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Recognizing the Early Signs of Autism during Infancy

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that usually manifest within the first three years of life. However, being only one instance of a spectrum of disorders, the symptoms and the actual progression of this disorder can vary from one individual to another. At the same time, the number of children detected of being suffering from autism have increased in the recent past, although experts still debate whether the rise is due to people being more aware about the disorder or else whether it is actually due to one or more underlying causes. Anyhow, parents should be aware about the early signs that could indicate a potential for developing autism in the years to come. This article will describe several such signs, which the parents need to be on the lookout in order to take their children to the doctor for further evaluation. Such early interventions can bring light to the future of these children whom may otherwise fail to achieve their full potential.

Symptom classification

The symptoms and signs manifesting in autistic children can be categorized into three main areas. These are the symptoms related to poor social interactions, symptoms related to language development and the symptoms related to the child’s behavior. However, recognizing the earliest of these symptoms, which usually manifest during the infancy, can be tricky as not all. Children develop at the same speed or else according to a precise template. Nevertheless, there are a few signs of delayed development that may become apparent during early life, which indicates that the child needs further investigations, monitoring and early interventions.

The earliest symptoms

One such symptom is the inability of an infant to respond with a smile or with a happy expression, by 6 months of age. Not being able to mimic sounds or facial expressions by 9 months of age is another symptom that warrants investigations while failing to babble or coo by 12 months is another concern. Experts also point out that infants who are unable to gesture by 12 months or those who are unable to say a single word by 16 months are also at risk. At the same time, if the child is not able to say phrases consisting of two words by 24 months, it should also raise suspicion. Apart from these signs, a child who loses any previously acquired language or social skills at any age may also have a high tendency towards developing autism.

Early intervention

Thus, if the child suffers from above symptoms or at least one of the said symptoms, it may be wise to seek the help of a medical professional as they can investigate further and recognize a child with autism rather early. Being able to detect autism early would mean that the effectiveness of the interventions against autism would also be high. This increases the chances of the said child acquiring his or her potential in par with any other child of his or her age and therefore the goals in life during the late childhood as well as during the adulthood.