Most experts in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD for short) will tell you that early intervention is key to the overall development of a child on the autism spectrum.  As parents though, it’s hard to know what’s normal or not when it comes to our child.  Is it a personality quirk, or is it a sign of something more serious? Kids develop at different rates, so sometimes delayed speech is not a sign of Autism and is simply how your child develops and because Autism is on a spectrum (meaning signs and symptoms can vary in degree and severity from person to person) it can be hard to pinpoint concerning traits. 

Good communication with your child’s pediatrician can help detect Autism in a young toddler, and there will be things your child’s doctor looks for during development questions to help him or her know if there needs to be further intervention.  There are certain traits and delays that, in conjunction, can signal a possible ASD diagnosis.  Limited smiles and eye contact before a year old, not responding to his or her name, little or no babbling, waving or pointing: all of these can be signs in young children of ASD.  Very few, or no words are cause for concern by a year and half old, while very few or no two-word phrases by 24 months of age are cause for concern. 

As your child gets older, signs and symptoms such as repetitive behaviors (flapping hands, rocking, or spinning), resistance to change in routine no matter how minor, and loss of speech your child previously used are signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Overall, autism is not a quick diagnosis.  Rather it is diagnosed after a pattern of behavior and developmental concerns.  Because early intervention autism therapy is key with any ASD diagnosis, there is no such thing as being overly cautious when it comes to your child’s development.  Voice any and all concerns with his or her pediatrician.