Early Signs of Autism

First signs of Autism/Asperger’s in babies and toddlers 

• Doesn’t make eye contact when being fed or changed

• Doesn't smile when smiled at

• Doesn't respond to his/her name or to the sound of a familiar voice

• Doesn't point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate

• Doesn’t follow objects visually

• Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out

• Doesn’t make noises to get your attention

• Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling

• Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions

• Doesn’t reach out to be picked up

• Doesn’t play with other children or share interest and enjoyment

• Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests


Other Early signs of Autism/Asperger’s in babies and toddlers 

• Can have a large head circumference

• Can have tongue tie

• Feeding problems – breast and bottle – arching body away from nipple/teat

• Gastric reflux

• Arching body backwards when picked up (from 1 month)

• Bathing problems – not liking baths or hair washing (from birth)

• Sleep problems – not sleeping for more than an hour at a time

• Crying isn’t soothed by parent picking up

• Light sensitive

• “Flat” facial expression (facial affect)

• Easily startled by new objects or sounds

• Frequent ear infections

• Texture affected with solid food

• Needing to stand up to poo (in the same spot in the house)

• Lining up cars and other objects

• Likes to do things over and over – robot like actions • Likes to watch spinning objects – fans, wheels on cars •Doesn’t learn from other children modeling e.g. how to ride a tricycle

• Wanting to wear the same clothes every day

• Distressed by changes in routine


The following list of developmental delays do warrant an evaluation by your child’s pediatrician:

- By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions. By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions. By 12 months: Lack of response to name. By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.” By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving. By 16 months: No spoken words. By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.


I hope this helps identify those first signs. Remember the best outcome is with early intervention!

©Nelle Frances