Early Signs of Autism

Every parent basks in the joy of watching their child reach greater and greater milestones. Though sometimes delays in these milestones can be a sign of something else going on. Early childhood is also a time when autism spectrum disorder starts to show signs.

Early detection plays a critical role in optimizing therapeutic results. As a parent cultivating an awareness of the early signs of autism spectrum disorder can help get your child off on the right foot, toward the best possible life they can live.

A lot of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will start to show developmental differences, in infancy. Though they can be hard to spot when they are very young. Though, most parts start to notice differences in their child’s social and language skills.

It’s also worth noting most children with autism spectrum disorder will typically sit, crawl, and even walk on time. However, less obvious differences in the development of certain things like body gestures, the ability to engage in pretend play, and social language development can sometimes go unnoticed. Especially in the early years of a child’s life.

In addition to things like speech and language delays many families also notice increasing behavioral differences. Especially in the way their child interacts with peers and others.

How To Recognize Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder typically manifests over a wide range of social, communication, and behavioral differences. It is truly a “Spectrum” of differences, and each can vary in severity from one child to the next.

This means that no single child with autism spectrum disorder has exactly the same symptoms as another child with ASD. The diversity and the severity of symptoms can vary dramatically.

This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to have a child screened in early childhood by a professional who is trained in spotting ASD. Fortunately, most public health institutions and school systems have screening protocols in place for children who are three or perhaps younger.

How Social Differences Manifest In Children With ASD

Social skill development is one of the areas where signs of ASD start to noticeably manifest. This might be things like not maintaining eye contact or making very little eye contact. Some children with ASD will show very little or no response to a parent’s smile or other facial expressions. Other possible signs of ASD social differences can manifest as:

  • The child not looking at objects or events that a parent is looking at or pointing to
  • Not point to objects or events even to get a parent to look at them
  • Unwillingness to bring objects of personal interest to show to a parent or caregiver
  • Not displaying appropriate facial expressions
  • Difficulty perceiving what others may be feeling by looking at their facial expressions
  • A decreased ability to demonstrate concern or empathize with others
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends

Communication Differences In Children With ADS

Communication differences are also a common place where signs and symptoms of ASD start to manifest. Though they can vary in severity based on age and should be thought of in the context of age-related skill comparisons. This can include things

  • Not pointing at things to indicate needs or share things with others
  • Not saying single words by 15 months
  • Not saying 2-word phrases by 24 months
  • Repeating exactly what others say while clearly not understanding the meaning
  • Not easily responding to their name being called, yet still, respond to other sounds
  • Referring to themselves as “You”
  • Referring to others as “I” and other confused or mixed-up pronouns
  • Showing minimal interest in communicating
  • General unwillingness to start or continue a conversation
  • Rarely using toys or other objects to represent people or real life in pretend play
  • May regress in the previous language or other social milestones, between the ages of 15 and 24 months

Behavioral Differences In Children With ASD

Several behavioral differences often manifest early in children with ASD. This incl