Early signs of autism can be easily detected in infants as young as 6-18 months, but parents have to pay attention for that. There are certain milestones for a particular age, like – no joyful expressions by 6 moths, no back and forth sharing of sounds by 9 months, no babbling by 12 moths and so on. If the child is not responding properly, than the parents need to check.
Eye contact during early infancy is a key to early identification of autism. Typically developing children begin to focus on human faces within the first few hours of life and they learn to pick up social cues by paying special attention to other people’s eyes.
Children with autism however do not exhibit this sort of interest in eye looking. In fact, a lack of eye contact is one of the diagnostic feature of autism. Early markers of autism are –
1. Poor eye contact
2. Impairments in visual tracking to an object
3. Atypical responsiveness
4. Less social smiling, delayed expressive and receptive language.
They engage in repetitive movements such as rocking/ arm flapping. They may play with toys in unusual way like lining them up or focusing on parts of toys rather than the whole.
These are some of the early markers of autism.