Autism, the buzzword of the 21st century, is a disorder with which a great number of infants are faced, and unfortunately, their number is on the increase. Yet, identifying the signs of autism early in the development and seeking pediatricians’ help can make a difference in its treatment.
Autism is a complex condition characterized by impairments in social interaction and in both verbal and nonverbal communication accompanied by repetitive actions.
Although autism is often not diagnosed until the child is over two years old, some children begin to show signs of this disorder before they turn a year old. Of course, the signs and the severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the child.
Probably, one reason why many parents fail to detect this problem is that they believe if their child doesn’t show any strange behaviors, there’s no reason to worry. Yet, what they fail to realize is that autism is actually recognized by a lack of normal behavior.
Following are 9 signs that show your infant may have autism. And don’t forget that spotting them in their earliest form can help you deal with the problem more effectively and reach positive outcomes.
1. Delay in babbling.
Most infants start cooing or babbling or showing other signs of early talking by the first birthday. Infants who later develop autism babble during the first few months before they lose these communicative behaviors while others start to speak much later.
2. Delayed motor development.
You need to pay great attention to when your child first begins to crawl, push itself up, and roll over because a delay in any of these can be an early indicator of autism.
3. Poor eye contact.
Infants who have autism have a limited eye contact with their parents and other people as well. For example, they don’t look at you when being fed or follow objects visually, and they might even seem to look right through you. So, if you happen to notice this kind of behavior, you should seek their pediatrician’s help.
4. Unresponsiveness to their names.
Infants who have autism have a difficulty paying attention and understanding language. That’s why they don’t respond when you call them by their name. You might think that if your child doesn’t respond to his/her name when called or turn to see where a sound is coming from, that could mean they’re not hearing properly or are just ignoring you.
But, be careful as this may not be the case. Infants should reach this milestone by 12 months, so if your child doesn’t respond to familiar voices or when you call it by its name, you should take this as a serious red flag.
5. Lack of smiling.
It’s typical for infants to smile back at you when you smile at them. Your child should be able to give you smiles by the age of 6 months. Yet, infants with autism usually don’t show joyful expressions when you talk to or smile at them.
6. Rarely seeking attention.
Most infants enjoy being cuddled and hold by their parents. When they seek their parents’ attention, they make noises or reach for them. But, the situation is different with those who have autism. They rarely make noise to get your attention. They rely less on your care and attention and they may sometimes even seem indifferent to your affection.
7. Rare imitation of expressions and social cues.
Infants with autism don’t imitate the sounds, facial expressions, and movements of the people surrounding them. They may also show reduced interest in watching people’s faces and they have a difficulty playing social games with other kids. If you notice this characteristic early in your child’s development, make sure you consult its pediatrician.
8. Repetitive movements.
Infants with autism tend to have more repetitive behaviors than others. These can include rotating and flapping their hands, stiffening their arms, jumping, rocking and uncommon postures.
Even the way they play with toys is characteristic. For example, they can arrange and rearrange objects and toys in a specific order, or spin a car wheel over and over again, rather than using it to play.
9. Lack of gesturing.
Most infants are able to communicate through gestures by the age of 12 months. An obvious sign of delayed development is when you child doesn’t grasp your finger, reach for you when he/she wants you to pick them up, point to things they want to have, such as a toy or a box of chocolates, wave, and make any gestures when interacting with you. This kind of behavior warrants an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician.
Some final words: if you suspect that there’s something wrong with your child’s development, don’t wait for the situation to get better by itself. Instead, consult and seek their pediatrician’s help.
Riley Cooper is a professional writer who writes informative and creative articles on topics related to various fields of study. Written with love and enthusiasm, her articles inspire readers to broaden their knowledge of the world, think and get ready to act.