♥ Think your child might have Autism?

Over the decades as a child care provider, when meeting a new family or sometimes while interviewing for a nanny job/position, I’ve come across multiple families who have a child who has autism, and they don’t even know it. Perhaps they haven’t yet heard an official autism diagnosis from a doctor. Or perhaps the symptoms are so subtle it’s not raising any red flags. (yet) Maybe the parents know something just “isn’t quite right” or their child is a “little off” or maybe “just different” from other children. Or they think their child is special or just being silly. They think it’s “cute” - awww it makes them unique and quirky. 

Or sometimes the parents DO know something is wrong. Perhaps they do think it might be autism but are so afraid of that - they shut it out or ignore it completely. Or have become complacent. Or worse they are in complete denial. “My child does NOT have autism”. It happens, I’ve seen it more times than I care to say. It’s a sensitive subject to bring up to a parent. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

This is a tough one. Not just for the family (for obvious reasons) But it's also scary for the nanny/caregiver. Being a nanny who knows quite a bit about "stimming" and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) - when I recognize some of the behaviors, my heart  instinctively tells me to tell the parents right away so I can help them seek professional guidance as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and intervention is the key to helping a child with autism at an young age. The sooner they get therapy - the better their chances of working thru some of their behavior issues and idiosyncrasies.  

Its heart breaking at first, (being an empath is hard) but I know the right thing to do - to have a talk with the mommy. I always approach the conversation very delicately and with a gentle, caring demeanor. Because let’s face it - being the bearer of bad news is never easy and I hate to see people: a mommy hurting. No one ever likes to be the one to make someone cry.

I’ve had times when the conversation did not go smoothly. Sometimes resulting in hurt feelings, or being insulted, denial, accusations, meltdowns and judgmental words. I’ve even been told I was wrong, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sadly this probably resulted in the mommy not doing a darn thing about her child who QUITE obviously had autism and/or some form of atypical autism or Asperger Syndrome. It hurts me to think there's a child out there (now probably 8, or 9 or 10 years old) who never got a proper diagnosis and therefore never got the chance live a typical life, or go to a mainstream school system, or meet new people or make friends.

So I thought it might be helpful to share one of the letters I once had to write to a mommy client who had a son with autism and she had no idea. Luckily the outcome of this specific story is wonderful. The mommy respected my observations and she listened to my opinion and took my advice and immediately had her son evaluated by a professional. Her son was indeed diagnosed with Autism and we quickly got him into an OT (occupational therapy) program, speech therapy and music classes. Music classes can often be therapeutic and can even aid in helping an autistic child focus and it can serve as a form of sensory input therapy as well as develop the amazing skills they were born with! If you’ve ever seen one of those brilliantly gifted child prodigy piano players or talented toddler drummers with incredible timing and mad rhythm skills… well… 

Often times those amazing little kiddos have been known to be on the spectrum. I’m not saying all musician child prodigies are on the spectrum of course, but yes, some of them most definitely are.

Ok, so here’s the letter I wrote to my mommy client explaining to her why I had reason to believe her son might be on the spectrum. Before I sent this email letter to her I had already had the chance to sit down to talk with her face to face over some hot tea that I made for us, so that I could break the news to her delicately and discretely. So some of my comments in the letter are responses to some of her comments, her concerns and her fears.

Dear “mommy client” ...
Here are some links I found for you about Autism. You may have already run across a few of these websites in your research. But I wanted to show you the ones that I felt were most applicable to your child and his behaviors. Some of the behaviors/symptoms on these lists are just slightly similar to the things I've seen your child doing occasionally or subtly and others are right on the mark  - completely describing him to a T! 

Just a little disclaimer here: I am in no way suggesting that your child has Autism or even "might" be on the spectrum. I am not diagnosing him, nor am I qualified to do so. Is it possible that his pediatrician or an Occupational Therapist might think your child has some characteristics of Autism or Aspergers? Yes. But even IF that were to happen - it's not the end of the world. It's not even necessarily a bad thing! The whole world is not going to be turned upside down! Your life isn't going to be changed or altered in a drastic way. You may want to make some plans in the near future to have someone work with him in his schools (like an aide) and possibly (maybe) some OT help. But your fears of having to “drop everything to be by his side 24/7 to assist him until he's an old man”, is not realistic! Your child is fine!  He is awesome in fact! Better than awesome! He’s a smart little guy! Technically he would most likely be considered high functioning - if anything! Perhaps even gifted or genius! He is a smarter than average 3 year old who is healthy, happy, funny, cute, playful, clever, witty, interactive, social and adorable! He is a delight to be around and he is good company! He's my little buddy and I am his friend! And I am YOUR friend too! So I will help you in any way I can and I want you to know that! I'll be here to work side-by-side with you thru every step of this! We’re a team. I’m not going anywhere!

Ok, now sweetie, before you click on any links and start reading the lists of things that may (or may not) apply to your child - take a deep breath and tell yourself not to fret! Don't allow yourself to get worked up. Don't worry over this. And remember that you, “mommy client”, are an amazing, loving mommy who goes above and beyond to provide her son with fun, and family, and health and the educational tools to learn and grow and develop into an amazing human being! You are doing a GREAT job mamma!! Your child has two very amazing parents and two loving grandparents! (…and one heck'uva cool nanny too! wink) Your child has an incredible support system and a team of people who love him and are willing to work with him on his growth and development!

Ok call me if you want to talk some more and let me know if anything you read about online sparks any questions or raises any concerns. I'm always happy to talk with you, I’m here to help.


I know you are starting to make notes to ask your child’s doctor. Here is an example of one of the spectrum lists I found online that seem applicable for your child specifically: 

  • An unusual insistence on routine
  • A preference for being alone or aloofness, avoiding eye contact
  • A resistance to being touched, wont wear hats or helmet on head, avoids being touched on the head
  • Unusual manner of playing with toys (staring at objects, watching objects fall, spinning objects)
  • Having trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Repeating words or phrases in a pattern, repeating vocal sounds or rhythms
  • Talking in a sing-song voice
  • Laughing, crying or showing distress for no apparent reason, hard to recuperate from stress, can't calm after fits
  • Sudden outburst of anger or unexplainable frustration, tantrums, loud or violent fits, hitting or batting
  • Has flat or deadpan facial expressions (blank stare) appears to zone out for periods of time, stares right through you
  • Holding an object for long periods of time, insisting on carrying something at all times, bringing it everywhere 
  • Having delayed speech and language skills or social skills
  • Not showing an interest in being around other children
  • Reverses pronouns (e.g. says "you" instead of "I")
  • Getting upset by minor changes in routine, needing more time to transition
  • No response to verbal instructions or not responding right away when child's name is called (tuning out)
  • Echolaia - echoing the last 3 or 4 words of your sentences, repeating your question rather than answering the question you’ve asked

For more information about newborns, babies, infant, toddlers: you might find my FUN educational youtube videos helpful:

Toddler Potty Training Potty Seat: https://amzn.to/3yDDbXO
Toddler Potty Seat: https://amzn.to/2TNoLoY
Potty Training Insert Seat: https://amzn.to/3dVDrJA

Toilet Seat with Built-in Potty Training Seat for Toddlers:

Potty Training Timer Watch:
Blue: https://amzn.to/3hupSmt
Pink: https://amzn.to/3AQ0iQD

Miss Jen’s Favorite Potty Training Books to Read to Your Toddlers:
“Once Upon A Potty” Boy Version: https://amzn.to/3xs5nN9
“Once Upon A Potty” Girl Version: https://amzn.to/3yBMerZ
Everyone Poops”: https://amzn.to/2THjBuX
"Potty": https://amzn.to/3hSmAcW

Potty Training Splash Guard for Boys: https://amzn.to/3ho5pQi

Piddle Pad for Car Seat: https://amzn.to/3hpTHVq

Car Seat Lamb Skin: https://amzn.to/3qXTn3p

Toddler Potty Training Toilets:
I’ve had experience working with Toddler Potty Training Toilets that cost $400+ (yes, that’s a thing!) and ones that are only $5 (the cheaper ones usually fall apart quickly). These are MY favorites and most reasonable in price. The kiddos love them - they are close to the ground, comfortable, sturdy and easy to get onto:

Huggies Pull-ups:

Girls: https://amzn.to/2TXkb7N
Boys: https://amzn.to/3yHmvi0

Night Time Pull Ups - Goodnites:
For Girls: https://amzn.to/2TXlZO7
For Boys: https://amzn.to/3xDII0s

Toddler Underwear:
Girls: https://amzn.to/3xFyI6H
Boys: https://amzn.to/3kdipu6

Step Stool For Kids:
Pink: https://amzn.to/3ks3rk6
Blue: https://amzn.to/36E1zwb

Urine stain & odor spray:

Miss Jen’s favorite “Poo-Poo Cookies!”:

Other Treat Rewards:

Oh Crap Potty Training Book: https://amzn.to/2UvmH5w

💗 Nanny Knowledge with Miss Jen
Parenting advice, tips and fun helpful insights from a Professional Nanny. • Nanny • Newborn Care • Life Coach • Blogger • YouTuber • Content Creator Find me on: