How To: Recognize the early signs of autism

Recognize the early signs of autism

Early intervention is important for children with autism, a developmental disorder that inhibits socialization. So be on the lookout for warning signs.

You Will Need
* Knowledge of developmental milestones
* Careful attention to your baby's behavior
* A hearing test for your child

Step 1: Pay attention to babbling
Pay attention to when your baby begins to babble. They should start at around five months old.

Step 2: Monitor eye contact
Begin monitoring eye contact at around six to nine months, when infants generally start smiling in response to their parents' grins. Babies with autism tend to avoid looking at their parents.

Step 3: Try some games
If your baby makes a sound, make one back and see if they reciprocate. Babies with autism usually do not take part in this verbal turn taking, nor do they participate in peek-a-boo.

Step 4: Try to get their attention
Note whether your baby responds to their name: They should begin to do so starting around 10 months.

Step 5: Check for 12-month milestones
By this point, most babies are pointing, waving, grasping objects, and attempting to speak.

Step 6: Gauge their sensitivity
Gauge your baby's sensitivity to sound and touch. Many children with autism are unusually sensitive to loud noises & hate being cuddled or touched—yet they sometimes under-react to pain.

Step 7: Study their focus
Do they tend to fixate on a favorite object, or part of an object, to the exclusion of other people, including other toddlers?

Step 8: Notice repetition
Such as rocking back and forth, hand flapping, and twirling.

Step 9: Notice rigidity
Children with autism often exhibit strong resistance to changes in their routine.

Step 10: Count their words
Keep track of vocabulary. At 18 months, most babies can say about a dozen words, and by the 2-year mark, they are usually initiating 2-word phrases.

Step 11: Don't ignore regression

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