Research now suggests that children as young as a year old can show signs of autism. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and understand the typical developmental milestones your child should be reaching at different ages.
If you have any concerns about your child's development, don't wait. Speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism. If your child does have autism, early intervention may be his or her best hope. Watch for the Red Flags of Autism (The following red flags may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development, and is in need of an immediate evaluation). In clinical terms, there are a few absolute indicators, often referred to as red flags, that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the red flags that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:
No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age