Autism is a common neurological problem that is affecting 1 in 59 children, both boys and girls nowadays. Autism is a neurological condition that affects the overall development, social skills, and can result in self-stimulation behaviors such as hand flapping, spinning, and jumping. Many children with autism don’t have speech or can talk but are delayed with their speech or can only speak in single words or phrases. The causes for autism are unknown and it has been already debunked that vaccines are to blame. However, some environmental factors may be playing a role as well as genetics can be to blame. And, the severity of the condition also varies. Some children may be impacted by the condition but do not have developmental issues and have perfect speech just like any child without the condition, which is referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome. And many kids who have high functioning autism will develop like other children but on a delayed basis which includes speech. Children that are on the higher end of the spectrum may be able to live semi-independently and will be able to work, or will need minimal help. Children that are moderately-functioning may only have some independent skills and maybe semi-verbal but will need lifelong assistance, and may be able to do simple jobs. And, children that are severely affected by the condition may never reach any stage of independence, are non-verbal, and will need 24/7 care for life. However, the fact is that the earlier that children under the spectrum are helped, and receive early intervention as soon as possible, the brighter their futures are. And, signs of autism can be detected in babies, well before infants reach toddler hood. The signs of autism in babies to look for are:
Visual tracking is poor – What happens is if you put a brightly colored toy in front of your baby but the baby does not follow it, then you may be concerned that the baby’s vision may be a problem. However, that usually is not the case as that can be a sign of autism. Especially if it coincides with other symptoms listed below.
No eye contact – Babies even as young as the newborn age will make eye contact with the parents and anyone else who holds them. However, the baby does not make eye contact, even at the newborn stage, that can be a concern.
No smiling or no smiling at other people – Babies that have higher functioning autism may smile at people on occasion by the time they are 2 months of age which is normal for when babies begin to smile. However, if the baby does not smile, or only smiles at objects but not people, that can be a sign of autism as well.
Failing to respond to a name – If the baby never responds to his or her name, especially by the age of 6 months, then that can be a concern as well that the infant may have autism.
No babbling – Babies as soon as 2 months old can start babbling as that is their beginnings to speech, however, babies with autism may be slow to babble, or may not babble at all. The infants that do not babble at all may be more profoundly affected by autism than their counterparts that are late babblers. However, it is also concerning if babies start to babble and then all of a sudden stop as well.
Fixation on objects – Babies that have autism will be fixated on anything that is flashing bright lights, anything that is spinning, and anything that is moving quickly. They will not take their eyes off of objects that have any of those traits. And, if you have an infant that is displaying any of these signs, then there is, unfortunately, a good chance that he or she is under the spectrum. However, if your baby is babbling and is developing well other than making eye contact or responding to bright-colored toys, then that is likely an issue with vision. If your baby is developing well but is not responding to the sound of their name, then it may be a hearing issue. Either way, if your baby is displaying any of these traits, then you need to make an appointment with the pediatrician because an assessment will need to be made. Unfortunately it can take a while for your child to have a spot for an assessment, but the earlier the baby is assessed and receives early intervention, the brighter his or her future will be.