Autism can be diagnosed at any age, but the earlier it is picked up and addressed the better, according to Autism Awareness Australia.
During Autism Awareness Day on Monday, April 2, parents are being encouraged to act on, rather than ignore, any worries regarding how their child is progressing.
Spotting the early signs of autism in young children can be hard.
Many of these signs are common to all young children but they are seen more often in children who have autism.
If there are any concerns about a child’s development, or if there is a loss of any skills at any age, parents are advised to talk to a doctor as soon as possible.
“Trust your instincts and don’t be swayed by dismissive family members or friends who often say things like: ‘You’re worrying too much’, ‘Uncle John didn’t talk until he was four’ or ‘She’s just a bit quirky’,” said AAA founding director and CEO Nicole Rogerson.
“They might mean well but, by discouraging parents from seeking professional advice, they may be preventing or delaying children from getting what they need.
“If your child is on the autism spectrum, the sooner you receive a diagnosis the sooner you can start to provide them with the support and understanding they need to reach their full potential.”
In babies and toddlers keep an eye on expected physical and mental milestones and speak to a doctor if the child:
By end of 12 months
- Does not pay attention to or frightened of new faces
- Does not smile, does not follow moving object with eyes
- Does not babble, laugh
- Has no words
- Does not crawl, cannot stand when supported
- Does not use gestures such as waving or pointing
By 24 months
- Cannot walk by 18 months or walks only on his toes, cannot push a wheeled toy
- Does not speak; does not imitate actions, cannot follow simple instructions
- Does not appear to know the function of common household object such as a telephone by 15 months
To learn more about autism and diagnosis visit www.autismawareness.com.au.