One in 68 children in the United States will fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Awareness of this disorder is growing, and many parents now find themselves wondering if their late-bloomers may actually be autistic. However, there is a difference between a slight delay in childhood development and signs of autism. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, we thought we would take today’s blog to talk about some of the early signs:
Early Autism sign 1: They’re non-responsive
Your child’s hearing is fine, but they don’t respond when you call their name. Nor do they turn their head to try and locate where a sound is coming from. Most children will respond to their caretaker’s voice by the time they’re six months old, but if they’re not responsive by then, it could be a sign of autism.
Early Autism sign 2: They’re not verbalizing
By 2 months old, your child should be cooing and gurgling, which is an early attempt at verbal communication. By 4 months, they should begin babbling, and by a year they should have said their first word. If your child just does not seem like they want to talk at all, that could be a sign of autism.
Early Autism sign 3: They’re obsessed
It’s one thing to have a favorite toy or activity, but children with autism will amp up their fixation to an 11. They like repetition, and want a song, video or audiobook to be played over and over and over again. They may throw a fit about a slight routine being broken.
Early Autism sign 4: They play differently
Children on the autism spectrum like repetitive toys, such as a jack-in-the-box or shape sorters, which have a definite beginning and end to them. They get frustrated by toys that don’t tell them when they’re “done” and can start over again, such as stuffed animals. When they’re in a room full of other children, they might watch the others, but they will not join in the play.
If your child is showing any of these signs, make sure they are evaluated. There are different functional level of autism, and early treatment can save a lot of frustration for both child and parent.