Autism Spectrum Disorder Early Warning Signs

Several recent media reports and high-profile parents, such as Jenny McCarthy, have raised questions about the mysterious disorder known as autism. For parents of young children, the most pressing question of all is, "How do I know if my child has it?"

Autism can be reliably diagnosed by or before age 3, and is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls.

"The diagnosis of autism has increased 10-fold in the last 10 years," says Dr. Phil. "It's up now probably 273 percent over what it was at the last big measure," which was in 1980. According to the Autism Society, it's the fastest growing developmental disability.

If you're a parent of young children, how can you tell if your child might be autistic? Dr. Phil shares some of the early warning signs of autism:

  • No big smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months.
    "If your child has hit 6 months, and you're not seeing these things, then that indicates to you that they're not engaging, they're not plugging in."
  • No back and forth interaction by 9 months.
  • No babbling by 12 months.
  • No words by 16 months.
    "Again, that tells you they're not communicating, they're not engaging."
  • No 2-word phrases by 24-months.

And if you see any regression of language or social skills at any age — like they were up to a certain level of functioning and then they went down — those are warning signs, and you need to go to a professional at that point.

For more warning signs of autism, please visit:  

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