Autism Red Flags

Autism is on the rise and it has been for a long time. There is some disagreement in the US 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 recently released updated prevalence rates for Autism in the U.S. : 1 in 68. That is a massive increase from 20, or even 10 years ago.

Early intervention is key in helping a child with Autism grow into their full potential, 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. Know the warning signs for Autism and share them with people.

The following Red Flags may indicate a child is at risk for an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and is in need of an immediate evaluation:

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 

 If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation: 
  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • 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 two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

*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. This screening tool will let you know if you should seek further evaluation or not.

Helpful posts for parents new to Autism or ABA:

Newly Diagnosed
What is ABA?
Early Intervention
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