Early Signs of Autism

Having a child diagnosed with autism can be a difficult time. As a parent or caregiver, one of the most important things to do is to educate yourself and become familiar with the developmental milestones of your little ones’ life. As we know, there currently is not a cure for autism but with early intervention and treatment, symptoms related to autism can greatly improve.

Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills and cognitive function. Individuals diagnosed with the disorder experience difficulty with communication and social skills and often engage in repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Since the first diagnosis of autism in 1943, we have learned a lot more about the disorder. In fact, doctors throughout the United States have seen and treated an increase in patients with autism. Currently one in 88 children is diagnosed each year. A diagnosis can range from very mild to very severe and occur in all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. However, males are four times more likely to have autism than females. Autism generally appears before age 3, although some children can show no signs before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly digress.

Some early signs of autism:

  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months
  • Does not reach out to be picked up
  • Does not smile when smiled at
  • Lack of interest in playing with other children
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Does not ask for help or make other basic requests
  • Fixates on an activity or object

If you have concerns and would like to have your child evaluated, in Allegheny County call The Alliance for Infants & Toddlers at 412-885-6000. In Westmoreland County, call Westmoreland Casemanagement & Supports, Inc. at 724-837-1808.

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