Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. While autism can be diagnosed at any age, early intervention is crucial for the best outcomes. In this article, we will discuss 10 early warning signs of autism that parents and caregivers should be aware of. By identifying these signs early on, parents can seek the help and support their child needs to reach their full potential.
- Lack of or delayed speech development:
One of the most common early warning signs of autism is a lack of or delayed speech development. Children with autism may have delayed speech development or may not speak at all. They may also have difficulty using or understanding words and phrases. This can make it difficult for them to communicate their needs, thoughts, and feelings. Additionally, they may have difficulty understanding spoken language and may not respond when called by name.
Some children with autism may develop a limited vocabulary, only using a few words or phrases. They may also repeat words or phrases, a phenomenon known as echolalia. For example, a child may repeat a phrase they heard on TV, but not understand its meaning. They may also have difficulty with the melody and rhythm of language, known as prosody, which can make it difficult for them to understand sarcasm or jokes.
Another way to identify lack of or delayed speech development in children with autism is by observing their use of gestures, such as pointing or showing, to communicate their wants and needs.
It is important to note that every child with autism is unique, and some may develop speech earlier or later than others. However, if a child is not speaking or has a limited vocabulary by the age of 2, it is important to seek a professional evaluation. Early intervention for speech and language therapy can greatly improve outcomes for children with autism.