Although autism is a disorder that cannot be detected at too young ages, there are a number of early signs of autism in babies that can help us differentiate it to avoid affecting the baby to a lesser extent throughout its development. It is necessary to pay close attention to small details of the baby’s behavior, which may also be useful for the detection of other neurological disorders other than autism.
The importance of early detection of any neurological disorder lies in the type of treatment the baby can receive throughout its development. The earlier the treatment begins, the better the predictions each patient could have.
Do you think that your baby could be presenting some unusual symptom for the stage of development in which it is? We tell you what the autism spectrum disorder is and the early signs of autism in babies that can be detected more easily.
What is autism in babies?
Autism in children is a psychological disorder characterized by the patient professing intense concentration in his inner world, with a progressive loss of contact with external reality as it grows.
Autism is caused by a neurological disorder that affects the person throughout his life in different areas of development, especially in the perception of what surrounds him, and of himself. This alteration of development is usually diagnosed in children from the second year of life, but well before that age, parents can begin to detect signs of autism in babies, which could give the key to an early diagnosis.
The sooner the autism is detected, the more possibilities there will be to advance the treatment, making the symptoms less. For this reason, it is important that parents learn to analyze the first signs of autism in babies.
Early signs of autism in babies
The signs of autism in babies can be very varied according to the intensity of the disorder and the manifestation in each patient. However, they can usually be grouped into children into three main categories:
- Alterations of communication
- Alterations of social interaction
- Repetitive and restrictive patterns in the child’s behavior
Not all the signs of autism in babies that we detect have to indicate that it is a positive case. Although usually, and according to multiple studies, a child younger than 12 months in which we begin to see the following characteristics of behavior, would have in principle more possibilities of presenting autism:
- An autistic baby has hardly any communicative gestures (for example, does not show interest in games and new objects, does not say goodbye with his hand, does not point or make gestures to ask, etc.)
- Nor does it begin with babbling at the age when it is normal for children to begin to pronounce their first sounds to communicate with parents; that is, before the first year of life
- He does not smile at the adults he has around him, or try to imitate gestures, or respond when called by his name
- The baby does not look in the direction that another person talking or pointing
- It does not present what is called ‘joint attention’; it also does not alternate the look between an object and the person who is showing it
- He does not have normal muscle tone for his age, he acquires strange postures, and his movements are not normal for his first year of life
We are going to see all these early signs of autism in babies according to the child’s age and the level of development that must reach it.
How to detect signs of autism in babies
After one year of age, when a baby has not started to emit the first words of a child’s normal development and we can see that it shows little or no interest in games and stimuli and has no interest in other children, between Other signs of autism in babies, it could be a case that requires a medical analysis as soon as possible.
These symptoms may be more or less noticeable, but in any case, parents should remain alert to the appearance of any sign of abnormal behavior and development of the baby.
Signs of autism in 12-month-old babies
When a child has an autism spectrum disorder, at 12 months he usually does not respond when he is called by his name. At this age, a child with normal development does turn his head when he hears his name, but it is not the case of an autistic child.
In contrast, the autistic child does react to certain sounds, as they are even more sensitive to shocks and loud noises.
Signs of autism in babies of 18 months
At the age of 18 months, there are some children who have not yet begun to utter their first words, but even if they are going through a stage of speech delay, a child without delay in their development is able to communicate with gestures and sounds.
Children with autistic disorder are not able to compensate for their delay in speaking with other communication systems. At 18 months the autistic children tend to repeat sounds that they hear around them, but without communicative capacity.
Signs of autism in babies of 24 months
When he reaches around 2 years of age, a child with typical development shows eye contact with other people shares his joy and is able to easily show his feelings. Meanwhile, an autistic child can interact with other people without just showing eye contact or show joy when playing with other people.
It is our responsibility to detect the early signs of autism in babies. It is not a reason to be worried at all times by our little one, but if it is the case that our baby is autistic, the sooner we act, the more effective the treatment will be.
When to seek professional help?
If you have doubts about the signs of autism in babies and how to detect them, go to the pediatrician to be a qualified professional who can help you detect them. In many cases, the instinct of the parents themselves is usually right when they think they see signs of autism in babies due to some delays in their development.
The symptoms of autism can present themselves in very different ways in each child. In some cases, it may affect speech learning more, and in others, certain social behaviors that are not age-specific are clearly detected. If it is not exactly about symptoms of autism in children, perhaps it could be due to another type of disorder that also requires a specific treatment.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician, tell him your concerns and what are the early signs of autism in babies that you have been able to detect in your child, and he will refer you to a qualified professional in early childhood autism intervention services to make a correct diagnosis, and start with the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible.