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Autism/Concerns about 11 month old



I am starting to have concerns about my 11 month old boy and autism.  Specifically, he does not point with his index finger but his whole hand.  If he wants something he will reach for it but not point at it.  If I ask him to point to a picture (in a book) he will use his index finger or slap at it with his whole hand.  Secondly, he won't hold his bottle.  He can hold his bottle while he is laying down.  I try to get him to hold his bottle while he is sitting in his high chair by putting his hands around it and letting go.  He will hold it for a few seconds but will not tilt it.  Also, every time we feed him he has to grab the spoon and he chomps on the spoon.  I have to pull it out of his hand to put more food on it and then he grabs it back again.  I have started to direct his hand to feed himself since he likes the spoon so much.  He also does not clap.  We have practiced it and he can clap my hands but he doesn't his own.  He also likes to play with doors, mainly closing them, but will swing them.

On the positive side, he is a very happy, smiley little boy.  He has hit his other milestones.  Rolling over, sitting, he is now walking.  He responds to his name all the time, holds his hands out to be picked up, plays with his toys, leafs through books.  He babbles constantly, says mama, dada and it sounds like possibly a few other words.  He is very affectionate and likes to cuddle.  He blows kisses and plays peek-a-boo (he pulls the blanket up and down over his face).  He is very interactive with his two year old sister and likes to "play" with her. He does wave and if I ask him, where's daddy he looks at daddy (or grandma or whomever).  He gets our attention by babbling loudly or if in his high chair he will bang on the tray. He smiles when we walk in the room and is always very excited to see us.   

I am not sure what to make of this and I am starting to get concerned.  Should I get him evaluated?


Hi Ellen,

So much you say about your son sounds positive and points to typical development. Many of the descriptions you give in your second paragraph are not typical of a child with autism. Some of the positive points are:

- smiling when family members enter the room and is excited to see you
- plays peek-a-boo
- plays with toys (you don't mention that he plays with them in unusual ways)
- responds to his name
- wants to be picked up
- interacts with his sister
- babbles
- says some words
- has met developmental milestones

It sounds like your main worries center around the difficulty or inconsistencies your little guy shows with pointing. It's not unusual for a child to point with his whole hand until his nervous system matures enough to allow him to more easily separate his fingers. I would wonder if he is experiences some slight fine motor control weakness rather than showing signs of an autism spectrum disorder. But, his hand grasp may still be developing and within the norm for his age.

This is something you might want to check out with his physician or the public health nurse at his next check-up. You've given a good description in your first paragraph that would explain to the medical person your concern.

As for an autism evaluation, based just on what you have written here, I am not sure further investigation is warranted. But, go with your gut feelings. Are other family members concerned?

If you sense that there is something different about how your son is developing, pursue this. Or, wait another six or twelve months and see if you continue to have the same concerns.

Best wishes


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Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell


Sharon can help with parenting and educational concerns. She has worked in teaching, special education, counseling and consulting for over thirty years and gives workshops to educators and parents on working with kids with autism spectrum disorders. Sharon speaks from both the education and parent points of view, having an adult son with Asperger's.


Sharon has spent decades as a special education consultant with a school district and autism consult for the province's Department of Education, giving workshops and individual consults. Currently she works as regional autism consultant for a health district in between teaching university classes. She is an Amazon bestselling author or a series of novels, each depicting a child who has an autism spectrum disorder. Sharon's Master's thesis looked at the long-term outlook for persons with high functioning autism and Asperger's. Her Doctorate focused on strategies to help those with autism spectrum disorders.

Website at and sits on Autism Today's Panel of Experts (

Author of "Autism Goes to School" - a novel about autism that that became an Amazon bestseller. Get this Amazon bestseller free at In the next book, Autism Runs Away, Ethan is only in grade one and already has been kicked out of one school due to his tantrums and pattern of running away when in a panic. Now in a new school his mom remains glued to her phone, waiting for the call to tell her that they don’t know what to do with a child who has autism. Sara is about to learn if this new school is up to the challenge. ( Autism Belongs is the 3rd book. Manny's life has shrank to the confines of their house. His parents are desperate not to rock his world because the aggression has gotten to much worse. Where will this lead? Is there a chance that Manny could actually belong out in the world? You bet! Get a free sample at Book four, Autism Talks and Talks, is about a 12 year old girl who has Asperger's. She's bright, inquisitive, highly verbal, but lacks social skills. Try a free sample at Book five, Autism Grows Up features Suzie, a bright, twenty-one year old whose life collapsed after she finished high school. Now, she lives in her mother's basement, spending nights on her computer, afraid to broach the world outside their door. Autism Grows Up is found at Prefer a boxed set? Get the first 3 books bundled together at Co-author of bestseller, The Official Autism 101 Manual (

B.A. in Psychology, B.Ed. in Special Education, M.A. in Educational Leadership PhD. in Psychology Management, specializing in autism.

Awards and Honors
B.R.A.G. Medallion for the novel Autism Goes to School - Book 1 in the School Daze Series. ( Like Autism Goes to School, the third book in the series, Autism Belongs, also ranked #1 on Amazon ( Manny is not like other children. He doesn’t talk. He doesn’t leave the house. His parents desperately try to arrange their world so that Manny does not get upset. Because, when he does, well, the aggression was getting worse. At ten, Manny was becoming difficult to handle.

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