Early Warning Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

There is no medical test to diagnose autism. A diagnosis is a multi-step process that involves input from parents. So if you have suspicions, start taking notes. Below you’ll find the areas you’ll be questioned about.

There are early warning signs that your child should be assessed for autism. These warning signs are more prevalent in boys, girls are harder to diagnose because their symptoms don’t usually present the same.

A word of warning, some of these “early warning signs” could be normal for your child.

 You should become concerned when your child displays one or more of these traits in each of the four categories.  

Always talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.



  • Lack of babbling and/or gestures at 12 months
  • Lack of single words by age 16 months
  • Lack of two-word combinations at 24 months
  • Any regression or loss of words or loss of skills.
  • Lack of joint attention (example, your toddler can’t point o things)



  • Lack of response to name
  • Unusual or absent eye contact
  • Absent use of facial expressions
  • May not show any interest in making friends or engaging with others
  • Doesn’t respond when someone comes into the room (even mom or dad)



  • Child plays alone.
  • Child does not like others joining in in their play
  • Child does not understand social cues
  • No imaginative play
  • “stereotyped play” (example, cars roll)
  • Engages in repetitive behaviors with items.



  • Child might have difficulty with transitions
  • Child might have rigid rules
  • Has difficulty with changes in routine
  • May have obsessive interests (ie. Lining things up)
  • Does not imitate others
  • May be too passive or overly active


Source: First year tackle box “ by Dr Charlene Gervais, Dr Cherish Twigg, Dr Christy Kelson, Dr Colleen C. Cairns, Heather Fawcett , Dr Holly kibbe, Jackie Shore, Dr Karen Ogston, Kim Moore, Lindsay Moir, Lynne Thibodeay, Sheia Bell , Shiri bartman. The Portia Learning Center Inc


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