Neurology Expert Forum
Autism signs
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding neurology issues such as: Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, Autism, Brain Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, MS, Neuralgia, Neuropathy, Parkinson's Disease, RSD, Sleep Disorders, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Autism signs

I have a little boy who is 14 months old.  Occasionally, he flaps his arms and at other times he shakes his head (as if nodding 'no').  Does this mean he could have autism and should I be concerned about this??  Do babies who without autism also do those things sometimes?  

He seems pretty normal otherwise.  He smiles, laughs, crawls, and is starting to walk by himself a little bit.  However, he still only really says 'mama' and 'dada' though and doesn't point or wave yet.  He is a little below the 50th percentile for height, but his weight hasn't gone up at all since his yearly checkup in July of this year.  He still weighs 20 lbs, but he doesn't look too thin, and he eats pretty good.  

The flapping of the arms and shaking of the head though caught my attention.  I wasn't sure if this could be normal in children of his age or if I should be concerned.  I also heard that sometimes children can regress suddenly and then be diagnosed with autism.  This regression has also been related to the MMR vaccine which worries me even more because he is going to be getting this vaccine in mid October 2007, next month.

I hope you can give me some more information and some answers about what I have discussed.  Thanks.  
Related Discussions
292363_tn?1204765051
Thank you so much for your question- I will address your concerns to the best of my ability although you must realize that I am unable to examine your child and obtain a history and thus my response should be considered as informative rather than as a diagnosis.  Let me begin by giving you some background.

As some of the others on the forum have alluded to, autism is part of a spectrum of disorders referred to in the medical community as the pervasive developmental disorders.  This group of developmental problems include Autism, Rett's Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, childhood disintegration disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified; Rett's and Autism are on the more severe end of the spectrum with Asperger's generally causing more mild developmental impairment.  A few years back, there was quite a bit of commotion in the media regarding linkage of autism with vaccination; this connection has yet to be substantiated within the literature and there are mere select cases that have been reported but no clear association between the two.

When evaluating a child for developmental delay, there are various areas that are evaluated, particularly social and language skills.  When looking at language, things to consider are whether the child has been delayed on reaching language milestones , and, if delayed, is there evidence of regression.  With respect to social interaction, does your child make eye contact with others? Interact with others? Engage in play with others?  Sometimes abnormalities in social impairment become more apparent once the child enters daycare years.   As you have also alluded to in your question, children with one of the pervasive developmental disorders may demonstrate repetitive behaviors referred to as stereotypies- arm-flapping is one of the more common ones.

The fact that your child interacts with you is encouraging and this hand-flapping that you are noticing may be simple baby play.  To give you an idea of normal development, at  about 12-14 months, toddlers will generally be able to say "mama," "dada," "no."  Based on what you have told me, I wouldn't be too worried about your child at this point but I would make sure to follow regularly with your pediatrician.  Your pediatrician would be the best resource for evaluating the developmental progress of your child and can likewise to refer you to developmental specialists for further evaluation should there be concerns for developmental delay.  

I know that this information is limited, but I hope it is helpful.  Thank you, again, for your question and i wish you the best of luck.
7 Comments
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have a 14 months old and he also shakes his head like that and only says mama and dada, and maybe o-o, he does wave and point but it doesn't matter. He is also under 50th percentile but extremely active and doesn't look sick at all. I have a 3 year old who used to do the same head shaking especially when he was tired and he isn't autistic. My 3 year old was never pointing or waiving at all and he is a pretty sharp kid right now. All kids are different, they develop differently, don't compare. I know one autistic boy and unfortunately he doesn't make an eye contact when you talk to him, he doesn't react when you call his name, he may sit and look at something and then starts laughing very loud and jumping.....It sounds that you're an overprotective Mom and I understand you, I am like that too.
Blank
279234_tn?1363108849
It sounds pretty normal to me. You should have no fears about theMMR vaccine. There was a suggetion that the MMR vaccine in the early 90's might be linked to autism but that is not the case now.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
dorinda,
i have a daughter who is 14 now was diagnosed with mild autism at 4 years, no the flapping of the hands does not mean he is autistic my daughter did not do that she just did not develop at at rate that she was supposed to and had a lot of trouble understanding simple commands like "pass me the ketchup" she still at times has trouble with that and socializing is a big problem,just a little test,does he often cover his ears at loud noises,an do things upset him easily,also see if his eye contact is good,try to get him to look you in the eyes, and when he is at play call his name if he does not answer that is a good sign, also most austistic kids have no fear of danger there are 3 people that can diagnose him,neurologist,psychiatrist or psychologist,first get a referral from your family doctor ,chances are if you have an instinct there is something wrong there probably is , i too had an instinct that my daughter had a difference,and don`t worry it`s not the end of the world there are plenty of facilities nowadays that can help him through right to his adulthood,my daughter is in a normal class with kids that are not autistic  and she has friends that are not,she is on an iep program that( individual educational progarm) that the schoolboard has developed to help her progress ,they work with her strengths and weaknesses.a little bit more advice if you are going to have him tested do it now the more help he gets before 5 is the best i have been told,i did not know that i waited until 4 years old,i`ll never remember the agony and worry i had sending her off to school that first day after her diagnosis although i had gotten 3 opinions,i will let u know it is a rough road ahead if u decide to have him tested for both you and him and yuor family ,i wish you all the best.
marie
Blank
Avatar_f_tn

I watched actresses Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson discuss autism last night on Larry King Live. Although there has been no link found (as of yet) with vaccinations and autism, both actresses believed that their child's autism was due to certain vaccinations. I know Jenny McCarthy had said that her baby became ill after a vaccination.

I heard that children with autism do better on a gluten free diet.

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have 3 children.  One has pdd (pervaisive developmental disorder) which is an asd or autism spectrum disorder.  My oldest child shows the same symptoms only more exaggerated.  No one ever told me this but...contact a developmental pediatrician.  They are the only people that can properly diagnose an asd.  mary t did mention some good resources but most of the drs. she mentioned are not trained throughly in developmental delays.  I never knew until 6 months ago that this is where my oldest child should have been evaluated rather than a psychiatrist.  Do it now as the wait is typically 6 yo 8 months to be seen.  If you are right and it is an asd...early intervention works wonders.  Without the early interventions my 3 yr. old would be worse off and if my 8 yr. old gotten early intervention she would be better off.  Yes what you describe can be symptoms of an asd but that by far does not mean your child has it.  Please make an appointment with a developemental pediatrician.  I would also recommend that you contact your local school district and inform them that you would like an evaluation for your child's delays as they should generally have more communicative skills at 14 months than you describe.  Testing and evaluations for such are paid for by the school district in NY and I think it is the same in every state.  The people that do the testing are trained to spot such things and you are always involved in the process.  Some kids are just late talker but you will never know if it is that or something more serious unless you check it out.

Doing these things is a right royal pain some times but better to do it and find out you are wrong than not do it and find out years from now that you really should have followed up on your concern.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are being paranoid or overly concerned.  I got that a lot.

On the gluten free diet:  there are no conclusive results on that but yes some children do better on a gluten free diet.  Symptoms can also be eased by "going green" or eliminating artificial ingredients as much as possible from your child's diet.  This I have found to be helpful from personal experience.

One final suggestion:  get hooked up with a support group online or in your local community for parent's of asd children.  I have found simply talking to other parents helps.  Sometimes you get great ideas and sometimes you give them.

autism spectrum disorders are autism, aspergers syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder.  There are tons of great books you can read to get more info.  If you like I can provide you with a few great titles that I have found to be a huge help for me.

As a side note:  autism or asd IS NOT always rain man.  Too many people don't know this.  You never have to tell anyone about that label if you don't want to, your child isn't doomed to a life in a facility, and autistic children have just as bright a future as any other child.  Many adults with more mild asds would never be noticed as different when there was early intervention.

Please excuse my rambling (passionate about the topic i guess).
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Ok, I read a book a few months ago about the gluten and MS.  It is not the gluten, it is the uncontrolable yeast which is your body that builds up and destroys various things in your body.  The gluten is something that feeds yeast.  Also, any kind of sugar.  And they think also vaccines.  The MS diet that I am on is no yeast,gluten,sugar,or dairy.  I starting during an attack.  Within 3 days, I came out of it.  I felt the best in years.  I have been on it now for 4 months.  You also have to take an antifungal.  I use an organic one called Primal Defense.  I have had great results.  There are so many things you cannot eat though.  You have to avoid any foods basically that cause inflammation.  This is the same diet Jenny put her son on except the website she gave out does not follow the same regiment.  I met someone who's son had Crohns disease and went on the diet and is now in remission and  does not have to take medication anymore.  It is something to try.  There is no possible way can it hurt you.  
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
Blank
Request an Appointment
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank