8 Common Early Signs of Autism

hello my name is Faye McGill and I'm a

speech-language pathologist and clinical

program assistant at the hanan Center I

have over 15 years of experience working

with children and families the bulk of

which includes children with autism and

their families and I'm here to speak to

you today a little bit about autism

spectrum disorder because autism is

becoming more and more common parents

often ask me about the signs of autism

and while speech-language pathologists

like me can't diagnose autism it's

specially trained doctors or

psychologists that do this we are

trained to be aware of some of the signs

of autism so that we can give parents

the right guidance early on we're often

the first professionals that families

speak to about developmental concerns

and this is because we get involved

early to address early developing skills

like communication play and social

interaction and these are often areas

that children with autism have

difficulty with being aware of the signs

and symptoms of autism is important so

that you can speak to your doctor or

developmental specialist right away if

you see any of these signs we know that

the earlier intervention is the better

the outcome is for children so the

earlier you can get something started

the better so what is autism autism is a

complex developmental condition with a

neurological component and it can make

interacting with others and processing

information difficult each child with

autism is unique but it is in their

unique neurological makeup that we can

see certain traits or behaviors develop

and if these traits or behaviors that I

want to talk to you about today and

remember if your child has one or even

some of these treats it doesn't

necessarily mean that your child has

autism but it may mean that you'd want

to speak to a doctor or a specialist to

find out a little bit more information

about further assessment

so let us talk about some of these

traits that you'd expect to see

developing by about twelve months of age

but that many children with autism have

difficulty with one trait that's

commonly discussed for children with

autism is difficulty with eye contact or

looking at other people in fact many

adults with autism have said that this

can be difficult and the fact that eye

contact can be near painful or that if

you really want to pay attention to

somebody it's difficult to look at them

at the same time another feature that

parents of children with autism may see

is that their child doesn't really

babble in babbling refers to the sounds

that babies make before they start to

talk so hearing things like bad-guy Dada

as children get older babbling becomes

more sophisticated so older infants will

start to have babbling like

conversations where they go back and

forth with a parent or caregiver taking

turns and babbling


something else to look out for is the

use of gestures like pointing waving

nodding your head or shaking your head

many children with autism don't use

these gestures or don't use some often

and by the same token children with

autism may have difficulty reading or

responding to an adult's gesture like

pointing out something of interest or

understanding when an adult shakes their

head no another sign of autism is when

shared enjoyment is not clear obvious

shared enjoyment just refers to the

child's desire to connect and share with

others just for the sake of engagement

in connecting so this might look like

smiling or laughing with the caregiver

when the caregiver is playing with the

child it is not that children with

autism don't want to engage or connect

with other people but the way that they

show or share their enjoyment may not be

what you'd expect repetitive actions or

movements are a core feature of autism

and this could come across very

differently in every child with autism

I'll give just a few very basic examples

for example you might see a child waving

their fingers in front of their face or

playing with a toy in the same way

repeatedly like pushing a button on a

pop-up toy or spinning the wheels on a

car it's not uncommon to see any child

do these types of repetitive behaviors

once in a while but children with autism

will likely do these much more often

some children with autism pay more

attention to objects than people and in

fact some children focus quite intently

on a specific piece of an object or toy

new objects and toys are fascinating to

all children but you see more of this

focus on the objects with children with

autism imitation is another very

important skill that develops early on

you might see children as young as 12

months of age copy things like banging a

drum or clapping your hands or even

imitate sounds and very early words but

children with autism may find imitation

a struggle and you may see that they're

not copying your actions or sounds as

you'd expect them to not responding to

their name when called is another common

sign of autism parents of young children

with autism often say they thought their

child had difficulty hearing or maybe

just was ignoring them when they were

calling their name but children with

autism often don't respond to people

calling their name even if their hearing

is fine so these are just some of the

signs to watch out for remember that not

every child with autism has all of these

signs and if your child has some or even

many of these signs it doesn't

necessarily mean that your child has

autism but you may want to speak to a

professional to find out more

it can be scary if you think your child

is showing signs of autism and you may

be tempted to wait and see but early

intervention is key for best outcomes so

if you are seeing any of these signs

speak to a doctor a therapist or your

speech-language pathologist as soon as

you can to find out more information

it's also important to remember that

there is hope a diagnosis of autism does

not mean that there's any limit to your

child's potential to develop to grow and

to learn they may learn differently and

will likely benefit from some support

but there is a lot that you can do to

give your child the best possible start

for more information and for articles on

building communication and children with

autism visit the autism corner on the

Hanan website or subscribe to this

channel for more videos I hope that you

found this video helpful remember

whether you're thinking about your child

or another child that you know there's a

lot that you can do to help