Baby Showing Signs of Autism?

Updated on January 03, 2013
A.D. asks from Cherry Hill, NJ
21 answers

My 6 month old girl, 5 months adjusted, does not seem interested in me, or people in general. It is hard to get her attention, but when you can, she makes eye contact and smiles. However, she does not notice when I enter or leave the room, not does she respond to my voice really. I am really concerned. Anyone have similar issues and things turn out fine, or does this sound like early signs of autism? Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Her hearing is fine, she responds to sounds. She just seems to ignore voices alot. She likes when I make funny noises, but pays no attention to me talking to her. Her eye contact only came around 4 months, smiles to us at that time as well. The ped agreed her lack of eye contact at here 4 month was odd and knew I was thinking autism. He would never diagnose her then, but said he would help me get her help in case. So we have seen neurologists....can't say or do much since she is so young, her developmental ped appt is jan 31, and I got her enrolled in early intervention, so I am getting things started. I definitely know moms who saw signs in their babies who later were diagnosed with autism, so it is never too young. What is HFA and LFA? Thanks everyone for the support!

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It's a little early to worry about.
First signs tend to crop up at about 2 yrs which is right when some shots happen (and why people suspect them, but the timing is coincidental with a developmental stage).
Have her hearing and vision tested.
If she's got fluid in her ears she might have a hard time hearing.
Ear problems are suspect and in line with teething which can start up about now.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Denver on

Please be careful about "looking for something to be wrong" with your daughter. Instead, see all the great things she is doing and enjoy every moment with her. Have you ever heard of the concept of the "self-fulfilling prophecy?" It is the understanding that we create what we think/believe. Your daughter is still so young. Try focusing on all the great achievements she is making.

Be cautious about doing too much research on the disorders that you are afraid of. Just like the medical students that suddenly think they have whatever disorder they are currently studying, you will see symptoms in your daughter if you focus too much on the negative things. Let the pediatrician keep an eye on her development and you can focus on loving her and adoring her and cuddling with her and interacting with her.

The thing your daughter needs most is your loving interaction, not your worry. Worry is based on a reality that doesn't exist. If a crisis happens then you can deal with it in the moment. Anticipating a problem never solves the problem. You already have all the inner resources you would need to deal with whatever does show up: creativity, intelligence, imagination, tenacity, organizational skills, communication skills, etc. Worry is a false sense of control. It is a lie. Let go. Allow yourself to focus on what is right in front of you and make choices in the moment. Trying to make choices about a future that may or may not exist will only make you feel frustrated and crazy and terribly fearful.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Your daughter sounds very typical for six months old, not early signs of Autism.

Mom to a daughter with Autism

8 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have never heard of a kid with autism being anything but normal before 12 months. My son is autism spectrum and if anything he was above the curve in most ways until about 15 months.

It seems like you are looking for the worst case scenario, don't do that, enjoy your baby.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I hate to say this... But for those saying no-autism-prior-to 1yr/18mo/2yrs... Are only talking about HFA.

LFA, on the other hand, is often apparent from birth. My LFA cousin, for example, mewed at birth instead of crying. Which is one sign, amongst dozens.

Doctor, sweetheart.

HFA/ LFA/ something else... = Doctor


HFA = High Functioning Autism. Its the most common kind in the spectrum that people / parents usually think about when thinking about autistic kids. These are kids who can usually learn to talk, potty train, interact with others, etc. HFA kids are often brilliant (think Aspbergers), but not always, and are usually able to make emotional connections with other people. They usually grow up to be self sufficient, and often highly successful, adults. Up here in computer-land you can't swing a cat without hitting half a dozen HFA people in any given software company... Although HFA adults go into many fields (any & all, actually), a LOT go into computers and maths. HFA CAN show signs at birth, but often doesn't.

LFA = Low Functioning Autism. These kids/adults often never progress beyond the mental/emotional age of 18mo-2yo ... And it can take them 10-20 years to get that far if they ever do. Speech & potty training rarely happen (although many can understand certain words/phrases, some cannot). These kids/adults are mostly not "in" this world... But elsewhere. They usually grow up needing 24/7 constant care and supervision, and most have to be institutionalized for their own protection and the protection of those around them. ((Not old-school, though. My cousin is in an AWESOME facility with a couple hundred other LFA teens/adults. Unlike a lot, he can walk (that's also not a guarantee with LFA) fairly well, and take direction to some degree. I often think of LFA kids as God's Eyes & Ears.))

LFA almost always presents at birth. Mewling / meowing instead of crying is a common one.

Early Intervention is LIFE ALTERING for LFA kids. Getting the brain to start making connections before 18mo can be the difference between walking/talking and not with LFA... But there's no guarantee. Lots of LFA kids get early intervention by 6mo old who can never walk/talk... But even more are able to, for at least short periods of time.



I would be concerned about Hypotonia, if I were concerned about possible autism. Its far more rare than autism, and often missed. A lot of the signs are the same though... But its the fine & gross motor issues that create them.

Check out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Even if you think she responds to sounds there could be a hearing loss, which may not be detected until she is much older. As for spectrum disorders, both my kids have ASD(autism spectrum disorder). And ironically the one I thought would have more problems the one who showed more symptoms as an infant is the one who is much better and higher functioning now. My second child showed no symptoms until he was over 2 and still very little until he was 4 and now at 5 he has gotten much worse. My daughter was a problem child from the start, not reaching milestones, delays, limited eye contact, not responding socially and freaking out from touch. Now she is 7 and you wouldn't know there were any issues. My son who everyone thought was the perfect baby/toddler, with no issues now is the concern. So you can't tell how they will turn out from infancy.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Until she is 12-18 months old, this question cannot really be answered.

Please just play with your baby and assume the best.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

She's an infant. Relax and enjoy her. If there IS a neurological issue, you won't make it go away by worrying. Chances are she's completely neruo-typical and will benefit most from you being engaged and loving than worried and stressed.

Side note, given that your only concerns are about responding to your voice or noticing people entering the room, why not get her hearing re-checked? Chances are it's all normal, but worth a check.

Just keep loving and playing with her.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!!!

I realize being a first time parent is scary. However, it sounds like you are looking for something to be wrong with your child. Like you might want a LABEL for her. No, I am NOT trying to be mean, this is just how I see your post.

Please contact your pediatrician with your concerns at her next well child check up. Have her hearing and vision tested again. But really - she sounds like a typical baby. My kids would "ignore" me too around that age. They learn about their environment, action/reaction - it's OKAY...have you read the book - "what to expect the first year"? If not, go to the library and will help alleviate many concerns you have.

If you are still concerned after reading it - video tape your daughter and her lack of action or inaction for your pediatrician so he/she can "witness" your concerns.

Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

She's still really young. This could easily, be nothing to be concerned about. Try not to worry.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Even at 6 mos a child will typically turn her head towards someone calling her name or react to someone leaving or entering a room. That is typical but it is not all neurotypical kids. My daughter was like that and she is autistic.

As a parent I don't see it as jumping the gun or being overly concerned because I would rather intervene as early as I can. At this age whether it is autism or not it does not even matter as the intervention should be the same. Engage her as much as possible in a structured play environment. My daughter started intervention at 17 mos (early for most autistic kids but I still wish we intervened earlier). I guess the fact that my family is extended and loud has helped her a lot.

You can try games like "Where is mama's nose?...where is mama's eyes?" This way you are in her face and she has to engage.

A game I invented for my daughter was "squeeze the juice". She used to be so distant and so content in her own bubble that she never gave anyone hugs or kisses even if you beg for them. So instead we asked her to squeeze the juice. She took on the game and now she is the most buggy kissy kid.

BTW, we initially thought she was deaf as well.

Don't worry too much about the dx but get her some help. If you're wrong and she is neurotypical, that really is a wrong you can gladly live with. If she is autistic. I also want to assure you that it is not the end of the world. My daughter has given me and my family a tremendous amount of blessings. We refer to her as our bearer of Christmas Mornings, because when she does the things we normally take for granted, it feels just like Christmas morning.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'm with Jo-in my experience kids with Autism are ahead of the curve. I have twin nephews that are Autistic. They're 14 now-but when they were babies I helped a lot and I thought they were little geniuses.
I understand your worry. When I had my first I worried about everything.
Just try to pick your battles.
I was sure my son had a hearing problem since he was an infant. The pediatrician always brushed my concerns aside. Finally in first grade his hearing tested poor and they gave me the referral I had begged for.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Please don't rule out hearing, my little sister could hear (somewhat) she would watch tv but it was always was turned up loud. (My mother was deaf in one ear) so we were always talking in loud voices or high pitch silly voices to get her to laugh. It wasn't untill she was 5 years old and her kdg teacher noticed she wan't talking to the other children at her table. They were using indoor voices. To which she apparntley could not her. After having her tested we found out she was 70% deaf. Drop a book on the floor behind her see if she reacts. Then blow a whistle behind her. Third in a normal voice call her name again standing behind her. She should react from the vibration of the book falling, a loud whistle will show she hears loud noises and if she dosn't respond to your voice. It could be hearing. Once my sister was treated everyone and thing in the house then had to talk more quietly.She would cry because once she could hear everything was a bit scary at first.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

This can also be sign of other disorders or be normal. Good that you have an appointment with a developmental pediatrician who will want a detailed medical and personal history. There is no way that any of us can decide whether or not it's early signs of autism.

Of course, you're anxious. Instead of focusing on what might be wrong, focus on continuing with a warm relationship with your daughter. I suggest that you stop trying to find a diagnosis and leave the diagnosis with the developmental pediatrician. Let go of the need to know for now. Your anxiety interferes with your relationship with your daughter and that relationship is important to maintain and continue to grow.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You really can't see signs of Autism until a child is about 18 months old. Has her hearing and eye sight been checked? You say 5 months adjusted, does that mean she was pre-mature? Keep working with her, and give her time.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

All of what you are describing seems perfectly normal for a baby at that age.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Talk to your pediatrician if you are that concerned.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you had her hearing checked? Some of what you're describing sounds more like a hearing issue than anything else. Has she had her six month well check yet? See your pediatrician ASAP to discuss your concerns. Whatever it is (and it's quite possibly nothing at all!!!), the sooner you catch it, the better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Check her ears or clap and see if she looks. Go in the other room and bang pan lids or something and see if she turns and looks or jumps, etc. If not her ears then don't worry at all. Sometimes babies get very involved in whatever they're looking at or doing. Just play with her and talk to her and love her and don't worry.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I have not read all of the answers, but I wanted to share my experience with you:

From about 6 months on, I knew something was "off" with my son. He made eye contact and he would laugh and smile, but something was just "off". He didn't make any sounds at all before 8 months and he also would not move around much - would just sit and stay in one spot. I knew he could hear, so I was thinking that it wasn't his hearing either. BUT, they did give him a hearing test. He responded to all of the noises they made, but apparently not quickly enough and he had to "search" for where the sounds were coming from. He definitely was NOT hearing as well as he should have been. Turns out that he had had so many ear infections that his hearing was impaired and so they gave him ear tubes. He did then start making sounds. However, something was STILL OFF.

Unfortunately no one would REALLY listen to me. They went through the motions. He was evaluated by the state at 12 months and they said that he was in the "normal" range for activities (honestly, the very low normal range, but they wouldn't do anything since he was in the normal range).

During this time, I did move twice, so we did have different pediatricians I was talking to. In our last move, the pediatrician seemed more receptive to what I was saying about him being "off". By this time, he was 18 months old and she flat out told me that they don't really evaluate kids for "offness" until they are around 18 months. So, he was finally at an age where they would start evaluating him. Fortunately for me, he was still speech delayed because of the hearing issues, so we started with speech therapy. And also thankfully for me, he went to an "all around" therapy center. The speech therapist worked with him for maybe two weeks (I was with him at each appointment) and at about 2 weeks into it, she buried a toy deep into a tub of rice. She said, "Can you find the cat in the bucket?" He completely ignored her. I thought to myself, "There is no WAY he is going to reach into a bucket of rice and dig around for a toy." I KNEW that wasn't going to happen. Absolutely no way. I think she knew this too, so she didn't press him to do it and she asked me if I wanted an occupational therapy eval. Thank GOD. That's really what I had been after the whole time I was trying to get help. So, finally we had the occupational therapy eval and they diagnosed him as having "sensory integration disorder".

Sensory integration disorder is one of the things that autistic kids ALSO have. So, things that may appear "autistic" to you could be sensory integration disorder. Google it and you will get a lot of information. Once he got the diagnosis, I read a book called "The out of sync child". In that book, the woman said that early intervention could make a "world of difference". I asked our therapist what that meant and she said that early intervention could "re-wire" the brain and teach a child how to respond differently.

In our case, early intervention and therapy was a MIRACLE. My son is now what I would say 99.9% better. He's now 9 and no one would ever guess that he had any problems. The only thing that is still "iffy" is bike riding/balance issues.

So, basically, I am telling you all of this because it might be hearing issues with your daughter, it might be nothing, it might NOT be autism, it might be sensory stuff. There are a LOT of MIGHT be's. My best advice is to follow your gut and go and search for answers. If your doctors continue to not agree with your gut, then get another opinion.

Now, in retrospect, I can understand why the doctors kind of waited until 18 months. There is a lot you can see at 18 months that you cannot see at 6 months. But, there is also a LOT you can do to help a 12 month old that would have helped my son sooner.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

Sounds like you are doing the right things. Better to be safe than sorry.
My granddaughter is 6 months old and makes all sorts of sounds, laughs and is very in tuned to her world. Call her name she turns. Ask her where Bubbles is and she turns to find him. If someone comes in the door, she can't turn quick enough to see who is there. Now babies develop in their own time. They are all different. She is also the youngest of four, so I think that makes a big difference. Good luck. Glad you are getting early intervention services.

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