As mom to an adult son with autism, you can bet I’m already aware about it! But for those of you not in the special needs trenches, autism is a neurological condition that affects the language and social functioning of up to 1 in every 68 children. Children’s developmental milestones are part of my skill-set. With the help of my Speech Pathologist sister-in-law, my child was ultimately diagnosed as a toddler and received early intervention services right away. We were lucky, because research is showing early treatment of the condition can significantly improve an affected child’s learning outcomes.
Autism or No?
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to watch for the possible warning signs of autism, which may appear as early as two months old. And, as they recommend, “If you observe any of these, talk to your doctor, who will then decide whether more testing is necessary. Don’t fret if you occasionally see one or two of these—it could be another type of language, learning, or behavior problem, or even nothing at all.”
2-3 months: Your baby isn’t making frequent eye contact.
3 months: He isn’t smiling at you.
6 months: He doesn’t laugh.
Around 8 months: He isn’t following your gaze when you look away from him.
9 months: He hasn’t begun to babble.
1 year: He isn’t consistently turning to you when you call his name. He hasn’t begun to wave bye-bye.
12-14 months: He hasn’t said a single word.
14 months: He isn’t pointing to show interest.
18 months: He doesn’t play “pretend.”