Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Symptoms of Autism in Infancy
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Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

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Symptoms of Autism in Infancy

I am 31 and my husband is 34, and we are first-time parents.  Our son just turned 4 months old.  I know babies can show signs of autism at a very early age, but the symptoms are very vague.  I'm concerned about my 4 month old, but I'm not sure if my concerns are valid or I'm overly paranoid due to the "popularity" of autism lately.  

Our son was induced 3 days late and weighed 8lbs 3oz.  His APGAR was a 9.  He currently weighs 15lbs.  His head circumference has increased an inch between his two month and four month checkup.  He smiles, coos, makes eye contact, bats at toys, grabs his feet, pulls things to his mouth, and startles at loud noises.

The things that concern me are that he does not always make eye contact.  Often, especially when he is close to my face, he prefers to look anywhere BUT at me.  He makes his best eye contact when he is laying on his back and I am over him.  Secondly, he does not turn towards me when I say his name or talk for that matter.  However, often I can sing to him and he smiles or the dog barks and he jumps.  I'm really not sure at what age he should be responding to my voice... the milestone charts are vague and differ by months.

  He recently, after starting daycare when he was 12wks old, seemed to stop babbling/cooing.  Prior to that, he would "talk" up a storm and have "conversations" with us.  Just in the past couple of days, he has started babbling again.  We had his 4 month checkup yesterday and the Pediatrician said he seemed "stiff" and is referring us to a specialist.  Although, when I was holding my son in my lap after the exam, the Pediatrician remarked that he didn't seem stiff at all.  Our son stiffens his legs during diaper changes and outfit changes.  He'll arch his back sometimes during the night, but quickly settles back into sleep.

He will only entertain himself (in jumper, bouncer, or swing) for 10-15 minutes at a time.

I'm so worried and I don't know if it's even valid worry or not!
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While I understand your concerns about your child, I would caution you to relax and enjoy being a parent for the moment. If, when your child is a year old, you continue to have concerns about eye contact, social overtures and eventually language you should have your child evaluated. At that point,identify a hospital in an urban area where they specialize in diagnosis of children who present autism spectrum disorders. A comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists will result in diagnostic information as well as treatment recommendations. You can then take these recommendations to your local early intervention program.


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