The Importance of Early Detection

Early Signs of Autism Risk

The following signs may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development and is in need of an evaluation, according to First Signs, a group promoting early diagnosis of developmental disorders.

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or later
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling, or social skills at any age

Peg Rosen, a mother of two, is a writer in Montclair, New Jersey.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, January 2005.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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