Low Tone and Autism

Updated on September 11, 2012
S.W. asks from Toledo, OH
8 answers

Hi, I have a 21 month old daughter who has been severly delayed with her gross motor milestones (just started crawling at 18 months). She was diagnosed with "low tone", which is neurological in origin and not to be confused with weak muscles. The diagnosing doctor made an off handed comment that these babies often have sensory issues back when we saw her 5 months ago. We are now really concerned that she is on the autism spectrum. She is very delayed in speech, does not wave, does not point ( and will look at my finger, not the target when I point at something). She does not use toys appropriately, perseverates on the same toys with very little skill advancement and is overly interested in light up toys, and fans, and does the classic arms flailing out to the side and mouth wide open when she is overstimulated. BUT, she is very social and smiles, hugs and has been such a cuddler. Does anyone have any insight into whether regression with her social interactions is a real risk? I can deal with her being atypical but it would be heartbreaking to lose the loving, engaging little girl we have been blessed with. Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your responses! We contacted EI and also went the private route & it turns out she is globally delayed, around a 12 month old developmentally which explains why she has limited gestures. She is now pointing & has many skills emerging and we are seeking therapy to help her catch up.

Featured Answers



answers from Jacksonville on

Most doctors wont diagnose autism this early, but you can have her tested for red flags for autism and have her begin therapy such as speech therapy for the speech delay. My son had red flags for autism and had speech therapy for it. It has been determined that he is not autistic.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I can't answer to the autism. I CAN tell you that low tone is often linked with speech delay, as children can have trouble making the necessary movements with their tongues and lips to form words. Many children with low tone have speech delays. Her low tone may also affect her ability to properly play with toys, as she might not have the muscle control to use them the way a typical child would.

Do you have her in different therapies? I know another little girl with severe low tone (recently diagnosed as a form of cerebral palsy) who is in physical, behavioral, occupational and speech therapy. She typically goes to about 7-8 appointments per week. It can be exhausting, but they do see slow improvement in her and they are always fighting her to get her into the programs she needs.

I would have her evaluated by both her pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist (make sure it's a pediatric specialist) to assess the autism concerns. Many babies that have sensory issues are not on the spectrum. As you know, the earlier you diagnose, the earlier you can treat and minimize the symptoms.

I hope you get the answers and the help that you need.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I can't answer if your child has autism. Does your state have an early intervention program that can evaluate her? My daughter did not walk until she was 19 months, she also had "low tone", and yes, she has a lot of sensory issues. But she is not autistic. She is now 8. One of the girls she just met at school that is one of her BFFs is very friendly, huggy, and cuddly. I knew a head of time that this child is autistic so I really could not believe it was her when I met her. My best friend's nephew also is autistic but she said he is extremely social, almost overly so. I guess one side of autism is that they can not know the social cues to stop being friendly. Good luck--have her evaluated.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

My bet would be , that your daughter doesn't have autism but something that may have some autism-like symptoms. My son has a rare syndrome & he has some autistic characteristics but isn't autistic. I'm not suggesting that your daughter has any kind of syndrome , just that she may not be autistic & that you shouldn't fear losing your loving child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My grandson is autistic and he's social, loving, cuddly. He does miss social cues. A child your age is not expected to recognize social cues. That's not to say your daughter is autistic. She's too young to tell. I'm just saying an autistic child can be warm and loving.

You need a professional evaluation. Your school district will provide an evaluation and some treatment thru their Early Intervention program. It's administered in our district thru a Service District. The program is required thru a Federal program, No Child Left Behind and it's free.

Eventually my daughter involved her son with a developmental pediatrician thru their insurance. I advise that you go both the public and private route. Get all the help you can get. And start now. Diagnosis and treatment take time and the sooner you start the better.

The developmental pediatrician made an evaluation and then referred him to specialists. My daughter started the process thru his regular pediatrician.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You should have her evaluated by a specialist. A Pediatric Neuropsychologist. This will at leaset give you a heads up as to where any problems may lay and what you can do about it. At 21mos old, I do not believe a Dr. will diagnose autism or the spectrum.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

It is not. She sounds exactly like my son. He was diagnosed with Creatine Deficiency Transporter Disorder but I believe he has Autism. Autism was just coming out of the woodwork at that point. He has always been very social and never regressed. My son responds very well to High Praise for every little great thing he does even if its put a speck of dust in the vacuum hose when I'm vacuuming.
She will continue be that loving, cuddling little girl. Her social skills are not at risk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Lots of symptoms have lots of reasons but you need to remember if it is "this" if it is going to be "this" whether or not you recognize it at "this" early on.

So so what?

You treat the symptoms, there is nothing more that you can do until they reach an age where you know what is going on.

Having said that my son who is autism spectrum walked at 10 months, could do just about every milestone early except those that required social understanding, like speech.

It sounds to me, and I am not a doctor nor do I have any idea what low tone is, like all your daughter's issues surround low tone. Any child, regardless of ability, is going to gravitate towards what they can do.

This doesn't mean she doesn't have something Autistic in her, just doesn't mean she does either. Just try to focus on the issues and not knowing exactly what is going on.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions