Are you wondering if your child is autistic?
While there’s no straightforward way of telling, there are some early signs of autism you can look for.
And even though only an estimated 1 in 68 kids are autistic, identifying the signs and creating an action plan to help your child succeed is key.
Here are six early signs of autism to look out for.
1. Limited Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the telltale signs of autism in babies and young children. Young people with autism find it extremely stressful to make eye contact and often avoid it.
As eye contact is a common social norm in our culture, you’ll likely notice this early. If you gently ask and don’t receive eye contact from your child, you may want to look into treatment options. Dreambigchildren.com is a great resource for this.
2. Reduced Smiling
Many babies and young children simply can’t stop smiling. As a parent, you can’t stop filling your phone (and eventual scrapbooks—whenever you get around to them) with pictures of those rosy cheeks.
However, if you notice that your child isn’t smiling back at you, that could be one of the early signs of autism in toddlers. It’s not a guarantee, of course—but is something to take note of.
3. Delayed Language Development
First words are a big deal in most households. Most children speak for the first time between 10 and 14 months, while some don’t until they’re two years old.
Since children vary so widely in their first words, make sure to be patient. Trust your instincts and be sure not to compare your child to other similarly aged kids that are already speaking. It might just take more time!
4. Avoids “Pretend” Games
As children grow older, their imaginations begin to soar. Games like “house” become popular as they explore new worlds they create.
One of the early signs of autism in children could be linked to a lack of imagination. Children with ASD typically need to be told how to use toys or follow a model to truly “get” the games.
5. Doesn’t Seem To Hear
If your child doesn’t respond when called, this could be another early sign to monitor. Just be sure they’re not hooked on a TV show.
Children with autism can also be very sensitive. Noises can overwhelm them, especially in crowded areas. Anything that’s overstimulating could cause them to get upset.
6. Has Difficulty Communicating Needs
Children with ASD often have difficulty telling you what they need. They may point or make noises, but when asked what they want could go silent. In some cases, they may just ignore what they need and avoid asking for help when they do.
This early sign is one to try working through right away. Children with ASD need to begin to learn how to take care of themselves as early as possible so they can eventually be independent.
The Early Signs of Autism
The early signs of autism look different for each child. Autism in girls and boys presents itself differently, but common symptoms include limited eye contact and smiling, a lack of hearing or language, and difficulty telling you what they need.
As a parent, the best thing you can do is monitor this and take steps to help your child as soon as possible.
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