Is my baby developing normally?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of several developmental disorders defined by three developmental differences: atypical communication skills, social skills, and repetitive behaviors. The word spectrum is used because some children are severely affected, but most are mild to moderately affected.
Children with severe autism are usually diagnosed early in life, as young as 12—18 months of age. But children who are mildly affected and have good verbal skills may not be diagnosed until they enter preschool (or even later).
Pediatricians look for early signs of ASD, because children who receive earlier intervention have the best outcomes. The good news: many children “outgrow” this diagnosis as they grow up.
So, how do you know if your child is on a typical developmental track or one that is atypical? When should you bring your concerns to your pediatrician? Here are some things you should seen your nine to twelve month old doing:
- Does your baby play peek-a-boo (or pat-a-cake or high-five) with you?
- Is your baby bothered when you leave her?
- Does your baby try to get your attention?
- Does your baby make eye contact with you?
- Does your baby look to get your approval in new situations?
- Does your baby turn to your voice?
- Does your baby seem like he is engaged with you or is he in his own world?
- At one year, does your baby turn to his name being called?
- At one year, does your baby have a typical comfort object like a doll or blanket?
- At one year, do you see your baby imitating or copying your activities in his play?
- At one year, does your baby say “mama” and “dada” and mean it?
- Does your baby enjoy cuddling with you?
- Does your baby have constant repetitive behaviors, like flapping of the hands?*
*The answer should be YES to all these questions, except #14.
Bring your concerns to your baby’s healthcare provider if you feel your child is not doing what he should be. And, please bring your baby in for all those well child checks—as these are opportunities to make sure your baby is staying on track!