Increase Autism Awareness and the Early Signs of ASD

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 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 68 children in the United States. 

While most children with ASD can be diagnosed as early as 2 years of age, the average age of diagnosis remains between 3 ½ - 4 years.  We can all play a role by monitoring child development and encouraging parents to talk to their child’s doctor if concerned.  Below are some ‘red flags’ to consider in children by 24 months of age. Parents can ask their pediatrician or family doctor to complete a brief autism screening at their next appointment. 

RED FLAGS FOR ASD:
  • Limited response to social interactions
  • Infrequent or inconsistent eye contact
  • Limited facial expressions
  • Inconsistent response to hearing name called (in absence of hearing loss)
  • Not using single words by 16 months or 2-word phrases by 24 months
  • Uses another person’s hand as a tool (for example, to activate a toy)
  • Few gestures (especially pointing)
  • Doesn’t easily learn or engage in simple new interactive routines
  • Echoing what others say without regular spontaneous speech
  • Overly attached to unusual objects
  • Repetitive or odd play (e.g., spinning wheels, lining up objects)
  • Odd sensory interests (e.g., fans, lights)
  • Strong resistance to change
  • ANY signs of regression, such as losing words that were once used regularly
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UNC TEACCH Autism Program
UNC Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
UNC Department Allied Health and Sciences - PEARLS
The National Professional Developmental Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders