Does my baby have autism? Autism, if approached properly, can be detected at a young age. The common early age for diagnosis is around 2 to 3 years old, though some toddlers as young as 18 months can be properly diagnosed. When it comes to autism, the earlier your toddler is diagnosed the better. This means you can take quick action in providing them the treatment they need.
Autism is not a disorder that can be healed or cured. It’s something that requires constant work and effort to minimize and reduce the impact of certain symptoms on your toddler’s life. If left untreated, your toddler will continue to regress in development as they cannot be handled the same way as normal toddlers.
Autism affects 1 in 59 toddlers in America, boys are more often diagnosed than girls. Girls tend to be more socially expressive than boys, which causes their symptoms to go unnoticed for longer. The severity of symptoms varies between every toddler, from a range of mild to severe.
There are three levels of autism, the first being the mildest and the third being the most severe. Parents often mistake mild symptoms as shyness and timid behavior rather than red flags. Under the impression that school or social interaction with other toddlers will help them improve, toddlers are not diagnosed until a teacher detects possible symptoms.
Autism is not diagnosed through blood or imaging tests, rather it is observed over time through behavior and a toddler’s developmental progress. Not meeting the basic developmental requirements of toddlers their age is typically what indicates autistic tendencies. Once a toddler has been properly diagnosed, consultation with a pediatrician, neurologist, psychologist, or psychiatrist is required to create a game plan for improvement and further action.
The following list highlights some commons signs that 1-3 years old toddlers may have autistic tendencies:
- They avoid eye contact when speaking or interacting with others
- They don’t show interest in socializing with others
- They have a hard time interpreting other people’s emotions as well as expressing their own
- They have delayed skills in speech and language (reading, writing, talking)
- They ‘parrot’ what other people say rather than constructing their own answers and questions
- They have a hard time understanding more complex emotions or speech patterns (sarcasm, jokes)
- They have repetitive physical motions (rocking, running, spinning, flapping)
- They have a hard time adapting to small changes in their routine
While there are many more, these ones tend to be obvious indicators that can easily be picked up. They can also vary on the mild to severe spectrum much like other behaviors associated with autism.
Below is a quiz for autistic signs and behaviors to see if your toddler could potentially have autism. It’s very important to note that this online autism test is in no way a proper or medical diagnosis for your toddler. This is simply a detailed list of symptoms that point towards autistic tendencies. If your toddler has some symptoms on this checklist, then your next consideration should be to consult your family pediatrician to get a proper diagnosis.
Take our Autism Quiz for Toddlers (1.5 to 3 years old)
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- Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT)