Around what age is autism typically diagnosed?
Can it really be recognized in infants? If so, does the margin for misdiagnosis go up significantly in children so young? Will an autistic child always show signs so early or is it easy to miss until they are well into toddlerhood?
Alexandra – I’m just curious, I’m not concerned about Ari or anything…she *did* make me think of it because she has been engaging in some obsessive behavior lately…she’ll discover something new and do it over and over and over again, but I’m pretty sure that’s normal. It just made me wonder how you determine what’s “normal” and what isn’t when it comes to really young children/babies…their behavior is so all over the place, it just seems to me that it would be nearly impossible to diagnosis behavior abnormalities in children her age and younger.
I have a friend who’s son is the same age as mine (18 months). She’s mentioned in the past her fear that her son has ADHD or Autism. Her son’s first Aunt has autism, not sure what spectrum but she functions at the level of a baby, literally, and she’s a grown woman. She doesn’t talk and can’t be left alone and must be fully cared for.
Me, trying to be a comforting and good friend instantly dismissed her fears and worries. Told her these things could be normal, he’s fine, don’t worry, some kids are just different. And I honestly believed so at the time. I thought she was being a worried mom and I personally never noticed anything especially off about her son. Until I got to spend more and more time with her son and she pointed things out to me and I looked up some info. He does thinks like when he’s excited he makes this strange noise and flaps his arms and slaps his own face over and over and over. He’s delayed verbally and I felt it could be normal and he was just taking his time. All kids develop differently. But the few words he does know he only mimics the words, he does not actually seem to know what they mean, he just says them to say them or when she asks him to. I often feel terrible for her because her child is the most difficult child I’ve ever seen, and she does such a good job at keeping her cool. He has zero attention span and is always on the go, running here and there and then he throws a tantrum when she tries to settle him. But he does not move or be active with a purpose, he just runs around for the sake of moving. And he is always throwing a fit about something but never seems to have the ability to tell her and does not even try to gesture or point or anything. I’ve never in my life seen a child that threw more fits and especially over nothing than her son. I feel really bad for her sometimes and often feel like she should get a reward for how well she copes.
Anyway, I have started to see what she’s talking about when she said she’s worried. And am feeling bad for being so dismissive of her worries when she brought them up to me. And now I don’t know how to tell her I think she has a reason to worry and if he were my son I’ve have him evaluated or keep a close eye on him. I don’t know how to bring it back up, or say “maybe you were right and need to have him checked”. I mean how does one do that to a friend, and worry her even more?
My son does some things and I just think “oh, how very odd and strange”. He even does a few things that would be on the “signs for autism”. Like he sorts and stacks things and loves having things in their proper place and he is very particular and will focus on one thing for quite some time. The other day we were at the park with my friend and her son… There her son was running around like a madman and my son was in the same place for nearly 45 minutes sorting bark in the outdoor play kitchen on the playground. I thought “how strange, he’s on a playground with so many things to climb on and here he stands sorting bark and rocks, how odd”. But that’s the only “sign” he shows and I do not feel he has Autism or feel I have any reason to worry. He’s social, friendly, has age appropriate development and skills and seems to be a normal child to me.
As mothers we worry and are always on the look out for “what ifs”. But we also need to go with what our gut tells us! My gut tells me my son is fine and perfectly healthy. If my gut was telling me “something is very wrong”, I would have him evaluated or at least bring it up to the ped.
As far as an age, I’ve heard of kids not being diagnosed till they were already as old as teens. But the youngest kid I’ve ever heard of being diagnosed was 20 months. But he was extremely delayed and showed all the obvious signs, he even walked on his tip toes. So I feel for some kids it is possible to diagnose it early on, but others may not show any real signs until much later.
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