Signs Of Autism by Age

Understand the Signs for Autism Spectrum Disorders. The following signs may indicate your child is at risk for an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Signs of Autism in Children Under 2 years old by month milestones

signs of autism infographic

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects an individual from birth throughout adulthood. There is a wide array of domains that may be affected for an individual with autism and thus many different initial signs of autism. As Dr. Stephen Shore was famously quoted, “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  These experiences may range from having various sensory sensitivities, difficulty communicating, intensely fixated interests, as well as other cognitive, social and emotional idiosyncrasies.

In addition to the variety of ways an individual may experience autism, there is also a vast spectrum in the degree to which an individual’s symptoms may manifest. This spectrum is generally addressed as a range from “high functioning” to “low functioning.” An individual with autism who is “high functioning” might be more capable of living an independent lifestyle such as going to and succeeding in school, social gatherings, and eventually living on their own and joining the workforce. Others who may be on the lower end of the spectrum might face larger obstacles that make living independently a greater challenge. Additionally, many autistic individuals experience comorbidities that may further affect their autonomy such as vision or hearing impairments.

Is There a Cure for Autism?

While there is no “cure” for autism, there are scientifically proven methods of therapy to help autistic individuals gain greater independence. One such evidence-based practice, is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is widely recognized as the most effective treatment for autistic individuals. Comprehensive ABA treatment is a discipline devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior, focusing on objectively defined, observable behaviors of social significance.

How Do I Know If My Child Is On the Spectrum? Are There Signs of Autism?

There are a few behavioral signs you might be able to spot in a child as early as 6 months old. Some of these include a general lack of joyful expressions, avoidance of eye contact, or a lack of reciprocating actions such as back-and-forth sounds or gestures. The signs of autism infographic on this page breaks down which milestone behaviors (or lack thereof) may indicate a child is at risk for autism.

In addition to this basic checklist, you may also consider completing an online screening that will indicate whether you should take the next steps of scheduling an appointment with a diagnostician.

I Already Know My Child Has Autism. Do I Still Need to See a Doctor?

Yes, it is a good idea to get a formal diagnosis and evaluate treatment options. A formal diagnosis will help you communicate your child’s needs at school, with care-givers and better understand the resources available to you. Additionally, an official diagnosis is needed for any services to be covered by your insurance. We strongly encourage you to seek a diagnosis to ensure your child is given every opportunity to experience progress and set themselves up for success. Ultimately, you can choose whether ABA, or any treatment at all, is the best option for your child.

Signs of Autism – An At-a-Glance Checklist By Age

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back and forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful two word phrases by 24 months (not including imitating)
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

If your child exhibits any of the following or you have any questions related to your child’s development, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for more information. As a full-service provider that specializes in autism treatment and other development disabilities, we have the experience, knowledge, and compassion needed to help your family navigate next steps.

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