Research now suggests that children as young as 1 year old can show signs of autism. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and understand the typical developmental milestones your child should be reaching at different ages.

Please look over the following list. If you have any concerns about your child's development, don't wait. Speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism. If your child does have autism, early intervention may be his or her best hope.

Signs To Watch For

If your child shows any of these signs, you should speak to your doctor.
  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine 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
  • Poor eye contact
  • Walking on tip-toe
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
Developmental Milestones

Watching your child for developmental milestones will help you track his or her healthy development. Below are typical milestones from one month to three years of age. Remember: each child develops differently. Minor differences may indicate a slight delay while others may be a cause for concern.

If your child's behavior does not meet milestones listed (or if there is a loss of skills at any age) be sure to let your doctor know.

Raises head; can lift chin up from the floor or bed 1 month
Raises chest up off the floor or bed 2 months
Sits up with adult support 2.5 months
Bats at objects; cannot accurately grasp them 3 months
Turns head toward sounds, smiles back when you smile at them 4 months
Reaches for and grasps objects 6 months
Relates to people with joy, babbles when happy or cries when unhappy 6 months
Sits alone steadily 6.5 months
Stands with adult support 8 months
Exchange back-and-forth smiles and sounds, smiles while looking at you 9 months
Stands up holding onto furniture 9 months
Stands alone 11 months
Makes sounds like ma, ba, da; turns head toward you when his/her name is called; waves 12 months
Walks alone 12 months
Climbs stairs 13 months
Makes sounds and points or uses other "showing" gestures to draw attention to something 15 months
Exchanges with you back-and-forth smiles, sounds and gestures; has at least 3 words 15 months
Uses and understands at least 10 words, uses at least 4 different consonants like m,n,p,b,t,d 18 months
Uses lots of gestures with words; shows that he or she knows body parts or familiar people 18 months
Understands at least 50 words and can use at least 2 words together, like "Want juice" 24 months
Shows interest in playing with children and can pretend play, like feeding a doll 24 months
Walks down the stairs with both feet on each step 26 months
Can answer what, where and who questions, and talk about interests and feelings 36 months
Enjoys playing with children and can pretend to be different characters or talk for dolls 36 months
Uses thoughts with speech in a way that makes sense, "baby hungry, feed bottle" 36 months

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