One in 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With such prevalence comes an increased focus on research and treatment. Clinical studies show early diagnosis and intervention for children who have ASD has a significant positive impact on long-term development. A recent article from Parentology looked at how autism is diagnosed. Here, we dive a bit deeper by looking at 10 early signs of autism.
Early Autism Symptoms
According to the National Autism Association, ASD can sometimes be diagnosed by age two, with most children on the spectrum showing symptoms by age three. Some of the earliest warning signs, which may be evident in infants and young toddlers, include these ten symptoms.
1. Lack of social
This may include failure to respond to or imitate parents’ and loved ones’ smiles and facial expressions, lack of eye contact and limited interaction. For example, when a parent points to an object, the child doesn’t look at it.
2. Limited emotional interaction.
He or she may avoid physical contact and dislike being comforted. Children with ASD may not respond to the emotional reactions of others.
3. Object fixation.
Babies as young as six months may be more interested in looking at objects than at people. Toddlers may line up toys and other objects or focus on parts of an object rather than the whole. Older children may develop intense and unusual interests.
Early Autism Symptoms (continued)
4. Failure to reach developmental milestones.
For example, most one-year-olds have favorite people and objects, can say a few words and respond to and make simple requests such as handing you a toy when they want to play. Most two-year-olds mimic other children and caregivers, are beginning to play with other children and can speak in short sentences.
5. Problems with speech.
Children who have ASD may have delayed or absent speech. Sometimes, they show regression in speech, such as losing words they once used. Some children develop
6. Difficulty communicating.
Children who have ASD may be unable or unwilling to communicate with others, or experience challenges when doing so. This can include not using or responding to common gestures such as waving, mixing up the meanings of pronouns such as you and me, not responding to his or her name and not starting or responding to conversations. Children who do not respond to someone calling his or her name may respond to other sounds, such as a car horn.