I recently searched out lining up toys and was quite discouraged to find that everyone who spoke about their child lining up toys was concerned about this being normal.
I checked out the 3 bigger sites (National Autism Association, First Signs, Autism Society of America) for Autism information and symptoms and found nothing regarding lining things in their signs and symptoms information.
Why does lining up toys have to amount to anything? If you look around kids see things lined up all around them. Cars on the road, cars in parking lots, people walking on the sidewalk, baking that we do at home, groceries on shelves. Having things lined up is just being orderly.
This is not to say that lining things up is not a sign of a bigger problem but if it isn't coupled up with a whole lot of other symptoms such as milestones not being met or other more blatant signs than hold your concern.
There has been so much lining up toys in this house over the years but honestly, lining up things is just ONE trait out of many that points to Autism.
(She told me that they were having a parade)
(She said, that they were all going to the "barm" or farm)
(They wanted to watch Blue's Clues with her)
(They are all waiting to hug the bunny)
My daughter was a very early talker and she was able to tell me what she was doing. My son who started Early Intervention at 23 months and now is in speech and OT working on his lisp and his grip (all connected to his speech delay) used to put things in lines too. Some people told me he was autistic when he was 23 months old. The reason? He was lining things up! Give me a break. You can see the beginning here. He is doing great, the lining ended right around the time it started.
I started researching all things related to Autism when he was 23 months. Always concerned, always watching, always worried but never stressed. I wanted to make sure that when people talked I had the answers. Educate yourself. Read everything. Talk to your pediatrician but in the long run, make sure you are armed with the knowledge to get your child the best possible care. Early intervention is important but don't let people tell you that lining up toys is a RED FLAG to Autism! I did that! I wish now that I had been stronger to tell them to "F" off. I was so shocked that someone had thrown the autism word out after discussing my son lining things up. If this is the case than all of my friends who line up their kitchen spices or refrigerator supplies in alaphabetical order should get evaluated now.
People with autism also process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits:
* Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
* Difficulty in expressing needs; using gestures or pointing instead of words
* Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
* Laughing (and/or crying) for no apparent reason;
* Preference to being alone; aloof manner
* Difficulty in mixing with others
* Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled
* Little or no eye contact
* Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
* Sustained odd play
* Spinning objects
* Obsessive attachment to objects
* Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
* No real fears of danger
* Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
* Uneven gross/fine motor skills
* Non-responsive to verbal cues
Know the signs. Go to Autism Speaks for more information.
EDUCATE YOURSELF and know that lining toys up is not the blanket of doom!!!!