Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairments, cognitive impairments, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors. It can range from very mild to very severe and occur in all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).
SIGNS OF AUTISM:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
- No babbling by 12 months
- No Gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
EARLY SIGNS OF AUTISM:
- Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
- Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
- Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
- Doesn’t follow objects visually.
- Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
- Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
- Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
- Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling.
- Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
- Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
- Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.
- Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests.
If you are concerned about your baby’s development, ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation. To find a developmental specialist in your area, click here. (link to yellowpagesforkids.com) or call the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285.
Is your child hitting his/her milestones? Visit CDC’s Learn the Signs, Act Early Milestone Checklist http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html
Learn the Signs. Act Early. (2011). Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html
Signs of Autism. (2011). Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/signs-of-autism/