kid. He loves to play with peers, running, jumping, climbing. I find all his therapies were more for me as a paranoid mother, I felt good knowing he was doing speech and OT. All his therapies costs us a fortune and time and preparation. we found what helped our son is that he started going to child care 3days a week, week ends we always take him to the parks and beach, our biggest achievement is he finally can name all his body parts!!!
    More I spend time with my son more I started to learn about him, he is delayed I many areas but he is excellent in other areas. His building skills are more like 7-8 year old, attention span on thing he is interested is unlimited, can count, knows his colors and sings songs. He is also computer whiz!
    I learned from my experience with my son to take one step at a time, I stopped comparing him to Billy or Eli. I have started accepting my son as a unique person he is with all his weaknesses and strengths! I found peace in my heart as well. I am not getting any experts advise anymore. My son has never been happier now that we spend more time with him, we talk to him at his level one -two word phrases, play the games he loves, we always follow his lead. If he wants to play with the door fine we go and join him, if he wants to play with the water or sand we join him too. He loves that we are following him, sometimes we are making him to follow us, change the game strategies. We already seeing more eye contact more interaction.

    Riddlej’s article is top job- thanks for being so kind to all of us, for being so smart and wise. Your article should be published in some parenting magazine so that many many mums can read and child care providers can educate themselves. There are many kids out there who like to take their time with the speech and interaction, it does not warrant Autism strait away.

    Gastel- I really enjoyed reading your comment, you have been there and you kept cool see the reward your son is speaking ” normal” kid. Maybe we should go to back old school therapists too. Maybe we should review their style.

    To all mums who have delayed talker please don’t rush to label them instead try to buy books and basic toys spend more time playing turn taking games, basic language 1-2 words sentences. Stop comparing them to other kids please. As mother of late talker I want to say you are not alone there are many – many kids who speak late and to things bit differently.

  30. I just came back here to see if, by chance, you were still writing, and to say thank you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. You have no idea of the impact you had on my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. You probably don’t remember but I emailed you years ago, and you wrote back, and I wrote back, and you wrote back again. Anyway, you gave me advice, and more importantly hope, that I have held on to. Literally not a week has passed that I haven’t thought of the things you wrote to me. Anyway, I wanted you to know that you were right. And my little guy IS talking, and he HAS turned the corner, in a way I never dreamed possible. In fact, the kid that was diagnosed with ASD last year saw the developmental pediatrician for the 1-year post diagnosis appointment 3 weeks ago and was told “if I saw him for the first time today, I don’t think he would have ever had a diagnosis”. Thank you again. You really cannot imagine the impact you’ve had on me, and in turn, on my son.

  31. I’m so glad I found this site/article. Just today, my 2 year and 9 month old son was disagnosed my a clinical psychologist ( who didn’t seem to even spend more that a total of 30 mins with my boy) as being “mild to moderate” autistic. I’m not bothered at all. my son was assessed a year ago and was considered “delayed” in many areas that he qualified for Early Start services. I have to say that the play therapy has been very good so far. Today was his psych assessment as he is turning 3 in a few months…
    My boy is going to be just fine. He lacks social skills as he has a language delay. i won’t deny that. But, honestly, I don’t think he should be put in the “spectrum”… oh well, if the therapies that seem to help him will continue because of this “diagnosis”, alrighty then! 😀😀😀😀 I will definitely give my boy time.
    Thank you for the insights you’ve shared.

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