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Generally, early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be observed before the age of 2. Some children will have many of these early signs while others will only exhibit a few. The number of signs a child has will vary across each individual, their age and severity. It is extremely important to note that some children with autism begin to develop communication skills and then regress, this typically happens between 12 and 24 months. For example, a child who was communicating with words such as “mama” “dada” or “more” may stop using language entirely, or a child may stop playing social games he or she used to enjoy such as peek-a-boo, or waving “bye-bye.” As regression is a major red flag for autism any loss of speech, babbling, gestures, or social skills should be taken seriously.
In some instances, noticing the early signs of autism in children can be tricky. It definitely helps to understand developmental milestones, it is important to act if you think your child is not meeting these milestones. Avoid “waiting and seeing”, the earlier you act, the better for your child. Decades of research has indicated that early intensive behavioural intervention produces best outcomes for children.
If you suspect that your child has autism, please read the following blog post on what you should do next.