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Signs Of Autism In Infancy

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What Are The Signs Of Autism

Early signs of autism studied in infants

The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autisms early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, behaviors become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.

Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who dont have autism show a few. Thats why professional evaluation is crucial.

The following may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation right away:

Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests

People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by problems with social communication and interaction only.

Examples of restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests related to ASD can include

  • Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
  • Repeats words or phrases over and over
  • Plays with toys the same way every time
  • Is focused on parts of objects
  • Gets upset by minor changes
  • Has obsessive interests
  • Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
  • Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Some Of The Early Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder Can Be Detected In Babies Under 12 Months Old Here’s What You Need To Know

Watching your baby grow is an unforgettable experience. But while every child develops at their own speed, failing to reach certain milestones could raise red flags. Some parents recognize signs of autism spectrum disorder when their baby is around 6 to 12 months oldand maybe even earlier, says Thomas Frazier, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, autism researcher, and chief science officer of Autism Speaks. Here are the early signs of autism in babies and why prompt diagnosis is key to managing the condition.

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The Importance Of Early Diagnosis

The American Academy of Pediatrics joins with the CDC in recommending screening at a young age to ensure early intervention and better developmental outcomes. In the U.S., the majority of autism costs are for adult rather than child services . With early diagnosis and treatment, the cost of care over a lifetime can be reduced by two-thirds.

Early Signs Of Autism In Babies May Include:

Attention Deficit and Concentration in Autism
  • Reacting in an unexpected way to new faces
  • Rarely smiling in social situations
  • Making little or no eye contact
  • Difficulty in following objects with their eyes
  • Hearing their name does not produce a response
  • Having limited or no reaction to loud sounds, or not turning their head to locate sounds
  • Overreacting to some sounds
  • Displaying a lack of interest in interactive games, like peek-a-boo
  • Chattering, or imitating sounds and words is limited
  • Gestures like pointing at an object they want or waving back at others are limited
  • Tendency not to imitate the actions of other people
  • Dislike of being touched or cuddled, or not reaching out when about to be picked up, or
  • Displaying unusual or repetitive body movements.

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Early Signs Of Autism In Young Children Up To 36 Months May Include:

  • Difficulties in being able to follow simple verbal instructions
  • Showing little interest in imaginative play, such as pretend games
  • Showing little interest in other children
  • Wanting routines to be followed and being upset by change
  • Extreme sensitivity to sight, sound, smell, taste and some other sensory experiences
  • Displaying limited or no sensitivity to some sensory experiences such as heat, cold, touch, hunger, thirst or pain, or
  • Becoming fixated on playing with particular toys, activities or actions.

Should I get an autism assessment for my baby?

It is important to remember that these are signs and characteristics that babies and toddlers with autism may display, but they are by no means definitive, and their presence or absence should not be taken by parents or carers as conclusive evidence of autism or otherwise.

Instead, if your baby or toddler displays some of the characteristics of autism outlined above, or is developing at a different rate to other children of their age, it is important that you get the advice of a medical professional, such as your GP, a nurse or a health worker.

Some signs may change over time, or become more obvious as a child gets older.

Behavioural Signs In Infants Between 6 And 12 Months Can Predict Asd

A 2005 Canadian study published in the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, with over 200 participants was the first to pinpoint specific behavioural signs in infants as young as 12 months that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, whether a child will develop autism.

Autism is one of the most prevalent disorders today, and while a bio marker was finally found last year to help with early diagnosis, its normally only 80% effective, and so far mostly being used on higher risk infants. Also it is found using an MRI, and wait times can be long. Most doctors instead must rely on parent observations, observing the child themselves, and using standardized tools like the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers . However these tools are made for children who are 18 months and older, a long time especially when early detection and intervention can help with many of the frustrations that develop from communication problems.

Because of the research done, a scale was developed to help doctors with early assessment in infants as young as 6 months . The Autism Observation Scale for Infants has been a fantastic new tool to help parents and doctors get an early diagnosis.

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Why Its Important To Recognize The Signs Of Autism In Infants

One of the most important things you can do for your child after birth is to learn the early signs of the autism spectrum. While most children will start to develop symptoms as newborns, many are only diagnosed when they display the common symptoms of autism in toddlers.

Getting your child diagnosed as early as possible is the best decision you can make. Firstly, you could get peace of mind if the medical doctor tells you that what you are seeing are signs your baby is not autistic.If they do diagnose autism when your child is an infant, youll receive the following benefits:

  • Improved overall development: As parents, our single goal is to ensure our childrens lives are as easy and enjoyable as possible. The same goes for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder . The bottom line is that infants who receive autism treatment, support, and education at appropriate ages and key developmental stages are far more likely to gain the essential social and reasoning skills needed in society.
  • Diminished distress: Imagine a child at school who cant talk to their classmates, finds it hard to make friends, gets frustrated at not being able to communicate what they want, and is great at math but cant articulate that. Undiagnosed autistic children become incredibly distressed in social settings they dont know whats wrong with them, and parents and teachers think they are just acting out. An early diagnosis can diminish this distress hugely.

Babble Or Talk Back And Forth With Another Person

Autism in Infants: 5 Signs You Need to Know

Children at risk for autism may not direct their vocalizations to another person in a meaningful way or may not make babbling sounds at all.

  • Example of a typically developing child: When Mrs. Smith asks her son what he wants while feeding him in his highchair, Johnny reaches for the spoon she is holding and responds by saying dadagabada in a way that makes her feel like he is speaking his own language.
  • Example of a child at risk for autism: When Mrs. Jones asks her son what he wants while feeding him in his highchair, Sam does not respond and continues to make high-pitched noises while looking at the wall.

Scientific References:

  • Garrido, D., Watson, L., Carballo, G., Garcia-Retamero, R., & Crais, E. . Infants at-risk for autism spectrum disorder: Patterns of vocalizations at 14 months. Autism Research : Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 10, 1372-1383.

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Autism Signs By 7 Months

  • They don’t turn their head to locate where sounds are coming from.
  • They show no affection for you.
  • They don’t laugh or make squealing sounds.
  • They don’t reach for objects.
  • They don’t smile on their own.
  • They don’t try to attract attention through actions.
  • They don’t have any interest in games such as peekaboo.

The Type Of Therapy To Expect At The Lighthouse Autism Center

At the Lighthouse Autism Center, we use a unique approach to ABA therapy called Lighthouse Fusion. This is a unique program for children on the autism spectrum fuses together ABA and speech therapy and helps children make greater progress, faster. ABA therapy helps children with autism develop new skills, as well as improve the skills that they already have and decrease problem behaviors.

Our therapy programs are tailored to each individual child, and achievable goals are set out for the child to strive for in different areas of skill. Some skills include:

  • Improve attention, focus, and memory
  • Play and leisure

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How Signs Of Autism In Girls Differ To Boys

Early signs of autism are sometimes clearer in boys than in girls. According to child behavior specialists at the Cleveland Clinic located in Ohio, only one in three children diagnosed with autism is female. Only one girl to every nine boys is diagnosed with high functioning autism or Aspergers syndrome. Young children might be misdiagnosed as having social communication disorders or developmental disorders.

A study of 300 girls by the Cleveland Clinic suggests autistic females are less likely to exhibit classically male symptoms. These include restricted interests, difficulties in social situations, episodes of intense aggravation, and self-harm.

These girls are often labeled as having developmental delays, but without the diagnosis of autism, their access to resources and care become limited. The Cleveland Clinic recommends being proactive and seeing your pediatrician if you notice any signs your daughter might be autistic, especially if she is in between regular medical check-ups.

If You Suspect Signs Of Autism In Infants


During your childs development, its helpful to keep a notebook to jot down events, milestones, and unusual things you may witness during their development. This is a great way of keeping a log of both memories, but also any potential issues that a medical professional might want to look into.

If youve read through all the signs of autism in infants and suspect your child may be in need of an assessment, please contact us to book an appointment. Our office proudly serves Texas families and residents just like you!

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Classic Sign Of Autism Appears In Early Infancy Study Says

Virginia HughesSpectrumDouble takes:


This article is more than five years old. Autism research – and science in general – is constantly evolving, so older articles may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.

Baby boys who will later be diagnosed with autism show a loss of interest in other peoples eyes between 2 and 6 months of age, according to a study published today in Nature1. This is the earliest behavioral marker of autism found to date.

The researchers found that the steeper the decline in eye fixation over the first two years of life, the greater the level of social and communication impairment at 2 years old.

Now we know that it is possible to develop a quantitative assay in early infancy that is predictive of both autism and level of social disability, says lead investigator Ami Klin, director of the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The study is the latest in a surge of research on the younger siblings of children with autism, dubbed baby sibs, who have a one in five chance of developing the disorder.

Researchers have found that some baby sibs have distinctive brain-wave patterns and a loss of interest in faces beginning as early as 6 months of age. The new study uncovers changes in brain development even earlier.

Communication: Early Signs Of Autism

In the first year of life, childrens social and communication development is an important area to watch for early signs of autism. Social and communication development includes things like learning to smile, make eye contact, and use gestures.

Social interaction and communicationIf young children are autistic, they might:

  • not consistently use eye contact to get someones attention for example, they might not always look at you and then at a snack to show you they want it, or not look back towards you when they see something that excites them
  • rarely point to or hold up objects to show you things for example, they might not point to a dog and look back at you to make sure youve seen it too, or they might drop a toy in your lap and walk away instead of holding it up and looking at you
  • not consistently respond to their name being called
  • not consistently use gestures on their own for example, they might not wave bye-bye or clap without being told to, or without copying someone else whos waving or clapping
  • not consistently smile at you or other familiar people without you smiling at them first
  • rarely copy other peoples actions, like combing their hair when you do it
  • not sound like theyre having a conversation with you when they babble
  • not understand simple, one-step instructions for example, Give me the block or Show me the dog.

Relationships and playIf young children are autistic, they might:

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Signs Of Autism In Toddlers

Repetitive behaviors and differences in play, imitation, and feeding habits were the most often reported signs of autism in the second year, according to the Avon study.

Also look for these signs:

  • Doesn’t use gestures. Doesn’t shake their head yes or no. Doesn’t wave goodbye or point to things they want.
  • Doesn’t point out objects to show interest in the world around them. By 14 to 16 months, most toddlers point to get your attention and share something they’re interested in, such as a puppy or new toy.
  • Doesn’t use single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by 24 months.
  • May limit speech to repeating what they just heard.
  • Loses verbal or social skills, often between the ages of 15 and 24 months. Used to babble or speak a few words, or show interest in people, but now doesn’t.
  • Withdraws. Seems to tune people out and be in their own world.
  • Walks on their toes or doesn’t walk at all.

Signs Of Social Difficulties

Catching Early Signs of Autism | NSF Science Now
  • Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or whats going on around them.
  • Doesnt know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
  • Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
  • Doesnt play pretend games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
  • Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them.
  • Doesnt seem to hear when others talk to them.
  • Doesnt share interests or achievements with others .

Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.

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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.

Clinical Presentation In Infancy

Various problems have, until recently, limited our knowl- edge of autism as it is first expressed in infancy. Of the first 11 patients described by Kanner 1, only one was below age 3 years, and over half were above 4 years of age. Until recently, it was relatively common for the diagnosis to be made around age 4, even when parents were worried for several years before 7. As a result, much of the available research on early development was based on parental retrospection or, less commonly, reviews of home videotapes 8,9. The first longitudinal studies of young children referred for a possible differential diagnosis raised interesting questions about expression of autism in the first years of life 10. As more information on early development of children with autism has become available, it has generally confirmed Kanner√Ęs original emphasis on disturbed social development as the major clinical hallmark of the condition. Infants with autism appear to have limited eye contact, social attention and responsiveness 11, are less likely to engage in vocal or motor imitation 12, and may have problems with regulation of arousal and unusual responses to sensory stimuli 12.

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Signs Of Speech And Language Difficulties

  • Speaks in an atypical tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch .
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent.
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
  • Uses language incorrectly or refers to him or herself in the third person.
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
  • Doesnt understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
  • Takes what is said too literally .

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.

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