Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

To say something or keep quiet, that is the question

(56 Posts)
Uptodate Mon 28-Dec-20 04:24:07

My 2yr old GD is showing what I think may be signs of autism. I'm not claiming to be any type of expert on the subject but I definitely can see there is a problem. I've never heard her say a word although her parents say she does occasionally try to say the odd word. Also I've noticed she doesn't really interact with you or respond very well when you call her. In all other ways she seems absolutely fine, she eats well, is out of nappies, understands everything you say to her etc. My
dilemma is that her parents have not said a word about this and I'm wondering if they know there's a problem, she's their 1st child. Should I say something or not? I'm not particularly close to my DIL and I know if I mention it to my son he will say something to her which I'm pretty sure won't go down to well. However I do think that if my GD needs extra help then surely the sooner the better, or do I keep my nose out and let them get on with it?

Pnwmama1515 Mon 28-Dec-20 05:08:29

Keep your nose out of it. They're with their child far more than you are and probably are aware of the issues and have plans in place.

FannyCornforth Mon 28-Dec-20 05:18:52

I was all for 'saying something' until I saw your last comments.
It sounds like you don't have the best of relationships with your daughter in law, and don't think that your advice will 'go down well'.
I think that you've answered your own question there!
With the best will in the world, I don't know why you are asking here!
Unfortunately you have no option other than to say nothing unless you want to cause problems.

BlueBelle Mon 28-Dec-20 05:49:11

NO say nothing and don’t even presume it’s autism all babes meet milestones differently and she’s probably perfectly fine
Shes potty trained which a lot of parents don’t seem to manage at 2 years old these days, she understands all you say to her and is eating well
Enjoy her and let the parents do the same

OceanMama Mon 28-Dec-20 05:53:00

Some children are just slower to talk. I have autistic children and they talked very early and at an advanced level. It's true a lot of girls aren't diagnosed till much later. What you describe could also be a hearing problem. If GD gets all her child health checks, I'd just watch and wait for now.

cornergran Mon 28-Dec-20 06:26:28

While understanding your anxiety it really is too soon to make any judgement. It may be best to be led by the child, interact with her in the way thats suits her as the individual she is. I suspect all children are capable of not hearing an adult when they are engrossed in play or simply don’t want to interact. Please try not to worry. If you can try to step back from being overly concerned and enjoy the time you have with all the family.

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 06:47:51

Does she point to things of interest & can she follow a point? That is one of the most reliable screens (not tests) for autism in a 2 year old. Have a google of the CHAT test (checklist for autism in toddlers). Does she imitate things? So if you clap, clap? How is she taught things (does it have to be hand over hand or can she watch and follow?)

Does your GD attend nursery?

Whether or not to say anything is really hard. I suspected my eldest was autistic from 17 months and the rest of the family were not keen on me saying anything. I had to borrow books from the library and hide them under my bed. My husband began to see it after a while but the grandparents were against any mention of it. My relationship with my MIL was difficult anyway but even after diagnosis she seemed to think it was me wishing problems on my son. It made the early years very hard indeed.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that you think your GD may be autistic or that you have concerns (depends on your relationship) but I would be open to anything that is said by the parents. If she is at nursery I would expected referrals to start soon. Or you could look at how speech therapy referrals are made locally (here parents can self refer). A lot of SLT services provide videos on how to encourage communication & language (more important than speech). If she’s at an early stage then intensive interaction is brilliant and you could do that yourself in your own interactions without having to say anything.

stella1949 Mon 28-Dec-20 06:54:50

My daughter didn't say a word until she was 3, and she definitely isn't autistic. Her daughter was very chatty , but now at 9 she has been diagnosed as autistic. Being quiet isn't a sign of autism - the condition is very complex and can't be diagnosed just by one thing. Just enjoy your granddaughter, and if there is a problem your son and his wife will know soon enough.

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 06:57:46

I’m pretty sure there is a video here on intensive interaction with a young child although the page won’t load for me at the moment

And here is the CHAT

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 07:09:28

In terms of distinguishing my middle son didn’t talk until nearly 3 (actually he did but it was completely incomprehensible) but I knew he was fine as he would watch what other kids did and copy them. Eg he went into a circle time at his older brother’s nursery when he 18 months while I had a meeting, had never been in one before and he looked around and copied what the other kids did. He also learned to drink from a cup by watching others (had to teach my eldest hand over hand for a week when he was 18 months). Middle one would point at things he wanted. Eldest would drag me by the hand.

What was unhelpful were all the people telling me things were fine and all children develop at different rates and he would be talking by the time he was at school (wrong) etc. One of the most helpful things that anyone ever said was my friend saying ‘I can see it now, I couldn’t when you first mentioned it but you are right to have asked for a referral’

How long I would fit tight for depends a bit on nursery attendance. I would expect a nursery to pick up a communication problem & refer - in which case you can just be supportive. Because waiting lists are long if your GD doesn’t go to nursery it may be worth mentioning at some stage - I wouldn’t mention the A word though, but advising a hearing check or getting on the (long) speech & language therapy waiting list is never a bad idea.

If you can find it Baby Talk by sally ward is a great book for ways to encourage communication development (& aimed at typically developing kids so not a loaded purchase).

Uptodate Mon 28-Dec-20 08:01:19

Thanks for all your helpful comments, much appreciated. I'm pretty sure there's no hearing problem as she can hear me open a pkt of biscuits from the other roomsmileApart from the lack of speech I've noticed other little behaviours. I have obviously been reading up about this and she is definitely showing signs. At the moment she doesn't go to any type of nursery so isn't really mixing with other children.

Marydoll Mon 28-Dec-20 08:02:56

Uptodate, its very difficult when you are a gran and an MIL into the bargain and you instinctively feel that something is not quite right.
If it was something obviously physical it would be much easier to mention to your DI, that's why it is a minefield.
Given that that you don't have a good relationship with your DIL, I wouldn't say anything for now, but if you get to a point where you feel you have to, think carefully how you will say it

If you are in the UK, your DIL's health visitor be checking milestones and any concerns will be noted, even more so when your DGD goes to nursery.
As a teacher, who worked with children with autism, many already had a diagnosis, prior to coming to school and support was already in place.
However, no two children develop at the same time, the milestones are there as guidance.

Nezumi has offered some very sensible and measured advice, based on personal experience, so it might be worthwhile to take it on board.

As often happens with threads like this, you will see posts offering all sorts of opinions and advice, some helpful and some not so helpful. Take time to mull over them, before making a decision. I wish you all the best.

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 08:04:51

I don’t think the mixing with other children matters really. I was just thinking nursery would pick it up.

Have a look at intensive interaction OP
- it’s great with all kids who are early communicators whether typically developing or with problems - it’s just about back and forth communication - I’ve used it with all my kids.

OceanMama Mon 28-Dec-20 08:04:53

Uptodate, my autistic kids would have passed all the developmental and screening tests with flying colours. There is so much diversity on the spectrum. Teachers never picked up even the obvious traits when they were older either. The only label they were ever given before their teenage years was 'gifted'.

What are the other behaviours you have noticed?

Marydoll Mon 28-Dec-20 08:07:41

Uptodate, having just read your last sentence, mixing, playing and interacting with other children is extremely important to a child's development.

It would be worth thinking about a mother and toddler group or perhaps a play date with other children. That is if your DIL has any friends with young children. That would give your DIL and idea of how children behave at that age.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 28-Dec-20 08:08:49

Sounds similar to our nephew, he was a very late speaker and would sit with his back to everyone, unmoving, but his parents knew that he was ok because they were with him every day.
If I were you I would keep out of it, it’s too early to put a label on someone else’s child, unless you live with them and can see all of the child’s behaviour .

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 08:10:07

Autism is lots of different things and some of the early signs or autism is also a concern for things like global developmental delay etc. Hearing a biscuit packet from afar suggests hearing is fine (my son was the same but we still had to try & tick hearing checks off the list which was hilarious as he couldn’t follow instructions so had people creeping up behind with him squeakers and bells etc). I don’t think autism or not really matters at this age, it’s just getting plugged into the system as early as possible as waits are so long - really tricky for a granny to do if parents haven’t noticed.

Nezumi65 Mon 28-Dec-20 08:13:24

I disagree that you need to rush a child to nursery - peer to peer interaction is more important as a child gets closer to school age, but if a child has a communication problem then putting them in a nursery with no 1:1 may not be helpful at all.

Being told to attend mother/toddler groups was a miserable experience for me & made absolutely no difference to my son at all.

OceanMama Mon 28-Dec-20 08:15:26

For girls it sometimes doesn't become more obvious until the preteen years when social expectations among peers change a bit.

Shropshirelass Mon 28-Dec-20 08:22:40

Say nothing. If there is a problem and they eventually express any concerns or discuss it with you then you can offer to help. Saying something now might cause problems, your GD might just be a little late so see how things go. They might think the same and are struggling with coming to terms with it. My BIL has autistic twins, it took his wife a long time to accept this.

Uptodate Mon 28-Dec-20 08:29:04

Thanks Marydoll, unfortunately her 2yr check with the HV was by telephone. I'll definitely be having a look at the advice Nezumi65 offered. Some of the behaviours I've noticed are when you try to get eye contact she looks to the side of you and usually pulls away and runs off. Also if you try to sit down and read a book or play with her she moves away and starts playing with something else. Just recently, although she's always happy to try new foods, I've noticed she tries to cram as much in as quickly as she can. I do agree about not saying anything but sometimes you just need to know if you're doing the right thing for them

Witzend Mon 28-Dec-20 08:40:27

I certainly wouldn’t say anything.

FWIW, the child of a dd’s friend was very quiet and non-responsive as a baby and younger toddler. I did wonder whether something was not quite right. Roll on a couple of years, though, and the same child is as bouncy, outgoing and communicative as the others I know of similar ages.

Viridian Mon 28-Dec-20 08:50:59

My 11 year old grandson was very uncommunicative. When he was a baby we even thought he was partially sighted because he wouldn't make eye contact. He's always lived in a world of his own, but it's because he's highly creative artwise, way beyond his age. I could easily have thought he was autistic, but no way would have mentioned it to the parents (who I have a very good relationship with) at such an early stage, only if they had asked for my opinion.

Hetty58 Mon 28-Dec-20 08:55:14

If in doubt say nothing!

Children are all different. My second son was very quiet and self absorbed in just the same way. We even insisted on an extra hearing test as he seemed to ignore us.

He was a late talker - but once he did start, never stopped and spoke in complete sentences. He must have been taking it all in.

He excelled at school, went to Uni and is now a happy family man with a good career. Don't worry!

Witzend Mon 28-Dec-20 08:58:56

Re late speech, a BiL of mine barely uttered at all until he was 3. My MiL once told me that she’d been getting really worried. But once he started, it came out in whole sentences - he’d just been taking it all in and biding his time.
He eventually went on to win a scholarship to Cambridge.