Journey of Autism: Signs of Autism in Infants and Toddlers
So, I am a mom of an amazing three year old son who is autistic. It's been a hard road to get to where we are now today. There are things that I wish I knew as a mother when Miles was a baby to look for that would have helped me in the future. So today, I want to help parents see the warning signs.
Monitor your child's development:
Don't wait for the doctor to give you the survey. Watch your child's key social, emotional, and cognitive milestones. It's an easy way to spot a problem early on which means early intervention can be put in place.
Take action if you're concerned:
Yes, every child develops at their own pace, but if you feel your child is not meeting the milestones for their age, or you suspect a problem. Talk to your doctor and voice those concerns immediately.
Don't accept a wait-and-see approach:
By wait and see approach you are doing the worst thing. You risk losing valuable time at an age where your child has the best chance improvement. Whether the delay is caused by autism or some other factor, developmentally delayed kids are unlikely to grow out the problems.
Trust your instincts:
Your child's doctor should take your concerns seriously and perform a thorough evaluation for autism or other delays. But sometimes they miss the red flags. If your instincts as a parent. If it's saying that something is wrong, be persistent. Schedule a follow-up appointment with the doctor, seek a second opinion, or ask for a referral to a child development specialist.
If Your Baby or Toddler doesn't:
- Make eye contact, such as looking at you when being fed or smiling when being smiled at.
- Respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
- Follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out
- Point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate
- Make noises to get your attention
- nitiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
- Play with other people or share interest and enjoyment
- Notice or care if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort
- By 6 months
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expression
- By 9 months
- No back-and-forth sharing sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
- By 12 months
- Lack of response to name
- No babbling or "baby talk"
- 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
Now, sitting here with my three year old Miles, I realize how many flags I saw that I would be a mom of an autistic child. Autism is not a death sentence and my son is a gift. Is it hard being a mom of an autistic child, yes. I can't lie about the challenges that comes with it. But, there is so much joy. When your autistic child says his first word again it's huge. Autism, is an amazing journey and I am glad that I get to do it with my son.