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Red Flags :: Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders


Every parent should be aware of the typical developmental milestones and take an active role in observing their child’s developmental progress.  Each milestone occurs within age ranges, rather than at an exact age, thus slight deviations are not necessarily cause for alarm.  However, parental identification of delays can facilitate the process of receiving the appropriate assessments and lead to early intervention when needed.

When it comes to autism spectrum disorders, or ASDs, early intervention is crucial to each child’s outcome and success. Many parents develop concerns about their children but are uncertain whether to act upon them.  This empirically derived list provides red flags, or “absolute indicators,” that indicate that a child should be professionally evaluated.  Meeting any of these criteria does not necessarily mean that the child will later go on to receive any sort of diagnosis.  There are many factors that go into diagnosing an individual with autism.  Thus, these are simply signs to watch for.  Even if an evaluation rules out autism, it might identify areas in which a child needs specific assistance.

If your child shows two or more of these signs, please contact your pediatric healthcare provider for an immediate evaluation. For more information, go to FirstSigns.

Social Interaction Impairments:

  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  • Lack of response to name
  • Communication Impairments:

  • Lack of showing gestures
  • Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
  • Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm, unusual voice quality)
  • Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:

  • Repetitive movements with objects
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers
  • – Source: “Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life” [Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders]

    August 6, 2009 10:32 pm

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