Infant sleeping on her mother's shoulder

Autism: Common Warning Signs in Babies One Year Old and Younger

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The first smile, laugh, words, and steps are vital and exhilarating developmental milestones for both parents and babies. But what if you find that your baby does not seem to reach these milestones? Could these be possible symptoms of autism? In general, autism usually surfaces before age three but could be diagnosed as early as 18 months.

According to a renowned pediatric therapist in Draper who has ample experience giving help for kids with autism, autism warning signs focus on vital problem areas such as difficult or delayed communication skills, certain behavioral issues, as well as problems interacting and playing with other individuals. Below are important developmental milestones, up to the age of one, that if missed might indicate autism in your baby.

3 to 4 Months Old

At this time, your baby should be smiling, playing, babbling, and pay close attention to objects and movements. During this stage common signs of autism include:

  • Not smiling
  • No self-awareness—not interested in feet or hands
  • Not trying to copy noises or babble (baby speak)
  • Not trying to grip or grab objects, or put them in the mouth
  • Difficulty or not focusing or following objects or movements
  • Poor head support

7 Months Old

Child playing with an ironBy this time, your baby should be inquisitive and must be using her mouth and hands to feel out everything. She should be laughing, generally responsive to people’s cues, and playing. Some babies at this stage even start to understand verbal communication, such as knowing what “no” and “yes” means and recognizing her name. At this stage, signs of autism include:

  • Not babbling
  • Moving too loose or too rigidly, without flow
  • Not interested in showing physical affection—if you can’t seem to cuddle your baby or make her cuddle you back for instance
  • Not responding to sounds, physical contact, or emotions
  • Being difficult to soothe
  • Physical delays such as difficulty holding her head up, rolling over, or sitting up without help
  • Not participating in simple games
  • Regression of specific skills

1 Year Old

At around one-year-old, your baby should be capable of displaying emotions such as crying when upset or acting a bit wary of unfamiliar people. She should be playing games, know whether or not you’re there, and could communicate simple wants and needs. Signs of autism during this age include:

  • Not communicating what she wants or needs, such as a toy or food for instance
  • Physical delays such as not crawling or difficulty crawling or being incapable of standing up by herself
  • Not interested in physical gestures or communication such as waving hello or goodbye
  • Not interested in singing songs or playing games such as hiding toys; she won’t try to find the toy you hid
  • Inability to say simple words like mama, dada, etc.
  • Regression of particular skills

You and others who care for your baby would most likely notice autism warning signs in your baby by carefully monitoring her milestones and development. But keep in mind that no baby reaches a milestone at the same time. However, if you notice the warning signs above and feel in your gut that something’s different with your baby, get your baby screened as soon as possible.

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