According to CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Although most children are not officially diagnosed with autism until age 3, there are many telling signs of autism that develop in the first couple months. As therapists, educators, and parents, it is important that we familiarize ourselves with the signs of autism. As mentioned in our therapists in Chicago interview with Christine Deloria, early treatment can provide support in achieving challenging milestones. Studies have shown that early treatment can improve communication, social skills, and education.
Possible signs of autism can include:
- No big smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months.
- No reciprocal sharing of sounds, smiles, or facial expressions by 9 months. Will not initiate contact with others and struggles with eye contact.
- No babbling by 12 months.
- No reciprocal gestures by 12 months, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
- No words by 16 months.
- Using toys for an undesignated purpose.
- No meaningful two word phases by 24 months.