What is Autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.
Early Signs of Autism
Social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
Restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over (i.e., echolalia)
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move. Performing certain actions and learning skills are considered developmental milestones.
M-CHAT-R Autism Test
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R) is a screener that will ask a series of 20 questions about your child’s behavior. The results will let you know if a further evaluation may be needed.