Recognizing the signs of autism in babies can be difficult, as the symptoms can vary greatly from one child to another. However, there are some common signs that parents and caregivers should look out for. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as autism-specific screenings at 9, 18, and 30 months of age. If your child's doctor takes your concerns seriously and conducts a thorough evaluation for autism or other developmental delays, they may look for signs such as not maintaining eye contact or making little or no eye contact, not responding to a parent's smile or other facial expressions, not looking at objects or events that a parent is looking at or pointing at, and not being able to point to objects or events for parents to see.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that a baby may show signs of ASD starting at age 9 months. Many children on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, distant and separate from others. The Autism Science Foundation states that the first signs of ASD can appear in babies as young as 2 months old. Because the characteristics of autism are very varied, a multimodal approach is often the most effective course.
This is because the first signs of autism are not the presence of unexpected behavior, but the absence of a skill or ability that usually develops at a certain age. If your grandchild enters the warning signs section of these milestones, you can do further evaluation through your doctor. For more information, visit the Center of Excellence for Autism at the University of California at San Diego or call 858-534-6912 to schedule an evaluation.