The Top Ten Signs of Autism You Need to Watch for in Your Infant
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one out of every 110 American children has autism. While a diagnosis of autism is generally not made until a child has reached an age between 2-3 years, signs of impeding diagnosis can appear as early as within the first year of life in 6 to 12 month old children. Researchers involved in autism research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute offer the following ten signs of autism you need to watch for in your infant:
Ten Signs of Autism in Infants
1. Does your child rarely smile when approached by caregivers?
2. Does your child rarely try to imitate sounds and movements others make, such as smiling and laughing, during simple social exchanges?
3. Is your child delayed in voicing baby babble or babbles infrequently?
4. Does your child fail to respond to his or her name with increasing consistency from 6-12 months?
5. Does your child not use gestures when communicating by age 10 months?
6. Does your child make poor eye contact with you or others?
7. Does your child seek your attention infrequently?
8. Does your child repeatedly stiffens arms, hands, legs or displays unusual body movements such as rotating the hands on the wrists, uncommon postures or other repetitive behaviors?
9. Does your child typically not reach up toward you when you reach down to pick him or her up?
10. Do you see delays in motor development, including delayed rolling over, pushing up and crawling?
While observing one or more of the aforementioned signs is not a guarantee that your infant has or will develop autism, neither is a lack of any of the signs at such an early age a guarantee that your child will never develop autism.
According to Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, the ten signs are meant to empower parents who are the ones most likely to notice the early warning signs that something developmental may not be right with their child.
“We want to encourage parents to become good observers of their children’s development so that they can see the earliest indicators of delays in a baby’s communication, social and motor skills,” says Dr. Landa. “If parents suspect something is wrong with their child's development, or that their child is losing skills, they should talk to their pediatrician or another developmental expert…don’t adopt a ‘wait and see’ perspective. We want to identify delays early in development so that intervention can begin when children's brains are more malleable and still developing their circuitry.”
The ten signs of autism in infants is the result of recent research by scientists at the Kennedy Krieger Institute who have found that early detection of autism leads to early interventions that can improve the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in very young children.
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Kennedy Krieger Institute news release