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ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), commonly known as Autism, is one of the most common diagnosis among children. In an article published by Vincent Iannelli, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease and Control Prevention reported that in 2014, 1 out of 68 children are diagnosed with Autism as compared to in 2000 where 1 in 150 children are diagnosed (Vincent Iannelli, 2018).
ASD is not easily diagnosed until the child is around 4 years old. This is very unfortunate because by then, it might be too late to get the early intervention needed to improve the child’s condition. However, specialists believe that subtle signs of Autism can be seen among children even before they reach 3 years old.
Early signs of Autism can be observed as early as the baby turns 6 months. For parents who are concerned if their baby is showing symptoms of Autism or even those who simply want to keep track of their baby’s development, here are some of the subtle signs to look out for:
0 – 12 months
- The baby is not making any eye contact especially when you are talking to them.
- The baby is not smiling.
- The baby does not respond to noises.
- The baby is not babbling
- The baby is not making any gestures like pointing.
12 – 24 months
- The baby is unable to say a single word.
- The baby seems to avoid physical contact e.g. arching away when being carried.
- The baby does not respond when their name is called.
- The baby is distant to peers or lacks social skills.
If you observe one or more of the signs listed above, note that it does not necessarily mean your child has ASD. Most of the signs listed above tend to overlap with the symptoms of other developmental disorders.
When to consult professionals?
There is no perfect time or situation to know when to consult experts about your child’s condition. If you observe strange behaviors in your child, trust your instincts and consult an expert right away. Sound out your concerns to the expert and listen to what they might have to say. As the saying goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
It is very important to take early precautions regarding this matter. Whether it is a sign of ASD or other developmental disorders, it should not be taken lightly. If you observe a sign or atypical behaviours in your baby, here are step-by-step recommendations from the website www.firstsigns.org (Vincent Iannelli, 2018):
- Put together a checklist of the developmental milestones you feel your baby is not reaching to share with your pediatrician. Be specific about what you are seeing (or not seeing). For example, “My baby doesn’t respond when I say her name”.
- Be clear about your specific concerns. If the doctor suggests taking a wait-and-see approach, ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician.
- After your child has been screened, ask as many questions as it takes for you to understand the results, what they mean, and how best to proceed.
- If the screening shows your baby may be at risk for developing ASD, follow up. It may be hard to believe or accept this possibility, but do not let your emotions prevent you from getting help as soon as possible. Early intervention may make an enormous difference in how well your child responds to treatment.
Vincent Iannelli, M. (2018, November 4). Signs of Autism in Infants and Babies. Retrieved from verywell family: https://www.verywellfamily.com/early-signs-of-autism-2634562?_ga=2.132589965.2080255936.1551246396-34705781.1551246396