Autism Signs: Birth Through One

Are you suspicious?

Most parents and caregivers of children with autism first acknowledge that “something just seems wrong” when a baby is between 15 and 18 months of age. This is due to the hallmark autism sign: lack of communication skills and language delays. However, autism signs can be seen in many infants as early as six months of age.

Importance of Early Recognition

Recognizing early autism signs and red flags for developmental delays is crucial for parents. Early detection of autism and early intervention means a better prognosis for children displaying autism signs. About half of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders can be diagnosed around their first birthday.

Others affected with autism may develop at a normal rate until their second year of life. During the second year language and social development may regress or even completely stop. It is often after the second birthday that autism signs begin to appear. A terrifying statistic is that autism is still rarely diagnosed before a child’s turns three.

Possible Signs of Autism

The autism signs presented here are signs that can be seen in children before they turn one year old. The autism signs listed below are not all inclusive; however, recognizing these early signs of autism can help parents know when to seek further medical advice.

 

Please remember that all children are unique and develop at different rates. Each and every child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is unique.

 

@ 4 months old:

 

  • A baby not turning his or her head when a parents say their name. At about four months old an infant should turn their head toward sound and toward the sound of their name being said.
  • Not smiling or responding to adults or older children’s attempts to interact with the baby.
  • Staring at or fixating on one certain object rather than following movements or bright colored toys or objects.

 

@ 6 months old:

 

  • Not babbling or not having the back and forth babbling between the baby and parent or caregiver.
  • Not smiling at adults or older children’s attempts at interaction.
  • Lack of facial expressions.
  • Staring at or fixation on one certain object.

 

@ 9 months old:

 

  • Babbling which was present earlier has stopped.
  • Not looking at objects when parent says “look at…”
  • No smiling or initiating social interactions such as giving/taking and reaching.
  • Staring at or fixation on one certain object.

 

Being aware of these early autism signs can increase early detection and early intervention.

Remember that is most cases parents are the fist to become aware of unusual behavior and atypical development in their child. Research has proven time and again that parents are usually right about developmental delays even though they may not know specifically what is wrong nor the degree of the problem. As a parent you are your child’s advocate and if you notice early autism signs then you should seek immediate evaluation for autism.

The AAP makes recommendations for immediate evaluation of the child if by twelve months old there is no babbling, pointing or use of gestures. If by sixteen months old the child does not say any single words. If by twenty four months old the child does not say any two work phrases. At any time or age if your child loses language or social skills they should be immediately evaluated as well.

If you decide to have your child evaluated for autism based on the early autism signs listed above your child’s behavior will be observed and screening may be done to measure characteristics and behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder. There is no specific medical test that can be used to diagnose autism. Diagnosis of autism is based on observation of the child’s behavior and screening kits that measure the common characteristics and behavioral patterns associated with autism.

 

Autism Quick Facts:

 

Autism is NOT caused by poor parenting or low socio-economic standards.

 

Autism and autism signs are seen in EVERY racial group, every social group and every educational group. No one is immune.

 

Autism is NOT caused by vaccines. The controversial study done in 1998 was long ago disproved.

 

The rate of autism is four times higher in boys than in girls.

 

Siblings of a child affected with autism are at an increased risk for being diagnosed with autism or displaying autism signs.

 

Autism is affected by both biological and environmental factors.

 

No one really understands what causes autism. Medical professionals and researchers do agree that it is a biological disorder that seems to be caused by slight abnormalities in specific regions, structures, or functions of the brain.

 

 

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