The Initial Signs of Autism: An Age by Age Guide for Parents 8

The Initial Signs of Autism: An Age by Age Guide for Parents

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When can you first see signs of autism? How do you know what to look for? Does it make a difference how old a child is? I have prepared this age-by-age guide to help. I am not a pediatrician or developmental psychologist. I cannot give you medical advice or make a diagnosis. What I can do, from one parent to another, is to be here for guidance. I am here for support. I am here as a resource. I am here with help, encouragement, and understanding. As a mom of an individual on the autism spectrum, I am here for you.

The Initial Signs of Autism: An Age by Age Guide for Parents 9

Is there a universal way to look for signs of autism?

Yes and no. There are tests and evaluations available but those may vary from country to country and from state to state. In the United States, there are several evaluations and tests for autism that are used depending on the age of the child. 

There is speculation, of course, about what to look for but to date, there is no agreed upon universal test or diagnosis procedure. I personally find this frustrating because this is a global issue. And it is extremely unfortunate that there are some countries do not acknowledge or are not equipped to help parents. The willingness to turn a blind eye to developmental disabilities is appalling. 

So, we here in the United States, maybe we should consider ourselves to be a little bit more fortunate.

What are the childhood signs of autism?

Well this really depends on the age group that you are looking at. I am in the firm belief that it is impossible to diagnose autism in a newborn or younger baby. However, there are a few red flags of autism in older babies that you should be aware of. And, of course, there are early signs of autism in toddlers. Along with several key early signs of autism to be aware of.

And, you may also want to consider the differences between autism in toddler boys vs. toddler girls.

As your child gets older, here are a few signs of autism in preschoolers to look for.

And, you can also refer to this list of common childhood signs of autism or these social signs of autism.

The Initial Signs of Autism: An Age by Age Guide for Parents 10

Can adults have autism and not know it?

Absolutely.

There just may be times when you, as a parent, start to look at the things that your child does. And then you may start to wonder, were the signs of autism missed as an adult? Or maybe it’s because you’ve learned to adapt so well. This can be difficult and an area that I am not always willing to enter. Because, you see, there is a difference between a child who was diagnosed when they were younger and are growing up into an adult with autism vs. an adult who is diagnosed with autism.

Are the signs of autism different in girls vs. boys?

To answer this, as a parent of a girl on the spectrum, I say yes. You do need to know what to look for when it comes to signs of autism in girls. Research continues to support and suggest that girls are still the 1 in 4 of every 1 in 68- just in the United States. 

The Initial Signs of Autism: An Age by Age Guide for Parents 11

What about parents who ignore signs of autism?

Often, I feel, that it isn’t the case. A parent just may not be aware of what to look for. And I cannot and refuse to judge parents fro that. It’s not my place and they don’t need that added crap. What they do need is support. 

I want to walk with you on this journey! My new diagnosis workbook contains several printable resources to help guide you.
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