Symptoms of Autism
With the advance in diagnostic tools, most children with ASD can be reliably diagnosed by the age of 3, although earlier diagnosis to as early as less than 12 months of age has also been reported.
Parents are usually the first to notice the difference in their child. These children do not follow the typical patterns of child development. Some of these peculiarities are noted as early as the first few months after birth, but often they are noted between the age of 1 and 3.
Some parents report a sudden regression and onset of social aloofness; while other parents report a lack of progress after the child has reached certain developmental milestones. In her paper of “practice parameter: screening & diagnosis of autism”, Dr. Filipek, et al, listed some indicators for immediate evaluation:
- No babbling, no pointing or other gesture by 12 months
- No single words by 16 months
- No 2-word spontaneous (not echolaliac) phrases by 24 months
- Any loss of any language or social skills at any age
- The 6 items in the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) that are found to have the best discriminability between children diagnosed with and without autism/PDD are:
- Lack of interest in other children
- Not using index finger to point, to indicate interest in anything
- Not bringing objects over to parents to show them anything
- Lack of imitation
- Failure to respond to his/her name when called
- Not following other’s pointing at a toy across the room by looking at it
- Young children who are noted these symptoms are urged to seek comprehensive professional evaluations to rule out the diagnosis of ASD.