Day 8: Misleading Milestones

There is this huge misconception that all kids on the autism spectrum are delayed in the same or more obvious ways.

That is absolutely not true since no two children are the same. 

The majority of parents I know will tell you that their babies smiled, waved, and made eye contact within the normal developmental range when they were infants. Those milestones convinced both ourselves and general practitioners that our children were in the clear. 

But they weren’t. 

My daughter walked before she was ten months old. 

She also smiled, waved, giggled, pointed, and met all of her major milestones. 

She played with her toys appropriately (and still does); I’d bet she has a deeper imagination than many of her peers which is contrary to popular belief about kids on the spectrum. 

Some of the more difficult milestones for us included putting toys and non-edible objects in her mouth until she was four,  never holding her bottle or utensils, difficulty potty training, and still struggling to ride a bike at almost five. 

While my child makes eye contact, she only does it when she wants to or is prompted to. I remember during one of her early evaluations when the doctor handed her a jar of goldfish crackers that she couldn’t open. She struggled, screamed and even threw the jar before she brought it to me for help. When she handed it to me she did not look at me, she looked at the goldfish and cried for me to open it for her. At the time I did not notice this behavior until her doctor read it to me in summary. I didn’t even notice that she did not look at me. 

Sometimes these things are more subtle than we perceive them to be. 

I think my daughter’s hearing is impeccable in that a lawn mower or helicopter hurts her ears from miles away. But at the same time, I notice that she hears sounds and words wrong at times and can’t get past her frustrations in correcting herself. 

My girl can paint and draw. 

And she sings all the time. 

She wears dresses every single day and has crushes on boys who have blue eyes like her. 

Stubborn and sassy, she always knows what she wants. I know adults who don’t know what they want. 

While I struggle to put a lot of stock into things like IQ tests for preschoolers, my daughter’s came back above average. Just because a child missed a milestone or took longer to develop in one area does not equal hindered intelligence. 

Published by mischiefmomma

Mischief Momma was started in 2016 to write about the playful truths of parenting and life. In 2017, MM began to focus more on writing about parenting and life on the spectrum and raising her daughter and stepson. She writes about the joys, humor, and struggles of raising children who are different, and navigating obstacles like childcare, education, and work. This mom writes about her journey upward after hitting rock bottom.

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