Early Warning Signs

The following list of symptoms represents the broad range of the disorder and is not meant to be a checklist to determine whether or not a child has ASD. Trust your instincts. If your child manifests several of these symptoms and your intuition suggests “something is just not right,” discuss your concerns with your pediatrician or primary care provider (PCP), and ask specifically whether your child should receive a developmental screening. Be proactive.

  • Cannot hold head steady.
  • Does not coo or make sounds.
  • Does not watch things as they move.
  • Does not bring things to their mouths.
  • Makes no eye contact during parent interaction.
  • Does not coo or babble.
  • Does not smile at parents.
  • Does not try to grab things within reach.
  • Does not respond to peek-a-boo game.
  • Does not crawl.
  • Does not attempt to speak.
  • Does not point, wave, or grasp.
  • Does not respond when name is called.
  • Fixates on a single object.
  • Oversensitive to textures, smells, sounds.
  • Has strong resistance to change.
  • Loses skills previously gained, including language and motor movement.
  • Does not initiate two-word phrases.
  • Does not walk steadily.
  • Does not follow simple instructions
  • Loses skills previously gained.

Do you suspect your child has autism?

If you suspect your child has a delay in development or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the first step is to gather information and become more educated about what to expect. There are several good Internet resources for information on child development.

The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) has a “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program that aims to help families identify early warning signs of autism and other developmental delays by providing free resources, including a downloadable Milestones Tracker app, books, checklists, and videos.

Online Resources

  • Child Care Aware of America (link)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)
  • The Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
  • The Autism Society of America (ASA)


CDCs Milestone tracker app

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