Early Signs of Autism


Today, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. Autism is diagnosed based on the child’s presenting symptoms. Children with autism often present with deficits in social communication, speech and language, and restricted activities and interests. Although there is an increased prevalence, children may not be diagnosed with autism until at least four years of age or older. However, children can be diagnosed as early as two years old. Receiving early intervention will yield the best results for a child who is diagnosed with autism. Therefore, it is important that parents are aware of the early signs and symptoms of autism. Continue reading to learn about the early red flags for autism.

Red Flags for Autism (retrieved from Hanen)
Appearing by 12 months:

  • No babbling
  • No pointing (to show interest, for requesting, to get someone’s attention)
  • Lack of gestures (asking to be picked up, waving, shaking their head “no”)
  • Lack of joint attention (an individuals ability to attend to a conversation/activity with another)
  • Poor eye contact
  • Repetitive actions or movements
  • Limited play with toys
  • Poor imitation of sounds or actions (imitation of speech sounds, or actions such as clapping hands)
  • Not responding to his or her name when being called

Appearing between 18-24 months:

  • A loss of words, skills, or social connection

If your child presents with any of the above symptoms or you have concerns about their development, it is important seek a medical diagnosis. While a speech-language pathologist cannot diagnose autism, they are able to assess the child’s overall communication skills, including the social communication deficits that are often observed in children with autism.

For more information on the early signs of autism, visit:

Nicole Sullivan MA CF-SLP TSSLD


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