By Sandra Rose  | 

We've all seen the touching photos of Halle Berry's 3-year-old daughter Nahla caressing Halle's face or exploring the handsome features of her father, Gabe Aubry. We all assumed that Nahla was just a very affectionate little girl.

But as a loyal reader pointed out in an email to earlier this week, Nahla might be an autistic or special needs child who communicates nonverbally with her hands.

The list of famous celebrities with autistic children includes Toni Braxton, Holly Robinson Peete, Sylvester Stalone, John Travolta, Jenny McCarthy, Dan Marino, Dawn Neufeld ('Football Wives'), and more.

Signs of autism begin in babies before they are 12 months old. Most children are diagnosed with autism by age 2 or 3. That's the age when parents become aware that their toddlers' communications skills aren't keeping pace with other toddlers their age.

Autism is a disorder of the nerves in the brain that interferes with the signals sent from the brain to other parts of the body. The disorder is marked by poor communication skills and lack of social interaction. Doctors aren't sure what causes autism.

Autistic children tend to play apart from other kids. They can spend a great deal of time performing repetitive motions like stacking and un-stacking or lining up objects such as in the photo below.

Other behavioral signs include walking on their tiptoes (toe walking), flapping their arms, sitting and spinning, rolling their heads and/or rocking back and forth.

Some autistic children show normal cognitive growth and development from birth until the age of 3 or 4 when they begin to regress, eventually losing their communications skills altogether. Other children who are diagnosed with autism as toddlers grow up to lead normal lives and show no outward signs of the disorder.

Below is a table that shows the early signs of autism in children. Children's behavior patterns may differ from the chart below.

There is no cure for autism. Management and treatment for autism include behavioral, occupational and speech therapy, and other therapies including applied behaviour analysis (ABA), and structured teaching.

Medications may be prescribed to control the symptoms of autism such as antidepressants for anxiety or depression, and antipsychotic drugs to control aggressive behaviors.

This has been your Medical Minute.

More Info On The Web

Autism -

Autism - Mayo Clinic


Any medical advice published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following advice found on this blog.

Photo of Quin: Copyright (c) 2003 by Nancy J Price (aka Mom)

  • spongebobfan

    :coffee: <--- with eggs grits and toast....

  • Fayla aka IWhipIt..WhipItRealGood:)

    thank u for writing that with therapy & early intervention most children with ASD grow up to live normal lives. as a mother of a son with ASD most ppl get that awful "oh i'm so sry look" or actually say those words when i tell them he has ASD. y? he doesnt have a terminal illness, he just interacts differently & so forth. there is so much misinformation about autism it's scary!


    & i know y u released the email Sandra, but i'm still upset with u for doing so :(
    (not that u care, but ijs)

  • Yardgirl

    FAYLA!!!! :hug: Hey sweet girl, you spoke to me a few days ago and I had to rush off and only saw it in the afternoon. Hope all is well with you and yours :love: I am about to wash and Whipfinity my hair *woot*

    Thanks for the info Miss Sandra. This is a very cruel condition and the fact that there is no cure is sad indeed.

  • JustMe1

    Adults is one thing, but you need to leave these children alone. They didn't ask to be born into this. You're not writing this to be helpful...

  • mzwhang90210

    gm erry ones erry ones
    :hi: @ fay fay

    Halle's baby girl is beautiful.
    Seems a slew of "celebrities" are having/or have with autisim.

  • mzwhang90210

    I for one, appreciate Sandra for informing her readers. I never get it when folks try to infer that Sandra is being "messy"...when it's clear to ME..that she's trying to educate.
    But, as the old saying goes "there are none so those who will NOT see."

    that is all

  • Sandra Rose

    @ Fayla: I could tell from your comments that you were a kind, caring, loving, compassionate and warmhearted woman. Don't let stuff you read on the Internet upset you. :no:

  • Sandra Rose

    @ JustMe1: don't project your negative thoughts onto me. I sat up for 3 hours last night writing this post. So I hope this information is helpful to someone. Maybe not to you. Thanks, and good morning.

  • Jamillah

    Thanks for the info, Sandra. I hope they do more research on autism. It seemed to come out of nowhere. The fact that celebrity children have it brings more awareness to the general public. Jenny McCarthy has been very open about her son's autism. I hope they find a way to prevent it and treat it. As far as Nahla, until Halle Berry confirms it, there is no way of knowing about any medical condtions her daugther may or may not have.

  • Sandra Rose

    Thank you very much mzwhang90210.

  • prima_donna2163

    As a mother of a child with Asperger's, I find it annoying to assume that young Nahla has autism b/c pictures show her touching her parents' faces. Signs of autism don't always present themselves before 12 months, the norm is about 2 years. Studies are theorizing that the MMR vaccine (which is given at age 2), is the culprit...I haven't heard that this "face-caressing" is a definitive symptom of autism over fleeting/little or no eye contact, echolalia, eccentric or lack of social behavior, stimming i.e. humming, flapping and or spinning etc. So this phantom, reckless, begging for a beat down bish who is spreadin unstantiated claims of a child having autism needs to have several seats. I have a child with autism and know for a fact that a diagnosis of the disorder requires a manifestation of several symptoms rather than some "face-caressing..." I'm not buying it. You need more people.

  • RIP: Pillow-pet (9/11 – 01/12)

    mzwhang90210 says:

    I for one, appreciate Sandra for informing her readers. I never get it when folks try to infer that Sandra is being “messy”…when it’s clear to ME..that she’s trying to educate.
    But, as the old saying goes “there are none so those who will NOT see.”

    that is all

    I came to know Sandra through her Twitter account. So, I'm very surprised to find a number of members who take pride in being ignorant.

  • Daisy

    :eek: You got all that from a pic???

    Now I love me some Halle BUT I think Gabe needs equal access to their child and that all this child custody drama will only hurt Nahla in the end sadly.

    Good Sat morning :waves:

  • Sandra Rose

    Jamillah says:

    As far as Nahla, until Halle Berry confirms it, there is no way of knowing about any medical condtions her daugther may or may not have.


  • Jessie

    How about writing the medical minute without "outing" someone's child. How awful that this information is available to anyone who can log on to the internet and it might not be true. I, for one, don't believe Nahla is autistic. There is a "certain look" that autistic children have and I don't see that in Nahla.

    It's better to err on the side of caution (not writing about Nahla). And to the person who sent the e-mail about Nahla, YOU SUCK! To Sandra for spreading unfounded information...SHAME ON YOU!!

  • Sandra Rose

    prima_donna2163 says:

    As a mother of a child with Asperger’s, I find it annoying to assume that young Nahla has autism b/c pictures show her touching her parents’ faces.

    Did you read her email? The email author clearly stated that she wasn't saying Nahla was autistic. As a mother with an autistic child herself, she should know the symptoms. Unlike you or I, she was in a unique position to observe Nahla at the ABA facility. And according to her, Nahla "may be on the autistic spectrum."

  • Sandra Rose

    Jessie says:

    To Sandra for spreading unfounded information…SHAME ON YOU!!

    I did not "out" anyone. I am not saying Nahla is autistic. This information about autism is provided for those parents who seek more info on this mysterious medical condition.

  • Ms. Everything

    Sandra you're doing great educating those who may not know about autism.. I give you that :claps: but to continue to assume and act as if we all know for a fact that this baby has it is just wrong. She may be autistic and if she is, it happens and you love them and deal with it and do the best you can for your child but that's her family's choice to go public with it, not the blogs, not some nasty attitude having heffa who's so concerned with what's going on in the life of a woman she doesn't even know that she's gonna write a letter to a damn blog putting a child's medical info out there. Like I said yesterday, that original email should have never been published. It's your blog, it's your choice but this is a child

  • Sandra Rose

    @ Ms. Everything:

    your comment was very well stated. But once again, I did not assume that Nahla was autistic. This post was written to provide information to parents who may have autistic children, or children with Asperger's syndrome. I can't speak for the intentions of the email writer.

  • Ms. Everything

    Daisy, if he is mistreating that child or acting an ass in front of her when she is in his care than he should not have her unsupervised. My husband couldn't treat my children properly and act like a human being and I have no regrets about snatching them out of that situation and out of his life although I gave him the same options the court is giving Gabriel, see them supervised with someone else that I can trust around or don't see them at all :shrugs: CPS had more to go on in their investigation than just Halle's word I'm sure so there's a reason why they're suggesting supervision for his visits

  • melissak380

    Happy Saturday y'all!

    I have a 2 yr old and she is always touching mine and her dads face, always! Probably because we are always caressing or holding her face as we kiss her or talk to her, we are very affectionate. I don't think its fair to assume she is autistic because of that alone.

    I think nahla is as cute as can be and I hope she will be ok with all this drama involving her parents!!!

  • Ms. Everything

    Sandra, I get that but I'm a mother and I would be coming for somebody's neck if someone put my baby's medical info out there, especially when they didn't have proof (not you, the email writer). That pisses me off for Halle

  • ELove

    This is just ONE of the MANY REASONS Why KIDS shouldn't be apart of the Entertainment & Celebrity World -- IMO :coffee:

  • prima_donna2163

    Of course I read her email, which was nothing short of laughable...who is she?(sarcasm) And please remind me why I am supposed to believe her "email" word is golden? And like I said, she need more people...she needs more solid evidence before putting something out there that insinuates someone's child is on the spectrum. Halle does not play when it comes to her baby, interested to see how this one plays out.

  • Sandra Rose

    @ Ms. Everything:
    I understand your concern about your private medical history being disseminated. But Halle Berry's and Nahla's private medical information was not compromised on this blog. The email author simply gave her opinions based on her observations. The last time I checked, opinions still fall under the category of free speech, and we all are entitled to have them.

  • Sandra Rose

    @ prima_donna2163:

    no one is saying you're supposed to take her word as golden. She gave her opinion based on her observations. We give our opinions all day in the comments section. The email author never stated categorically that Nahla was autistic.

  • ELove

    @melissak380 SAID:
    I have a 2 yr old and she is always touching mine and her dads face, always! Probably because we are always caressing or holding her face as we kiss her or talk to her, we are very affectionate.

    That's EXACTLY HOW I was with My Daughter ALSO :coffee:

  • prima_donna2163

    Yes I know and respect that, but she clearly sent the email to be placed on a public forum witht the intention to insinuate that Nahla has autism. Y'all gonna keep playing wit Halle and find yourself in court! The babies are off-limits!!!!

  • Ms. Everything

    @Elove :cosign:

    Sandra, but you and I both know that there are some illiterate folks out there who will take that email and that woman's opinion and run with it

  • melissak380

    Halle sho don't play when it comes to her baby girl. I know exactly how she feel :coffee:

    Hey did y'all see them pics of macualkey culkin??? He looks like he has been holed up in a house for a month with nothing but red bull and crack. I hope he is ok!

  • Sandra Rose

    @ melissak380:

    He looks like he lost weight for a movie role. he doesn't look sick to me. Sick people usually look weak in the eyes.

  • I Run New York

    Melissak, he looks like a Meth addict.

  • melissak380

    I run - yup! I know what all that crap looks like and that there look like dope!

    I hope ur right sandra! I would hate to see another child celebrity fall victime to drugs. I remember he had problems in the past w/pills. His publicist said he was sick over his failed relationship? I thought that's what I read.

  • Sandra Rose

    melissak380 says:

    I remember he had problems in the past w/pills.

    he sure did. :no:

  • Starr

    Until I know what it is, specifically that he does that makes him incapable of safely parenting his child alone, I'll be mum on that.

    Sandra didn't out anyone. A reader wrote in with her own observations. Medical minute is always informative.

  • Daisy

    If Gabe is really mistreating Nahla then yes Halle needs to protect her but something tells me that isn't the case here BUT again I don't know all the facts. I like Halle but I think she wants Nahla to herself and if that's the case she shld have gone to a sperm bank. I am all for protecting kids even from their own parents but he didn't start mistreating Nahla until AFTER they split how ironic :shrug: I hope they work it out and co parent but that will be hard if Halle moves out the country.

  • JustMe1

    Pillow & Sandra if the point of the post is to be helpful why include Nahla???? The information on autism is much needed but to ASSUME that an innocent child is autistic is just hateful...
    Think about if it were your child...

  • JustMe1

    But anyway Sandra we definitely agree on Mac Culkin...

  • STLVixen

    Has Halle or a spokesperson come out and officially said that Nahla is autistic? Or is this based on an email someone sent who supposedly knows? I appreciate the information regarding autism but I think posting about it until it's confirmed isn't a good look. Because a child is affectionate in various paparazzi pictures we've seen doesn't mean she is autistic or special needs.

    Happy Saturday, everyone!

  • Maintaining

    @ Sandra could you look into they many parents who believe the many vaccinations such as the hep b, mmr and dtap may be the cause of autism and many other brain/nerve disorders but no one wants to do the thorough research to prove otherwise. The argument parents are having is why is the vaccination schedule (time give and dosage amount) the same for every child when every child is not the same (weight, length etc.). Which may have an effect on the newborn/toddlers nervous system. Some doctors are saying there is no linkage between autism/brain disorders and vaccinations but there are too many parents with cases that may prove different for them to say it's not true. Many parents argue that doctors say that to protect the pharmaceutical companies. Plus parents sign a release form stating should your child have a reaction to the vaccination(s) you can't sue the pharmaceutical company.

  • Maintaining

    I also remember Tom Cruise didn't allow any doctors or nurses to touch Suri when she was born. He received a lot of back lash and so did the Scientology religion he practiced.

  • Sandra Rose

    @ Maintaining:

    the research has been done and no link could be found to the childhood vaccinations.

  • Sandra Rose

    STLVixen says:

    Has Halle or a spokesperson come out and officially said that Nahla is autistic?

    No. But I think the point of the email was that Nahla was seen at a ABA clinic that treats autistic and special needs children. No one said Nahla was autistic.

  • lovezoe

    If parents had to have a monitor whenever they screamed at their kids we would all need a monitor.

  • Sandra Rose

    @ lovezoe:

    Exactly. Which is why there's more to the story than just his screaming. The courts reviewed the evidence and they concluded that Aubry could not safely care for Nahla. Kudos to them.

  • Ms. Everything

    @Maintaining, the risk of severe reactions to vaccinations is so low that it would be irresponsible for drs to come out saying that there is a definite link. Yes, vaccinations have caused health problems and in some cases death but the benefits outweigh the risks. I don't necessarily believe that they can cause autism but I do believe every parent has to research and decide for themselves if they want to take the risk. I have one child that I had exempted from vaccinations, and it can be done although it is a headache inducing process :shrugs:

  • Roc

    I think that we all appreciate the medical minute and the information that you posted regarding Autism. A great number of your readers are parents of infants/toddlers and pointing out the symptoms of an Autistic child would prove helpful to all.

    The issue that comes in the original post in which your "loyal reader" basically implied that the little girl has Autism. She also CLEARLY stated that she did not know if she does, and was also currently bound by a confidentiality agreement in which she was supposed to keep all information regarding the clinic, patients in her fat lips.

    I can speak for myself alone where I will say that I think the medical minute alone would have been sufficient. No one is saying that you said Nahla has're a smart woman. You know BETTER than to state it without any factual evidence. The original email probably shouldn't have been posted.


  • Northside Zeta

    :cosign: with everyone who said this post would have been just as informative without including the picture of Nahla.

  • BayMami_de4

    This post is written very well Sandra. My friend's son showed normal growth until 3 and he regressed and can't communicate at all. At 14, they had to place him in a group home and he spends 2 weekends a month with my friend. The mother has abandoned him and wants no contact. Early intervention could of made a difference but the dad tried his best with what he knew about this disorder and the limited amount of money the family has.

    I still don't agree with Nahla's pic being associated with this informative post. No shade.

  • Nadine

    That's the most I ever read about Autism. Thanks for sharing Sandra.

  • caligirl

    Sandra – This article was informative. I had the fortunate experience of working with families and children with special needs and terminal diagnosis. Autism is a spectrum disorder and it can be mild or very severe. In some cases some children are able to go on and lead normal lives; however some children have severe behavioral problems just as BayMami mentioned.

    Autism can be challenging for some parents, Ms. Berry seems to have her hands full so I hope this is not the case.

  • STLVixen

    Sandra Rose says:

    STLVixen says:

    Has Halle or a spokesperson come out and officially said that Nahla is autistic?

    No. But I think the point of the email was that Nahla was seen at a ABA clinic that treats autistic and special needs children. No one said Nahla was autistic.


    Thank you for answering my question. If Nahla is indeed autistic, I hope Halle is able to pay close attention to her needs. I know she is newly engaged, but hoping Nahla continues to come first.