Is autism lurking in your family?

Autism affects children early in their lives. Symptoms of the developmental disability can usually be...

Autism affects children early in their lives. Symptoms of the developmental disability can usually be detected by the age of 3. If your little one seems to be lagging behind peers his own age, run through this checklist of symptoms. Then, tell your physician about your ongoing observations during the baby's wellness checkups.

Developmental signs
Autistic children have varying abilities, strengths and weaknesses. They may be born with this condition or gradually start showing signs of withdrawal or aggression as the disability develops, according to the Mayo Clinic. But, one thing does hold true for everyone with autism, they experience a variety of social, language and behavior impairments.

The Autism Science Foundation recommends watching for these signs in infants under 1 year old:

  • No response to name being called
  • Infrequent smiling or laughing
  • Doesn't enjoy hugs, cuddling or being held
  • Direct eye contact is minimal
  • Has trouble holding head up when on tummy
  • Doesn't point, crawl or wave
  • Can't speak simple words like "mama" or "nana"

Older children have similar symptoms as infants, but also express problems with language skills and physical control over their bodies. These symptoms include:

  • Abnormally tense or loose body posture
  • Speaking in fragments rather than sentences
  • A lack of dexterity to draw, scribble or write letters
  • Trouble taking direction and following along
  • Enjoying repetitive behaviors
  • Being overly sensitive or completely oblivious to changes in sounds or lighting conditions

If you have more questions about autism, visit a physician in Atlanta. The doctor can do an initial assessment, offer treatment ideas and refer you to a specialist for a diagnosis. There is no cure for autism, but through various types of therapy, your child's social skills, language skills and behavior can improve.

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