9 Early Signs of Autism (That I Missed)

What’s inside this article: An overview of what autism spectrum disorder is, including access to the official diagnostic criteria, plus nine signs of autism that I experienced personally that don’t necessarily fit the description you often see of classic autism.

The early signs of autism aren’t always apparent in toddlers. Or, they’re at least not easily recognized as the signs of classic autism.

But, when the expectations placed on your child increase (especially social), these signs of autism start to be more evident.

For example, you may not notice your child’s struggle with social skills until they begin kindergarten and you realize they don’t interact well with their peers or have meltdowns when they’re expected to interact or do group work with the other children.

We didn’t start the assessment process until my son was six years old. We finished four months before his 8th birthday.

A Quick Look at Functioning Labels

Now, I don’t like using functioning labels. But, he’s often described as having high-functioning autism. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll be using that term. It’s also sometimes called “mild autism”.

You can read about why functioning labels are harmful here.

He doesn’t have all the signs of “classic” autism so his assessment was later than the average age (which is 4). This often happens because the signs of high-functioning autism are more subtle.

Misdiagnosis (particularly with ADHD or other conditions with overlapping symptoms) is more common for kids who fit the “high-functioning profile”, in other words, those requiring less intensive supports

Looking back I see they signs were there long before I picked up on them and I want to share them with you.

Remember, if your child does some (or all) of the things on this list, it doesn’t mean they’re autistic. This post is about my personal experience.

But if you are a parent reading this and wondering about your own child my advice is: always follow your gut.

Voice your concerns to your child’s doctor. If I had followed my gut, we probably would have had an earlier diagnosis.

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What is Autism?

This is just a basic overview of what autism is if you aren’t familiar with it. If you wish to learn more, you can read in-depth about the history of autism, facts and statistic, symptoms, and more here.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts brain development causing most individuals to experience communication problems, difficulty with social interactions, sensory processing differences, and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behavior.

There is also a “markedly narrow repertoire of activities and interests.” In other words, they may have one or two special interests and not much desire to do anything else.

Neurodevelopmental means that it is related to the way the brain grows and develops. This means that although there are often challenging behaviors associated with autism, it is not a behavioral disorder.

In other words, children with autism don’t choose to behave in a challenging way – they behave in a challenging way because various lagging skills make them require additional supports to respond adaptively in various environments. 

The term “spectrum” recognizes the complex range of abilities and performance in people with the diagnosis, within a continuum of severity. The effects of ASD are lifelong, impacting on all areas of a person’s life.

No two individuals with autism are alike and may have significant differences in skills across multiple domains. 

Individuals With Autism Have:

  • A range of abilities
  • Their own strengths, talents, and special interests
  • Challenges that present in unique ways
Signs of High Functioning Autism that I missed when my child was a toddler - #Autism #ASD #ToddlerDevelopment #ChildhoodDevelopment #Parenting

Early Signs of High-Functioning Autism (That I Missed)

This is how we experienced the signs of high functioning autism.

Remember that everyone’s experience will be unique.

1. Gets upset around large groups of people.

This happened even as a baby. I remember on my very first Mother’s Day going out for dinner. As soon as we walked into the restaurant my son started crying inconsolably and he didn’t stop until we left.

He was only 4 months old.

I chalked it up to being tired, but it was more than that.

However, he had the same response to family gatherings, birthday parties, and any situation where there were more than a few people present.

Large groups still upset him to this day, we even ate dinner and opened gifts in the bedroom at my in-laws on Christmas Eve because they had a lot of visitors.

When we go to school, if there are more than 5 people in the classroom when he arrives, he needs to start the day somewhere else quietly.

It’s not as bad if he’s there first and people begin arriving gradually, but he can’t walk into any type of crowd.

2. Narrow areas of intense interest.

This is a common sign of autism. But if you do a Google search for the “signs of autism”, when they mention this sign it’s usually followed by examples such as “memorizes license plates or the TV guide” or “Can list all sub-species of insects in alphabetical order”.

In other words, it’s usually described as an unusual, narrow topic of interest.

This is not always the case.

My son’s first “special interest” was Thomas the Train. He was two years old. What two-year-old boy doesn’t love Thomas the train? It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, he was a little boy loving a little boy show.

Although in hindsight, there were red-flags that it was more than a boy loving Thomas.

He actually wouldn’t watch anything else on TV but Thomas for over a year. We only read Thomas books, he slept with a Thomas blanket, and he wore Thomas pajamas. He had over 50 toy characters from the TV show, hundreds of pieces of wooden train track, and a ride on toy Thomas too.

Clearly, there was a bit of Thomas the Train overkill happening at our house, but as a first-time mom, it all seemed fine to me.

These days he loves all things Pokemon. It started when Pokemon Go was released and it’s grown from there. We’ve played all the video games, watched all the shows, collect the cards and toys, etc.

I can’t even tell you for sure how many Pikachu stuffies are on his bed right now. And, with more pokemon being released every year, he has more to look forward to and learn about this interest which keeps it exciting.

3. Making up his own words

I found out that making up words, termed neologisms can be a sign of autism just last year during my son’s assessment.

My son’s third special interest was wind turbines. (Remember his first was Thomas the Train, his second was another kid show Jake and the Neverland Pirates. )But he called turbines or windmills “undoons”.

I can’t tell you why and I can’t tell you where it came from but if you dared use any other word for a windmill in his presence he would actually get angry. As he got older he did eventually stop referring to them as undoons and start using the correct terminology.

He does still use made-up words occasionally. But now that he’s older he understands that his word isn’t the actual word, so he will use the correct word as well.

At school, if he’s using a made-up word, the teacher will ask him to draw a picture of the meaning – to help her understand what he’s saying.

4. Over the top reactions to smells

This is a moment I remember very clearly from when my son was young. One day we were taking a cab to his daycare. It was cold and snowy as we waited outside. The cab pulled into the driveway and I opened the door to help my son (who was three at the time) into the cab.

This is when it happened.

He screamed, “I’m not going in there, that man STINKS!”. Oh. my. god.

This moment was not only memorable but incredibly embarrassing.

Although I agreed he didn’t exactly smell nice, to me the smell was mild and tolerable and I just couldn’t believe my child would say something so rude.

Now, I am more familiar with my son’s sensitivities to smells and I let people know that if a smell bothers him it needs to be taken seriously. He can’t stand being around peanut butter, for example.

Also, there are times when he doesn’t like the smell of supper and will literally not leave his bedroom for the rest of the night, to avoid the odor.

5. Frequent ear infections

I had absolutely no idea until recently that frequent ear infections are common in kids with autism. In fact, children with autism have (on average) ten times more ear infections in their first three years of life than a child who does not.

My son constantly had ear infections and eventually needed tubes placed in his ears. His frequent infections didn’t alarm me at all because when I was a child I used to get frequent ear infections as well.

It seemed like a normal part of childhood to me.

6. Everything had to go his way

If something didn’t go the way he wanted it to go, he threw a huge fit. I used to think “Wow, the terrible twos are really, really terrible.

Sometimes, what I thought was a temper tantrum went on forever.

I now know that these were actually meltdowns, not tantrums. They were caused by his difficulties with transitions and routine changes – two common signs of autism.

I thought it was just toddlerhood.

There are tell-tale differences between a tantrum and a meltdown, but when you don’t know your child has autism you might now know how to recognize these differences.

One meltdown I really remember was from when he was two-and-a-half. We just got home, but he wouldn’t get out of the car. I ended up carrying him inside. He stood at the front door screaming and crying “I want to walk! I want to walk!” over-and-over again.

I have no idea how long this went on. Basically, I was trying to ignore it because that’s how I was taught to handle “tantrums”.

I did eventually take him back outside to the car and let him walk inside, and afterward, he was eventually able to calm down. This is just a prime example of how cognitive rigidity can affect day to day life.

Now that he’s older

Things haven’t changed much,  5 years later, in terms of controlling situations and being rigid about things. But intense meltdowns are definitely fewer.

Recently we stopped for fast food on the way home and I asked him and his sister to carry their own meals into the house. He ran inside ahead of us and when I got in the house I found him hiding his face in the cushions on the couch.

I realized I had accidentally passed him the wrong bag, so he carried his sister’s meal inside.

When your child has autism, it’s not as easy as swapping bags at the table. I asked him to carry his food inside, so he had to carry his food. He had to take his bag and go back down to the car, buckle his seatbelt and then unbuckle it and walk back inside with his own food. In the pouring rain.

7. He drank from a bottle for a really long time

Not being able to adjust well to change is very normal for autistic children.

In hindsight, I am positive this is why it was so hard to wean him off the bottle. He never used a soother so at the time I thought the bottle was just very comforting to him but there was actually a little more to why he couldn’t let it go.

This isn’t the only way he was resistant to changes. He used to insist on keeping his shoes on in the house, sometimes wearing them to bed. It would take half the winter to get him to wear a winter hat, and then half the summer to get him to wear a sun hat.

My current challenge is finding him the same sneakers, over and over again, as he grows and needs a bigger size.

8. Aversion to certain tactile sensory experiences

Do you know how everybody does those adorable smash the cake photo shoots for their baby’s first birthday? Not us.

The second my son touched icing, he disliked the experience so much that he cried inconsolably. Even with trying to get him to taste it and play there was no way to calm him down.

Looking back now, I remember he also avoided the feeling of certain textures on his feet. At the beach, or in the yard, he would lift his legs up and yell to avoid having grass or sand touch his toes.

It was such an unusual reaction for a child, but at the time he was still a baby, it didn’t raise any alarm bells.

9. He didn’t have the classic symptoms of autism

Perhaps the biggest reason of all that I missed the signs of high functioning autism in my son, is because he didn’t have the classic signs at all.

He could say 20 words by his first birthday and was using short sentences by 18 months old. He met every single milestone early or on time.

At 2, he knew his letters, numbers, shapes, planets and more. At three he could write his name, recognize sight words and was learning phonics.

This is why I ignored my gut when I thought something was different.

Everything I read about autism online made it seem so definitive that he must have a speech delay to have autism or that he must avoid eye contact, even as signs of high functioning autism.

But remember, autism is a spectrum and there is no one size fits all.

So, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post: If you’re a parent with concerns about your child, always follow your gut and talk to your child’s doctor.

Read the list of official diagnostic criteria for autism here.

These are 9 signs of autism that I missed when my son was a toddler. In hindsight I can see that this was atypical but as a first time mom to a boy who didn't meet the standard criteria - i missed them.
#Autism #Parenting #HighFunctioningAutism

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  1. Thank you for this insightful article. I am a teacher, and this makes me think of a few of my kiddos.

  2. I am a parent who could really relate. This message needs to spread far and wide. I would also add that if a parent has concerns they should insist on seeing a developmental specialist. The family pediatrician isn’t always aware of the subtle signs either. My son’s pediatrician downplayed my concerns and thought my son was just a little quirky. He was diagnosed with HFA at 6.

    1. I am an exhausted grandma helping my daughter with her son with autism to get his diagnosis and appropriate services for 5 years. We finally got a diagnosis from his first school and it has been so hard. Asking at every appointment, ER visit, pestering the teachers at school and the various organizations. This year we have made so much progress getting a routine established. Our little guy is high functioning and is doing well and we are so grateful. My appreciation for this article and knowing that there are so many other parents with extraordinary children gives me hope that he will find his niche in this world.

  3. Dr. Meg Ladyman, OTD, OTR/L

    As a pediatric OT I appreciate your insight!

    1. Thank you! I appreciate that.

  4. My son is 10, and I worked out he was on the spectrum when he was 18 months old, due to a lot of the behaviours you have listed above, including the Thomas obsession, as well as some classic ones (minimal eye contact, repetitive behaviours, etc) but we were always reassured by doctors, psychologists and teachers that he’s fine. We had the worst experience when we took him to a concert when he was 3, he just couldn’t deal with the crowds and had an uncontrollable meltdown. We never pushed for a diagnosis because we figured he is very high functioning and we would just deal with any issues that arose as we met them, and we have so far. He’s now having issues with self-harming stemming from his anxiety, and we’re now looking at whether it’s worth getting a diagnosis at this late stage, but I’m not certain a formal diagnosis will benefit him. I sometimes wish I’d pushed for an early diagnosis and wonder if it would have been helpful to have had the early intervention, but I guess we can only go from where we are now and hope for the best!

  5. ThankYou! It is really worth reading.

    1. Joanne, I feel that a diagnosis would be worth it still at this late in the game. I didn’t follow my gut, we tried many different things with my daughter but as she grew older and was unable to conform and deal with her “being different” her behavior became worse. Now she is 18 and has a difficult time getting a good job because she is hard to train and does not pick up on things quickly, just like in HS. Once she knows what is expected of her at work she is a diligent worker, its just getting through the first 6 weeks or so with her and not all employers are understanding or patient, just like many of her HS teachers. Get the diagnosis so at least your boy has some sort of support when going out into the working world and while dealing with less than understanding impatient HS teachers. Good luck.

  6. Sharon Englehardt

    Yes, Thank You for this Article. I hope it reaches a whole lot of people. My grandson has HFA. He was diagnosed around 3 yrs old. He is now 7 yrs old. I would have never in a million yrs thought he had Autisum. I saw none of the signs of what I thought Autisum was. Thank God my daughter’s best friend was was specially trained in this sort of thing and a therapist for kids at several school Corporations. She recognized the signs and gave my daughter contact info on a Therapist for testing. At under 3 yrs old he could recognize all letters front, backwards, inside down. He could make letters out of anything. He recognized all colors and shapes. Knew all letter sounds. Could count to 10 and recognize numbers. It amazed me. He literally ate of anything I would teach him. He started in a special preschool at 3 yrs old and loved it. They helped him so much on his Sensory disorders. He had a hard time sitting still so they gave him a job. Every morning they would have him load a wagon with as many books as he could and pull it up and down the hallway. It helped wear him down a little. Everyone, literally everyone loves this kid. He doesn’t know a stranger. He is very polite, sensitive, compassionate to others. He loves to help. He is doing excellent in 1st grade on to 2nd next fall. At the top of his class in Reading and Spelling. He has even been put in with the second grade class and could read words none of them could. Overcharging on all the Dibels testing.
    Don’t ever just assume a child doesn’t have problems. If you have a feeling check it out. The earlier they get help the better off they are.

  7. Wow…… It is so similar to my experience with my boy with the exception that I was never around large crowds with my kid. Even as a baby my boy did many things at a really early age like rolling into places he wanted to go, crawling so small, walking at early age, talking, learning so many things at a really age. He got diagnosed in kinder at the age of 6 and now he is 11.

  8. My son is 22. He has had all of these issues mentioned here. He still flaps, he rotates his wrists, but it was real noticeable before he started school. Before he started school he focused on HotWheel Cars. He would spend hours organizing them and no one was allowed to move them. He always knew the order and all their names he gave them. He had over 300 of them and named them all.
    Then, when he started school it was Yu-Gi Oh cards/ Pokémon cards.
    In Jr. High and High school he had notebook upon notebook of sports stats. He still does stats, but he doesn’t write it down as much.
    He graduated on time, he is very social, but he has just a few close friends he constantly hangs out with. He does still live at home (he is afraid to move out on his own, but I think he will when he is ready).
    He is different from the norm, but aren’t we all. Different is NOT less in any circumstances.

  9. Thank you for sharing this. You are right the spectrum is so wide that ” typical” autism signs arent always there. Im a mother of 3. And my 2 youngest have autism. My son is 4 and my daughter is 3. I was fortunate enough to have a good pediatrician. I hate that when you search it up online avoids eye contact is always on the list. They never mention hand flapping. My kids are still on the bottle and as their doctor said its okay. Its giving tgem something they need. As parents of special needs children we value every other parents view because we are all on the same boat.

  10. We are new to this with my granddaughter who will be 2 in a couple of days…..I noticed things were not right and mentioned it to my sister before thinking of saying anything to my daughter. My sister tried to sooth my thoughts by saying she was still so little, every child is different, etc, etc. I brushed it off because what my sister was saying was true……but I still had that gut feeling. A week went by and my daughter and I were on the phone and she said “Mom I think something is wrong with Stella”, I just listened to her concerns which were what I was concerned with. She went on to say she had contacted the pediatrician and was scheduled to go see him. I think back to some of her reactions to different situations or things and I feel so guilty not realizing it. It is a learning experience for us all. Stella is my 10th grandchild out of 11, the older ones are so amazing with her. Thank you for your article.

  11. Thank you for your article I followed my instinct and thankfully his pediatrician confirmed it and sent me off to get him diagnosed. He has mild autism (high functioning severe speech delay) he is 3 and doing very well.

  12. @joanne definitely worth getting diagnosed for middle school and high school so he can be in a regular class setting but teachers will be more understanding if he needs extra time with homework, or needs to move around in class, or needs extra time for test, I had to go to workshops (Parent to Parent) to understand more and realized this is something I need to educate myself to help him help himself. Good luck to all and thanks for your article.

  13. This story sounds like I am reading about my own child and life. We got diagnosed at age 5. I knew from the age of 2 something was different. We did early intervention and preschool with an IEP. Still had a hard time getting a diagnosis though. Did you feel like you had to convince the professionals that there was something going on with your child?

  14. @lorena I agree with comment for @joanne. My son is 13, was officially diagnosed two years ago after I suspected for a few years before that. “So smart” and “quirky” were regular observations by teachers but grades were good and he got along with peers so nothing to worry about. But this year he moved to jr high floor with switching classes and more teachers. I was surprised at how little patience they have because he is “so smart and not working up to his potential…” His grades have dropped, hormones kicked in, social differences more obvious, and anxiety through the roof, and him becoming withdrawn. Luckily since we have medical diagnosis to support the struggles, he FINALLY qualifies for special ed. He didn’t like the idea of needing support, but a few months with an IEP and him seeing how supports help (and teachers HAVE to modify procedures and they too see he needs it), he is back on track and feeling good about school and comfortable taking risks and trying new things. So so glad I trusted my gut and knew my son well enough to recognize when to advocate for him. It’s all trial and error. Good luck.

  15. My son was diagnosed at 24 years old with high functioning Autism.
    I know 6 almost 7 seems late but there’s much later diagnosis in our Autism community. I hope that helps to ease your mind.
    I can’t believe so many of the signs were missed or dismissed by doctors for my son. I addressed the possibility of Autism with his doctors and therapist being told “No he doesn’t have High Functioning Autism”. It wasn’t until he had a shutdown and ended up in the hospital that we finally got the Autism diagnosis.
    Love the article thanks for sharing.

    1. So sorry your worries were dismissed by doctors. I do know many many children are diagnosed much later than 7. But the average age of an autism diagnosis is 4 years old. Anything after that is considered late, and children age out with EIBI services on their 6th birthday which is why getting an earlier diagnosis is beneficial.

  16. Im still angry that doctors ( pediatricians) dont take moms serious when then say:Something is not normal in the development of my child.This is my story..A long battle and finally someone took my concerns seriously…

    1. It’s so true. We know our children better than anybody else. Doctors only see them for a short period of time at appointments, a few times a year. Parent’s concerns should definitely be prioritized.

  17. @lorena and @amanda – My son didn’t show “typical” signs other than rocking repeatedly hard against the couch when he was little. He was the most easy-going of my 3 kids and rarely had any behavioral problems. As he got older, I started noticing a lot of sensory issues. He would burrow under me whenever he sat by me or slept next to me. He’s also a very picky eater and didn’t sleep through the night until 2nd grade. He’s always been described as an “old soul”. At 9 years old he began flicking his cheeks and walking in circles. My pediatrician referred him for evaluation and, while they saw ASD behaviors, he did not qualify for a diagnosis. He’s now 14 and Jr. High has been a nightmare. He’s less flexible and struggles with expressing his need for help with lessons. I took him for another evaluation and FINALLY received a diagnosis. I got an IEP in place and am hoping high school will be a better experience. There are still resources available with a late diagnosis and the knowledge helps me be more patient with struggles since I recognize he needs a different approach and time to step away to refocus.

  18. […] Since the signs of autism can present differently in different children, they aren’t always apparent. Read about the 9 signs of high-functioning autism that I missed. […]

  19. I have twins with autism and I feel like I could have written this article. My girls are 3 and have qualified for early childhood preschool and speech services. I have one question… Now what? Do you think you would have done anything differently when he was 3 if you had known?

    1. The main thing I would have done differently if I had known when he was younger would have been to prepare him better for school. I would have had a behavior plan in place heading into school, an IEP and an EPA for him. By the time he got those things through the school, it was after he was struggling significantly and I was leaving work 3-4 times per week to pick him up early. I feel like having the right supports in place from day one could have prevented a lot of that.

  20. Good points! The main takeaway is : Listen to your gut! Even if a doctor doesn’t believe you ( many are not well trained in the subtleties) go to an early intervention program for an assessment.

  21. Thank you sooo much for this article. After years and years of constant doctors appointments,therapists, constant issues with school,family member’s judgement and lack of support, I finally saw and asked for testing for my son,who was diagnosed just this year as being on the spectrum at the age of 8. Now I am wading my way into waters that I know nothing about,and it is so overwhelming and isolating at times,as I try to learn how my son sees the world and how to adjust my expectations,as well as feeling just overwhelmingly grateful to have an answer,when noone would believe or listen to me. It is just a huge comfort to know that I do in fact know my baby,that I was not wrong or a bad mom,and gives me renewed strength to continue to try to advocate for him.

  22. Thank you so much for writing this. I went through this with my now 10-year-old son. It’s very difficult to get people to understand when we have a problem He isn’t being a bad kid He has autism. We have problems with decisions. Making choices. A simple vacation will breakfast just provided at the hotel turns into a huge ordeal for us… We just went through it this weekend allowing him to have a treat at the store horrible and it all started when he was about 2 but getting people to listen to me and answer my questions was the most difficult thing ever no one could explain to me why my child that would eat anything I sat in front of him and had no fear suddenly wouldn’t eat anything because the texture wasn’t right He would panic to the point of hyperventilating because it was 12:30 and not 11:00 and we don’t eat lunch at 12:30 I wish people had more understanding of high functioning autism Yes most of our children are “gifted” but we still have our struggles we have to deal with like teaching them how to greet people instead of growl how to acknowledge someone’s feelings and to understand them and to understand not everyone thinks the way you do. My son spent 5 years and wouldn’t let me hug him He wouldn’t let his older brother pick him up things like that are hard

  23. Thanks live in the state of PA, and my on the spectrum son is now 24. It was a long row to hoe, trying to get him the help he needed. First a diagnosis, then an IEP! It was worth it of course but takes so stinking long. Its so damn hard for others to understand that just because you can’t see the disability doesn’t mean it’s not there. The world is changing but some times it’s just not fast enough for our kido’s and the help and understanding they need.

  24. Thank you so much for your words. This speaks to my momma’s heart…I’ve seen so many of these behaviors in my 8 year-old from the day he was born, practically, and we struggled unmercifully through kindergarten, to the point that we decided to remove him and homeschool him thereafter. We’re still struggling, and I am a former teacher. It’s especially difficult as we’ve had him unofficially diagnosed with dyslexia and he also has ADHD. This really makes me want to push for more official evaluation, though, and an IEP that will help him more adequately than the 504 we had in kindergarten several years earlier. I appreciate your testimony.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, too. One thing I’ve learned is that many many parents are in this same situation and it’s good to know you aren’t alone because it can feel isolating at times.

  25. Very insightful. I am a early childhood special education teacher here but also has a special needs son. We are still currently testing him but he was with ECI since 1 and is now being serviced through the ISD. Currently he is only receiving speech but his red flags are still very much present. Most of your red flags are his.

  26. […] by 18 months old should definitely bring their concerns to their child’s doctor because it may be a sign of […]

  27. THanks a lot for sharing your experience my son now 4 also had same alarms and i had doubts when he was 3…but i got to know few more like weaning off d bottle and his brother also has similar issues…i always doubted that my first had autism and d second had adhd with sensory issues but later realised that my second also has autism too….i hope people get aware of this issue coz i have seen so many families in need of information like this as kids with autism are not understood and are labelled as stubborn and what noy and they are disciplined to the extent of being spanked…..

  28. My son is five and we were able to tell that he had some delays because he would refuse to talk verbally, I started teaching him and myself ASL before he was diagnose at age 4 1/2. Now at age 5 he started social skills and he enjoys it. I tell our Social Skills therapist and coaches that academically I am not too worried because he is smart. He knows all the planets, including facts about each one, US states and capitals, knows everyone’s name just by meeting them once, reads everything at plain site and more. Because I had intuition that something was different about him I read books and learned from those books on tips and ticks that they used to handle the meltdowns when things didn’t go his way. I would use list of tasks so that when we would go run errands he would not have a meltdown because i was not driving where he wanted to go. I just wished that his pediatrician was certified to give the proper diagnosis. There are some pediatricians who are but because ours was not the wait list to get the diagnosis took longer than a year because he is high functioning – Autistic.
    I embrace my sons special likes, interests and not hide him from the world because I feel the more he is involved socially the easier it will be when he grows up.
    Thank you for sharing your journey I hope your story is read by many!

  29. Thank you for this article!! My son is 4 and we are just now entering the world of therapists and OT and sensory issues, but mild autism has always been something I’ve been curious about and this article rings true with almost everything about my son! Like yours, mine also started with a Thomas obsession, which then led to trains, sprinklers and now washing machines, however he talks like he’s 12, has no problem giving eye contact and is very social and loves to play!

  30. wow, this is very relatable to me. my son is now 11 and he is doing very well now after lots of hours of therapy and meds. He is very smart and in accelerated and advanced classes and has an advanced vocabulary for an 11 yo. He is very focused on math and computers. The younger years were the hardest. but once we found our groove it got easier.

  31. Thank you so much for this post! My daughter is now 9 and diagnosed with high functioning autism (Asperger syndrome). The wide range of symptoms are so confusing at first and unfortunately easily mistaken for behavioral issues. Being from a small town I was originally told it was my fault, that I just needed to socialize her more! On the second day of kindergarten the teacher pulls me aside (of course I had to accompany my daughter to class daily) and says “Honey, have you ever thought your child may be autistic?” I broke down in tears immediately because finally someone saw the things I was seeing. This was my third child so I knew things were different to say the least. Thank God for that teacher. Like you, my advice is to trust your gut. Do not feel alone. Our children are wonderful!

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