top of page

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication, social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors ( Individuals with autism have difficulty interacting with others: building relationships, using language, regulating their emotions, and understanding others’ points of view ( A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately prior to 2013: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder. Individuals who meet the specified criteria are given the diagnosis of "autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" with one of three levels of severity. Level of severity is defined in terms of the amount of support needed in the area of social communication and with restricted, repetitive behaviors (

Indicators of autism usually appear by age two or three. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and it can often be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Individuals with autism do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes later in life for people with autism. The following may indicate that your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation right away (

By 6 months

Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions

Limited or no eye contact

By 9 months

Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions

By 12 months

Little or no babbling

Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving

Little or no response to name

By 16 months

Very few or no words

By 24 months

Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)

At any age

Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills

Avoidance of eye contact

Persistent preference for solitude

Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings

Delayed language development

Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)

Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings

Restricted interests

Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)

Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors

According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today. If you have concerns about your child’s development, you can complete a brief screening on the Autism Speaks website.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page