Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to Recognize Autism Symptoms in Infants

Many think that you can't see any autism symptoms in infants, but that is simply not true. It is certainly more difficult to see autism symptoms in infants, but research and science has developed to a point now where there are some markers, however faint, that can point in the direction of autism in infants.

It should be understood, though, that this is not an exact science, and not all symptoms that might be autism necessarily are autism. In other words, be aware but try not to panic.

How early can autism symptoms in infants be detected?

It is possible to see signs of autism between 12 and 18 months. It may be possible to help rewire the brain through early treatment if the signs are caught early enough. You are not necessarily looking for abnormal behaviors this young, just the absence of normal ones.

For example, many autistic infants will not respond to cuddling. They will seem to stiffen and shy away from your touch. They won't reach out to be picked up, and they won't look at you while they are being fed.

Other symptoms of autism in infants include:

  • Not making eye contact
  • Not smiling when someone looks at them
  • Not responding to their name or a familiar voice
  • Not following objects visually

Lack of Hand Gestures is an Important Signal

More symptoms include not pointing, waving goodbye, or using other gestures to communicate. An infant with autism won't usually make noises to get attention (which is why many parents with an "easy baby" are later shocked to find out what they thought was being easy going was actually a symptom of autism). They won't imitate your movements or facial expressions.

Communications Symptoms to Look For

When they get a bit older, about the age when most kids start to talk, you might notice several differences in the way they communicate.

  • They may speak in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm.
  • They may switch pronouns, referring to themselves as "you" and to the other person as "I."
  • They may answer questions by repeating the question, or refer to themselves in the third person.

Can I start autism treatment even at this young an age?

You may wonder if there is any way to give treatment to infants so young who are displaying signs of autism. It turns out that according to many researchers, the answer is yes.

One of the most primary elements that an infant can experience is the mother-child bond. If the child is not tuned in to this bond, so to speak, or is perhaps trying to avoid interacting with the mother because of sensory issues, they then could and most likely will miss out on important social development steps that come from this bond with the parent.

To improve and encourage this bond, you can alter the environment so it most promotes interactions such as eye contact and babbling. You need to make your baby feel as comfortable as possible. That means it has to be as quiet and sensory distraction free as possible (no mobiles hanging or bright lights.)

You should not panic if you suspect autism signs in your infant, but you should perhaps get them checked out just to be on the safe side.

Hopefully, with early identification and early treatment, life can be a little easier for those with autism and the people who love them. For additional tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life visit the There you can sign up for their FREE newsletter with tips and info on autism.

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