I can understand your concern. I have a son that has ADHD and Autism. He is a handful. He has always had delays, He didn't begin to talk till he was almost 4 years old. He is very bright but into everything I can't leave him a minute without him getting into something it is so tiring. As I understand it there is a big umbrella to which the autism spectrum covers. Some people are high functioning and others not. I think that everyone thinks that autistic people are like "rainman" from the movies.But alot of them can hold conversations without anyone even knowing what is a wrong with them. My son will give you eye contact about 50% of the time. We have never told him that he is any different from the other children, after a while the other kids pickup something is different but none has ever asked what is a wrong with him. Everyone just knows that's Jeremiah and that is just the way God made him.
It is very easy at first to want to protect your child and to tell the other parents of his playmates that he has autism. But now I don't tell anyone unless they ask and that hardly happens.
I feel for your niece. My only advice to her is to love her child and take it one day at a time.I hope that helps, this is from my heart.
Your friend in Texas, Jessica