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Understanding Autism: Signs of Autism in Children

Know the warning signs of childhood autism.

Does my child have autism? It’s one of the leading questions we get here at our practice. We understand that if you have a child that is displaying odd behaviors or developmental delays that you may be concerned about whether or not they have autism. Our developmental pediatrician Dr. Alison Smoller has worked with countless families throughout Monmouth County, NJ, providing comprehensive diagnoses and care to children and teens with autism.

Catching autism early on in your child’s life is incredibly important for making sure they get the specialty care they need to stay healthy and to make academic and social environments a success. The symptoms of autism range from mild to severe, and they affect a child’s behaviors, interactions, and cognition. Symptoms may start to appear as early as 12 months but the majority of cases aren’t diagnosed by a professional until after 24 months.

The very early signs of autism to appear in infants and toddlers include:

  • Not making eye contact
  • Not smiling when others smile at them
  • Not pointing at or gesturing to objects
  • Not responding to cuddling or not wanting to be touched
  • Not mocking or imitating movements or facial expressions
  • Not responding to someone when they call their name

Children go through so many small developmental stages including babbling, gesturing, smiling, speaking, or imitating what other people say. Children with autism may not pick up any of these typical infant and toddler behaviors.

Furthermore, children with autism may not show interest in other children or may have trouble playing “pretend” or being imaginative. Once children begin to speak you may start to pick up certain habits and behaviors that could also be a sign of autism. These signs include:

  • A monotone voice that doesn’t change in cadence or pitch
  • Repeating certain words over and over again
  • Trouble understanding cliches and certain expressions
  • May take jokes or sarcasm literally
  • Facial expressions that are inappropriate or don’t coincide with what they are saying

Children with autism may also have trouble changing or adapting their schedules and may become upset or angry when their schedules are altered. Trust your gut; if your child is displaying any of these signs of autism it’s a good idea to turn to our Monmouth County, NJ, development pediatrician for a proper evaluation. After all, you’re in the best position to be able to dictate whether the behaviors or habits your child is displaying seem unusual and may require further evaluation.

Developmental Pediatrics of Central Jersey proudly serves patients from all over the state of New Jersey including Pennsylvania. If you are interested in scheduling an autism evaluation with our Monmouth County Ocean, NJ, developmental pediatrician, call our practice today at (732) 660-0220.


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Ocean, NJ 07712

(732) 660-0220

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