As parents, we watch our babies grow and quickly become experts on our individual children. With each new stage and each new milestone, we sometimes find ourselves asking, “Is this normal?” For parents with burgeoning concerns that their little one may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, we’d like to share a few of the early signs you may want to pay attention to.
Of course, all children are different, and not every child with Autism will exhibit each and every sign. Differences may be subtle, especially before a child’s first birthday. As a parent, you know your child best, so if you have concerns, it’s important to talk with your child’s pediatrician immediately. We look for early signs of Autism because early assessment and early intervention are so vital to helping our kids reach their fullest potential later on in life.
Areas Where Children with Autism Show Differences
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder generally begin to show subtle early developmental differences with their peers in social and communication skills as well as through some behavioral differences. Because these differences and delays do not generally affect gross motor development, such as crawling and walking, they can be harder to spot.
Key Milestones to Look For
Every child is different, and Autism Spectrum Disorder is just that – a spectrum – so there’s huge variation in the number and severity of early signs a child may display. Below is a list of a few early warning signs you want to pay attention to.
- Little or no big joyful smiling or engaged expressions by 6 months
- Little or no babbling, exchanged facial expressions, or back and forth communication, such as pointing or meaningful gestures, by 12 months
- Very few or no words by 16 months
- No two-word phrases by 24 months
- Poor eye contact
- A lack of interest in showing or sharing items or interests
- Not responding to his or her name
- Repetitive behaviors, such as rocking, flapping, or spinning
- Loss of previously acquired skills at any time, such as babbling or speech
Why Early Intervention Matters
Early intervention—technically defined as ages 0-3—can make all the difference for children with Autism as they continue to grow and change. Early intervention therapy takes advantage of early development, such as with language skills, where there are opportunities within a young child’s home, daycare, and community for them to practice new skills in the comfort of their everyday environments.
At Innovative Behavior Options, we recommend that parents receive an early diagnosis so that your child can have access to services at a younger age to improve his or her overall outcome. The earlier you register your child for ABA therapy, the earlier parents, siblings, and teachers will begin to see changes in behavior and skills.
You know your child best. If you’re concerned your child may be exhibiting some of the early signs of Autism, please reach out to your pediatrician. At IBO, we want to help children with Autism reach their highest potential. Please give us a call at 770-250-0093 to learn more about how early intervention and ABA therapy can help your child thrive.