Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brains remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.
The earliest signs of autism involve the absence of typical behaviorsnot the presence of atypical onesso they can be tough to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms of autism are even misinterpreted as signs of a good baby, since the infant may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.
Some autistic infants dont respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.
What If Your Child Shows Some Early Signs Of Autism
Any one of these signs may not be a problem. But in combination, they may signal a need to conduct a screening or diagnostic evaluation.
As a general guide, if your child shows any 4 of these early signs, use our free online Social Communication CheckUp to screen your baby for autism.
If your child shows 8 or more of these early signs, ask for a referral for a diagnostic evaluation.
Talk to your childs doctor or teacher about any of these early signs or contact your local early intervention program. Share this article with them.
What Are The 3 Main Symptoms Of Autism
Autism or autistic spectrum disorder can manifest as different symptoms in different children. The average age of diagnosis is 2 years, though some children may be detected at around the age of 5 years.
The symptoms to look out for in children for suspected autism are:
- Delayed milestones
- A socially awkward child
- The child who has trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication
Delayed Milestones: Every child starts cooing, rolling over, babbling, smiling, pointing, and sitting up at an expected age. These are called milestones. Though every child grows at their own pace, you must visit the pediatrician if:
- The child does not smile by the age of 6 months
- The child has no facial expressions by the age of 9 months
- The child does not make cooing noises or babble by the age of 12 months
- No pointing or waving by the age of 12 months
- The child does not speak by the age of 16 months
Signs of social awkwardness: You must be concerned if your child
- Avoids eye contact while you feed him
- Prefers to play alone
- Does not respond to their name
- Does not like being touched
- Prefers fixed routines and even a minor change may upset them greatly
- Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them
Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication:
- Echolalia: They keep repeating words over and over
- They talk in a flat tone, devoid of expressions
- They do not understand emotions in a conversation
- Have difficulty communicating what they want
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Use Your Hand As A Tool
Babies learn to use a variety of gestures from 9-16 months, like giving, reaching, raising arms, showing, waving, and pointing.
Because children with autism may have limited use of these early gestures, they may develop unusual ways to communicate, like using your hand as a tool.
If your baby is moving or pulling your hand or body part as if its a tool, this can be an early sign of autism, particularly if they are not looking at you.
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Speech And Language Difficulties May Present Themselves During Early Stages Of Language Development
Children with ASD may have a hard time speaking and communicating at the expected level for their age.
Even during infancy, you might notice that your child does not babble or coo in response when you talk and attempt to interact. By their first birthday, most toddlers can speak a word or two, but children on the spectrum often dont learn to speak until much later.
Sometimes, children with ASD babble and coo in the first few months of life, and then cease to communicate altogether. In these cases, all forms of verbal communication and normal language development and experimentation with speech abruptly stop. This can be disconcerting for parents and is often a sign that its time to investigate further by seeking professional help.
Even in cases where autistic children do speak and demonstrate pretty typical signs of normal language development, they often repeat unrelated words and phrases over and over and, in essence, speak without really communicating or conveying a feeling, thought or desire.
Early intervention is key to helping autistic children learn to communicate, whether it is through spoken language, or in more extreme cases, through sign language or even an alternative augmentative communication device.
What Are The Signs Of Asd In Babies
Diagnosing ASD is challenging. One reason for this is that the condition presents differently in all individuals.
Babies can reach developmental milestones at slightly different ages, even when they do not have any health conditions. However, some developmental differences indicate that a baby may be autistic. These include:
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Can A Child Be Slightly Autistic
A child can be mildly autistic. Every child with autism spectrum disorder is unique and so symptoms may differ in severity and range between individuals. Children diagnosed as mildly autistic are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them, but they do have normal intelligence and can conduct their daily activities.
Early Signs Of Autism In A 2 Year Old
If you feel like your 2-year-old doesnt seem to be catching up with their development milestones, you may start looking for certain signs of autism spectrum disorder for any delays.Mild symptoms can be mistaken for being shy or the terrible twos.
Here are some red flags that may indicate ASD:
- Doesnt speak more than 15 words,
- Cant walk ,
- Doesnt know functions of household items like fork,
- Doesnt imitate parents actions or words,
- Doesnt use items for their own purposes,
- Doesnt follow simple instructions
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Other Signs Of Autism In 4
These signs are usually accompanied by some of the other signs listed above:
ASD encompasses a broad range of signs and symptoms. An autistic child may need minimal support in some aspects of their life and more significant support in other aspects.
An autistic child who needs minimal support may have:
- little interest in social interactions or social activities
- difficulty initiating social interactions or maintaining conversations
- trouble with appropriate communication
- trouble adapting to changes in routine or behavior
- difficulty making friends
An autistic child who needs a moderate amount of support, or who needs daily support, may have:
- difficulty coping with a change to their routine or surroundings
- a significant lack of verbal and nonverbal communication skills
- severe and obvious behavioral challenges
- repetitive behaviors that interfere with their daily life
- an unusual or a reduced ability to communicate or interact with others
- narrow, specific interests
An autistic child who needs significant support on a daily basis may:
How Is Asd Treated
One of the biggest challenges is finding the most effective form of treatment. The choices seem endless and differentiating one from another can be daunting. Parents often rely on therapists to direct and administer treatment, but many parents want to learn as much as possible so theyre in the best position to help their child. The most common treatments include applied behavioral analysis, relationship-building strategies, speech/language, and occupational therapy, counseling, and social skills groups.
To learn more, read our ASD Overview article.
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The Top 9 Signs That Your Infant May Have Autism
By C. Dixon
The most recent statistics show that 1 in 68 children are now being diagnosed with autism. While diagnosis is on the rise, a child typically is not diagnosed by a professional until he or she is over two years old.
However, there are signs that could indicate your child is on the spectrum as early as six months of age. Signs and symptoms can vary, as can the severity of the symptoms. Be sure to monitor your childs development, and consult your doctor if anything concerns you. Its important to note that autism in infants can be recognized by a lack of normal behavior, rather than the presence of strange behaviors.
Early Signs Of Autism In A 5 Year Old
Once your toddler grows up, certain signs can be missed or confused with signs of growing up. You may want to consult your childs doctor if you see the following signs, which may mean your child has a developmental delay:
- Shows extreme behaviors like unusually aggressive, shy, or sad
- Doesnt show a wide range of emotions
- Usually isnt active
- Has trouble focusing on one activity for extended periods of time
- Doesnt respond to people
- Cant understand the difference between real and make-believe
- Doesnt play with peers
- Doesnt talk about daily activities
- Loses skills they once had
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What Should I Do If My Child Has Delayed Milestones
Talk to your child specialist about your concerns. While it is absolutely normal for every child to achieve milestones at their own pace, you must always be on the lookout for red flags. If the child does not smile, coo, speak, react to your affections by hugging back, or have eye contact, you must consult your doctor.
You must specifically monitor your childs growth and development if
- You were on medications like Thalidomide, Valproic acid, or antipsychotic medicines during your pregnancy.
- You or your spouse was in late the 30s when you conceived .
- You have a family member with autism.
- You suffered from viral infections during your pregnancy.
- Your baby had a low birth weight.
Wait and watch policy will not help a child with an autistic spectrum disorder. In fact, from 1 to 2 years of age, the brain is still developing. If the therapy is started at this point, most symptoms of autism can be worked upon. Though, currently, autism is not curable, early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage the behavioral issues and teach them to cope better in social situations. Behavioral therapy involves teaching parents to reach out to their children. Children suffering from hyperactivity, convulsions, and sleep problems also need early medical management.
What Are Some Early Signs Of Autism In Toddlers
When a baby becomes a toddler, various developmental differences, signs and symptoms may become more apparent with the growing age of the child.
During their first year, toddlers with autism spectrum disorder may not:
- like seeing new faces,
- may not be able to walk, or w__alk only on their toes__
- may find certain sounds, tastes and smells upsetting,
- may fall into repetitive movements, like flapping their hands.
These signs may be more noticeable compared to the signs presented early on. However, the majority of children with autism are not diagnosed before the age of two due to missed signs by caregivers, or lack of access to specialists.
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Prenatal Factors That May Contribute To Autism
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months.
Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid.
The age of the mother and father
Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia
Maternal infections during pregnancy.
Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant.
More research on these prenatal risk factors is needed, but if youre pregnant or trying to conceive, it cant hurt to take steps now to reduce your babys risk of autism.
Reducing the risk of autism: Tips for expectant mothers
Take a multivitamin. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Its not clear whether this will also help reduce risk of autism, but taking the vitamins cant hurt.
Ask about SSRIs. Women who are taking an SSRI should talk with a clinician about all the risks and benefits of these drugs. Untreated depression in a mother can also affect her childs well-being later on, so this is not a simple decision to make.
Practice prenatal care. Eating nutritious food, trying to avoid infections, and seeing a clinician for regular check-ups can increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Source: Harvard Health Publications
Inflexibility Signs Of Autism In Children
Autistic children are often restricted in their behaviors and movements. They are inflexible, and even obsessive in terms of their activities, behaviors and interests.
- Inflexibility, to an extent, can be an indication of ASD. The following are the signs of inflexibility
- Strict routines – insisting on taking the same route to school every day
- Limited topic of interest – memorizing the train schedules
- Repeating the same actions – flapping hands, rocking back and forth these are also known as stimming, self stimulatory behavior
- Unusual attachments to objects – obsessively lining the trucks or arranging them in a certain order
- Difficulty in adapting to change – getting upset when their routines are interrupted
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Early Signs Of Autism In Boys
Autism is seen more prevalently in boys than in girls. Therefore, the core symptoms mostly coincide with the symptoms we have mentioned to be seen in children with autism in all ages.
Here are some of the early symptoms in autistic boys:
- Doesnt make eye contact
- Has repetitive behaviors
- Doesnt like physical contact
About Early Signs Of Autism
Some early signs of autism usually appear in the first 1-2 years of life.
Early signs of autism are listed below. Some children have many early signs, whereas others have only a few. The number of signs autistic children have varies according to their age and the effect that autism has on their everyday lives.
Sometimes early signs of autism change over time. For example, children might lose or stop using social-communication or language skills, or signs might become clearer as children get older.
Other Signs Of Autism
Another sign of child autism is not playing socially with other children. They may also exhibit a lack of empathy for others along and withdraw from social situations.
A child with autism may also exhibit the following signs:
- Unusual body posturing or facial expressions
- Use an unusual tone of voice
- Avoid eye contact or have poor eye contact with others
- Experience behavioral disturbances
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Signs Your Child Might Have Autism
Does my child have autism?
If youre asking this question, chances are you already have some serious concerns and that alone is enough to make most parents feel scared, bewildered, and alone.
But the fact is, many parents find themselves looking for signs of a possible problem and asking this question simply out of an abundance of caution. Thats just good parenting and its only natural with the amount of attention autism has received in recent years. The good news is, most of the time concerned parents discover that everything is absolutely fine. Noticing a single red flag or even identifying a combination of concerns often amounts to nothing more than a childs individuality expressing itself as some slight variation in normal developmental progress.
And on the other side of the coin, even if there is reason to believe your child may fall somewhere on the spectrum, the news is still good: You are not alone Your child will go to school just like the other kids and learn in a regular classroom You will get the help you need and your insurance will cover most of the expense Breathe everything is going to be all right.
Before you start arriving at any conclusions at all, its important that youre very clear about one thing: You may be able to identify some traits that indicate the possibility of autism, but only a medical professional is in a position to say for sure.
- Difficulty with social interactions
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Communication Signs Of Autism In Children
We learned about my sons autism after begging our pediatrician for a speech therapy referral.
We knew he wasnt communicating like a typical child would, and we wanted to help him communicate to lower his frustrations.
See, autistic children often have significant communication struggles and delays, sometimes to the point of not speaking at all.
The first thing most people notice in autistic children is that they may not meet typical language milestones.
You may notice that your child often repeats quotes from books, songs, or movies that they have seen or heard.
My son used to quote the Tinkerbell Pirate Fairy movie constantly.
An autistic child may also struggle to begin or keep up with conversations.
Beginning a conversation takes several expressive language skills that many autistic kids struggle with, and keeping up with a 2-way conversation can be overwhelming and exhausting.
You might also notice that an autistic child may not respond to their name.
Sometimes this is because they are so engrossed in an activity that they block out other noises, and sometimes its because autistic children dont develop the same familiarity with their name that other children do.
Another common communication sign of autism in children is that they may seem completely unaware of the volume of their own voice.
A-Man is often yelling or whispering without realizing that hes doing it, or realizing how those different volumes affect those around him.