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Resources to Help Kids Thrive

This newsletter contains a weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

What Are the Earliest Signs of Autism?

January 30, 2024


The earliest signs of autism in babies and toddlers are subtle, but knowing what to look for can make a big difference. While most children are diagnosed at 5 or 6 — or even older — identifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) before that can give kids access to support that can help them build skills during a critical stage of development.

Traits of autism are grouped into two main categories: social communication challenges and certain kinds of unusual, repetitive behaviors. This week, we’re offering a new article that explores what these traits can look like in very young children. There are signs of communication challenges even before kids learn to talk, when they don’t use typical hand gestures like pointing to things, and showing and giving things to others. And behaviors identified with autism can look like hand-flapping or spinning, unusually intense interests, but also intense reactions to sensory stimuli like bright lights, loud noises, or the texture of certain foods. We also round up what you should know about getting an evaluation for autism, and the therapies that help kids develop communication skills.

– Caroline Miller, Editorial Director | 

Related Resources

What Are the Earliest Signs of Autism?

Signs of autism in infants and toddlers can be easy to miss — unless you know what you’re looking for.

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What Should an Evaluation for Autism Look Like?

From a qualified clinician to the right diagnostic tools.

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Complete Guide to Developmental Milestones

Recognize when your child might need professional attention.

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Autism and Picky Eating

Practical tips for parents of kids with rigid eating habits and problem mealtime behaviors.

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What Is Applied Behavior Analysis?

The most common therapy for autistic children now includes a range of different approaches.

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Helping Kids with Autism Build Communication Skills

Being able to make themselves understood can reduce frustration and self-injury.

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