It can be hard to tell if a child has autism because many children without the condition have some of the same behavior. Most children with autism spectrum disorder don’t get a diagnosis until they’re 4 or older.
But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that it’s possible to get a reliable autism diagnosis as early as age 2. And many parents notice early signs before their child’s first birthday and realize something is different by the time their child is 18 months old.
The earlier a child with autism begins treatment, the better the outcome. If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your child’s development, talk with his doctor.
Signs of autism in babies younger than 12 months old
At this age, picking up on signs of autism involves paying attention to whether your child is meeting developmental milestones. Here are some things to watch for:
- Doesn’t show interest in faces.
- Doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t smile, and may even seem to look right through you.
- Doesn’t always react to sounds. Doesn’t respond to his name, doesn’t turn around to see where a sound is coming from, or doesn’t appear startled when he hears a loud noise. In other situations, his hearing may seem fine.
- Doesn’t like being cuddled or touched.
- Doesn’t show interest in typical baby games, like peekaboo.
- Doesn’t babble or show other early signs of talking.
- Doesn’t use gestures, like reaching for you when she wants to be held.
Read more about milestones for ages 1 to 6 months and 7 to 12 months.
Signs of autism in toddlers 12 to 24 months old
- Doesn’t use gestures. Doesn’t shake his head yes or no. Doesn’t wave goodbye or point to things he wants.
- Doesn’t point out objects to show interest in the world around her. By 14 to 16 months, most kids point to get your attention to 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.
- Loses verbal or social skills. Used to babble or speak a few words, or showed interest in people, but now he doesn’t.
- Withdraws. Seems to tune people out and be in her own world.
- Walks on his toes or doesn’t walk at all.
Read more about milestones for ages 13 to 24 months.
Signs of autism in children 2 years old and up
- Has a language delay. May struggle to express her needs. Some children with autism don’t talk at all, while others develop language but have trouble participating in a conversation.
- Has unusual speaking patterns. Might speak haltingly, in a high-pitched voice or a flat tone. Might use single words instead of sentences or repeat a word or phrase over and over. Might repeat a question rather than answer it.
- Doesn’t seem to understand what people are saying to her. May not respond to her name or may be unable to follow directions. May laugh, cry, or scream inappropriately.
- Narrowly focuses on a single object, one thing about an object (like a wheel on a toy car), or one topic at a time.
- Engages in limited imitation. Rarely mimics what you do and doesn’t engage in pretend play.
- Seems content to play alone. Appears to have little interest in other children and usually doesn’t share or take turns.
- Displays rigid behavior. May be very attached to routines and have difficulty with transitions. For example: A change in the usual route home from daycare can throw her into despair or result in a tantrum. She’s very particular about what she will and won’t eat. Or she wants to follow strict rituals at snacks and meals.
- Plays with objects or toys in unusual ways. For example: He spends a lot of time lining things up or putting them in a certain order. He enjoys repetitively opening and closing a door. Or he becomes preoccupied with repeatedly pushing a button on a toy or spinning the wheels of a toy car.
- Engages in self-injury, such as biting or hitting herself.
- Exhibits repetitive actions, such as flapping his arms or hands.
- Is overly sensitive to various kinds of stimulation. May resist touch, get agitated by noise, be extremely sensitive to smells, or refuse to eat many foods. He may want to wear only clothes without tags or made of a certain material.
- May overreact to some types of pain and underreact to others. For example, she may cover her ears to block loud noises but not notice when she skins her knee.
- May be fearful when it’s unnecessary or fearless when there’s reason to be afraid. For example, he may be afraid of a harmless object, like a balloon, but not frightened of heights.
- Has sleep disturbances. Many children with autism have trouble falling asleep and wake up frequently in the night or are very early risers.
- Exhibits behavior problems. May be resistant, uncooperative, or overly active. May be hyperactive, impulsive, or aggressive.
Read more about milestones for ages 25 to 36 months.
- Learn key terms explained in our autism glossary.
- Review timelines for reaching major milestones.
- Find out more about developmental delays.
- Learn about development assessments.
- Share support and resources with other parents in BabyCenter Community groups.
Karen Miles is a pregnancy and parenting writer and mom of four. She has authored hundreds of articles in magazines such as Parenting, Baby Talk, and Better Homes & Gardens as well as a book, The Power of Loving Discipline.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.
There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder. Updated criteria for diagnosing ASD include problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. It is important to note that some people without ASD might also have some of these symptoms. But for people with ASD, these characteristics can make life very challenging.
Social Communication and Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age (e.g., does not wave goodbye)
- Does not share interests with others (e.g., shows you an object that he or she likes by 15 months of age)
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play (e.g., does not pretend to “feed” a doll by 30 months of age)
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
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 only problems with social communication and interaction.
Examples of restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors 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 (i.e., echolalia)
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Must follow certain routines
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Most people with ASD have other characteristics. These might include:
- Delayed language skills
- Delayed movement skills
- Delayed cognitive or learning skills
- Hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior
- Epilepsy or seizure disorder
- Unusual eating and sleeping habits
- Gastrointestinal issues (e.g., constipation)
- Unusual mood or emotional reactions
- Anxiety, stress, or excessive worry
- Lack of fear or more fear than expected
It is important to note that children with ASD may not have all or any of the behaviors listed as examples here.
The signs and symptoms of ASD can be identified by early surveillance (collecting or gathering information) and screening (testing). Surveillance or developmental monitoring is an active on-going process of watching a child grow and encouraging conversations between parents and providers about a child’s skills and abilities. CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program has developed free materials, including CDC’s Milestone Tracker app, to help parents and providers work together to monitor children’s development and know when there might be a concern and if more screening is needed. Screening is when a parent or provider completes a checklist or questionnaire specifically designed to identify problems that need further evaluation. General developmental screening should occur at the 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well child visits and whenever a concern is expressed. Autism-specific screening should additionally occur at the 18- and 24- or 30-month visits and whenever a concern is expressed.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by:
- social impairments
- cognitive impairments
- communication difficulties
- repetitive behaviors
Because Autism is a spectrum disorder, it can range from very mild to very severe and occur in all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.
A person with ASD might:
- Not respond to their name (the child may appear deaf)
- Not point at objects or things of interest, or demonstrate interest
- Not play “pretend” games
- Avoid eye contact
- Want to be alone
- Have difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or other people’s feelings or their own
- Have no speech or delayed speech
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Give unrelated answers to questions
- Get upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Have unusual reactions (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
- Have low to no social skills
- Avoid or resist physical contact
- Demonstrate little safety or danger awareness
- Reverse pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
People with autism may also:
- Have unusual interests and behaviors
- Have extreme anxiety and phobias, as well as unusual phobias
- Line up toys or other objects
- Play with toys the same way every time
- Like parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
- Become upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Hyperactivity (very active)
- Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
- Short attention span
- Causing self injury
- Unusual eating and sleeping habits
- Unusual mood or emotional reactions
- Lack of fear or more fear than expected
- Have unusual sleeping habits
M-CHAT-R TM General Information
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F; Robins, Fein, & Barton, 2009) is a 2-stage parent-report screening tool to assess risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The M-CHAT-R/F is an autism screening tool designed to identify children 16 to 30 months of age who should receive a more thorough assessment for possible early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism-specific screening at 18 and 24 months of age, in addition to broad developmental screening at 9, 18, and 24 months. The M-CHAT-R/F, one of the AAP recommended tools, can be administered at these well-child visits.
If you and your physician agree that further screening is needed, you can request a free developmental assessment through your State Department of Health.
For more information on M-CHAT-R, visit http://m-chat.org.
Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have delays. During developmental screening the doctor might ask the parent some questions or talk and play with the child during an exam to see how she learns, speaks, behaves, and moves. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a problem.
All children should be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child doctor visits at:
- 9 months
- 18 months
- 24 or 30 months
Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for developmental delays due to preterm birth, low birth weight, having a sibling with ASD or if behaviors associated with ASDs are present.
If your child’s doctor does not routinely check your child with this type of developmental screening test, ask that it be done. If the doctor sees any signs of a problem, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is needed.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation
The second step of diagnosis is a comprehensive evaluation. This thorough review may include looking at the child’s behavior and development and interviewing the parents. It may also include a hearing and vision screening, genetic testing, neurological testing, and other medical testing.
In some cases, the primary care doctor might choose to refer the child and family to a specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. Specialists who can do this type of evaluation include:
- Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
- Child Neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
- Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who know about the human mind)
If your child is young and you suspect there might be something wrong, immediately seek early intervention services for your child. Click here for more information on Early Intervention.
This article was co-authored by Laura Reber, SSP. Laura Reber is a school psychologist and founder of Progress Parade. At Progress Parade, they know what makes you different makes you strong. They provide 1:1 online tutoring with hand-picked specialists to students with academic needs, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, and social-emotional challenges. Laura works with a team of school psychologists and specialized teachers to create personalized approaches for homework support, academic intervention, homeschooling, unschooling, and more. Laura holds a BS in Psychology from Truman State University and a Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) from Illinois State University.
There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Even infants younger than a year can display indicators of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These signs are sometimes difficult to distinguish, and parents might confuse them with hearing problems. Some babies might actually have hearing loss or may simply be late bloomers. If your child is showing certain autistic traits, you should request an evaluation from your pediatrician.  X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source . Your doctor can evaluate your baby at each well child check and track their progress. The official autism screening occurs when your child is 18 months old, but children should be evaluated for general developmental delays as early as 9 months. Early diagnosis is important to the child’s development.  X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source
One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.
What are the signs of autism?
The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autism’s 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 don’t have autism show a few. That’s 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:
By 6 months
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions
- Limited or no eye contact
By 9 months
- Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions
By 12 months
- Little or no babbling
- Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
- Little or no response to name
By 16 months
- Very few or no words
By 24 months
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
At any age
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development
- Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
If you have concerns, get your child screened and contact your healthcare provider
The M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers ™) can help you determine if a professional should evaluate your child. This simple online autism screen, available on our website, takes only a few minutes. If the answers suggest your child has a high probability for autism, please consult with your child’s doctor. Likewise, if you have any other concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait. Speak to your doctor now about screening your child for autism.
A diagnosis of autism is an important turning point in a long journey to understand your child’s world. Autism Speaks has many resources for families whose children have recently received a diagnosis.
Signs of autism in adults and teens
Do you suspect that your feelings and behaviors involve autism? Many people who have milder forms of autism go undiagnosed until adulthood. Find out more in our guide: “Is it Autism and If So, What Next?”
Please visit Treatment of Autism and our Autism Speaks Directory for more information. Have more questions? Autism Speaks’ Autism Response Team can help you with information, resources and opportunities. Call us at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email [email protected]
Autism Speaks’ multi-year Ad Council public service advertising campaign stresses the importance of recognizing the early signs of autism and seeking early intervention services. Recent research confirms that appropriate screening can determine whether a child is at risk for autism as young as one year. While every child develops differently, we also know that early treatment improves outcomes, often dramatically. Studies show, for example, that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
The signs of autism in women differ from that of men. This is one of the reasons of under reporting of autism in women. Testing and diagnosis protocols were originally set up to identify the symptoms of boys, so many girls and women can go under the radar for years until they get the help they need
What are the signs of autism in women?
Do you suspect your daughter could be autistic?
Perhaps you suspect you are on the spectrum?
Signs Of Autism In Women May Look Different To Signs of Autism In Boys
Often females go undiagnosed partly due to the fact medical professionals are not looking as much for autism or Aspergers in women as it typically has a much higher incidence in boys and men.
But partly, is it harder to spot the signs of autism in women as they become competent at camouflaging their symptoms and masking it from friends, family and especially health professionals if possible.
The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism ranges from 2:1 to 6:1. Some variation in these statistics occur as there is not one simple test and some people use different criteria. There is also lack of reporting on the prevalence of autism across the board in many countries.
However it is certain that autism in women and girls remains under diagnosed and under reported.
For those on the spectrum who go undiagnosed, it means they may feel something is wrong with them, they do not fit in or that they do not know why nobody understands them.
Many women with autism report a huge relief when they are diagnosed as they now feel understood and that there was a reason for the social awkwardness or for looking at the world differently.
They also have access to whole host of support groups and services if they wish to get specific help. They are no longer alone but are now part of a supportive community.
What Are The Signs Of Autism In Women?
If you are a woman and have seen a health professional in a past, it is highly possible that your autism may have been missed.
There is not one tell tale sign, but a range of symptoms that will lead to such a diagnosis. If a few of these symptoms apply to you, or to your daughter, it would be a good idea to get a thorough assessment with a health professional or therapist.
For many women when they read about signs of autism in women, it immediately rings true and they know that it applies to them.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Stimming (overt self stimulating and self soothing/comforting) behaviours like foot tapping, hair stroking, head banging, pen tapping, rocking, spinning or using repetitive phrases over and over.
- Communication or social problems. If the issues have been severe, it is likely to have been picked up in childhood. However for some women, if their symptoms are less severe, they may be able to mask it for years.
- Sensory challenges- hypersensitivity to bright lights, loud noises or strong smells
- Allowing others to speak on their behalf- either friends or family members
- Obsessively talking about a topic of interest and going overboard- perhaps collecting posters, toys, trinkets relating to that topic. Ignoring other people’s conversation if it does not relate to this current passion
- Unusually moody or depressed
- Intermittent or continous OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- Inability to read normal non verbal or verbal social cues. This makes it difficult to attain and retain friends
- Easily agitated and may have inappropriate melt-downs over seemingly minor events. This often causes difficulty at school and may lead to suspension or expulsion
- Epileptic seizures
Does Having One Or Two Of These Signs Mean I Have Autism?
Remember one or two of these symptoms is not enough to diagnose autism. Only if you see a several symptoms and a pattern of behaviour over a few years should you be concerned. Some kids or teens go through a “stage” – so if a behaviour is just occurring for a few weeks, this is not cause for concern either.
There may be something else going on that is temporary and will resolve, like a fight with her best friend causing stress or worry about an upcoming exam causing anxiety or something else.
How Are The Signs Of Autism In Women Different To That Of Men?
There are similarities between men and women when it comes to autistic behaviour and diagnosis. But there are significant differences too which may account for the mis-diagnosis and under reporting.
Boys tend to be more aggressive or misbehave and therefore get noticed earlier. Girls tend to withdraw and become shy and often do not get noticed. Girls and women are great at masking or camouflaging their symptoms to not draw attention to themselves.
Boys might tend to play by themselves.
Girls would stay close to other girls trying to be part of the group often pretending desperately to like the same groups, bands, music, tv shows that others do.
A woman with autism who appears withdrawn or quiet may be simply be seen as ladylike , feminine or shy. Whereas quiet, passive behaviour in a boy would be seen as unusual. Boys are expected to speak up, be rowdy and push and shove.
Standard tests for autism were designed for boys may miss diagnosis of girls with autism.
As girls grow to adult hood, there is even more pressure to fit in and disguise odd symptoms.
Many women report endlessly rehearsing for conversations they know might be coming up. They may script out answers to common questions in advance and pretend to like the same music, or movies as others.
They try to control their stimming to acceptable behaviours like foot tapping or doodling with a pencil or sitting on their hands
This constant pressure is exhausting and women with autism report being drained mentally and emotionally from keeping this up.
Many get depressed from exhaustion and feeling alone. They can go through life feeling like “no one understands me”. Many times a diagnosis is a major relief.
There is finally an explanation for the differences and validation that nothing “wrong “ with them, they just have a different neurology.
Once a diagnosis has been made, there are many support groups, therapy and services that become available. And many women can then enjoy a vastly improved life experience.
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What Are The Chances Of Having A Child With Autism?
Most of the stories you hear about people on the autistic spectrum feature them being diagnosed as children. (Indeed, that’s where all the unscientific fuss about vaccines causing autism comes from. And no, that is not true.) It’s definitely common for signs of autism to first be noticed in childhood, when autistic kids don’t do much pretend play and find social interaction difficult. But it’s also perfectly possible for people, particularly those with more functional forms of autism (like Asperger’s Syndrome), to reach adulthood without ever knowing they actually have a place in the autistic community.
When we talk about “the autistic spectrum,” we’re referring to a very wide range of disorders under the one banner of autism. There’s no one way to present autistic signs, which is why diagnostic tests about the possibility of autism in adults tend to be seriously involved. One quiz, offered by Psych Central to determine whether you might want to seek diagnosis from a medical professional, offers 50 different questions, from social interaction to patterns and empathy. But the basics of autism of any kind, according to The National Autistic Society, are three difficulties: with social communication, social interaction, and social imagination.
An important note, though: If something about this list rings peculiarly true, take a more in-depth screening test and see a doctor if you’d like more information. This is not an official diagnostic test вЂ” some of these are just common traits in introverts or the socially awkward, and not all of them are found in every autistic person. You can be an enthusiastic YES to many of these and still not be autistic, so don’t take any of this as hard-and-fast medical fact.
1. When You Have An Interest, It’s Intense And All-Absorbing
Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. It’s not the same as being a super-fan, though; a “special interest,” as it’s termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them “intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic,” which sounds like a trio of children’s book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.
2. You Notice Patterns Everywhere
It’s often a special feature of the autistic brain to be able to see patterns all over the place: in letters, numbers, formations of objects, anything. A 2011 study of nearly 750 people found that the brain regions that process patterns are very active in autistic people, while the regions associated with planning and decisions were less active. If you’re able to pick out patterns nobody else can see, without even thinking, you may have one of autism’s peculiar advantages.
3. You Often Find Sarcasm, Puns, And Irony Difficult To Understand
People with autism sometimes don’t quite “get” jokes and humor of certain kinds, partially because of social difficulty. A 2014 study of high school students, some of whom had autism, found that autistic teens respond far better to certain types of humor than others: nonsense jokes (which they liked far more when read than when spoken aloud) and aggressive humor. They didn’t have the same ease with stuff like puns or self-defeating humor. You may also have a bit of difficulty with sarcasm, irony, or weird idioms.
4. You Didn’t Do Much Pretending As A Kid
Pretend play (like being a “doctor” or a “vet” when you’re small) tends to be one of the marks that doctors use to assess autism in kids. You likely will have to ask parents or carers about this one, but if you didn’t do much imaginative play or pretending as a kid, it might indicate an autistic bent.
5. You Find It Much Easier To Be Alone
Autism in many forms is distinguished by feelings of social difficulty: not quite understanding, integrating, keeping up, or doing the “right thing” in social situations. Many autistics feel, obviously, that being on their own is a much easier option. Interestingly, some scientists believe that autistics could actually have originally been early “solitary foragers,” who survived in the wild on the strength of their attention to detail and ability to see patterns rather than their social ties. It’s still early days for that hypothesis, but it’s an intriguing idea.
6. You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture
The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. It’s exceptionally detail-oriented, able to pick up on a lot of tiny information at once, but it finds it harder to put together into a big picture. A 2013 study from NYU indicated that autistic brains process information in a different way than non-autistic ones, possibly because of lower levels of oxytocin, which both influences our social bonding and helps our brains sort and prioritize information.
7. You Get Upset If Your Daily Routine Needs To Be Changed
If you’re a routines person, with everything just so and a very specific way of getting to each of your tasks in the morning, and if you get seriously upset if those routines become obstructed, you may have a place on the autism spectrum. Routines are, for the autistic, often a way to cope with overwhelming amounts of information and sound, and a very necessary way to get through every day.
8. You Find It Difficult To Socially “Read” People
Autism is, in its many forms, often about looking at the world very literally. And that means social situations can seem extremely weird, because there are a lot of unspoken rules, assumptions, communications, and other messages in any social situation, many of which may pass the autistic person by. If you feel perpetually as if you’re getting it wrong in social situations and don’t know why, you may simply be “socially deaf” to these kinds of cues.
9. You’re Very Sensitive To Stimuli Like Sound
This is an interesting one, because it differs radically across the spectrum of autism, but it’s worth noting. What are called “atypical sensory-based behaviors,” or reactions to sensory stimuli that aren’t quite normal, are often a part of autism, with some people extremely sensitive to various sensations or sounds. It’s not the same for everybody, though. Autism seems to cause problems in some people when it comes to interpreting and processing sensory information, to the point of causing confusion and pain: you may have difficulty remembering faces, and be either over- or under-sensitive to things like noise and smell. If people keep commenting that your reactions to these things are unusual, it may be a marker of something deeper.
A baby brings hopes for a perfect life filled with baseball games, piano recitals, and tiny voices learning to say, “Mommy,” “Daddy, and, “I love you.”
Sometimes, though, those voices never come.
A child may appear to be developing normally but when it comes time for the child to speak, parents are met with silence or meaningless babble.
It might not even occur to a parent that his or her child isn’t speaking at an appropriate age level until the child spends time with peers at daycare, preschool, or even kindergarten and isn’t able to communicate.
According to the Autism Society, one in 68 children have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. About one in six children have some kind of speech delay or impairment.
Oftentimes, children aren’t diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder until age four or five, but the child may begin showing signs by the time he or she is two.
That can be scary news for a parent to receive, but it certainly doesn’t mean anything is “wrong” with the child. It only means the parents will need to adjust their plans and expectations to include early intervention.
Think about that. There could be at least two to three years between showing signs of autism and receiving a diagnosis. That’s two to three years of therapy, at an age where early intervention can make a huge difference, that’s lost forever.
Hundreds of thousands of children go undiagnosed because parents and pediatricians don’t know what to look for, or because pediatric neurologists and clinical psychologists are non-existent in most of the world. But parents can easily take control and look for early signs, then begin therapy immediately while waiting for an official diagnosis and for other services.
Harvard University came up with a series of questions to help parents notice signs of early autism. These have been proven to be 93 percent accurate, though are not a replacement for an official diagnosis.
See the image below to view all of the questions and if you answer “no” to two or more of these questions, please seek advice from a licensed professional. In the meantime, you can start a home-based intervention program immediately with Gemiini.
Whether your child is eventually diagnosed with a form of autism or not, he or she will be miles ahead of children who haven’t had any home-based therapy or intervention. Autism Speaks says,
“There is no debate or doubt: early intervention is your child’s best hope for the future. Early attention to improving the core behavioral symptoms of autism will give your child – and the rest of the family – several important benefits that you will not gain if you take a wait-and-see approach until your child enters school at age four or five.”
Gemiini has been helping children of all abilities and at all age levels learn to speak. Used worldwide, the unique system has been proven over and over again to increase a child’s vocabulary and comprehension.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s helped countless parents hear the tiny voices of their children finally say, “I love you, Mommy.”
Answer the five questions at the end of this post, and if you answer “no” to two or more, begin early intervention right away. But first, here are some early warning signs of ASD.
Early Warning Signs: First Year
Even young infants are very social, so it’s possible to detect signs of autism in how babies interact with their world. At this age, a child with an ASD may:
- Not turn to a mother’s voice
- Not respond to his own name
- Not look people in the eye
- Have no babbling or pointing by age one
- Not smile or respond to social cues from others
Babies who do not have autism can have these behaviors, too, but it’s best to contact your doctor right away with any concerns.
At 12 Months
- A child with typical development will turn his head when he hears his name.
- A child with ASD might not turn to look, even after his name is repeated several times, but will respond to other sounds.
At 18 Months
- A child with delayed speech skills will point, gesture, or use facial expressions to make up for her lack of talking.
- A child with ASD might make no attempt to compensate for delayed speech or might limit speech to parroting what is heard on TV or what she just heard.
At 24 Months
- A child with typical development brings a picture to show his mother and shares his joy from it with her.
- A child with ASD might bring her a bottle of bubbles to open, but he does not look at his mom’s face when she does or share in the pleasure of playing together.
ASD at any age might include the following signs:
- Repeated motions (rocking or spinning)
- Avoiding eye contact or physical touch
- Delays in learning to talk
- Repeating words or phrases (echolalia)
- Getting upset by minor changes
It’s important to note that these signs can occur in children without ASDs, too.