Autism Red Flags

Autism is on the rise and it has been for a long time. There is some disagreement about whether Autism is being over-diagnosed, or if more children are really being affected. Either way, communities, agencies, and schools are seeing an overwhelming increase in the Autism population.

The CDC released Autism prevalence rates in 2016: 1 in 68.




Early intervention can be key in helping a child with Autism experience as much independence as possible over their lifespan, and overcome any behavioral, cognitive, or socio-emotional challenges. 
The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get treatment. Children as young as 15-18 months can get a diagnosis of Autism. If your doctor will not evaluate your child for Autism because they are too young or may outgrow symptoms, consult with another doctor. 


The following Red Flags may be an indication of Autism Spectrum Disorder


Impairment in Social Interaction:


  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze
  •  Lack of warm, joyful expressions
  •  Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  •  Lack of response to name 


Impairment in Communication:
  • Lack of showing gestures
  • Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
  • Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm,
    unusual voice quality)


Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:
  • Repetitive movements with objects
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers 
Source:  https://www.firstsigns.org/concerns/flags.htm




An Autistic person might:
  • Not respond to their name (the child may appear deaf)
  • Not point at objects or things of interest, or demonstrate interest
  • Not play “pretend” games
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Want to be alone
  • Have difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or other people’s feelings or their own
  • Have no speech or delayed speech
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
  • Have low to no social skills
  • Avoid or resist physical contact
  • Demonstrate little safety or danger awareness
  • Reverse pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
  • Have unusual interests and behaviors
  • Have extreme anxiety and phobias, as well as unusual phobias
  • Line up toys or other objects
  • Play with toys the same way every time
  • Like parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
  • Become upset by minor changes
  • Have restricted, or very narrow, interests
Source:  http://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/signs-of-autism/


*Resource: The M CHAT is a simple and quick screening tool for Autism that takes about 5 minutes to complete and can be administered by anyone. A screening tool is simply an indicator of whether or not further professional evaluation should be pursued.


Helpful posts for parents new to Autism or ABA:

Newly Diagnosed
What is ABA?
Early Intervention
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