Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is a neurocognitive developmental disability marked by impairments in communication, socialization and stereotypical motor movements which manifests itself by 36 months of age. Early intervention is key for parents and educational providers who can work together to remediate the deficts caused by autism. For this reason, several “red flags,”, or crictical developments in infancy and early childhood have been acknowledged as signs that a child may be at an increased risk for developing autism or having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). If your child, or a child you know, exhibits 2 or more of the red flag behaviors below, you should contact your health care provider immediately.

Red Flags

The following red flags may indicate a child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder, and is in need of an immediate evaluation.

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze by 9 months of age
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions by 6 months of age
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment with others by 12 months of age
  • Lack of response to name by 12 months of age

Impairment in Communication:

  • Lack of showing gestures including pointing and giving by 15 months of age
  • Lack of using non-verbal gestures to communicate, such as waving bye-bye 12 months of age
  • Lack of developing one word utterances by 15 months of age
  • Lack of developing two and three word phrases by 24-30 months of age
  • Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm, unusual voice quality)
  • Any LOSS of communication or social interaction skill at any developmental age

Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:

  • Repetitive movements with objects including lining objects up or spinning wheels on toy cars
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers

Wetherby, A., Woods, J., Allen, L., Cleary, J., Dickinson, H., & Lord, C. (2004). Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473-493. Based on research at the Florida State University FIRST WORDS® Project.



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