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Autism Awareness Month

Autism, clinically known as autism spectrum disorder, is a condition that consists of challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and immense speech and nonverbal communication.

Studies show that today autism effects every 1 in 44 children in the United States. As a caregiver, it is crucial to be able to see the possible signs of autism in children at an early age in order to work on treatment immediately. With National Autism Awareness month on the way, here are some important signs to look for as a caregiver:

6 Months Stage

· few or no big smiles or joyful, warm, and engaging expressions

· Limited to no eye contact

9 Months Stage

· Little to no facial expressions, sharing of smiles, or even sounds

12 Months Stage

· Little to no response in the calling of one’s name

· Little to no response in gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching, or waving

· Little to no babbling, which is typically the first stage of speaking

16 Months Stage

· Very to little words

24 Months Stage

· Very few words or meaningful phrases (note that this does not include imitating or repeating)

Signs to Look for at any Age

· Loss of social skills and previously acquired speech

· Difficulty interpreting the feelings of others

· Constant avoidance of eye contact

· Restricted interests

· Repetitive behaviors such as rocking back and forth or spinning

· Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, tastes, textures, smells, lights, and colors

· Overall delayed language development

If you are a caregiver, and you are concerned that your loved one may have autism, there are many resources to test for this. The Autism Response Team is a valuable tool to help assist with more information on the disorder, additional resources, and opportunities. They can be reached at 888-288-4762 or email through

Autism spectrum disorder may be a lifelong condition but there are so many resources in helping your loved one cope and continue to develop necessary behavioral skills needed for them to live their life to the fullest. There are useful educational programs that can help your loved one learn necessary social and communication skills. The key is to screen as early as possible, so if you are concerned, feel free to use these resources. Early intervention programs create the best opportunities for those with autism to improve their behavioral skills as early as possible, so when they grow up, they can be better prepared and can be independent to an extent. Remember that autism is not the end all be all, and it is okay to be different. Everyone deserves equal opportunities to learn and develop to live their life to its fullest extent.

Wrote by:

Saidah Bullock

Mental Health Counselor Intern

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