Autism and Your Child

When it comes to autism, we have all been surprised by the recent US CDC data that found substantial increases in the number of children diagnosed with autism with higher rates for boys.  The numbers are worrying, particularly as autism has several contributing factors and is still not entirely understood, though we know genetics and family history plays an important role.  There is no credible evidence that vaccination has anything to do with autism. In fact, many large and well executed studies have shown no link at all. There is increasing evidence however, that the age of the father at conception may play a role. The older men become fathers, the more likely they will pass on genetic mutations that have been linked to autism.  One thing is for sure: the earlier you intervene to get your child supportive services, the better their behavior, communication and outcomes are. When you worry and can’t find resources online that reassure you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with me.

Signs of Autism in Infants & Toddlers

There is no single specific test or behavior that diagnoses autism. More than any one behavior,

  • You should observe your infant demonstrating curiosity.
  • You should observe your baby expressing joy nearly every day after 4 months of age.
  • Your child should smile when they are 2 months old and continue smiling
  • Your child should show you they know their name by 1 year of age.
  • You should see that your child tries to communicate thoughts more effectively with each month during infancy and toddlerhood.

Here’s a list of specific Autism Warning Signs.  If you’re concerned your child isn’t meeting development milestones, trust your instinct. If your child is losing milestones, come see me immediately. If you have any concerns about development, I also recommend you have your child’s vision and hearing formally screened.

Seattle Children’s hospital has a blog site on Autism that is written by specialists in the field of development and communication and is worth visiting:

misclassification, and possible reasons for rising numbers.

You can also read more about the science of autism from Autism Science Foundation.

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