As a parent or caregiver, it is useful to learn the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching at each age.
Understanding your child’s development can feel quite daunting – a good place to start is this checklist, which helps outline a range of milestones and what you can do to help your child:
Children with autism have symptoms from a very young age, beginning before the age of three. Some children with ASD have difficulty with eye contact, social language development and use atypical behaviours within the first few months of life. Other children appear to follow expected developmental milestones until 18–24 months, then either stop gaining new skills or lose some they have already developed. While every child develops differently, we also know that early identification and intervention improves outcomes significantly.
The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder.
- Avoidance of eye contact
- No response to name by 12 months
- Loss of speech, or delayed speech and language skills
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- 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
- Has difficulty talking about feelings of their own or other people’s feelings
- No spontaneous play of “pretend” games (such as pretend feed a doll) by 18 months
- Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Gets upset by minor changes in routine or environment
- Has obsessive interests
- Demonstrates hand flapping, body rocking, or spinning in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel
If you have any concerns about any of these areas, then please give us a call and arrange a chat with us about how we can help.