Early Signs of Autism – what to look for in infants

We often hear so much about the “red flags” seen in toddlers, but there are many signs that a child with autism beings to display earlier on in their infancy stage. If caught quickly, early intervention can help your child on the spectrum advance their language and communication skills at a faster rate then once these skills have already developed and need to be retrained.

One reason many families have a hard time recognizing these red flags may have to do with the fact that since children do no start producing spoken language until one year of age, the “early signs” might be too subtle to notice. This could be especially true for families with limited resources and access to information. Therefore, these children who should have already been evaluated are not referred to early intervention therapy until after they are expected to produce spoken language.

Here are some of the early signs of autism that begin in the infancy stage. These signs are important for all parents to be aware off. The earlier that autism is diagnosed and therapy begins the better chances your child has of overcoming certain social and behavioral obstacles later on in life.

  • Smiles late or very minimally – occurs in the first few months of life
  • Seldom makes eye contact with people – typically emerges between two to four months
  • Does not respond to calling of their name with head turns – occurs between eight to ten months
  • Does not turn or look when you point or say “look at this,” – occurs between ten to 12 months
  • Does not point at objects or people – emerges between 12 to 14 months
  • Does not babble back and forth – established at six months of age. Babbling becomes more complex with more syllables between 8 to 10 months
  • Demonstrates unusual movements, such as hand flapping, spinning, tapping or playing with the same toy in a way that seems odd or repetitive
  • Doesn’t explore surroundings with curiosity or interest

If you have any concerns about your child’s development in the infancy stage, please reach out to your pediatrician and voice your concerns. They will be able to refer you to a specialist who can evaluate your child’s development and connect you with the proper program, such as Beautiful Minds Center, that specializes in early intervention therapy.