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21 month old boy is not talking, throws tantrums, and has sensory issues.

Hi All, my son is almost 21 months old and is still not talking.  Normally, this wouldn't get me scared or worried, because I understand boys tend to talk later.  He says words like "Daa" for Dad, and "De" for Dog, but rarely any other sayings. He is a great pointer though, points to everything he wants, and is starting to point to Mom, Dad, Nana, Dog, and others when we say "Where is blank..." He makes eye contact, walked by 15 months, a little late, but doesn't like other kids or adults.  

Now, he's starting to throw tantrums if we try to play with him.  For example, he loves his cars, pushes them on window ledges, or his toy track, but if we try to play with him, sometimes he flips and throws a tantrum.  Even when our neighbors kids are around, he doesn't like them touching stuff he's playing with. He gets very possessive, especially of daddy.  If daddy picks up the other little boy, my boy cries and runs over to him to try to stop it like "That's my daddy, get away".

He's always been shy too, gets scared of new people.  He also has sensory issues where he doesn't like sand, sometimes wood chips.  He hates touching it, but can run over it no problem.  If he falls down on these, he yells for help, and doesn't use his hands.  

Should I be worried that he could have ASD or something else?  My husband thinks he is doing well, but I have bad feeling that it's something else.  Can anyone relate, should i be worried?

Btw, we saw an autism specialist and she didn't think he was ASD at all.  But I feel like she didn't fully examine him and she might have missed something.

Worried Mum...



  • I can't believe I never got a response here. In fact, turns our son is on the Spectrum and we have been doing so many programs with him and he's getting so much better as of late.  He has OT, PT, Speech (PROMPT), ABA Therapy and even went through a 6 month ESDM session.  We are learning a lot and would love to help anybody else going through what we did.  Thank the Lord this wasn't the place to find information as I would have been stuck with no replies.  

    My boy is almost 3 years old and is doing great.  A lot of time and effort went into getting him to this point, so if anybody has any questions or concerns, happy to help.  

  • Hi MarFreed, we're really sorry there wasn't a reply to your thread, but we did want to say a huge thank you for coming back and posting an update. Sometimes people don’t reply because they feel they have to come up with the ‘right’ answer and they’re not sure what that is themselves. Obviously, we’d love it if people just posted anyway, even if it’s to say something like, “I don’t know what to say but wish you all the best” – but that doesn’t always happen. But please don’t think no replies means people are deliberately  ignoring you; they’re just not quite sure what to say.

    We're so happy to hear your son is doing better, and we're hopeful your post will encourage other to post too, who might also have the some questions. Thank you again for coming back to update us. 

  • My Eldest girl has non-verbal ASD. The reason you may not have had much response is that ASD isn’t often looked into before 2yrs of age & even then it can be months (or more commonly years) before referrals go through.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am glad you got the answers, my own experience was a year’s worth of ruling other stuff out before getting our ASD diagnosis.

  • HI Kazzie, 

    I am sorry to hear about your girl, I hope you are doing well today.  We were fortunate enough to have found some great help at CADB (Center for Autism and the Developing Brain) - This put us on the right path and it's a full time job in itself.  

    CADB have a great early intervention program run by Catherine Lord, where they are able to diagnose children before the age of 2.  Our son is doing great, but it's a lot of work.  We have to consistently redirect, overcome his fears, and work through some of his issues, but I wouldn't change a thing with what we are doing.  We are very happy that we got to this point but it was tough when we didn't know where to turn.  Best of luck with your daughter, all the best

    The sad thing is that we see others not sure what to do as it's very common lately, but there are a lack of services for children with these challenges.  I hope the techniques taught at CADB are learned throughout the Northeast.

  • I just read this thread and found it very helpful. I was wondering what are some red flags you noticed? My son is 21 months, non verbal, very shy, scared of a lot, but affectionate towards familiar people-  his grandparents , animals, and new friends. I’ve had pediatricians tell me he is not autistic, along with speech therapists who are currently involved with assisting him. I’m desperate for some reassurance - I haven’t slept much lately. Very concerned. 
  • I should add some more details.. , he responds to name, points, conveys his message very well. However, he is not talking. Rarely says any words. He has had ear infections in the past but responds when I say “get your shoes”, “point to the...”. So I know he hears me. I often take him to play dates and he does well with children. He knows a handful of signs and uses them appropriately. Any thoughts? 
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