Autism: signs to look out for in babies 0-24 months

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Autism is a complex and multifaceted disorder that only a qualified doctor can diagnose. However, there are certain signs that should put you on the alert, starting at a young age.

Autism is a member of the family of autism spectrum disorders, commonly referred to as ASD. The causes of autism are multiple and sometimes difficult to identify. This disorder also retains a great deal of mystery for doctors. However, it is possible to identify three main characteristics:

  • Disorders of social interactions.
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication disorders.
  • Stereotypical and repetitive behaviors.

Note that ASD is also manifested by cognitive impairment, language, motor skills or coping skills, and that they are present to varying degrees from child to child.

Early signs

During his period of early development, baby will learn a whole series of gestures, sounds and behaviors that will allow him to communicate with you and his environment. However, there are some unusual signs that should awaken your attention. Here is a series to help with screening.

0 to 6 months

  • No visual tracking.
  • Little or no smile (around 3 months).
  • Anomaly in tone: the baby’s body is soft or stiff.
  • No babbling and little vocalization.

6 to 12 months

  • No reaction to his first name (around 9 months).
  • Does not support physical contact.
  • Does not respond to separation.
  • Do not extend your arms when you go to look for him (gesture of anticipation).
  • Does not imitate hand signals (salute, applaud, etc.).
  • High sensitivity to changes in the environment.

12 to 24 months

  • Does not express itself through gestures (for example, pointing fingers).
  • Delay or lack of language, limited language.
  • Difficulties in communicating.
  • Does not imitate sounds, gestures or facial expressions.
  • Unusual movements of the body (swaying, rapid flapping of the hands in butterfly wings).

After 24 months

  • Does not show interest in other children and play.
  • Unusual way of speaking (for example, a flat, arrhythmic, screaming, or singing voice) or repeating what is said to him (echolalia).
  • Unusual attachment to objects.
  • Unusual attachment to establishing routines.
  • Is disturbed at the slightest change in routine or environment.
  • “Tool hand”: the child uses the other’s hand to grab things.

Accumulation of signs

These signs, taken separately, are not unique characteristics of autism. It is the accumulation and persistence of these symptoms that should alert you and encourage you to consult a specialist. It is better to ask questions than to worry too late: when a child’s autism is detected quickly, it is then easier to set up a structure and support adapted to his needs.

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