Early Signs of Autism
What Is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
The severity and combination of symptoms can differ from person to person as there is a large range of characteristics of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is important to understand that no two children behave the same way and that symptoms can range from mild to severe and can often change over time.
ASD can be diagnosed as early as 2 years old, with some symptoms showing as early as 12 months and others occurring much later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet their developmental milestones until around 18-24 months before losing the skills they once had or stop gaining new skills.
What are the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Individuals with ASD may behave, communicate, learn and interact in ways that are different than neurotypical individuals. In addition, the abilities of individuals with ASD can widely vary.
COMMUNICATION AND INTERACTION
Social skills can be challenging for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Avoids or does not respond to eye contact
Does not respond to name by 9 months
Does not show facial expressions (happy, sad, angry etc) by 9 months
Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
Shows little interest in peers
RESTRICTED OR REPETITIVE BEHAVIORS
Individuals with ASD often have behaviors and interests that can differ from neurotypical individuals
Repeats words/phrases over and over
Gets upset by minor changes
Has obsessive interests
Unusual reactions to sensory input
Lines up toys or other objects
Unusual mood or emotional regulation
Hyperactive and/or inattentive behavior
Delayed cognitive skills
Delayed movement skills
Delayed language skills
Unusual eating and sleeping habits
WHEN TO GET YOUR CHILD EVALUATED FOR AUTISM
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that all children be screened for autism around 18-24 months.
If you are concerned your child may have ASD, speak to your pediatrician about receiving a full evaluation. These evaluations can be done by a neurologist, behavior pediatrician or psychiatrist. If your child is diagnosed with autism, speak to your doctor about your child's individualized treatment plan.