The popular Autism awareness campaign slogan is “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” That gives a false sense of security.
The campaign says to read the milestones, and when your child doesn’t meet them, tell the pediatrician. The End. That isn’t enough. Our pediatrician brushed us off when we told him our one year old wasn’t talking. He ignored us again at 18 months. When the nagging voice in my head saying something was wrong got louder, and I switched pediatricians, my son had lost a lot of time he could have been in treatment. He could have had a better outcome. The real slogan should say, “Learn the Signs. Find the Treatment. Stop at Nothing.”
You know your child best. If your pediatrician doesn’t refer you to a specialist, go somewhere else and get it. It’s hard to accept, but you can’t trust anyone’s opinion regarding your child’s treatment. Not even your favorite pediatrician’s. You have to do your homework, and push for every treatment available. You won’t forgive yourself otherwise. You can always later discontinue treatment that no longer seems relevant.
If Autism is your concern, the most obvious sign is speech delay, but it’s possible to see earlier signs. If the child only initiates interaction when it serves his purpose, that’s worth looking into. My friend sent me this great video that gives you an idea of what to watch for.
I wish I had acted on my first hunch. Needless to say, I’m not shy with the doctors now. If something seems off with one of my children, I ask around, then ask the pediatrician for the appropriate specialist. I’m not wasting any more time.