Early Signs of Autism

Currently, there is no medical test that can diagnose autism spectrum disorder. Instead, physicians and psychologists with specialized training administer autism-specific assessments to diagnose autism.

As a parent, it’s important to learn the early signs of autism. Any of following symptoms may indicate that your child is at risk.

  • Does not smile back at you by 6 months
  • Does not respond to his or her name by turning towards you by 12 months
  • Does not babble by 12 months
  • Does not engage in back-and-forth gestures like pointing, waving, or showing you things by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not engage in pretend play like pretending to talk on the phone or putting a doll to bed by 18 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases (not including imitating you) by 24 months
  • Any loss of language or social skills at any age

Please note that having any of these symptoms does not mean that your child has autism spectrum disorder, but could indicate that further screening is needed. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, you should contact your pediatrician immediately and let him or her know the symptoms you are observing.

If you and your pediatrician agree that further screening is needed, you can request a free developmental assessment through your local regional center.