Early Signs of Autism:

  • No social smiling by 6 months old
  • No one-word communications by 16 months
  • No two-word phrases by 24 months
  • No babbling, pointing, or meaningful gestures by 12 months
  • Poor eye contact
  • Not pointing to/showing items or sharing interests
  • Unusual attachment to one particular toy or object
  • Not responding to sounds, voices, or name
  • Loss of skills at any time

How is ASD Diagnosed?

There are no medical tests (like blood test) for diagnosing autism, but when parents become concerned about developmental delays in children, they should consult their pediatrician. He or she can rule out various potential medical causes, such as hearing problems.

Developmental Screening

Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have delays. All children should be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during well-child doctor visits at:

  • 9 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 or 30 months

Who is Able to Diagnose Autism?

ASD screening may be completed by a number of different professionals (e.g., primary care physicians, speech pathologists, teachers, etc.), the diagnosis of ASD should typically be made by a neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or developmental-behavioral pediatrician who has been trained in the diagnosis of ASD.

A person with ASD might also:
  • avoid eye contact
  • not play "pretend" games
  • want to be alone
  • have difficulty showing understanding of other people's feelings or their own
  • repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • give unrelated answers to questions
  • get upset by minor changes
  • have obsessive and/or unusual interests
  • flap their hands, rock their bodies, or spin in circles
  • have unusual reactions (over or under sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel
  • have low to no social skills
  • avoid or resist physical contact
  • demonstrate little safety or danger awareness
  • have extreme anxiety and phobias
  • line up toys or other objects
  • always play with toys the same way
  • like parts of objects (wheels)
  • become upset by minor chnges
  • meltdowns with and without aggression and/or causing self-injury
  • unusual sleeping and/or eating habits
  • unusual mood or emotional reactions
  • lack of fear or more fear than expected