Q: My 11-month old has not started pointing and doesn't turn his head when his name is called (until after maybe 5 or 6 times). I have been worried about autism. He doesn't have the other hallmark signs, but these 2 worry me. I don't want anyone to sugarcoat their thoughts. I would rather know soon as possible to start intervention that could help him. When we go for his 1-year old check-up I will ask our pediatrician his thoughts.
A: What you are describing is shared attention and pointing which typically develops at around 9 months of age. Shared attention is when your child points to objects or people in his environment so that the two of you can share that experience. This unspoken interaction is a time for the two of you to connect and for your child to establish trust in you.
Your son is not recognizing his name, which concerns you because it sounds like you are fearful that he is internally withdrawn instead of engaging with his environment. With that said, is your son interacting with you in other ways? Does he seek you in the morning once you go to his crib? When you return from being away from him, does he smile at you and put up his arms for you?
The other factor to consider is the possibility that he is suffering from a hearing impairment. Does your child have a history of ear infections? Ask your pediatrician to take a look in your child’s ears to see if perhaps past ear infections have resulted in poor hearing ability.
There is also no harm in contacting your county’s Early Intervention Program and asking them for an evaluation so his development can be assessed. This will help you to gain information regarding your child’s developmental milestones in all areas, such as speech, physical development, and emotional growth, which are the areas that you have concern.