Sierra's eating habits began to get bad around 9 months. I could never feed her stage 3 baby food, she would gag and throw up. That continued for a long time and even as she was older she would do the same thing for applesauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, cooked carrots, etc. We finally realized she couldn't eat anything with a soft mushy texture. Still to this day she can't and she is three now. As she got older the foods she would eat got less and less. Pretzels seemed to be her food of choice and she went crazy for them. She did not eat anything sweet only salty stuff, not even candy or cupcakes.
Sierra started humming all the time and everybody thought it was so cute. I got comments on how happy she must be humming like that. She was not a happy child, she was either crying or humming, no babbling at all except the occasional ma ma which she did not relate to me. The doctor at her 12 month checkup even commented on her humming and I said she doesn't talk she only hums. He gave me the usual "they should have so many words by a certain age" line again except the age kept getting older when he would tell me that.
12 months to 18 months it all went down hill. Sierra went into a fog kind of, she usually didn't respond to her name but it got worse, she didn't acknowledge most of anything. I didn't know what she knew or didn't know because she never answered anything. She would cry and I would have to figure out what she wanted. She started banging her head and pinching herself, not all the time but too much for me. Sierra was scared of any talking, moving toys and loud noises. She didn't like new places and would become very unruly if we took her somewhere new. We had to stop going out to eat because she would yell very loud and would not sit in a seat.
Meltdowns were becoming very frequent and it was mostly for things we didn't realize she added to her routine. If we walked a certain way to somewhere more then once, she considered it part of her routine. If we tried to go a different way or to somewhere else she would have a meltdown. Just saying something to her during bedtime once or twice and then not saying it would trigger one, and I had to figure out what she was upset about. She also lined things up repeatedly, especially her little figurines and if one wouldn't stay standing or got knocked down she would have a meltdown. It would take us forever to calm her down until we realized the Backyardigans show would snap her out of it.
Sierra would not play with anything in a normal way. She would spin stuff or throw it on the floor and watch it. She lined everything up or stacked stuff. She was obsessed with ceiling fans and the Backyardigans. If Sierra wanted to do something she would move your hand to do it, instead of doing it herself, she had very little self help skills. Hand flapping was more noticeable and she rocked continuously in the recliner. Chewing began to rear it's ugly head now. She chewed on anything metal, anything she could find even the door stops!
When Sierra went to her 18 month check up the doctor (which was a different doctor from her 9th and 12th) said that we need to get her evaluated. At that time I was thinking autism and I searched for the symptoms on the Internet. My heart just sank she was hitting all the markers and I knew it's was autism.