Because autism doesn’t manifest physically, it can be challenging to determine if your child is autistic, but there are behavioral exams that can confirm a diagnosis
. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be diagnosed at 18 months or younger. Still, a diagnosis cannot be reliable until the age of two. Early diagnosis is critical to improving the long-term quality of life of autistic children.
During appointments to determine if a child has ASD, doctors look for issues that fall into two categories: 1) challenges with communication and social interaction or 2) restricted and repetitive behavior patterns.
Potential signs that your child may be autistic include, but are not limited to:5 Early warning signs:
No babbling or pointing by the age of one
No single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
Poor eye contact
Excessive lining up or organization of toys/objects
Little to no smiling5 Later warning signs:
An impaired ability to make friends
Repetitive or unusual language
An intense or focused interest
The impairment (or total absence) of social or imaginative play
Being inflexible in relation to specific routines or rituals