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Red Flags for possible Autism

Warning Signs of Autism in Early Childhood
Parents should ask their child's family doctor for referral to a developmental paediatrician for assessment if there are concerns with any of the following:

Communication Red Flags


• No babbling by 11 months of age
• No simple gestures by 12 months (e.g., waving bye-bye)
• No single words by 16 months
• No 2-word phrases by 24 months (noun + verb - e.g., "baby sleeping")
• No response when name is called, causing concern about hearing
• Loss of any language or social skills at any age

Behaviour Red Flags


• Odd or repetitive ways of moving fingers or hands
• Oversensitive to certain textures, sounds or lights
• Lack of interest in toys, or plays with them in an unusual way (e.g., lining up, spinning, opening/closing parts rather than using the toy as a whole)
• Compulsions or rituals (has to perform activities in a special way or certain sequence; is prone to tantrums if rituals are interrupted)
• Preoccupations with unusual interests, such as light switches, doors, fans, wheels
• Unusual fears

Social Red Flags


• Rarely makes eye contact when interacting with people
• Does not play peek-a-boo
• Doesn't point to show things he/she is interested in
• Rarely smiles social


It is important to note that people with autism may have other disabilities or conditions, eg Epilepsy, Bi-Polar Mood Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Sight Disorders, Difficulties with Sensory Integration, Hearing Impairment and that these need to be addressed also.

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The information in this article was kindly provided by The South African Speech, Language, Hearing Association. For further information kindly contact them on: 0861 113 297 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.