The first signs of Autism usually appear as developmental delays before the age of 3. Some parents will report noticing ‘red flags’ in infancy; others may not notice until 2-3 years of age.
Still others may not have concerns until the school-aged years, but will generally be able to notice indicators in early childhood upon further reflection.
Some of the earliest recognized indicators of autism include:
- Not smiling by 6 months
- Not babbling by 12 months
- Not using gestures such pointing or waving
- Any loss of language/social skills
- No single words by 16 months
The presence of rigid and repetitive routines, difficulty with feeding and toileting, and a lack of age-appropriate awareness of danger and/or a very high pain threshold may also suggest need for further assessment.
If you feel your child demonstrates characteristics suggestive of autism, or if you have any concerns about your child’s development, you should raise these concerns with your GP or Public Health Nurse.