Autism Warning Signs

To many families the word AUTISM may seem very scary, but the reality is that if your child is ever diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder the is a world of resources, therapies, and specialists to treat issues that are caused by ASD. Most children are diagnosed before the age of three but in some cases families have received the diagnosis with their older children or even adults. Always remember to monitor age milestones with babies and toddlers, and trust your instincts as a parent. If you ever feel like you child exhibits one or more of the signs and symptoms of Autism you should consult a doctor or developmental pediatrician right away. Research has shown that the earlier your child is  diagnosed the more receptive they are to various treatments. While signs and symptoms of ASD vary from child to child there are some red flags that parents or teachers may notice right away. Below we have listed red flag symptoms and signs that all parents should keep an eye open for.

Age 0-2

Your baby or toddler doesn't:

  1. Make eye contact, such as looking at you when being fed or smiling when being smiled at

  2. Respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice

  3. Follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out

  4. Point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate

  5. Make noises to get your attention

  6. Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up

  7. Imitate your movements and facial expressions

  8. Play with other people or share interest and enjoyment

  9. Notice or care if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort

The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician:

By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions

By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions

By 12 months: Lack of response to name

By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk”

By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving

By 16 months: No spoken words

By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating

Signs and Symptoms in older children

Social Difficulties

Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.


Speech and Language Difficulties

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.


Non-Verbal Communication Difficulties

 Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the "give-and-take" of social interaction very difficult.



Children with autism spectrum disorder are often restricted, inflexible, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. Repetitive behaviors can include:

  • Hand flapping

  • Tapping ears

  • Rocking back and forth

  • Scratching

  • Spinning in a circle

  • Lining up toys

  • Finger flicking

  • Spinning objects

  • Head banging

  • Wheel spinning

  • Staring at lights

  • Watching moving objects

  • Moving fingers in front of the eyes

  • Flicking light switches on and off

  • Snapping fingers

  • Repeating words or noises


Information for this page was sourced from