Autism: Early Warning Signs to Look For

According to current statistics, 1 in 68 children are affected by autism. Despite how prevalent the condition is, there is no way to medically detect autism, and there is no cure. With that said, there are key signs that indicate that a child may lie somewhere on the autism spectrum. The earlier these signs are detected by a long island autism center, the earlier intervention can begin, significantly improving the outcome.

One of the most important things that parents or caregivers can do to ensure a child receives treatment is to be aware of the early warning signs of autism. There are certain red flags that indicate a child may have autism.

Here’s a look at some of the most common autism symptoms, according to age:

Warning Signs in Babies

The majority of children who have autism are not diagnosed until they are 5 years of age or older. That’s because it can be difficult to determine if a child is on the spectrum until he has reached all developmental milestones until this age. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of autism, which babies can exhibit.

Remember that all children do develop at different rate; however, if you notice your baby is showing any of the following signs, you may want to consult with a pediatrician:

  • Seldom smiles or laughs
  • Refuses being held or cuddled
  • Does not seem to show interest in objects
  • Does not seem to make eye contact
  • Does not respond to his name by 12 months of age

Warning Signs in Toddlers and Preschool-Aged Children

By the time a child reaches toddlerhood (18 months of age,) early screenings for autism are highly recommended. Between toddlerhood and preschool, the signs of autism are much more prevalent than they are in babies. Some of red flags that could indicate a child is on the autism spectrum at this age include the following:

  • Failure to engage in pretend playing, such as making toys talk or caring for a stuffed animal
  • No interest in socializing with others; would rather play alone
  • Lack of empathy; doesn’t seem to understand that other people have feelings
  • Seldom speaks or speaks in an abnormal tone, like a robot, for instance
  • Ignores requests that are made; doesn’t respond when his name is called, for example
  • Develops certain routines and has a hard time when they are broken
  • Says the same words or phrases again and again
  • Has spastic movements or ‘tics’; hand flapping, rocking, foot tapping, hand rubbing or spins in circles, for example
  • Is fixated on a specific topic and doesn’t seem interested in anything else; dinosaurs or bugs, for example
  • Exhibits sensory issues; responds unusually to certain sounds or touches, for instance

These are just a few of the early warning signs that are could indicate your child has an autism spectrum disorder; there are several other signs, as well. Also, keep in mind that if your child does exhibit any of these signs, it does not necessarily mean that he has autism. However, with that said, it is highly advisable to consult with a medical professional if you do notice any of these signs in your child. A doctor will perform a comprehensive autism test to conclude whether or not autism is evident.

Remember that early detection leads to early intervention, and the earlier a child receives the support that he needs, the earlier you can learn how to accommodate his needs – and the better his outcome will be.