Early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

What are some of the early warning signs of ASD?

There are a range of early signs of a possible Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many of these are able to be observed in a child by about 12 months of age. Some of the behaviours to be aware of in young children include:

  • limited eye contact and attention to other people
  • lack of gestures (including pointing, waving, showing things to others, etc)
  • lack of babbling, or spoken words
  • difficulty responding when their name is called (this includes responding inconsistently)
  • difficulty following simple instructions (particularly if instructions are only given verbally)
  • not copying actions or sounds made by other people
  • lack of sharing enjoyment or interest
  • delay in playing with a range of toys in the same way other children do
  • repetitive movements of the body or with objects (such as hand flapping, or spinning toys, or lining toys up etc.)

My child shows some of these signs, what now?

It is very important to note that having one or more of the above signs does not in any way confirm that a child has a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. For example, some of these signs are also commonly observed in children with a language disorder, however additional factors such as difficulty with social skills and the presence of repetitive behaviours help to distinguish a child with an ASD from a child with a language disorder. 

A diagnosis should not be given lightly and therefore it is crucial that an appropriately experienced and qualified professional be consulted if there is any concern. A Paediatrician is certainly a good first port of call, as they are able to assess a child's overall development and recommend referrals to other specialists (such as a Speech Pathologist), as required.

If there are any concerns or questions around a child's development it is a good idea to get in touch with a professional early, rather than taking the "wait and see" approach. Therapy for children with ASD is very effective, particularly if started early (before around the age of eight years).

If you would like to read more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, click here

If you would like to read about therapy for children with ASD, click here

And of course if you would like to chat to our experienced therapists about your child's development, please contact us

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