It seems that there are two roads to autism. One starts from birth. Your baby is different. Maybe you find someone who can tell you why, maybe it takes awhile to figure out. The other road forks off the normal path. You think you’re going along just fine and then seemingly out of the blue, whammo, he’s gone.

My son’s road was that unanticipated forking one. He was a huge baby, almost nine pounds, and very strong. He could almost flip himself over at 3 days old! I swear he was smiling almost as fast. His older brother didn’t smile until he was 2 months old, so I had something to compare it to. Little Steven would look me in the eye and smile.

He smiled all the time. He did lots of things early: lift his head, roll over, grab for toes and toys. He weaned himself at 14 months because food was oh so exciting!

With hindsight, there may have been some signs of being wired differently, but as an infant he was so engaged, so communicative, so present that they seemed like idiosyncrasies. He regularly woke from a dead sleep screaming. That was weird. I still don’t understand what that was all about. Then when he was awake, he vocalized little happy sounds constantly. In fact, if I couldn’t hear him I went looking because it meant something naughty had gone into his mouth. Now I know the constant vocalization indicated a sensory need.

And he knew no strangers. Everyone was either an old friend or a new friend. He would run up and hug people we didn’t know.

Then one day, he wouldn’t meet my gaze.
It was the strangest feeling to see my son smiling at the air behind my head. I tried to get him to look at me, but he just laughed and rolled over.

Which path did your child go on? Did you have any similarities?

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