How do you check for autism in toddlers?


Quick Answer

Monitoring toddlers for their interactions with the world around them, physically and emotionally, is the best way to check for autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who do not respond to hearing their name by the age of 12 months show an early red flag.

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Full Answer

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begins before a child turns 3 years old and lasts for life, although symptoms do ameliorate for some children. In most cases, warning signs show up before a child turns 2 years old, giving practitioners a checklist to diagnose signs of autism, as noted by the CDC.

Toddlers who do not point at objects to indicate interest in them by 14 months of age or engage in "pretend" games, as in pretending to "cook dinner," by 18 months may have autism. Typical toddlers interact with other people by mimicking their actions and words, looking them in the eye and using simple gestures, such as waving to say hello or good-bye. Healthy toddlers also enjoy social games, such as patty cake or peek-a-boo. Young children with an autism spectrum disorder often find it extremely difficult to learn how to interact with others, as stated by the CDC.

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