Early signs of autism can help determine if intervention is needed

These seven early signs of autism can help parents determine whether or not to pursue early interventions that may improve an autism outlook.

Autism is a disorder that causes developmental delays and affects one out of every 110 children. The Center for Disease Control states, “Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.” The autism spectrum can include a diagnosis with a varying degree in severity. It can include very high functioning individuals with no speech problems to individuals with very limited cognitive abilities and no speech abilities. Michigan State University Extension notes that although signs will vary depending on the degree of severity, most often there are some universal early warning signs you can look for. 

Warning signs include:

  • Limited or no eye contact
  • Does not respond to familiar voices or faces
  • Does not fuss to get attention
  • Does not seek or respond to cuddling
  • Does not imitate facial expressions or movements
  • Does not seek interaction with familiar people
  • Does not point to objects or wave goodbye. 

The Mayo Clinic has specific guidelines about these warning signs that would recommend developmental testing. However, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s development.

Eight-five percent of your child’s development occurs by the age of 3, so if you suspect your child has autism or any developmental delays, it is critical that you seek early intervention services in your community. Early intervention can include but is not limited too speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Services may vary from community to community, but Michigan offers Early On products and services statewide for children with suspected developmental delays from ages 0-3 yrs. You can reach them at 1-800-EARLYON or http://www.1800earlyon.org/. If your child is over the age of 3, you should contact your local intermediate school district.


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