We didn't seek out help for our daughter until she was 4.5 years old. I started noticing issues with her a year earlier. But when I raised questions with her preschool teachers and school director, everyone commented that she was "fine!" "She was just off-the-charts smart!" or "She's really creative." We also heard that she'll catch up on her development milestones that summer! It took a full year for me to listen to myself instead of what others' opinions. Even then, it was a bit of an uphill battle. The school district psychologist was about to deny us services based on her in-office assessment of "She's the best kid in the world!" Luckily, a case worker stepped in and convinced the psychologit to observe my daughter at her preschool. It wasn't until then that opinions on my daughter changed, and she was given services for autism.
Along the way, I've heard other moms question whether their child needs help. Other moms will usually chime in with a "He's fine! All kids do that!" On mom internet boards, I see the same thing. A mother posts concerns about her child or will post concerns a teacher raises, and everyone chimes in with, "She's fine!" or "What does that teacher know? She's not a psychologist!"
My advice to any mother who feels something isn't right with their child is to get them assessed pronto! I think a mother's instinct is often dead on! I really wish I had listened to my inner voice years ago. Now I look at my daughter and wonder how any of us missed seeing her autistic symptoms that were present for so long. When I hear stories of teachers giving feedback to parents that something might be "off" with their child, I feel envious that our teachers didn't feel anything was wrong--or feel comfortable enough to broach the topic.
Early intervention is key. The earlier the child gets help, the better able they are to improve their skills to function in the world. Those precious preschool years should not be squandered if at all possible.
If you feel that something is off with your child, my advice is to get your child assessed ASAP! It can really make a difference. I've seen some amazing success stories! I'm banking that my daughter will be one too!