According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 88 children are diagnosed with autism.
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.
The following red flags could indicate a child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask a pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Autism Speaks, Autism Society
Resources for local families:
- Autism Society, Dayton chapter: www.autismsociety-dayton.org
- Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati: www.autismcincy.org