Knowing that your baby is happy and healthy is your top priority as a parent. Ideally, every child would be born without any health concerns. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way.
If you’ve noticed signs that your baby might have health issues such as autism that need to be addressed, the sooner you seek help the better.
In this article, we take a look at some signs of autism in babies that will help alert you that it might be time to make an appointment with your pediatrician.
Sign Number One
During the first six months of life, infants will typically smile when smiled at. This is a healthy and normal part of development.
When you smile at your baby, does she offer back a big smile or other joyful expressions? If not, this could be a reason for concern.
Most babies respond to facial expressions, especially from a parent. They will also laugh and make other happy sounds by around six months. Obviously, some babies are naturally more subdued than others, yet this is something for parents to pay close attention to.
If your baby isn’t responding to your playfulness within the first six months, this could be an early indication of autism.
Sign Number Two
By the time your baby has reached nine months of age, she should be mirroring back sounds, smiles, and other facial expressions to you.
Does she smile at people? Does she babble or make other happy sounds? By this age, your baby should be capable of mimicking expressions, laughing and squealing, and showing affection to you.
Babies are typically interested in faces. They love eye contact and to be smiled at. Early signs of autism often involve an absence of this type of behavior and should be cause for concern.
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Sign Number Three
By the one year mark, your infant should be able to consistently respond to her name. Other normal developmental advances that should be evident by this age include the ability to crawl, to smile on her own, to attract your attention through actions, and to reach for objects.
Sign Number Four
By the time your baby is fourteen months of age, they should be making babbling sounds or baby talk on a consistent basis. This is her way of expressing herself and communicating with you.
At this stage, your baby should easily engage in back-and-forth baby talk conversations with her caregiver, and to gesture with her head and hands. She should also be able to point at pictures and objects and stand when supported.
As a parent, you need to be concerned about delays in speech development, as well as your baby’s inability to lift her arms to let you know she wants to be picked up. If these developments aren’t clear and obvious by fourteen months, it’s definitely a sign that you should be concerned.
Sign Number Five
As your baby continues to grow, her motor skills should develop with increasing consistency. By 16 months she should be making back-and-forth gestures such as waving, as well as reach and pointing.
Again, at this stage, if she’s unable to stand when supported or point at objects, this is a reason for concern. Keep in mind that there are always reasons for an absence of healthy development, thus the importance of paying attention and being aware of what developmental benchmarks your child should be reaching by specific ages.
Sign Number Six
This is a crucial stage. By the time your baby has reached eighteen months of age, her development should have advanced significantly from that of a newborn.
At this age, the signs of autism could include the inability to verbalize, unable to understand the function of common objects such as a fork or spoon, and the inability to walk.
Speech production is of major importance by eighteen months. She should be able to speak more than 15 words and use two-word sentences. Your baby should also respond to pain, such as crying when she has fallen down or cut herself.
If you don’t recognize this level of healthy development in your child by this stage, it’s a sure sign that you need to seek help.
Sign Number Seven
The next important benchmark in child development is at twenty-four months. This is the age by which your child should able to push a wheeled toy, communicate with her caregiver, clap her hands, and imitate your words and actions.
Keep in mind that babies thrive on affection. They find security and joy from being touched and cuddled. Autistic babies tend to respond differently. They often don’t like being cuddled, and will fuss or pull away due to sensory overload.
In fact, many children with autism have difficulty expressing affection and don’t easily bond with their parents.
Sign Number Eight
Another sign of autism is any loss of speech or social skills. In fact, a nearly half of all parents of children with autism report a loss of these skills, generally between 18 and 24 months.
A child who doesn’t smile or is unable to follow simple instructions should be of concern to their parents. Especially if the child seems to pay more attention to objects than people.
It’s important to remember that children who display these symptoms aren’t necessarily autistic, and yet these developmental issues are a reason for concern and could be pointing to other issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Understanding the Signs of Autism In Babies
Parenting is a huge responsibility. This is especially true when it comes to early childhood development. As a parent, the more informed you are about the signs of autism in babies, the more capable you’ll be to care for your child.
We all want the best for our babies, and sometimes being a good parent means simply being aware of your baby’s ability to smile or laugh. After all, a healthy baby is a happy baby.
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