Early Signs of Autism


For parents of children with autism, early detection is key. According to the The Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Boys are more likely to get diagnosed than girls.

Children with autism are said to have a developmental disability that can lead to challenges when it comes to behavior and communication. But, children on the Autism Spectrum often have remarkable visual and academic skills.

While not every autistic child has the same challenges, there are some signs of autism that could signal it’s time to get a professional opinion.

  1. Does not answer to his or her name by the age of 1 Most children will do so. If your child doesn’t, it doesn’t automatically mean he or she is autistic. It’s just something to keep an eye on.
  2. Does not play “pretend” games (like feeding a doll) by 18 months We all know most kids love to make up games and pretend. If your child shies away from this type of activity, doctors say it could be something to watch.
  3. Gets upset by the smallest change Autistic children like routines and schedules. If you have your little one on a schedule or in a routine, notice how he or she reacts when you change it.
  4. Repeated motions like spinning in circles and flapping hands Sometimes children with autism do this to soothe themselves; others do it to stimulate themselves in what is called “stimming.”
  5. Does not want to play with other kids This is one of the social challenges of autism. Many kids may actually want to play with others, but simply just don’t know how.
  6. Has a hard time taking turns and sharing This goes hand-in-hand with not wanting or not knowing how to play with others. These are social skills that need to be taught.
  7. Plays with the same toys, the same way, every time Since children with Autism like routines, it’s not surprising that they would want to play with the same toys and do the same things over and over again.
  8. May learn words by age one, but then forgets them Your child may learn simple words by age 1 then lose them. Keep an eye on language development and note any drastic changes.

Most doctors will check on a child’s development at the 9-, 18-, and 30-month well visits. But, if you suspect an issue any time before or in between those check-ups, it’s always best to schedule an appointment to get more information. You can’t argue with a mother’s intuition! Early detection and treatment is key when it comes to autism.