It’s Autism Awareness Month! Do You Know the Signs?

Autism Awareness MonthDid you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? To help raise awareness, we’re dedicating our blogs to topics in autism during the month of April. Last week, we talked about how organizations and monuments around the world “Light It Up Blue” for Autism awareness on World Autism Day, April 2. Today, we’ll talk about some of the early signs and symptoms of autism.

Speech, language, and behavioral therapy can have a significant impact on a child with autism’s quality of life and ability to interact with the world around them. Since earlier intervention is typically more effective, it’s essential that parents know the signs of autism so their child can get an evaluation as early as possible. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of autism in early childhood:

In early childhood, children with ASD may…

  • not respond to their name by 12 months of age
  • not point at objects or respond to pointing by 14 months
  • not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • avoid making eye contact with others
  • demonstrate repetitive behaviors, like flapping their hands, rocking, or spinning
  • be extremely sensitive to sounds, smells, or textures
  • have limited or unconventional facial expressions
  • repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • resist physical contact
  • not use gestures (e.g. waving goodbye) frequently or appropriately

Many of the symptoms listed above are also seen in typically developing children; if your child shows one or a few of the symptoms above it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. However, if you feel that many of the above symptoms describe your child or one or two are particularly severe, make an appointment and have your child evaluated right away. Early intervention is key in helping children with autism maintain a high quality of life, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with autism? How has it affected your life and the way you communicate? Share your story in the comments section below!

Check in with us next week, when I’ll talk about how autism can affect communication and how a speech-language pathologist can help.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved


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