Typically, the signs of autism can be seen early in a child’s life. These signs can include the absence of babbling and cooing as an infant, a lack of facial expressions, and little or no response to cuddling. In more severe cases, the infant might actually pull away from physical nurturing.
As the child develops, other signs to look for include the lack of emotional expressions, lack of social engagement, an unusual interest in pieces and parts of objects, a lack of imaginative play, and an inability to understand nonverbal social cues like gestures, tone of voice, or facial expressions.
As a toddler, children with autism might begin to repeat sounds or words, and might seem extremely shy or fearful in social settings. A key sign of autism is the lack of language development. Some children with autism will react strongly to touch or sounds, changes in routine, or requests to engage in simple activities.
For information about child development milestones, click here.