Dr. Manish Bhatia discusses autism red flag signs at age 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 16 months and 2 years age. The earlier a child with autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed, the better is the prognosis. This autism checklist from one of the leading autism experts in the world will help you quickly check if your child has any autism red flag signs or symptoms and will help you seek early diagnosis and treatment for you child.
Autism Red Flags Signs – Symptoms Checklist for Autism
I am Dr Manish Bhatia your friend and guide from doctorbhatia.com. Contact us for homeopathy treatment of autism.
Today we are going to discuss when you should be concerned whether your child is autistic or not.
Now the research has shown that the earlier we are able to diagnose and the earlier we are able to provide an intervention to an autistic child the better is the prognosis.
So it is necessary and it is imperative that we diagnose the child as soon as possible. We get a lot of patients who come to us at a very late age like they feel that the child is developing slowly and they do not visit the doctor till the child is three and a half years or four years and sometimes even five years.
By that time we lose a significant amount of time which can help in improving the prognosis of the child.
So it is necessary to make sure that we are aware of the red flags as I would say of autism and when you should suspect that your child has autistic features.
Most of the time it is difficult to diagnose a child as autistic before the age of two that is twenty-four months. But many children show autistic features even before that from twelve-month age and eighteen-month age. And if you are aware then it is possible to get a proper diagnosis and start working for possible interventions at a rather early stage.
For this, we have to understand that as the child develops the child does not just have physical milestone every child, every infant has mental and emotional milestones too. Like when does a child start sitting on his own or when does a child start crawling or when does the child start walking or at what age the child starts teething.
Similarly, the child has mental milestones. At what age the child understands that these people are my parents, these people are my family. At what age the child starts relating to the family emotionally. At what age the child starts expressing emotions. At what age the child starts developing command following. At what age the child having some meaningful to-and-fro interaction. At what age the child become playful with you.
So if you understand all these milestones then we know if the child is not attaining those milestones at a particular age then we should be concerned. We should be going to our paediatrician or a general physician for a check-up. If the physician or the paediatrician suspects that your child might be autistic it is wise to go for a further and a complete evaluation of the child.
So what are those autism red flags?
We start at six months age.
By the time a child is six months old what is very common to observe is that the child is able to have eye contact with the parents or the caretaker or the siblings.
When you are talking with the child or taking to the child, the child will look into your eyes and the child will smile. They often give you a big smile. You are talking to the child. The child will be happy, the child will smile.
So by six months age if you see the child is not looking into your eyes when you are talking to the child.
You are trying to have some communication with the child but the child is looking somewhere else as if you are not talking to them.
So if that is happening and if you see that the child is not smiling, the child is not responding to your social cues. The child is not giving you a big smile occasionally it’s not necessary that the child is smiling all the time. But there should be some show that the child is reciprocating to you at the emotional level – the child is looking into your eyes and that should happen by the age of six months. So if this doesn’t happen by the age of six months then you should consult a paediatrician or a physician.
By the time a child is nine months old, there is to-and-fro sharing of expression, like if you smile the child will also smile, if you giggle the child will also giggle, might also giggle. The look into your eyes. The child will have some meaningful expression which will match your expressions.
And if you see that this does not happen till the age of nine months the child is not looking towards you, the child is not making eye contact, the child is not pointing towards you or not pointing towards things, the child is not smiling at you, the child is not reciprocating to you in any way on a regular basis, then that is a red flag. And you should go for an evaluation.
After that, we come to the level of twelve months age. So what happens at twelve months?
What we see at twelve months is that there is some babbling along with what we have discussed for six months milestones and nine months milestones. The next thing we see by the twelve months if the child is not babbling; if the child is not making any sounds then again that is a red flag.
The language takes time to develop. The children who develop meaningful language a bit late especially what we see is that often male child develops some milestones later compare to female child or female infant. So that some social variance is accepted but if there is no babbling at all till the age of twelve months then that is a red flag.
By twelve months the child also starts responding to his or her name. If the child is not responding to the name then you should be concerned. When you are calling the child by his or her name the child should look towards you; the child should try to make eye contact; the child should give you some emotional expression and if that is missing then that is again a red flag by the age of twelve months
What we also see that the child by the age of twelve months is able to make gestures; point towards things if you are pointing he or she will also point; if you are waving he or she might also wave; if you ask him/her to wave he or she will also wave.
So these are small milestone which we usually see that the child develops by the age of twelve months.
So if you see that your child has not attained those milestones by the age of twelve months then it is a matter of concern.
There can be some delay a couple of months here and a couple of months there and that is perfectly acceptable but if you see that these milestones are totally absent ten it’s a matter of concern.
So after twelve months, the next stop is sixteen months.
By sixteen months the child usually has some words, some vocabulary, and some language development is there.
And by the age of twenty-four months, the child should be able to speak in two words sentences. The one-word sentence usually comes by the age of sixteen to eighteen months.
By twenty-four months that is two years the child is usually able to speak in a short sentence of one, two or three words and if that language development is missing; if the child is not speaking age appropriately; if the child is totally not verbal then it is a matter of concern and you should consult a physician or a paediatrician.
So we see that these are the general milestones. If any stage you recognize any of these milestones it is not necessary that you recognize the six months milestone at six months you will probably become aware of those issues at probably nine months or twelve months or sixteen months. But whenever you see that this age-appropriate milestone has not been attained. You should be concerned and you should take your child for a consultation with the paediatrician or a neuro paediatrician or neuro physician or a development physician for a proper evaluation of the child.
Along with it, these are the general development milestones. There are other symptoms and signs which you might observe it any age. If you see these signs and symptoms at any age then you should be concerned and you should think about proper evaluation of your child.
So what are these other symptoms that you should be looking for?
If at any stage you feel that your child has lost what it has already acquired. If the child has regressed in any way. If the child was babbling a couple of months ago and the child has stopped babbling. If the child was speaking a few words a few months ago or a month ago and now the child is not speaking anything. If the child was making proper eye contact till the age of fourteen months or fifteen months and now the child is not making any eye contact.
Any kind of regression should be an alarming sign and it should be evaluated.
Along with it if you see at any age that your child is not making eye contact. If your child has preference solitude; if the child is sitting alone all the time not making any social interaction with the siblings or with the parents or is not acknowledging anyone around him or her; like there are guests at home or other children at home and the child is not acknowledging their presence or the child is lost in his or her own world, sitting in one corner as if the rest of the people are not in existence then that is a matter of concern.
There are children who are shy, there are children who are introvert and that is okay. We do not take anyone sign and isolation. If the child is autistic you will usually see multiple red flags. It’s not just one thing that will make your child autistic or that will label your child autistic.
Please do remember that. Different children have different variability, different variance and attaining those milestones in a couple of months here and there, and that is alright. But one red flag is not sufficient. Usually, if the child is actually autistic truly autistic then you will see multiple deficit areas.
So what are the other deficit areas or other sign or symptoms you should be looking at?
Delayed development of language at any age, loss of language that had developed at any age, especial behavioural patterns like hand flapping, spinning, rotating or looking at objects that are constantly rotating or lining up things in a particular fashion all these are known to associate with autism then if the child repeats whatever you are saying like if you say “Adam come here” Adam will not come here, Adam will repeat, “Adam come here”. If you ask, “what is your name?” the child will repeat, “what is your name?” This is called Echolalia. And if the child has this symptom then you should look for other red flags also.
Then the child often also starts walking on toes. If there is toe walking that is also a very common feature of autism. Then the child often has sometimes gastrointestinal symptom. Sometimes they have special behavioural symptoms. There are tics and there are mood disturbances. There is hyperactivity associated with some of these children.
So if you multiple such deficit areas or multiple areas of concern then you should get your child evaluated. Please remembers that no one symptom in isolation makes your child autistic. You should only be worried if you see multiple areas of deficit or if you see multiple signs and symptoms of autism. And please do remember that apart from the development of these milestones the primary areas of concern for an autistic child is the lack of ability to form social relations, to have a meaningful social interaction, to have a meaningful emotional interaction with other people.
So these are the primary areas of concern along with the behavioural issues that the child develops and if we are aware of what we need to look for in a child then we will be properly able to diagnose an autistic child much much earlier.
Please do remember that Autism has become an epidemic today.
The current prevalence is one child per forty-nine to fifty-seven children and we should also know that the male child is more likely to be affected than the female child. And the ratio is 4:1 or 5:1 in different populations.
So if your child is a male then they are four times more likely to be autistic compared to a girl child.
So if we understand all these areas, if we understand all these deficit areas, if we understand all these development milestones then it is easier for us to diagnose the possibility of autism at an early age and treat it as soon as possible because early intervention creates a whole lot of difference and the prognosis of these children.
So I hope you have found today’s video useful.
If you have any questions regarding your child or if you need any help regarding autistic children please visit doctorbhatia.com and you can post your questions to me there and I will be happy to answer those questions for you. And make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel.
So see you next.