You know your child best. Trust your gut and if you think there is a delay or something “off” in your child’s behavior, talk to your pediatrician. Several comprehensive websites provide in-depth documentation on early signs of Autism and what to look for in young children.
Avoid taking the “wait-and-see” approach to see if your child grows out of a behavior or limitation. If something nags at you, it’s worth a conversation with your pediatrician. Because there is no blood test for Autism, physicians and behavioralists must use markers that point to a higher risk for Autism and ones that warrant further testing and evaluation.
Symptoms and markers for Autism (Source)
The characteristic behaviors of Autism Spectrum Disorders may or may not be apparent in infancy (18 to 24 months), but usually become obvious during early childhood (24 months to 6 years).
As part of a well-baby/well-child visit, your child’s doctor should do a “developmental screening,” asking specific questions about your baby’s progress. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists five behaviors that signal further evaluation is warranted:
Having any of these five “red flags” does not mean your child has autism. But because the symptoms of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. This team may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.
Further categorization indicates impairments in the following three main areas: