April is Autism Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and it is more common in boys than girls. In fact, as many as 1 in 70 boys is diagnosed with ASD. These alarming statistics have made new parents fearful of such a diagnosis for their child. However, early intervention has shown to help children with ASD reach their full potential, so knowing the signs and symptoms is important.

  • Doesn't respond to her name by age one
  • Avoids eye contact or exhibits poor eye contact
  • Repeats motions such as rocking, head-banging, or excessively lining up toys
  • Doesn't talk at the appropriate ages, such as babbling by age one, one word by 16 months and two words by age two
  • Begins to lose language
  • Tends to hyperfocus on specific objects
  • Lacks social skills including smiling
  • Unable to befriend peers or hold a conversation
  • Sticks to certain rituals or routines with no flexibility to changes

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the strongest characteristic of ASD is a lack of social interaction. Parents can sometimes notice this trait in infancy. Each child is different, and they can and will exhibit different symptoms and levels of severity of ASD. If you feel that your child may be exhibiting signs of ASD, talk to your pediatrician immediately. Studies have shown that early intervention helps improve IQ, social skills and language of children with ASD. New programs and resources are becoming available for younger and younger children all the time.

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