Warning Signs

Our friends at the Autism-Asperger's Digest publish a nice, concise "New to Autism?" page in every issue. We've separated it on this site within this section, Warning Signs of Autism, and the New to Autism? page that follows. The information may come in handy when explaining autism and its effects to family members, neighbors, teachers, and others for the first time. It is included in this site with the generous permission of the Autism-Asperger's Digest.


The following list of symptoms represents the broad range of the disorder and is not meant to be a checklist to determine whether or not a child has ASD. Some children love hugs and are very affectionate; others are extremely touch sensitive to the point of it being painful. Some kids hit their developmental milestones, but they still seem to be “missing” something in the way they interact with others. Trust your gut instincts. If your child manifests several of these symptoms and your intuition suggests “something is just not right”, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician and ask for an evaluation. Get a second opinion if warranted. The earlier services are started with a child, the better is the opportunity for optimal positive learning and change to occur. Be proactive.


Warning Signs of Autism

At 6 Months
  • Not making eye contact with parents during interaction
  • Not cooing or babbling
  • Not smiling when parents smile
  • Not participating in vocal turn-taking (baby makes a sound, adult makes a sound, and so forth)
  • Not responding to peek-a-boo game
At 12 Months
  • No attempts to speak
  • Not pointing, waving, or grasping
  • No response when name is called
  • Indifferent to others
  • Repetitive body motions such as rocking or hand flapping
  • Fixation on a single object
  • Oversensitivity to textures, smells, sounds
  • Strong resistance to change in routine
  • Any loss of language
At 24 Months
  • Does not initiate two-word phrases (that is, doesn't just echo words)
  • Any loss of words of developmental skill

Source for Early Warning Signs: Dr. Rebecca Landa, Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore. Autism Asperger’s Digest © 2009. All Rights Reserved. Real life information for meeting the real life challenges of autism spectrum disorders. www.AutismDigest.com

For a more complete list of early childhood developmental milestones and the warning signs of autism, visit the CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early. site or First Signs, Inc.


If you suspect your child has a delay in development, autism or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), click here to find out how to get your child screened.