One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to know the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching. Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder show developmental differences of babies especially in their social and language skills. Because they usually do things normal babies can, they sit, crawl, and walk on time, less obvious differences in the development of body gestures, pretend play, and social language often go unnoticed.
A child with ASD may have speech/language delays and behavioral differences, families may notice differences in the way they act towards other people.
What are the signs of autism?
The diagnosis of autism vary by the age and intensity of autism’s early signs. Some infants show signals in their first months. While others, behaviors become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.
Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who don’t have autism show a few signs. That’s why professional evaluation is important, self diagnosis will not help to this kind of situation.
The following signs may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder.
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions
- Limited or no eye contact
- Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions
- Little or no babbling
- Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
- Little or no response to name
- Very few or no words
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
At any age
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development
- Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
If your child shows any signs listed, ask your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation right away.
Do you suspect that your feelings and behaviors involve autism? Many people who have milder forms of autism go undiagnosed until adulthood. Appropriate screening can determine whether a child is at risk for autism as young as one year. While every child develops different from another, we also know that early intervention and treatment will help improves outcomes. Early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).