I was once told that my 15-month-old daughter must have autism because she tends to close open drawers and doors. I immediately went to research the topic and was relieved to find that this is, in fact, a myth. However, there are other obvious signs of autism which you can notice very early.
First signs of autism can appear when your baby is just 12 months old. They are difficult to spot if you can’t compare your child to other children his age. The reason for this is that autistic children don’t usually behave abnormally; rather, they lack certain behaviours and skills that their peers have.
For example, they may have trouble communicating with you and other people. Autistic children often don’t make or have trouble maintaining eye contact. They don’t make baby sounds and are very quiet in general. They don’t imitate gestures, or hold out their hands to be picked up.
A child with autism may be thought to be just a quiet, undemanding baby or toddler. Some parents may be happy to have such an unobtrusive, independent child. However, the truth is this independence may be a sign that your child is not developing her social skills.
If you notice a sudden regression in your child’s behaviour, contact a specialist immediately. For example, if your child has already learned a few words, like “mommy” or “daddy” and suddenly can’t say them at all, this is a red flag. Any kind of regression should be consulted because if autism is caught early, it can be treated and even cured.
Don’t underestimate these early signs.