Just found my notes on an inter­est­ing LA Times blog from Feb­ru­ary 23rd 2010, relat­ing that par­ents don’t see the ear­ly (in the first year) signs of autism. (No mat­ter how hard I try I can’t seem to get the web link to work right now! You’ll have to copy and paste):


In my expe­ri­ence I believe this to be true – just with­in my small cir­cle I have seen:

A 6 month old sit­ting in the mid­dle of a room mak­ing no eye con­tact with the adult car­ing for her nor any toy pre­sent­ed to her; absolute­ly flat affect.

A 6 month old, when pulled up from a dia­per change (most babies are using their legs to push by the time they are 3 months), whose legs col­lapsed like jel­ly when pulled up – based on my expe­ri­ence of babysit­ting her, she had spent most of her first 6 months very pas­sive­ly in a jig­gling baby seat on the kitchen counter or lying in a por­tacrib with her bot­tle, or sleep­ing. She was nev­er placed on a sheet or blan­ket on the floor and allowed to wig­gle freely – there were no rugs on the tile floor!

A 9 month old lying on the floor of a day­care, under a fan, (first time in day­care, oth­er­wise at home with mum) with his tongue hang­ing out to one side and his hands flap­ping! When I queried his behav­iour no staff mem­ber saw his behav­iour as strange and thus had no idea how to help him – except he was ‘quiet’.

He nev­er cried except when any­one was try­ing to put him to sleep, at which time he screamed for ages. I knew we had to do some­thing and became the vol­un­teer teacher who took him out­side and sat and held him, while he cried and screamed, sang to him until he final­ly fell asleep. He then couldn’t be laid down in the nap room because he’d wake up!
I should note that at just over 2.5 he has been calm­ly putting him­self to sleep in the nap room for the past year. He is high­ly intel­li­gent and, we now know, very con­scious of strange and loud nois­es, plus he’s a great com­mu­ni­ca­tor. My work is done!

An 18 month old described by friends as ‘a fun­ny lit­tle thing’ means that some­one has already ‘identified’ that some­thing isn’t quite right. When ini­tial­ly in my care in her own home she was exceed­ing­ly anx­ious and pan­ic strick­en — any­thing could star­tle her. I had to learn what made her tick and how to keep her home and envi­ron­ment calm. I’ve writ­ten about this expe­ri­ence on numer­ous occasions.

Her par­ents’ demeanors were not con­ducive in any way to this child grow­ing in a healthy man­ner. The fact that she’s reached 8 years old and is doing well at school seems pure­ly acci­den­tal! But I know the three years I worked with her made a big difference.

I have my theories!