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What to look for: Early signs of ASD

When Justin Bass was a toddler, he would take silver mixing bowls out of the kitchen cupboards and spin them on the floor. He’d also spend time just staring at the ceiling fan spin.

His parents didn’t think these behaviors were anything unusual. But they found out later that such “self-stimulatory” behaviors were signs of ASD. Some of the more common signs are:

  • no cooing or babbling by one year of age
  • no gesturing by one year of age
  • no spoken single words by 16 months
  • inability to use two-word phrases by two years of age
  • loss of communication skills at any age

When autism is identified and diagnosed early, it’s more likely that intervention and intensive therapy will make a difference in improving the child’s quality of life in later years.

If parents start to recognize any one of these red flags they should discuss it with their pediatrician immediately,” says Dr. Lubetsky. “Pediatricians and nurse practitioners are being trained to recognize the early signs of autism. Early identification is the key to early intervention and provides the best opportunities for success.”