How Do I Know If My Infant Is On The Autism Spectrum?

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

It can be hard for a parent to admit that something isn’t right with their infant.  No one wants to think about the possibility of their child having a learning or social disorder, so it can be very easy to ignore warning signs or chalk them up to excuses or rationalize behaviors, even though it’s obvious that something is different about your child.  Autism treatments and therapy programs are more effective if started before your child is three years old.  That means you need to be diligent early in his or her life to help your child get the help needed to adapt to the conditions that are present in development.  Early warning signs for autism start as early as 1 year old.

Are you sensing something is not right, but you can’t put your finger on it?  Here are some early things to look for in your infant’s behavior that can help you determine if it is time to take our online evaluation for assessment:

Where is the smile?
Your baby should be responding to many stimuli with a smile. If your child is not expressing joy facially, this can be an indicator. When you smile at your baby, he or she should smile back.

No babble.
By the time your baby is a year old, he or she should be saying at least one word with meaning. You should also have been hearing babbling and cooing and seeing attempts to imitate facial expressions.

Poor eye contact.
At this age, one of the most common ways for babies to communicate non-verbally is simply to follow your voice and activity with their eyes.  In addition to eye contact, there should also be joint attention—in other words, your infant should follow your gaze and look where you are looking.

No gesturing.
Most babies start to wave bye-bye and reach for things by about 9 to 10 months.

Delayed motor development.
If your child isn’t crawling or rolling over when other babies their age are doing so, then it can be a red flag. All motor skills are expected within a few months of the “average” whether it is talking, sitting up or walking. If your child is more than 3 months behind the average, then there can be a significant delay in the one milestone or a red flag for a disorder. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and have your child tested by a professional for that area of concern. Don’t accept the excuses put in place by society or doctors such as boys develop slower; an only child doesn’t have older siblings to model; or she’s the last child so everyone does things for her, and so on.

Repetitive behaviors.
If your child is constantly repeating behaviors like stiffening their arms, hands or legs or making unusual movements with their hands or wrists, it can be a warning sign that they are on the spectrum. Your child might also be engaging in repetitive behavior such as spinning a wheel, flapping straps or strings, or being obsessed with circular (or any specific) objects. Children do go through phases where they have an interest or develop a new skill or fascination, but when the object or action becomes the focus no matter where they are, who they are with or what they are supposed to be doing, and it becomes disruptive or obsessive to the point they cannot engage in the actions they are supposed to or enjoy other things, then you should be aware that this is a red flag.

These are just a few of the signs that your child might be on the autism spectrum.  If you are concerned, take our online assessment quiz, and then follow up with our team at Peak Potential Therapy.  If your child is on the spectrum, our team is the best choice in Northeast Ohio for ABA therapy and speech therapy services.