Did you know that autism affects 1 in 100 children? The severity of autism may vary from one child to another. Since it is a life-long condition, care, and support for autistic people might be required throughout their lives. However, some people with this disorder are also able to manage their lives independently. Lots of parents and caregivers get to know that a child is autistic only at a later stage. However, an early diagnosis can open up a world of possibilities, which might not be available when the child gets older. In this blog, we will discuss the signs of autism in babies that can help you identify the symptoms when they are just a few months old (or close to a year) so that you can get an early diagnosis. This will help in planning better treatment options for the baby with their pediatrician.

Causes of Autism

There are several causes of autism among babies. Research suggests that genetic influence is one of the main reasons. Environmental factors also contribute to higher risks of the disorder. In some cases, both heredity and environmental influence can lead to the development of this disorder in babies.

Early Signs of Autism in Babies?


The following signs and symptoms can assist you in detecting autistic behavior among babies. Take a look at them! 

  • Not maintaining eye contact with you (they might not look at your face when you are feeding or trying to play with them)
  • Getting upset or irritated at a particular smell, taste, or sound
  • Not responding when you smile at them
  • Repeating particular words or phrases
  • Displaying unnaturally frequent signs of physical closeness, such as hugging or kissing
  • Unable to stand even when you support them (1 or 1+ months old)
  • Not babbling or making noises like other infants
  • Not following your line of vision when you point at objects
  • Showing unusual movements like rocking the body or flapping the hands
  • Showing difficulty in learning to speak (1+ years old)

Many older kids with autism might be unable to engage in play or interact with others their age. Some of the signs of autism in babies might be subtle, whereas others might indicate red flags. 

When Do Babies Start to Display Signs of Autism?


Usually, babies begin to display symptoms of autism when they are 12 to 18 months old. But some of them show signs earlier, even at 6 to 12 months. Parents often notice autistic symptoms when their infant shows differences in learning and development when compared to other babies of the same age. Parents or caregivers get worried when the baby does not achieve certain milestones of development, such as crawling, walking, holding objects in their hands, smiling, etc. 

It might be challenging for parents to identify signs of autism in babies. However, if they pay close attention to how their newborns react or respond to the environment, it can help with early detection and diagnosis. They might notice unusual behavioral symptoms in babies with autism, like late or no response to social information.

What Are the Early Signs of Autism among Toddlers?


The age group of toddlers is 1 to 3 years old. Let’s take a glimpse at the common autistic symptoms among toddlers.

  • Not responding when you call their name
  • Not reacting when you cuddle them
  • Not imitating your facial expressions at all
  • Finding communicating their needs difficult
  • Speaking in an odd pitch or rhythm
  • Not knowing how to play with toys creatively
  • Not listening when you talk to them
  • Preferring not to be touched or cuddled by anyone
  • Unable to comprehend your tone of voice or facial expression
  • Performing any kind of self-harming activity like head-banging
  • Having numerous food preferences

In case you notice any of the above signs, consult your pediatrician as soon as possible regarding their condition. The doctor will help you decide on any further course of action.

Severity of the Signs


Doctors and healthcare professionals often use the term, “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).” It indicates the wide range of symptoms associated with autism. Just like other disorders seen among infants, signs of autism in babies vary from one to another. Some babies might have mild symptoms, whereas others might experience more severe ones. 

Autism in older children results in difficulties both at home and school. Many kids find challenges in studies, sports, and other activities.

Some babies might show symptoms right from the beginning. But others display signs only after behaving normally for several months. 

Autism Assessment


In case you suspect that your baby is autistic, consult your GP. If they see fit, you will be referred to autism assessment by them or another person in a similar position. Many parents need to wait for some months to obtain an appointment.

You will have to fill out a questionnaire during the assessment and also talk to a group of healthcare professionals. At the end of the assessment, you will be provided with a report stating whether your baby is autistic or not. Many people join support groups for parents of autistic babies after the assessment.

Treatment Options for Autism


There are various types of treatments for babies with autism. As per recent statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the average age for a child to be diagnosed with autism is 4.5 years. By then, the child would already have been experiencing personal and social challenges, including those at school. This is why we stress the importance of early intervention in autism among babies.

While there are hosts of therapies for kids older than a year or two, treatment options for babies are limited. However, there are certain advantages of getting babies treated for autism. For instance, the pathways in the brain of a baby that are yet to be altered by autism can still be set right with modern-day therapies! 

Interactive play in which parents spend quality time with their babies is encouraged by doctors and healthcare providers. It fosters language development and enhances social skills in babies with autism. Parents who initiate playtime with their babies regularly have found it highly beneficial. Interactive play also increases bonding time between parents/caregivers and the babies.

Make Bonding a Daily Routine!


Since we have just discussed the importance of bonding time, we hope you bond with your baby every day. You can also include their siblings and have quality family time together. Early detection and diagnosis are of utmost significance, and these are possible only if you notice the signs in the beginning stages of development. So don’t ignore the signs of autism in babies. 

If your baby is diagnosed with autism, don’t lose hope at any cost. Brooding over the causes that led to this disorder is futile. But modern-day medicine and its endless technologies can help you make your baby a better person as it grows. Many people with autism indeed lead happy and fulfilled lives. And, your baby can be one of them with a good support system, which includes you, and effective treatment techniques!