Is my 3 year old son Autistic?

Hi, I’m new here and have joined because my husband and I have concerns over our 3 year old son’s development.

Autism has popped into our minds on several separate occasions since he was born, but his most recent symptoms include:

- jabbbers nonsense (we considered him to be a good ‘talker around aged 2 but now runs around babbling to himself)

- most of his speech throughout the day involves talking about or re-enacting his favourite tv programmes

- doesn’t listen. We can call his name many times over and over before he finally looks at us (he will look up eventually)

- he will look us in the eye, but often when we are taking to him he just jabbers over us about Paw Patrol/Fireman Sam etc.

- won’t answer most questions. Unless it is something about what he wants to eat or watch on television it is a reall battle to get him to answer a simple question I.E “what did you do at nursery today?”

- when we ask something like “would you like a sandwich” he’ll reply with “like a sandwich”. 

- often gestures towards something and grunts when he wants something instead of asking for what he wants. If we say “you need to use your words to ask mummy” he’ll say “ask mummy”

- we find it desperately difficult to play with him or teach him anything. If we try to initiate a game he’ll geberally say “no” or wander off. Sometimes he’ll join in, but not for long

- most days he just runs around holding farm animals or dinosaurs, shouting, playing his own game with them in his head (we thought this was just his crazy imagination at first, but since looking up symptoms this appears to be one)

- he has shown no interest whatsoever in potty training. Not bothered when he’s soiled his nappy, doesn’t like sitting on the potty etc.

- he says “you” for “me” eg. If he hurts himself he’ll say “you hurt you hand” (we have been working on this and he does sometimes say it correctly by himself now)

- he’s always been behind on motor skills (particularly gross motor). Late walker, still can’t jump, won’t take the stairs one after the other etc.

- he can recite books off by heart while turning the pages - he’s obviously not reading at this age, so he just knows the words off by heart of a lot of long and sometimes complicated books

- walks on his tip toes (probably half the time)

- plays on his own. Doesn’t make attempts to engage with other children (though seems keen to talk to adults)


we are so back and forth with our opinion on this, as there are some big symptoms that he doesn’t display, including:

- he’s a very smiley, jolly boy, full of character. Whenever we go to the shops etc. he will have people smiling or laughing at him. He engages with strangers and says “hello”. People always comment on how funny/outgoing he is

- he will cuddle/kiss us when we ask him to. He will kiss his baby brother, stroke the dog etc. If he hurts himself, he will come for a hug and to kiss it better

- he doesn’t have any issue with needing to be in a routine. We can do bedtime routine at nanny’s, he goes to bed late on holidays etc. No issue there at all, he’s very adaptable

- other than waking early his whole life (5am), he has always been a very good sleeper

- no noticeable issues with loud noises or busy places like the supermarket. As I previously said, he has people laughing round the supermarket 

- no unusual intonation to his speech

- he seems very expressive with his face

- doesn’t appear to ‘stim’, no rocking, flapping etc.

- not bothered by clothes or particularly by food - happy to eat most things

There is probably lots more, but I’m aware this post is already huge! Sorry for the essay, but we are really stuck. We have a GP appointment at the end of January, but I’m struggling a little bit (I have a 5 month old too) and really could do with some opinions or similar stories, as we are conscious of going down this road and potentially being wrong. Could it be something else? Could he just be a slow developer? He has watched a LOT of television recently due to his baby brother being born and having feeding difficulties which has taken up a lot of my time.

Thank you in advance.

  • Wow first few paragraphs just asked my husband if our son fitted in ,no he smiled hugged the dog ect found  this after reading on.  Looking back happy content but didn't sleep just hell for over two years didn't have many words still doesn't  speak great conversion lengths at 27 listens for a short time then gets distracted.  Years of thinking It's me I am boring!.  Anxiety if put into a chair or area not known to him as a baby looking back in time.  Never thought anything about autism because of a happy content baby routine household,(had to be father has aspergers).  Just not sure enough to say.  As my son got older he returned  home from school odd bods school loaners who had education problems found it a bit odd considering our son has a very high incredible IQ and  a photographic incredible memory. He can tell you anything he ate on a certain outing from decades ago so strange!. Look up all the info you can.  Our son had a larger head then usual at a certain age but then again he lost weight at one point always had a jippy tummy again still has a sensitive stomach  bizarrely  like my husband.  *** feed, never fully looking back had full eye contact never seemed to know when full projectile vomiting.  First word spoken very sweet the dogs name he took a look of notice of her.  I had severe morning sickness went over term by  two weeks just jotting things down to see if any thing tallies with you.  Write a diary your child may not be on the scale at all I am not an expert but looking back how is any one to know.  

  • What you have described certainly fits into autism. But it could be something else and he could be a late developer. Without meeting him it would be impossible to say and I certainly don't have the expertise to say for definite. It is certainly worth talking to your gp about it. Whether they would assess him straight away or see how he develops I don't know. But they can refer you to services such as speech and language to support with his communication.

  • Hi, 

    My daughter showed alot of these behaviours both on the for and against side that you have detailed along with alot of others, my partner and I kept going towards autism but then she would seem to settle for a while and we would think to ourselves "we were wrong she's just a slow developer ( were warned she probably would be due to severe complications after birth)"  but then she would back slide and something else would present it self and we would start wondering again . Anyway this went on for quite some time she attends mainstream school is highly intelligent and has a few friends but we are 100% sure she is autistic and are pursuing diagnosis (difficult as she masks so well) 

    Talk to your health visitor they can monitor development and give you a better idea on what to do, I know it can be difficult especially with younger children taking up so much of your time we also had this with ours 

    Good luck 

  • He there:

    i would highly recomend you go get a professional ASD diagnosis for your son as soon as possible. Only a trained professional can give you an ASD diagnosis. If he is on the spectrum you can start intensive therapy as soon as possible. If he is not, you did not lose anything by getting the professional diagnosis. At the very least you get a peace of mind.

    Our autistic son shares a lot of the symptoms you have described above, he is super affectionate, no sensory issue, pretty good eater, however the major red flag for us was him not recognizing his own name. We are American so we flew back to America to get a diagnosis when he was 30 months old. He was diagnosed to be on the spectrum - we were devastated when we received the diagnosis however looking back, that was a best decision we made because we started intensive early intervention immediately. The key is if your son is on the spectrum, you do not want to waste any time wondering you want to start early intervention now to help him so that his language skill will not fall behind even more.

    Good luck.