My son was recently at a developmental pediatrician two months ago and he said that my son does not have has everyone else. My concern is when we are out in public strangers will come up to him and say hi and he won't even look at them or acknowledge them. Today I was in walmart and three different people were trying to get my son to look at them!!!
Here's the tricky part, My son will only acknowledge people he knows like me, my husband, my friends and family and his PT. He responds to his name usually only when I call him (or close family)
Basically he's not social with most people. Is this normal? because it does not seem normal at ALL to me considering when he was a small baby he used to smile at everyone and he looked at everyone. He has cerebral palsy but that was brain damage acquired at birth. has this happened to anyone else?

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My pediatrician told us that chidren exhibiting signs of autism do not look towards their parents when a stranger enters the room. So, when you're at Walmart and a stranger approaches, does he look at you, like, "hey mom, who is this, is this ok?" Or when someone new enters the room, if they look towards them and then look at you. It's not so much about them actually socializing with these others, but that they make that notice them entering the "safety" zone of mom and son. I thought this was helpful info. Many young children are not very social, some are super social, it's a huge range.

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My two year old will hide her head from strangers. We were watching a video of santa that I made for her online and when he said her name she looked away; she wouldn't look at the pc anymore. I personally think she`s just shy. I sometimes wonder if we are in SOME cases not all over diagnosing kids. I think we all need to remember that we`re individuals we all have different comfort zones. Does your child play well with his toys?Otherwise does he seem ok? I wouldn't panic.

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Some preemie parents have argued that there is a preemie syndrome of sorts where kids aren't exhibitinig autism but they are exhibiting behavioral traits that don't quite seem to follow "normal" patterns. Some of this discussion has taken place on "The Preemie Experiment." See:

My impression of autism was as mygirlsmom describes.

BTW, how old is your son?

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My son is 19 months, 17 corrected. I'm sure that some of the time he will look at me, but definetly not all of the time. Sometimes he looks like he's starring off. He has cerebral palsy (mild) and his speech is normal. If I ask him to say more please he'll say it, along with many other words and he interacts normally with other kids. He activates toys normally, blows into whistles to make noise. I have noticed that he loves to open and close things a lot and he also likes to spin the wheels on toy cars.
He is not walking yet so his motor skills are behind. Which could attribute to his attention being elsewhere. He is getting an EEG done to rule out absence seizures (seizures are very common amoung people with cp) I'm puzzled over this. He is very attatched to me and constantly wants me to hold him. he follows me everywhere like a little puppy.

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It could also just be a part of getting older. When he was little my son also did a lot of smile and such at strangers, but as he's gotten older he's definitely gotten more wary of new people (ignoring them or even crying). Like pp said saftey zones and comfort zones and as he's getting older he's probably gaining a greater understanding of these. Afterall I'd rather my son not be so friendly than willing to walk off with anybody that smiles at him ;)

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As an developmental specialist in WV's early intervention system, I often see kiddo's around your son's age fall back into a period of stranger anxiety. This is also a time of some big developmental steps and that often brings along some insecurity for kids. The fact that your son has a relationship with you, Dad and others is a good thing. Another positive is having normal language development. One of the first markers often noticed by parents of children with Autism will be a lack of language. Ruling out seizures is a great idea as those absant seizures could be a big issue.

The CDC has a website "Learn the Signs" - That has great information on Autism and child development in general. You might want to check it out.

Katek's mention of "preemie syndrome" is also a great consideration. In my 15 years of experience, preemies often have issues with sensory processing, they don't konw what do with the input that is coming at them. So they get overwhelmed and all sorts of responses can follow. These overwhelmed feelings and the sensory processing components can look similar to children with Autism as they experience these same issues. Doesn't mean preemies have Autism. It means that they meet and process the world from a different perpsective than other kids.

Something you might consider with your son not walking yet - find ways to help him move, getting that type of input and experiences may help him integrate and process input more effectively.

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Sheilaz, Thank you so much for this information. Now that I think about it this usually happens in places where the surroundings are a lot for him to take in( like crowds of people, and bright grocery store lights) when I think about this I realize it could be a sensory issues accompanied by stranger anxiety. Makes sense! On top of this, yesterday after this happened when it was very noticable to strangers I had to take him to the ER for cough, vomiting, fever, and a massive ear infection.

His neurologist thinks that he's not having seizures but is doing an EEG for my peace of mind. What I noticed could be sensory issues or seizures, I'm not sure but like you said if it is seizures it could really be affecting his development and ability to concentrate.

Thanks again, it's good to have knowledge from a professional as well as other preemie moms!

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My son is about the same age and is in a stranger danger phase. If someone he doesn't remember tries to talk to him, he ignores them or runs to me.

He also loves to spin wheels and can open and close a cabinet all day, lol! It's about learning cause and effect.

Signs of Autism are flapping hands, lining up or stacking toys, staring into space even when mom and dad calls name, spinning in circles.
Jere's a youtube mom that filmed her daughters early signs for you to compare.

I've been scared about autism too. Since they gave him a high chance of it because of a IVH. Our ped says long as he is making eye contact with us and still advancing in cognitive skills, then I'm probably being overly sensitive.

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I think it is always hard to diagnose autism. My little brother is autistic and he acknowledges everyone that says his name but he doesn't always look at them. He makes eye contact a lot though. My point is that there are different specefic behaviors for every person with autism, I believe this is what makes it so hard to diagnose. Another brother of mine has aspergers (<--- spelling) another form on the autism spectrum; he was not diagnosed until he was 18 because he also has tourettes.

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My son, now 8, showed the same signs at approximately the same age. We put him in MDO with his big sister and hoped it would help. His "teacher" called him retarded because he cried one day and wanted to stand in line with his sister. And yes, she did use THAT word. By the time kindergarten evaluations came around he was accepted into the prized school for our area, although another teacher said he must have autism because he does not play in groups- prefers one on one relationships. Well, he was four and clearly preferred quiet play. He would always melt down in the grocery store- bright lights- and took forever to potty train. I mean FOREVER.
After the preschool comments I happened upon a fabulous child psychiatrist. She's just this scattered, regular mom who also happens to have a real passion for kids. She immediately caught on to my son's sensory sensitivity and said basically for every three sensory receptors we have, he has over 100. Try to put ourselves in his shoes and see how that works out. OMG! Totally changed my parenting style and has made such a difference in our home. He is doing well in school, has friends, and readily communicates- when he's comfortable. There are still no after school trips to the grocery but I can live with that.

Good luck to you! Your son is adorable. I wish my little ones would wear hats again!


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Hi, I am mother to an 11year old former 26weeker. He was very shy when younger, only talked to certain people, and sometimes totally ignored me, his dad, or his grandparents whom he knew well. I too think that we need to llok at each child as an individual. My son now talks to everyone he sees and has no signs of preemie birth except being a little skinny. I am afraid AUTISM is going to be the new catch all since there doesn't seem to be a specific test tool to pin point it.

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First, keep in mind that the autism spectrum is quite broad. There are different levels and degrees of disability. No two children on the spectrum will be truly identical. One might show classic symptoms, one might have subtle symptoms, etc.

My daughter first made me think autism when she was 2-ish years old and was standing on a chair, playing with a tassle hanging from a cabinet, and heard words being spelled out and said them out loud (for example, we spelled P-O-P and she said "pop"). Not normal behavior, it made the hair on my arms stand up. She was evaluated and they said "Nope, not autistic". She transitioned from Early Intervention into a speech/language class through the public school and it became glaringly obvious that she was nothing like her peers. I had her evaluated with a developmental pediatrician and she was properly diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

If your gut is not telling you something's seriously wrong, then the odds are that there's nothing to worry about. If you feel that there's something more, then you need to contact your dev ped again and discuss your concerns. Subtle changes from the last visit, something you forgot to mention...all are valid reasons to get back in touch with the doctor.

Good luck!

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it sounds like he may have sensory issues. ( visual defensiveness) Is he getting occupational therapy? If not. maybe your PT could provide you with information on sensory processing

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my son has autisim but when he was about 14 months he said bye to a cashier and has never said anything to any other person at walmart since then complete ignores them an i work with some of them the doc told me kids with autism can lose some of there skills as they get older if there not taught all the time..and in a way its kinda of good they dont talk to strangers cause there is a lot of creeps out there if u know what i mean..

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LOL yes I know what you mean!

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i hope the best for you and happy holidays late

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