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World Autism Awareness Day – April 2
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, when the world takes part in the puzzle pattern of blue, red, yellow and purple pieces that reflect the complexities and uniqueness of the autism spectrum.
There is no better way to celebrate this day than by becoming aware of the characteristics of people with this condition and how all of us can do better to increase our own understanding and promote kindness.
What are the signs of autism?
The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autism’s early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, behaviors become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.
Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who don’t have autism show a few. That’s why professional evaluation is crucial.
The following may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask your pediatrician for an evaluation:
By 6 months
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions
- Limited or no eye contact By 9 months
- Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions
By 12 months
- Little or no babbling
- Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
- Little or no response to name
By 16 months
- Very few or no words
By 24 months
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
At any age
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development
- Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
A diagnosis of autism is an important turning point in a long journey to understand your child’s world.
For more information: https://www.autism-society.org/