Sensory disorder, autistic spectrum, or just normal but weird behavior for 20 month old

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Hi everyone,

I have s little boy that is a few days shy from 20 months old. He says 4 words 2 of which are strong and clear (mama, dada) and two which he doesn't use often and only seems to whisper (up, all done). Honestly always thought the whispering thing was a bit quirky but as he got older I noticed he isn't really picking up new words and I haven't heard him say up or all done for about a month.

Normally I'd just think he is marching to the beat of his own drum but then he started doing other things I have not seen before such as walking around our table repeatedly. If I get in his way he hugs me but a realize he is not so much hugging me as he is over excited and squeezing me. he has always done this thing with his hands where he opens and shuts them when he gets really excited and his body tenses belittle and his mouth will open wide and again we were told it's a quirk. but I noticed he sort of does that (sortbof a milder version) when walking around the table and now he walks around other objects.

Since he could control his hands he would fold his ears over not exactly at noise just in general. It was enough I thought something was wrong with his ears when he was younger but there wasn't. Now he is doing it at sounds. Not just loud sounds, but sometimes it's just a normal sound that's not soft or loud. He does not cry at these sounds. He does really cry or throw tantrums at all ever. The only place I noticed he will freak out is in the doctors office and only in the exam rooms.

When I walk with him he is s big boy so I can't carry him (30 lbs in size 5 diapers) I noticed if I hold his hand he doesn't really fuss or try to run and get away. If I let his hand go though he will be all over the place and he does not come to me if I call for him.

I recently realized he doesn't really respond to his name. I didn't notice this before because he does respond to me if I'm doing other things such as have something he is intrested in or if I sing his name which I noticed I did a lot. But if I say I'm gonna get you he giggles and runs. he will even watch to see if I'm chasing and if I'm not he will wait for me to.

He does not point or reach for things. I was told because he is very smart and tall that a lot of that may be because he will think and figure out what he wants (and he is very clever which I will get into in s moment). But he also doesn't wave buh bye and when we do play peekaboo or patty cake which he does know he will use my hands but not his own.

A more recent addition to all this is he will either blow on his arm which wasn't weird until he started occasionally biting it. Not hard enough to make teeth marks. The blowing I just figured he liked and I can get him to copy me if I do it but the biting was hhard enough to make red marks and seemed to be another thing he does when he is excited.

He doesn't have any toys he is obsessed with. Does prefer toys or things he can shut such as drawers or doors but you can remove him he doesn't really care if you do. He does have his hands down his pants which I admit isn't odd for a boy but he does it almost 24/7. Far more then my other two sons. He does love music but doesn't try to dance but he smiles. If you put on an actual music video not a kids music video but a real one he will be glued in front of the TV.

So here's the thing my son is super smart and brave. He pretty much learned to walk the second he could stand which was about 8 months. Heck he practically just ran. He learned to climb over every obstacle. He even climbs over our couch and just jumps off the back onto his feet or butt (no I didn't let him he was just fast). We have had to get creative with almost all babyproofing because he has figured it out. we have one of those plastic covers on his door knob because he like to open his door from his crib. He can open the door with it on. How we have no freaking idea because he won't do it if we are watching. He smiles and giggles almost all the time, rarely cries, will absolutely look you in the eyes, and will hug and cuddle. Not a big kisser but does know how. He seems to be always calm in the car (I do mean always) and in the grocery store besides getting excited and doing that thing with his hands where he tenses up when he gets excited nothing. At the park he will run run run until he is bright red sweating and we normally have to pick him up to stop him but he doesn't ever cry when we do.

My husband and I are concerned what these behaviors could mean and the doctors have set up home visits with OT and Speech but no one will tell us if you can be so lovey and make eye contact still be autistic. Is it possible to have this much sensory and still grow out of it? I do have a chronic illness that makes it difficult to get on floor and play games with him, but I talk to him all the time and he has 3 older siblings that he interacts with ( 6, 9, 16) plus when his father is home he does do more hands on stuff with him but I still wonder if it could be a contributing factor.

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  • Posted

    Hi there. Your child sounds so similar to what my son was like at the same age apart from mine didnt start walking until 15 months. My sons delay was picked up at his 2 year check with the heath visitor and thus we were referred to SALT. He was under them for 9 months before we were referred to a paediatrician. The paed summised that it could be asd or adhd but said that my son didnt fit all the criteria so labelled him with global developmental delay and sensory issues.

    By 6.5 we finally got an asd diagnosis. My son is definitely on the spectrum but now he is 8.5 his progress is unbelievable. His speech isnt a huge issue anymore. More is his understanding of complex sentences and he can be demand avoidant. This aside he gives eye contact and is very loving (in an extremely quirky way). His sensory issues have improved and he is mainly affected now by taste and sometimes thjngs being overly chaotic.

    I hope this is useful. Pm me if you want to chat. Always happy to offer support to a fellow sen parent.

    Take care.

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    • Posted

      I was looking through old videos the other day and i found proof that my son did respond to his name very well at one point. i was behind him didn't sing or do anything to get a reaction out of him just said his name and he turned around. I've been working with him now everday for over a month and I absolutely can't get him to respond to his name. There are a few other things he used to do i can't get him to do either. Is regressing like this normal? The people I'm going to see are just going to watch him to see if he should be refered to specialist but they are not the ones to test him and I'm wondering if this is a more urgent sign. I definitely don't want him to regress more. I have no idea what would cause a child to stop responding to their name once they have already learned it.

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    • Posted

      My son has regressed at times. Unfortunately with this time will tell. Sounds like you are doing the right things by recording him etc. I did this and shared with health care professionals to furthter their insight to him as just observing is t always as telling. Its incredibly hard as a parent trying to fathom when additional needs seem apparent. I hope you get the support you all need crom services xxx

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  • Posted

    I could have written almost every word. Our son is a week shy of his 3rd birthday. He started kindy 6 weeks ago and they recommended we get refered to a child development specialist. Like your son, ours walked at 8 months, at 9 months old he was running. He is our only child and along the way i put things down to him just being him. Things like walking on tippy toes, running never walking, running around tables and objects in circles. His constant need to taste the world around him by putting everything in sight in his mouth (still). The way he puts his hands to his face and looks intently at them while he scrunches them up and lets them go. The lack of eye contact. And the fact that at 3 years old does not always respond to his name when i call him, he usually hears me when i sing. Or that he doesnt have many words. Now hes in kindy its glaring obvious that he is not where kids his age should be. Last week we got refered to a development specialist and for a hearing test. I expect he is on the Autism spectrum and i am sad but i am also ok with that. We will do what we need to support his development and learning. I felt a deep sadness when his kindy teacher said that he doesnt play with the other kids, he just doesnt know how to. But a little relief when she told me that he is happy the 4 hours he is there.

    I feel we have a long road ahead of us. I feel bad for wanting a diagnosis but i just know its coming. I really identify with your post xx

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