Updated August 19, 2016
According to the CDC, as many as 1 out of every 68 (or possible 1 out of 45) children may be autistic. So if you're a parent of a young child and worried about the early signs of autism, you have a right to be concerned. It's a good idea to keep a close eye on your child's development because even very young children can be diagnosed. And research shows that the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the prognosis for good outcomes.
What should you be looking for? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, these are some of the earliest red flags for autism:
Possible Indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 1 year of age
- Does not speak one word by 16 months
- Does not combine two words by 2 years
- Does not respond to name
- Loses language or social skills
- Poor eye contact
- Doesn't seem to know how to play with toys or excessively lines up toys or other objects
- Is attached to one particular toy or object
- Doesn't smile or interact joyfully
- At times seems to be hearing impaired
It's also important to remember that a child who does have excellent language skills may still be diagnosable on the autism spectrum.
In fact, some children who are diagnosed with autism have extraordinary language and reading skills.
This is just a partial list if parents have questions or concerns about their child's development they should contact their physician.
Submitted by Michelle Hardimon SIUC Intern Department of Early Childhood Education.