Cute aisan baby. Not smiling. Signs that your infant could have autism

Does my baby have autism? Infant behaviours that may predict ASD

The first year of a child’s life is normally a non-stop daily or weekly celebration of “firsts” – first smile, first crawl, first steps, first words…first full night’s sleep (with any luck). But what if your baby doesn’t seem to be reaching these milestones? Every child is different, and meets these milestones at different times, so when should parents start wondering if something else is going on?

Behavioural signs in infants between 6 and 12 months can predict ASD

A 2005 Canadian study published in the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, with over 200 participants was the first to pinpoint specific behavioural signs in infants as young as 12 months that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, whether a child will develop autism.

Autism is one of the most prevalent disorders today, and while a bio marker was finally found last year to help with early diagnosis, it’s normally only 80% effective, and so far mostly being used on higher risk infants. Also it is found using an MRI, and wait times can be long. Most doctors instead must rely on parent observations, observing the child themselves, and using standardized tools like the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT). However these tools are made for children who are 18 months and older, a long time especially when early detection and intervention can help with many of the frustrations that develop from communication problems.

Because of the research done, a scale was developed to help doctors with early assessment in infants as young as 6 months (although they are considered far more accurate at 12 months of age) . The Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) has been a fantastic new tool to help parents and doctors get an early diagnosis.

Signs that your baby may have autism

Most of these are markers that would show up between the 6 months to 1 year range. Before that, many of these may not show up at all. It is also important to know that any one of these traits on its own is not a diagnosis. If your child is showing a number of these traits over the 6 month period, it is always good to see a doctor for assessment. Early diagnosis and treatment can really make a difference in skills building later on. Again this list should not be considered a diagnosis, only used as a tool to start a conversation with your doctor who can then start a proper assessment process.

  1. No social smiling
    Typically a baby will reflexively smile back if you smile at them starting as early as the first month, but certainly by the age of 3 months. As a test you can try looking at your baby with a neutral face, and then break into a wide smile that you hold for a few seconds. You can try three or four times. A typically developing infant should smile back most if not every time.
  2. Lack of eye contact
    Most babies are born with an innate interest in the human face, particularly their parents and family.
  3. Not responding to their name
    Most infants will be responding to their name when you say it by 9 months at the latest.
  4. No social anticipation or Peek-A-Boo
    Neurologically typical children will lift their arms in anticipation of being picked up, or start laughing (or crying) in anticipation of games like Peek-a-boo. If your child seems not to be picking up on these traditional forms of play by 6-9 months, it is worth looking into.
  5. Poor visual tracking
    Take a brightly coloured toy and track it back and forth slowly in front of your baby. Does your child easily follow a brightly coloured toy with their eyes? Or do they seem to loose interest in it or disengage quickly?
  6. Lack of social babbling
    Typically babies love to practice babbling on the road to their first words. Babies with autism may be lacking verbal noises, be slow to verbalize, or suddenly stop verbalizing after a point.
  7. Fixation on unusual objects
    Older babies who are later diagnosed with ASD develop fixations on unusual objects like fans, parts of toys (but not the toy), floor or ceiling patterns.

Postscript

I am receiving a high volume of e-mails from parents listing signs and concerns that they have with their infants after reading this post. I am unable to offer a diagnosis via e-mail nor am I qualified to say that there are signs in an infant that warrant seeking an autism diagnosis. If you have questions and concerns regarding your baby’s development, please make an appointment to see you doctor or pediatrician as they can offer the best medical advice. I am a parent of two young adults with autism with no medical background. I am unable to offer an opinion about parental concerns around infant development.

For further reading on this topic:

Could It Be Autism? A Parent’s Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps

Does My Child Have Autism?: A Parent’s Guide to Early Detection and Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders

 

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  1. Marsy says:

    My baby is now 8 weeks old, she is not really making eye contact, or social smile. She is all the time looking around but not in our faces. I’m very worry about this. Is this autism? I cant sleep, i cant eat, is e very difficult time for me.

  2. Sara says:

    My son will be 5 months old on September 4th. Whenever he’s even slightly upset, he pulls his left ear really hard. He’s also all of a sudden been developing sleep difficulties. He’s met all of his milestones ahead of schedule,so this stuff scares me. He also won’t allow anyone but me to take care of him. Are these signs of autism?

    • If your son is reaching his developmental milestones, then I don’t think you need to worry. If he is suddenly developing sleeping difficulties, try to pinpoint what has changed. Are you feeding him cereal before he goes to bed? Has something in his routine changed? Most babies at 5 months are more attached to their mother than anyone else. You have not mentioned anything that gives me cause for alarm.

  3. Sarah says:

    I have a question. My son is 9months old
    My main concern is my has a thing for my fan he has to knock it over all the time and sometimes likes to run into stuff like instance the wall. Is that a sign? I’m very nervous mom
    My oldest is almost 9 he has autism. He has sensory and social skills. He hit his head alot. So it makes me little nervous.
    Hes a happy baby overall. Responds and plays and makes noises and super happy baby. I’m very paranoid so keep that in mind so I could be just overthing.

    • Sarah, if you already have another child with autism, you should make sure your baby son is seen by a doctor regularly. There has to be several signs in order to be red flags for autism. You will want to keep an eye on language development and milestones that should be reached by a year old. If you see milestones that are missed, you should consult your doctor. I have never seen your son nor am I a doctor so it is difficult for me to tell you not to worry.

  4. Riki says:

    Hi I have a daughter who just turn 6 months last week. Before, she used to talk when people is talking to her , but after she turned for 4 months everything changed. She wakes up 4-6 times every night, barely responds when somebody called her and is very hard to smile even with a peek a boo but sometimes she laugh a lot with my brother. She also stop babbling and her only word is ahh. Should I be worried?

  5. MammaK says:

    Hello, 
    My daughter has just turned 7 months old. She is extremely social, attentive and playful. She mimics our smiles and is very playful. She reaches out to be picked up and sleeps through the night. Sometimes with strangers she displays a very monotone expression until she gets comfortable. My worry is that she tends to twirl her wrists quite often  (usually when she is in her high chair eating or is frustrated) and occasionally stiffens up. She also tends to do this with toys in her hand.  She does not use any consonants when babbling (mostly only “ah’s”). And she screams and screeches all the time while also makes a humming screech (if that makes sense). She tends to focuses deeply on particular items or details on toys using her index finger to point at them (She also does this with her food). She is currently crawling and attempting to stand up on furniture and can easily be distracted by hearing our voices. I am just worried about the twirling of the wrist, arm flapping, finger pointing and constant screeching. I would appreciate your input on this. 🙂

  6. Azwin says:

    Hi, my son now nearly 6 months old. Since he 4 months old he always scratching his body and now whatever he touch he will keep scratching even his body, toys or people. Before this my son get eczema at  4 months old but now he is totally  healthy. Should i be worried because he still scracthing until now. Is that sign of autism?

  7. Shan says:

    my daughter, now she completed 1 year old, for the last 2 months she stated scratching her thighs together for a long time, sometime it will last for 1-4 hours without any distraction.

    we went to a pediatrician, he has given some ointment but it’s not worked at all and he said may b a chance for AUTISM. We were totally disturbed and my brother also have the same issue, he has autism.

    But other than this she is very active, the response is very quick and started talking now.

    please kindly let me know if there are any changes for autism or any neuro issues.

    • Shan, girls on the autism spectrum present differently than boys do so sometimes the signs that you read about don’t apply to girls. I have a daughter with autism who did not fit a lot of the traditional autism profile like her brother did. Please look at this link and see if your daughter is missing developmental milestones – https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Language-Delay.aspx . The itching could also be due to a food intolerance. Have you tried keeping a food diary? You could see if removing gluten, for example, lessens the itching. There are often little telltale bumps on the skin on the upper arms when there is a gluten sensitivity.

  8. Nme says:

    My daughter is 20 months she love play with childern in morning she go in daycare she is happy and hugs her friends she habe eye contact she love all persons she can bye bye with hand she play peachpoo sometimes she crying long time when one person laughing she also laughing  but she not speaking one word and she habe gross head is it autism sighn?

    • With no words at the age of 20 months, this could be a sign of a language delay. Here is some more information on language delay and other milestones for your daughter’s age group -https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Language-Delay.aspx Please seek the advice of a pediatrician or consult your family doctor if you see your daughter is behind after looking at the developmental milestones in the link. I am not a doctor – just a parent. I can’t diagnose babies over the internet.

  9. Nme says:

    My daughter is 20 months she play peakpoo she love childern she love play together  she can bye bye by hand  but she can’t not one word to speek sometimes she crying when a one person laughing she also laugh ? I am worried 

  10. Teri says:

    He is a very mild minored little guy. Rarely cries even if spanked  or scolded. He is quite fixated with wheels & fans. He has been since a very early age. Approximately 3 months when he began staring at fans to calm or relax. Then wheels from the age of about 6-8 mths.  He  will only say a few words; Momma, Daddy. When trying to say other words it comes out as if muffled. Seems he says the word in his closed mouth. He is also fixated on one song. He can only repeat the first three notes. And he will do this over and over again. He will use some gestures such as turning his open palms upward with fingers separated and flexed while moving them side to side precisely, strongly but with short movements. This is Bye – Bye. His hearing has been tested and passed. He is mentally quite smart. Example: he knows all his shapes and colors ( since about 12 mths), most of the alphabet and numbers. He has a hard time following through with simple directions. Example: “ Please bring grandma the brush”.  He will play peek-a-boo. Eye contact is there but can be quite difficult to obtain or keep even for short periods. He has always, from infancy on up, had chipmunk cheeks and swallowing issues. We’ve had to remove chewed up food from his cheeks ourselves because he can’t seem to make the swallow happen. However, when having his swallowing tested…he passed. No problems or concerns with it from the physicians point of view. He does sign and “ He picked it up VERY quickly” per the Occupational Therapist. I’m curious whether you noticed any of this with your child.

    • Yes- fans and wheels were both big interests from infancy for my son. The open palm gesture with flexed fingers was there too. My daughter used sign language and picked up fast. My son knew the entire skeletal system by the age of 5 and the capital city of each US state. He could also tell any state just from the shape of it (we live in Canada, but he seemed to like the USA map). These are what we call the “so what” skills because they appear to be information that is known but there is no application with that information. If you gave your child a set of shapes and then said make a car, could he do it? Can he use numbers and letters in a meaningful way?

      Is his speech intelligible? Has an SLP suggest oral motor dyspraxia as a problem with speech and chewing food into a ball, then moving it back in his mouth for swallowing to occur?

      What you have said here is enough to get an assessment done. I am not sure how old he is, but he seems to have some possible signs of autism. I am only a parent, not a doctor, but I think a visit to a pediatrician would be a good thing to do.

  11. Tina Philpot says:

    My garndson will be 2 in two months. He sticks everyrhing in hos mouth. He is a picky eater he has to touch everything before he will eat it. If it feels smushy he want eat it. He loves his blanket he has to have ot to nap he holds it in his hands and rubs it on his face. He can’t say any words it’s just baby talk . If we take him to Wal Mart and let him out of ths buggie he goes wild he runs and screams and claps hos hands. He doesn’t like to ve told no he gets really upset and gets phyciall. He likes only plays witb his trucks the wheels is what he is fascinated with. Should be be seen by a specialist. My daughter is in denial. Bit a few days ago he started doing this thing with his hands open and close them so now she is getting the hit something may be wrong.

    • Grandparents really seem to notice that something is amiss in their grandchildren. When you are a parent in the thick of it, it is hard to take a step back and assess things objectively. It is hard to get a diagnosis at the age of 2 but I was able to get it for my daughter before the age of 2 because her brother is autistic. Will your daughter see a pediatrician?

  12. Geraldin Pimentel says:

    Hello,I have 14months old baby who loves to play,smile a lot, laugh..he will turn his head if you call him few times especially when his busy playing…my only concern is he does not wave bye bye yet and point things though he knows the meaning of bye bye.he knows mama,baba,dada and yum yum…I’m worried that my concern is a sign of autism.Thank you

    • I really can’t comment or assess your baby. If you feel that developmental milestones are being missed for his age, please consult your pediatrician and come with a list of questions/concerns. Not waving bye-bye at age 14 months or pointing to things in itself would not warrant an autism diagnosis. There would have to be other signs present.

  13. Sara says:

    Hey I wanna ask about my brother he is 3 and has adhd and he always runs wild which is normal of  course but since he has a speech delay and adhd their is a high risk of autism we also speak two languages is that the problem or is it autism please help me I am really worried for him. In conclusion is the speech delay a problem and I forgot to mention he can’t write or spell so should we be scared please help and if so how should we treat him because of the adhd it’s very hard to get his attention 

  14. Brittany says:

    Hello. I have a son who will be turning 2 in three months and I recently started noticing things that concern me.  First, He’s always putting random things in his mouth and he carries this blanket around which he always puts it in his mouth. When I take him out he runs wild, he can’t contain himself. He has an older sister which their only a year apart. He calls her name and he knows mama and dada and when I call him he understands that but only for a minute or so and he’s no longer engaged. My fiancé things I’m crazy so I can’t talk to him about it. He knows how to say milk and some words but mostly just jeeber jabber. He likes dancing to music but when I bring him to work with me. He doesn’t interact with others. He just runs around opens and shuts doors. He also will cuddle with me sometimes but he doesn’t like giving kisses or show affection. He understand high fives. So I’m just stuck in between if I should look into seeing someone or just wait  on it. It’s hard when my fiancé feels like nothing is wrong and I’m wrong for thinking this way at all but it concerns me. He sweet but when he’s mad he will hit over and over and over. It doesn’t have how many times I stay stop.

    • Brittany, your son may have a speech delay so I would ask your doctor if you can have his speech assessed. He also may needs some help with sensory processing. Please address your concerns with your doctor. You have to follow your instinct as a mother’s instinct is usually right. I was told to stop panicking over my son. I tried to have him assessed at 10 months but was told I was a panicky first time mother. And guess what? I was right in my suspicions. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help your son with his development. Here is an article that I wrote which also has resources listed to help get you started – https://autismawarenesscentre.com/waiting-for-a-diagnosis/ . For speech concerns, have a look at the Hanen site – http://www.hanen.org/CMSPages/PortalTemplate.aspx?aliaspath=%2fHome

  15. Gaby says:

    Hello, my 11 month old is obsessed with bitting on everything when he’s overtired. Like repetitively. He sat at an early age, he crawled at 9 months old. He says Dada, mama, ball and babbles almost sounds like another language. He loves to play catch and make pretty goo eye contact. He does answer to his name but if he’s busy doing something he won’t. He’s not a picky eater and has good hand coordination. I am just really worried about what he does when he’s overly tired.   

  16. Valerie says:

    My husband and I have 5 kids and our oldest has autism. He is 9 now. Our youngest just turned 1 and acts JUST like he did at that age, although the signs were always a little different since he is high functioning I.e. mechanical in play, constant screaming and hitting from frustration instead of signing, doesn’t say words but babbles, texture issues with food, hates clothes, walks on toes… At what point should we consider talking with someone to evaluate her? We are in Kentucky and while we have great programs for autism the waiting list is years long for

    • The signs of autism will be different in this child because she is female. Females present differently on the spectrum. No one will diagnose a child under the age of two; however, I would ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician now as it may take time to organize. Say you already have one diagnosed with autism and you recognize the signs. The sooner you can get on a waiting list for services, the better. Trust your instinct on this.

  17. Kristina says:

    Hi Maureen, just wondering whether you noticed any of the following with your children as babies (son is 6 months) …
    He has always been quite interested in his toys and people in his own environment.
    Whenever I take him out into a situation with other babies/children/lots of noise he has started crying inconsolably until I leave the event. Even cuddling him doesn’t stop him crying. I’m it sure if it is when another baby or child cries or squeals with excitement.
    But I am now starting to avoid places with loud noises or other babies as it’s really awful for him and me and everyone else in the vicinity.
    He also tries his best to ignore people when we are out and just kind of goes blank looking.
    I am not sure if you know if either of these things are linked to autism in your experience?
    I’m becoming increasingly worried about the poor little guy.
    Many thanks
    Kristina

    • Yes – we did have these types of experiences with both of our children. It was due to sensory overload. We still have difficulty being in noisy, chaotic environments to this day. Babies at the age of 6 months are interested in other people and enjoy faces and interaction. My children were not able to be comforted either with cuddling and cried for hours everyday. Have a look at this chart on developmental milestones in babies and the warning signs – https://pathways.org/growth-development/baby/milestones/ . If you continue to see warning signs, please seek medical advice.

  18. Kathryn Elliott says:

    I’ve never been on a blog, & I’m computer illiterate, I really didn’t know what to put in the box that said website, so I’m not sure if or when or how I’ll see a reply to my ramblings concerning my grandson, but reading other comments & concerns relieved some of my feelings of anxiety. Thank you.

  19. Kathryn Elliott says:

    My grandson just turned 16 months, & we’ve always wondered why he waved his hands at the wrist while moving his arms up & down, he likes to rock back & forth in his highchair, & just recently started to walk on his toes a little, he does babble but hasn’t said words yet, he does like to interact playing pattycake, being chased & caught, etc. My daughter asked if I thought he was autistic, cuz he’s not saying words yet, & his rocking & arm waving. I’ve had 7 children, & they all developed differently, but they did all developed, I figured with attention & repeating an activity or saying words over & over, they all ended up learning, but some
    of them learned quick & some learned slow. So I guess I want to know if his rocking & arm gestures are reason enough to have him tested.

  20. Elizabeth Sanchez says:

    Hi My baby is about to be 14 months old and I am a bit worried. He does respond to his name sometime and is fascinated by fans .. he also isn’t walking yet he kinda walks with his knees .. he doesn’t wave hello or bye . One of my brothers was diagnosed with autism and I was wondering if my son could have it because it hereditary  thanks in advance

  21. Very informative article. There are so many cases that parents didn’t detect the signs of autism in their child. This article helps alot. Thanks for sharing

  22. Jessica says:

    Hi Maureen , my baby is still young but I have my concerns . I just want to ask if your little one was content  when  she was newborn and infant ?  My son is three months and he’s been the easiest baby I’ve ever seen. He can be alone and  plays himself. Even wake up in the morning or from a nap wouldn’t cry or look for anyone . Just laying there look around and play or coo. He’s not attached to any one either . I know he is still young  but I’m curious if your kids were like that when they were young  ?

    • Jessica, my two children were not contented babies at all. Marc cried 7 – 8 hours a day for the first 3 months and Julia cried like that for 6 months. Both had very poor sleeping patterns. Marc usually waved his hand in front of his face and had no interest in his environment. All developmental milestones were missed by both children. Marc was a very social baby, though – lots of smiles. Julia was more what I would say “flat affect” – her facial expression was just blank. Marc slept with the vacuum cleaner on by his head. Julia had to be driven around all night. It was quite brutal and I was constantly sleep deprived for many years.

  23. Kirsty says:

    Hello 

    My boy has just turned one. He’s been quite slow with gross motor skills (could only sit up unassisted at 8months, and has just learned to crawl on his first birthday).   He was a little bit slow with things like clapping, waving  but also reached these milestones on his birthday week.  Loves peekaboo and smiles at us regularly (more so Dad than Mum)! Says a lot of mamama and bababa but no real words.

    However he has always been fascinated by skylights and lights, since he was tiny. And he’ll often clench and unclench his fists and stiffen his legs when excited.  He used to breathe rapidly and shriek in excitement at the same time (usually inspired by our skylights or some other lights).

     He does have a genetic condition linked to learning difficulties so I am quite paranoid that he could be on the spectrum.

    I know you aren’t a doctor, but have you any tips? I used to find his leg stiffening and hand clenching (and screeching) so cute but now it worries me.

    • My son did the stiffening and hand clenching when he was a baby, particularly before he ate something. It seemed to be a way for him to alert his body that he was about to eat.

      I would bring your concerns to a pediatrician, particularly when there is another genetic condition linked to learning difficulties. You may need to ask more questions about these genetic difficulties in order to learn more about how it can manifest itself in your young child.

  24. Tin says:

    My baby does the clapping thing and he use to fix things not toys is he an autism child?

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your son. I am a parent of two young adults with autism. Please consult your doctor. Autism is a complex disorder and no one child presents exactly the same.

  25. Jody says:

    My little one started tracking objects at 11 weeks. Started taking notice of me and my husband at 13 weeks. Got interested in faces and developed eye contact at 14 weeks. He smiles at us and himself a lot and also laughs only looking into the mirror. He smiles at us directly only when he is excited about something or else it’s difficult to bring out a social smile out of him. He has laughed a couple of times while blowing raspberries. He reaches out for things, essentially can put everything in his mouth he grabs. He is 16 weeks now and social smile is not there yet. The thing is we have been seeing a delay in all his milestones achievements. Does this delay indicate autism. 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your son. I am a parent of two young adults with autism. Please consult your doctor. Autism is a complex disorder and no one child presents exactly the same. I just can’t comment about your concerns or what they may or may not indicate.

  26. Mckenzie says:

    Hello. I have a soon to be 5 month old and she has hit every milestone so far, actually started hitting some early! My question is, while nursing her she scratches and pinched my arm I have bruises, and sometimes while nursing her hand is moving in a position like she’s bashing something. Should I be worried?

    • Often scratching or pinching/biting happens near the end of a breastfeeding session. Movement during breastfeeding is normal. I do not believe that you have anything to worry about. If your baby is feeding poorly or not gaining weight, you need to consult with your doctor.

  27. Bishwa says:

    Hello .. my baby now 2 years old but he did not say anything .. only bubbling . I am scare . He responses his name , smile to family members  and play with others.. He feels very jelouse with his elder sister .. because he love his papa..
    But  he did not waving his hand to say bye .. only he cries ..when he wants that time he want to eye contact .. when he is happy that time he did not say wow etc.. only smile ..and put my hand together for clap .. could anyone sopport me 🙁

    • You may want to see a speech pathologist and have an assessment done. This may just be a language delay. You can also contact your doctor/pediatrician and talk about your concerns with them. It is impossible for me to comment beyond that as I am not a doctor nor have I seen your son.

  28. Ellen says:

    Hi I’ve a baby that’s 8 months old, she’s reached all her milestones as far as I know, apart from she doesn’t like to roll right over onto her belly when she’s on the floor, she interacts with people, she smiles, she babbles away to them sometimes, she feeds herself she claps her hands,she makes eye contact, she makes strange with some people usually just the people she doesn’t know,  she’s starting to stand up holding onto the couch when we stand her up, she smiles when I make funny faces at her, she love  being on the floor playing with her toys, but I’ve noticed she constantly moves her hands, and she has a toy which plays Music and I’ve noticed her rocking back and forth and smiling when the music is on so I picked it up as she was dancing as we have also said dance and done dancing movement to her when music came on, she’s very good at copying things I do such as if I do something with her toy she will try copying me, but sometimes I’ve noticed her rocking  when there was no music on? Could this be a sign of autism 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism. Please consult your doctor. Autism is a complex disorder and no one child presents exactly the same.

  29. Ellen says:

    Hi I have a 8 month old baby she’s reach all her milestones, she interacts with people, she smiles, she’s babbles away sometimes not always, she’s said baba a  few times but not much anymore, she’s being sitting up since 5 months old, she constantly moves her hand, and recently I’ve noticed when I put on music she rocks back a forth, so I took it up as she’s dancing, but now sometimes I see her doing it and there’s no music on.. could this be a sign of autism 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism. Please consult your doctor. Autism is a complex disorder and no one child presents exactly the same.

  30. Vanessa says:

    My daughter is almost 10 months old and is hitting all her milestones she crawls pulling to stand and laughs with us and other family members. She also claps and waves but she doesn’t respond to her name. Should I be worried? I’ve been seeing so many post of babies with autism 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  31. Shaniqua Cranmer says:

    This is a question more then a comment, my 10 month old does this thing where he cups his ear and moves his arm back and forth while clapping his ear when he gets mad or frustrated, could this be something for me to worry about? This is something new that he’s been doing and it’s causing me to question what’s going on? He also won’t look when his name is called, or if you speak to him he will look the other direction or want to look behind you.

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your son. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  32. Amanda G says:

    Our 12 month old is very interactive with immediate family and care takers. Often smiling and laughing, no issues with eye contact, playing peek a boo, passing toys back and forth, etc. However our nanny recently expressed concern that she may be autistic as she cries when she’s in crowded places that are loud or when other kids climb on her. She also has major separation anxiety which wasn’t the case when she was younger. Lastly, she’s been grinding her teeth on and off. I thought it was teething but now I don’t know. 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  33. Alex says:

    Hi, my baby is 9 month old and she is active she makes eye contact she plays but she doesn’t answer her name when we call her. Should we be concerned?

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  34. Gina says:

    My son is 7.5 months and he is extremely quiet. At 4 months he had meningitis and the doctors believe he recovered well. He did 3 weeks of physical therapy at 6 months and started to crawl shortly afterwards. If I say his name he turns but he just isn’t babbling, mimicking, or is really vocal. I read that some babies focus on physical development in speech and vice versa. Is that true? Should I be worrying? 

  35. Lisette says:

    My 5 months baby tremble her hands when she is laughing and when see looking at me. when i touch her arm she stop I took her to the doctor they told me it normal and to keep on eye on her to see any other symptoms. Also she start to sucking her lip when i finished giving her bottle and sometimes i think she is hurgy and i will feed her.

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  36. Courtney Abrantes says:

    Hello my son is 12 weeks old. Full term baby. He doesn’t make eye contact often and when he does it’s onky when we feed him, everything else he is doing. But when I put him infront is my face to do eye contact he looks away and keeps doing so..what do you think ?? He also smiles At clothes when I hang them around the house to dry from hooks on out ceiling. 

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your son. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  37. Precy emm says:

    I have a  19mos old daughter who flaps her hands when excited watching nursery rhymes. My daughter was exposed to watching nursery rhymes video in as early as 2 mos. Her pedia advise us to see a developmental doctor  as my baby dont do eye contact with her and dont respond to her when called out during their 2 meetings. Is ist possible that the doctor can diagnose autism in my child in those 2 brief meeting with my kid? My daughter is making eye contact with me but respond only to her name when called whenever she wants to. We refrain her from watching nursery rhymes for almost a week now and she seems more attentive than she is still hooked up with the videos. She began her mamama wording wen she is 11mos but i seldom hear it from her now, only the am am am wordings. Is it a sign of autism?

    • Please follow your pediatrician’s advice and seek a developmental doctor. There are signs there that your doctor is concerned about. Your doctor is not diagnosing your daughter after two observations but it saying he sees some red flags that should be investigated. A developmental pediatrician will be better able to assess your daughter and will take more time to do so using specific assessment tools.

  38. Miliey says:

    I have a 7 month old who is really aggressive she hits ,scratches, and yells even while playing alone. She doesn’t always responds when you call her name and does this little bounce instead of a rocking back and forth. Also her babbling has become more of a grunting sound . Are these signs of autism that I should be concerned about?

    • Please read my postscript at the end of this blog post. I am unable to answer specific questions like these as I am not a doctor nor have I observed your daughter. I am a parent of two young adults with autism.

  39. rereos says:

    My baby 10month…have eyes contact…when call her name she is Responding…she is  get up 7-8times at night to get milk and continues sleep.but she doesn’t interest playing peek a boo .no social smiling at other people . only smile at me and husband.when people  look at her..she will cry at  her age 3 month until 10 month fear of people . Like doesn’t want make social friend.she is laugh when husband playing her.not too much babbling or noise just mamma aaaaa…bbbbb sometime scream.should i worry?

  40. Kim says:

    I have a 12 week old daughter who was born 8 weeks premature. She makes eye contact but only for a fee seconds. She fixates on the ceiling and the ceiling fans and has not started babbling as yet. Should I be worried?

    • Kim, this is way too early to starting worrying and your daughter was born 8 weeks prematurely so there could be some developmental delays as a result. I am assuming you are under the supervision of a pediatrician. Ask the doctor to give you a checklist of where development should be at given your daughter’s premature birth.

  41. Chrissy says:

    I have an almost 10 month old little girl who has hit every milestone except for mimicking us. She points to touch some items but she doesn’t point at far away items. Does that matter? Also, she smiles at us when we smile and make a sound or a gasp or something. But she doesn’t always smile if we just smile with no gasp or if we don’t say her name with the smile. Is that normal? Those are the only  concerning issues I have. Besides that, I ask for toys she’s holding, and she gives them to me. Is that something babies with autism can do? 

  42. Dez says:

    Hi I have a 8 month old boy who talks, smiles, plays,rolls, crawls and does all the normal stuff for his age except his eyes are still not in line. He side eyes alot and his eyes will drift, but he can focus on people and greets everyone with a smile. I just wanted your input of wether you believe he could potentially be showing signs of atisum ?

    • You may want to ask to your doctor to have your son’s eyes tested as he may have some eye tracking problem. What you have described here all sounds like normal childhood development. I do not think he is showing signs of autism based on your description. If any other concerns come up that worry you, please consult your doctor. I am only a parent, not a doctor and I have not seen your son in action.

  43. Ingrid says:

    My 7 month old daughter is doing a scratching movement with her hand, mostly on surfaces such as sheets, carpets, tables, and toys. Sometimes she moves her hands like that without anything in them. Someone told me that is a sign of autism. Is that true?. She does not exhibit any of the signs listed on the article.

  44. Randa says:

    My 7 months baby has good eye contact & laugh normally but he has hand flapping.. He does it many times… Is it autism???

    • Hand flapping can also be a way a baby expresses joy or excitement. If your baby is reaching development milestones, is happy and interactive with you, I would not worry.

  45. Rachel says:

    Hi I have a 2 year old with autism and I have a 9 month old boy as well he is showing the same signs as my 2 year old when he was his age get up 12 times a night not able to eat anything other than food custard he can’t eat baby pudding or 4 months plus food just to let people no my two year old looks people in the eyes and also looks round when u say his name not all kids with autism are the same he smiles and laughs finds things on the tv funny I new something was wrong from he was about 6 months cause I have 3 other kids before him. My question is I’ve told my health visitor about my 9 month old and they think am reading into things because of my 2 year old and haven’t been very helpful they say the young you find out the better in my case no ones listening a mother knows there child best were do I go from here !!

  46. Elaine says:

    My 12mth hand flaps constantly, he will also sit an rock backwards an forwards, he gets fixed on a toy just one toy but will then do the same movement with for example bash it into his face sometimes leaving a bruise this can go on for up to 20mins. He doesnt answer to his name but will give short spells of eye contact only when he wants to though. Do you think hes showing signs

    • Elaine, these could be early signs of autism. Is there any language development or use of gestures such as waving bye-bye? My daughter did not respond to her name either. I would suggest bringing these concerns up with your family doctor and ask where you can go from here. There are other areas that would need to be assessed before a diagnosis is made.

  47. Ruxana says:

    Hello Dennise,
    It is too early to be concerned. I have 5 months old baby. She smiled only after 4. Which is absolutely normal. She just started to roll now at 5 months. Every child is different. Wait for some more time to decide. Dont stick too much to the signs of autism, you feel that every single behavior your child is a sign of autism. This is my experience. So atleast wait until 6months.

  48. Denisse hong says:

    Hi! I have an 11 week old baby who does not track objects and doesn’t his head towards sounds. I’ also feel like he is avoiding aye contact and does not try to lift his head during tummy time. Do you think they could all be early “red flags” for autism. I brought it up to my pediatrician at his 8 week appointment but they said it was too early to detect any possible problems. My baby does smile back sometimes and bubbles back at me but that’s about it. I feel like he also doesn’t move a lot when laying on his back. Please let me know your input!!8 am really concern over here 

    • Denisse, you may be panicking too early. Do you think that your baby hears sounds? When I hear that a baby is not alerting to sounds, I worry about a hearing impairment.

      Is your baby interested in faces or just objects?

      If you still see these signs at 6 months, bring your concerns up again to your doctor. When I look back on video of my son as a baby, his autism is obvious to me now. Babies change a lot in the first year. Don’t get too alarmed yet! A lot of changes are ahead. No doctor will diagnose a baby this early with autism. Too much can change in the months ahead. You may also want to view this webinar – https://vimeo.com/78210709

  49. Rif says:

    Is it possible completely normal 5 months child who make eye contact and also smilling and make babbling will turn to autism. My sister has a autism child will that effect mine too?

  50. Curtis says:

    “Neurologically normal children” I feel should be replaced by “Neurologically typical children” as this implies that ASD in not ‘normal’ when in actuality it is not typical. By continuing to designate those with ASD as abnormal, which is the opposite of normal, you don’t help the cause of those who struggle with acceptance by society, difference and their identity. ASD, can be hard enough for a person with ASD to deal with and, they need allies, not derogatory labels.

    • Curtis, thank you for your feedback. I am going to change that right away. That was written by my editor, not me. I didn’t spot it in my proof so I apologize for that oversight. As a parent of two children with autism, I am also not keen on the word “normal” and have had many years of my children being defined by their deficits, not their strengths.

      Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate it.

  51. Kim Chute says:

    This was such an informative article for parents, Maureen. Thanks for sharing. I would also suggest that parents seek assistance from a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for early concerns. SLPs have good insights about developing communication and can be a key support to the family.

    • Seeing an SLP was the first thing I did with my son when he just turned two. It was the SLP that suggested he may have autism. It was also an SLP who said I should assess my daughter at 16 months. Thanks for mentioning the SLP connection – much appreciated, Kim!

  52. Bindi says:

    Thank you for sharing the information about behaviors that may predict autism spectrum disorder in infants. Children are spending most of time with their parents so parents are aware with their children’s behavior. Behaviors like no social smile, no eye contact, not responding to their names, no social babbling, fixation on unusual objects are signs of ASD. It is one kind of tool that help parents to observe these kinds of behaviors in their children and they might check with doctor to their children.