The Weight of Paranoia

I have to admit, I’m prone to thinking too much. I’m definitely one of the subscribers to the philosophy “Prepare for the worst, plan for the best”. I’ve fallen prey to this strange anxiety that little Calvin might be autistic and I’ve been reading as much as I can about autism recently. Regardless of how he turn out, we will both still love him very much. In fact, probably more so if he turns out to be autistic. I certainly hope that I’m just being paranoid and I’m just worrying over nothing. I just want to sigh that breath of relief and shed tears of happiness when he finally starts talking.

Most of the resources I’ve read emphasizes the benefits of early intervention. Even if he’s a normal child, I figure it can’t hurt to focus on improving his weaker areas. So I went through the early signs of autism and his milestones. While he seems to be ok on the social and motor skills, I am worried about his verbal development. His babbling still consists of mostly ‘ha’ and ‘g’ sounds. He doesn’t imitate our facial expressions either, like say when we stick our tongues out at him. We’re gonna give him intensive face to face time. He must be wondering why we keep sticking our tongues out at him. How rude! 🙂

Early signs of autism in babies and toddlers

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually.
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
  • Doesn’t respond to cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.

The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician.

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.
  • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions.
  • By 12 months: Lack of response to name.
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”
  • By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
  • By 16 months: No spoken words.
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.
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