My 18 month old daughter has always made eye contact as an infant. She loved to be held and cuddled. She had a delay in her crawling and walking. She didn't start crawling on all fours until 12 months. Before that she would do an army crawl at 9 months. She just started walking 1 week ago. She said her first word at 8 months (mama). She used to smile when her older brother walked into the room she was in, but now not so much. She is a very calm child, never any tantrums or anything like that. She did however cry a lot as an infant, but not any more. Now, she still does make eye contact, but only when she wants to. She does respond to her name, but not often. I think she understands the word no, but most of the time she goes back to doing what she was doing. She doesn't point things out to us yet, and if we point things out to her she rarely does look. She only has a few words, mama, dada, and baba. She used to babble, but that has decreased. She now just screams when something or someone is bothering her. She also screams if she wants something. She never points at things that she wants. I am just scared that it might be autism. She still loves to be held, touched, cuddled. She loves to play with other children as long as they make the first contact. But, after a few minutes she plays alone. She saw her doctor last week and he said he thinks its not autism but that it might be just a social/language delay. He still wants her to get evaulated. She is very alert though!
I can certainly understand your worry. But before you let it get the better of you, the most important step you must take is to have an Early Intervention evaluation.
Your daughter should be evaluated for speech and language delays as well as social delays. It is entirely possible that her behavior is related to frustration at not being able to communicate due to a language delay. You should also have her hearing fully evaluated. Most kids are diagnosted with autism between two and three years old, so although it is possible that she is autistic, it is important not to panic, and to rule in an out everything else first. The sooner you start the evaluation, the sooner you can get intervention for her if necessary. By the way, walking at 18 months is still considered within the normal range (up to 18 months).
Good Wishes and Great Parenting,
Dr Susan Bartell
JustAsk Expert www.drsusanbartell.com
NEW book “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask”