One of the most Important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of Autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.
The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. Please do not delay in asking for an evaluation if you observe that your child exhibits any of the following:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or thereafter.
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by 9 months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12months
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful, two-word phrases ( not including imitation or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Though Autism Spectrum Disorders range from mildly to profoundly disabling, a diagnosis if ASD is an important turning point in a long journey.
I encourage parents to trust their instincts and find a doctor who will listen and refer their child to appropriate specialists for diagnosis. Unfortunately, doctors unfamiliar with diagnosing Autism sometimes dismiss parent concerns, delaying diagnosis and the opportunity for early intervention therapies.