Autism in Kids

Some children with autism show symptoms within the first months of life. Others, like Jayden, develop normally for a period of time and then stop gaining new skills and start losing skills already acquired.

“Every child is different,” Dr. Gabe Barrios, CBHA pediatrician, said. “There are some ‘red flags’ that suggest a child is at risk for autism. However, some children without autism might exhibit some of these symptoms as well.”

Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:

By three months:
• no social smiles or other warm, joyful expressions directed at people
• limited or no eye contact
• no sharing of vocal sounds, smiles or other nonverbal communication

By six months:
• no babbling
• no use of gestures to communicate (e.g. pointing, reaching, waving, etc.)
• no response to name when called By 16 months
• no words By 24 months
• no meaningful two-word phrases
• loss of any previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills

Dr. Barrio stressed that people, other than infants and toddlers, may also show possible signs of autism.

These symptoms may include:
• avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone 6
• struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
• remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
• repeats words or phrases over and over
• gets upset by minor changes in routine
• has highly restricted interests
• performs repetitive behaviors, such as flapping, rocking or spinning
• has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors

Autism is a difficult disease to diagnose and treat. It is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. “We are seeing such improvement with Jayden,” Dr. Barrios said. “His mother did the right thing in seeking medical attention right away!”