Here are some signs that could indicate your child is on the spectrum as early as six months of age. Signs and symptoms will vary, as can the severity of the symptoms. Make sure to monitor your child’s development, and consult your doctor if anything concerns you. It’s necessary to note that autism in infants is recognized by a lack of normal behavior, instead of the presence of strange behaviors.
1. DELAYED MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
Developmental delay is usually suspected in some babies soon after birth because of unusual muscle tone and feeding problems. Some babies may not be able to crawl normally or may learn to walk very late. In other children, developmental delay is suspected much later when behavioral and learning difficulties come to light. Developmental delay can manifest in the following forms:
• A child appears very floppy
• Muscles appear very tight, legs held stiff with little or no movement
• Problems holding up their head
• Inability to roll over by 6 months
• Inability to sit on the floor without support by 8 months
• Failure to crawl by 12 months
• Failure to walk independently by 18 months
2. REPETITIVE BEHAVIORS
Does your child sit or stand in uncommon postures? Will your child be engaged in repetitive behaviors such as stiffening his hands, arms or legs? Do they display unusual body movements like rotating his hands on his wrists?
3. LACK OF GESTURING
Does your child gesture at objects or people to communicate? Does the child wave their hand, point, or reach for things? This is a milestone that is typically reached by 9 or 10 months old.
4. INFREQUENTLY SEEKING ATTENTION
Does your child initiate cuddling or make noises to get your attention? Does the child reach up toward you to be picked up? Having disinterest in seeking a loved one’s attention or bonding is a sign of your baby may eventually have a problem related to others, which can be a struggle for those on the spectrum as they grow up.
5. POOR EYE CONTACT
Does your child maintain limited eye contact with you and other loved ones? Do they follow objects visually? When the baby grows an early indicator is that they face a severe lack of eye contact, as it is a form of communication and comprehension.
6. UNRESPONSIVENESS TO NAME
Is your baby unresponsive to his or her name from 6 to 12 months of age? Parents who can find this in their child are often concerned it may be hearing loss and are unaware it can be a sign of autism. If you find this type of behavior in your child, be sure to monitor the signs and consult a doctor.
7. DELAY IN BABBLING & COOING
Is your kid making “baby talk” and babbling or cooing? Will they do it frequently? Your baby ought to usually reach this milestone by 12 months.
8. RARE IMITATION OF SOCIAL CUES
Some of the rare imitations of social cues are done your child give the mimic to sounds and movements of others? Will they share expressions back and forth? Rare mock of sounds, laughter, smiles, and facial expressions by 9 months older is an early indicator of autism.
9. LACK OF SMILING
Does your child smile back at you when you give them a warm, joyful smile? Does your child smile on their own? By the age of 6 months, your child should give you big smiles or happy expressions.