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Autism Signs Moms Need to Know

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There's growing evidence that early intervention and persistence can make all the difference.


It's not as uncommon as you might think—a Mom is concerned about her child's development but she's dismissed by her doctor. However, there are some signs that you can observe that will tell you if your child needs a proper evaluation.

A delay in a child's development could signify autism, according to the CDC. Here are some important milestones for your child:

At 12 months:
Enjoys imitating people while playing
Reaches sitting position without help
Responds to simple verbal requests

At 2 years old:
Demonstrates increasing independence
Walks alone
Begins make believe play

At 3 years old:
Sorts objects by shape and color
Use 4 to 5 word sentences
Turns book pages one at a time

"Red flags" that require immediate evaluation:
No babbling, pointing or gestures by 12 months
No single words by 16 months
No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months
Loss of language or social skills by any age

For Moms who suspect their children have autism, pediatrician Dr. Gwenn says, "Don't panic. There are a lot more resources for children who have autism. Not all autism dooms a child for a poor quality of life. Get an assessment. With love and attention and early intervention these kids do really nicely. Embrace it and say, 'Now we're going to find a way to help our child to live the best life possible.'"

To download "The Modified Checklist For Autism in Toddlers," click here.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Marnie April 2, 2008, 1:12 PM

Thank you so much for this information. The more we continue to learn about autism, the better quality of life we can provide our kids!

Anonymous April 2, 2008, 5:36 PM

My son was on the spectrum at 18 mos and we started early intervention. He’s doing fantastic at 4 years old and I know therapy has been the difference. Talk to your doctor if you’re worried. And if you’re doctor doesn’t listen, find another doctor!

isles April 2, 2008, 6:23 PM

I love Dr. Gwenn’s comment - useful to parents and respectful toward autistics. Thanks!

Lis April 3, 2008, 5:29 PM

my stepson is a high functioning autistic. At six, he is displaying a lack of appropriate social cues, minor babbling, and walks on his tip toes. Aside from this, he is a normal, happy boy. We have taken steps to draw him into our world so he doesn’t retreat into his so much (I’ve been in his life since age three) and the progress has been amazing. Mothers….your children are wonderful and valued members of society. Autism doesn’t mean your child is wrong, it just means their brains work differently. Have patience, and know that your love and support can make all the difference. I recommend “Autism: The Musical” for anyone curious about the needs and abilities of autistic children. Love them, though…no matter what. I do.

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