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Do you think my son shows autistic signs?

Q: My son is 3 years old. I recently started taking him to a baby sitter. One day when I went to pick him up, the sitter said that she wanted to talk to me about my son. She explained that she had watched a special programme about autism and felt that my son had autistic signs. My son is very smart; he can count up to 20 and he says and writes all his ABCs, he also likes to watch commercials and repeat them back to us or can simply memorise them. I truly don't feel that he is autistic, but my sitter brought it back up again. I took him to see his paediatrician to see if maybe he was. According to him, my son was immature with his social skills and not autistic. I am upset and scared now that maybe there is something wrong if my sitter still feels that he shows some signs. I have looked up several different books and read a lot about autism. Every child is different and no two children of the same age are going to do the exact same things. The only symptoms that I have seen are the language delays but he is not around a lot of children and he is the only child. Also, he likes to play alone if there are 2 or more children of his age. But he likes playing with older children in groups but not in groups of his own age. Is this unusual or is my sitter trying to unnecessarily analyse my child? Please help.

A:You do not need to worry about any label for your child, as long as you are managing to keep him engaged in doing things and he is happy. You are right. Every child is different. Even under the label of autism, there is a wide spectrum of behaviour. Be sensitive to what your child needs and let him grow up with his own interests. Talk to him and give him a chance to talk to you. Whatever the reason for delayed speech, the treatment is about the same. Do not force him to be sociable, but let him choose his own pace to interact with others. Let him do what he likes to do. He seems quite advanced if he can write ABCs.

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