Ask Autism360

Is My Child Autistic?

I have been wondering if my three year old is autistic. He doesn't speak any words except sound words and he screams at times. When he wants to drink, he rubs his lips and when hungry, he cries or goes to the chapatti box, opens it and starts eating. He responds to his name being called, but only very occasionally. His expression of happiness/excitement is often kicking or hitting someone. He grinds his teeth a lot and I see a lot of aggression in his behavior. If I play with him, he gets bored of running around very fast. He plays his IPad with great precision and is able to control finger movement well. Please Please help.


Answered:  July 24, 2013 by Ask Autism360

Dear Mrs. Annu,

There are tests to determine if your son is autistic.  Please see our posting on Test for Autism.

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Yellow Skin

My son is turning yellow. His liver enzymes are elevated to a 38. What does this mean?


Answered:  July 23, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

Dear Kathryn,

Liver “enzymes” refers to serum levels of AST and ALT, two key workers in the liver’s assembly lines. These substances are present inside liver cells in large concentrations and appear normally in the blood in small...

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I have read your entry on speech delay. My son Dillion is turning 4 and can say a few limited words. He points at things that he wants and is obsessed with eating a particular type of salami. He blocks his ears when I try to read a book to him but then when I sing to him he listens and calms down. Dr. Baker, could you please explain to me why??


Answered:  June 24, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

This is a very sweet comment. The difference between a few words and no words is big. I mean that in the sense that being able to say a few words means that he can get his tongue around some words some of the time. The problem with...

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Fecal Smearing

My son make a stool in himself then he catches the stool in his hands. He did this action about 3 times and I don’t know how to deal with this behavior. He is 5 years old.


Answered:  June 13, 2013 by Dr. Nancy O’Hara

I often find that germ overgrowth, particularly clostridia, can lead to or exacerbate these symptoms. ...

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Choosing a Health Plan

Hi, I just moved back to US. I have a three and a half year old on the spectrum. We received medicaid for the family. I am very confused about choosing a health plan. We have four to choose from: Aetna, CoventryCares, Health Partners, UnitedHealthcare. Which one of them covers better the specialists that my child will need - SLP, OT, behavioral, psychotherapy, etc.? Or does it go through Magellan and as far as it comes to these services so it doesn't matter what I choose? I was looking at Health Partners and CoventryCares because they provide gym membership, but I was told that they are not that good, and that Aetna is better...what should I compare? Thank you very much, Tania


Answered:  May 9, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

This is a really good question and I hope some Autism360 members can come up with information on the subject.  I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who can.




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Casein- and Gluten-free Diet

My son is 4 years old. He was diagnosed with ASD when he was 2. He is on a casein- and gluten-free diet for 5 months now and made some progress. I did not do the casein-free diet trial before doing the casein- and gluten-free diet. I started both at the same time. So how do I know if I should do the casein- and gluten-free diet or just the casein-free diet?


Answered:  May 8, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

Reintroduce gluten and see what happens over a 5 day period.  But first consider the following. Careful scientific research carried out by Alissio Fasano, MD has proven that gluten is bad for everyone. (see...

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Speech Delay

Our 19-month old daughter doesn't speak, she says "ma ma ma" and "dad", and we can coax "ball" out of her sometimes...I understand this is behind developmental curves, but I am chalking it up to the fact that she's hardly ever around other kids and we both work demanding jobs that doesn't allow us the time we'd like to spend one on one teaching all day... My wife's concerns: speech is not existent, she does tend to "organize" like items, she doesn't really play with other kids all that well... My beliefs: she's communicating, or at least understands quite a bit... -she doesn't eat well, so I started lining up a few options, she will point out the one she wants and says "mmmmmmm." This I believe comes from me saying "mmmm that's good isn't it" when she finally finds something she enjoys eating..She will do this for juice, water, milk, food, etc...she even went into the pantry and grabbed a box of unopened Bisquik the other morning came up and handed it to me and said "mmmmmm." I made her pancakes and she ate them.. -When you say, tell Momma night night, she'll turn and smile at her mom and wave like saying goodbye and then she'll put her hand up to her mouth and say mmmuah like she's blowing a kiss.... -When you yell her name from another room she comes running full speed in to see what you want... -She's very curious about new things, and in facts wants any new toy that you put in front of her... -When she wants out of her high chair, she rubs her hands puts her hands together over her head and then pats her belly like she's saying she's full -When she really wants something that you're not giving her, or she's excited for something she wants, she rubs her fingers together like somebody saying they have money I can't explain the organization because I don't know if that's normal or not, for instance the other day, she took out all her shoes from the shoe bin, and sorted each pair by the mate...side by side, left and rights were on the correct side...She didn't freak out and do this for hours, she just did it...If she sees the A1 bottles in the kitchen on the bottom shelf, she turns so both labels face out (kinda freaky the first time I saw it)...We gave her our old measuring spoons to play house, and she loves to sort them so they stack together... Also, the final thing about playing with kids is that she sees another kid maybe 1 hour every other week because her caretakers are our parents, and they don't have kids...My wife has started to watch another 3 year old girl on her off days who is super intelligent, and we're hoping this sparks something. Just one day with this other child and my wife asked her to pick up some toys, she did and my daughter who never picks up for us, walked over and started putting toys away with her...She does NOT share well, she hoards anything you try to play with, which is annoying, but again I think its because she isn't forced to share anything... We're taking her to an early prevention person, but I just think she's behind the curve a bit...she was only 5 lbs. when she was born (full term), but wouldn't take to breast feeding at all, so we switched to pumping, and eventually formula...we recently had our house and her blood tested for lead since we live in a 100 year old house and both of those came back fine...


Answered:  March 15, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

Of all the delays in children’s development speech is the one that worries parents the most but most often – in the long run – ends with a 7 year-old with clear speech.

Speech therapy helps, but time turns out to be the decisive factor...

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Ear Tubes?

My son has never had an ear infection, but has likely had fluid in his middle ears from birth. (He's 15 months.) So now they want to put in the ear tubes. Any thoughts? His diet is Gluten/Casein/Sugar Free. I've also had him to a chiropractor just to see if it would help.


Answered:  January 28, 2013 by Dr. Sidney Baker

The answer to your question depends on the status of his hearing.  If it is impaired the threat to development of speech presents high stakes, which enter the risk to benefit equation by calling for haste. If hearing is normal then you have...

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Mothers, Autoimmunity & Allergy

Dr. Baker, what would you recommend to me, a 41 year-old expecting my first child? I have a severely autistic nephew - who has been called by many doctors a "tough nut." I, myself, suffer many allergies (many near death allergy attacks) and my angioedema situation. So, the question is: should I breast feed or use the powders available that are GF/CF and created for those of ultra sensitive allergies and probiotics? Will I pass on my bad bag of antibodies to my child in my breast milk? They say Breast is Best --- but when a mom has my genetic issues and allergies -- is that still the case?


Answered:  December 28, 2012 by Dr. Sidney Baker

This response also addresses another Autism360 member question:  "I have two small children on the autism spectrum (older child with Asperger's and younger child with high-functioning autism).  I've read that there is a connection between...

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Childhood Trauma

My son, Adam, has improved his behavior so much in his 29 years. I write this question because I would have loved to speak with a mother of a grown child with autism. He wasn't diagnosed until he was about 10 years old. He has always talked (sometimes I wonder if there was a time that I missed that he didn't speak) but because he was born with a very severe congenital heart defect, his early development was very mixed up with surgeries, medical intervention, and literally just trying to keep him alive. We have tried EVERYTHING from auditory training to biomedical to sensory interventions, many medications, and treatments. We even bought our own squeeze machine for Christmas two years ago. This past January Adam told my husband and I that he "doesn't want to do anything that could help him." He said "we've tried so many things and it is distressing." I have to admit we were impressed. We do respect that, and, of course, here I am trying to find something to "help him." He has a major problem letting go of things that happened 20, even 25 years ago. The grudges he suffers with hurt him. And when he feels stressed, worried, concerned, embarrassed, or just sad, he says VERY inappropriate things like "I'll hit this person or that person," and worse things that I don't want to repeat because it too upsetting. What can we do to give him some other way to express those uncomfortable feelings that we all feel...something socially acceptable.


Answered:  December 21, 2012 by Dr. Sidney Baker

Happy Holidays!

Dear Mary Ann,

Music, acting, muscles (athletics, dance), art and, of course, words are useful ways of expressing feelings.  “Only love can break your heart” (Neil Young) and love can mend a broken heart - but...

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