How to Know If Your Child Has Autism: The Early Warning Signs

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), around one in 59 kids have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The sooner a child is properly diagnosed, the sooner they can get the help they need to have healthy, productive lives.

And child autism behavioral signs can begin emerging when a child is only six to 12 months old. However, it’s important to note that most autism specialists won’t attempt making a definitive diagnosis until your child is at least 18 months old.

That’s because until 24 months autism symptoms can emerge and fade away. After that, child autism symptoms tend to become stable.

If you’re wondering how to know if your child has autism, keep reading. We’re sharing the early warning signs to look for.

How to Know If Your Child Has Autism

If you’re wondering, “does my child have autism,” the first thing you should do is understand what autism is. Once you know it’s definition, it’s easier to understand and get the help you need if you do in fact have an autism child.

What Autism Is

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is actually a broad range of conditions. Often a child with autism struggles with the following:

  • Social skills
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Speech
  • Nonverbal communication

There is also not one specific type of autism, but rather, many subtypes. There is also no known cause of autism but most medical professionals believe that both environmental and genetic factors contribute to an ASD diagnosis.

Other Health Issues Often Accompany Autism

Often, it’s not just autism that the child and parents have to deal with. Other sensory sensitivities and medical issues come into play such as:

  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (GI)

There are also mental health challenges that often accompany autism such as attention issues, anxiety, and depression. However, it’s also important to note that each child with autism will have their own set of strengths and challenges so teaching autism child will differ depending on their symptoms and the severity of ASD.

Symptoms and Severity Differs Greatly Between Individuals

Some people with autism are highly skilled while others are severely challenged. Some may need less support and can even live independently while others may always require significant support in their daily lives.

Getting the right help as soon as your child is diagnosed with autism will also make a huge difference in their quality of life and capabilities. Visit Blue Sprig Autism to learn more about what types of help and services are available.

Also, it’s important to note that not all children with autism will experience the exact same or all of the symptoms listed here.

Symptoms of ASD 

As your baby begins to grow older, there are certain developmental stages they should reach. However, in children with autism, there will be signs that they aren’t reaching those stages in a timely manner or even at all.

By Six Months

By six months your infant should be smiling socially. You should also notice other types of engaging expressions.

A sign of child autism children this age exhibit is limited or no eye contact.

By Nine Months

By nine months an autism child tends to exhibit little or no sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions with others.

They may not respond to sounds, voices or even the sound of their own name.

By 12 Months

At 12 months, a child with autism may not be babbling or pointing. They also often struggle with showing, reaching or waving as other children should be doing by this point.

By 16 Months

By 16 months, an autistic child will have learned very few or no words. They may also not be showing items or sharing interests.

It’s also not unusual for them to exhibit an unusual attachment a particular object or toy.

By 24 Months

By 24 months, most children can speak two-word phrases. Children with autism often can’t unless they’re imitating or repeating what they’ve heard.

You may even notice that in place of communicating verbally, they replace those language skills with acting out such as crying or screaming to express their needs.

If you notice a loss of skills in your child, it may be a sign they have autism.

Other Signs of Autism

Another sign of child autism is not playing socially with other children. They may also exhibit a lack of empathy for others along and withdraw from social situations.

A child with autism may also exhibit the following signs:

  • Unusual body posturing or facial expressions
  • Use an unusual tone of voice
  • Avoid eye contact or have poor eye contact with others
  • Experience behavioral disturbances
  • Have a lower level of language comprehension than other kids their age
  • Learning to speak is delayed
  • Speak in a flat or monotonous tone of voice
  • Socially interact in inappropriate ways
  • Struggle with picking up on social cues
  • Struggle with a learning disability
  • Be preoccupied with specific topics
  • Repeatedly use the same words or phrases
  • Have difficulty with two-way conversations
  • Have odd reactions when in social settings

An autism child also may show self-abusive behaviors such as banging their head against a wall or repeating the same movements.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Autism

The earlier a child is diagnosed with autism, the more quickly they can receive help for their symptoms. If you feel your child exhibits some or many of these symptoms, the first step is to have your child’s doctor evaluate them for ASD.

If you see symptoms before six months, see your child’s pediatrician.  Even if they’re still too young to be diagnosed, they can still be evaluated for developmental delays.

If your pediatrician suspects autism they can refer you to a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist specializing in ASD. Always trust your instincts since parents are known to be good at picking up on early signs of autism.

Keep Learning and Get Support

Learning how to know if your child has autism starts by educating yourself. The next step is to get the right support system in place. There are loads of engaging resources and activities available online.

Find doctors you trust and respect. Search for communities of other parents who have autistic children and learn from them.

We can help. Our site has an open discussion available to talk about the joys and struggles of parenting. Keep coming back to share your thoughts and learn more.

Source: Unsplash | Hal Gatewood