Developmental Red flags
for children with autism

Ages 0-3

  • By 6 months or thereafter: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions
  • By 9 months or thereafter: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
  • By 12 months: No babbling and/or no gesturing
  • By 15 months: No words
  • By 24 months: No 2-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating)
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age.

Ages 3-5

  • Trouble learning common nursery rhymes
  • A lack of appreciation of rhymes

  • Mispronounced words; persistent baby talk

  • Difficulty learning names of letters Failure to know the letters in his or her own name

  • Difficulties with separation or transitions (ex. Play activity to school work, leaving home to ride school bus, etc.)

  • Does not recognize self as separate person or refer to self as “I”

  • Facial expressions do not match emotions

  • No depth to relationships, does not seek or accept affection or touching

Ages 5-7

  • Trouble learning nursery rhymes

  • Persistent baby talk

  • Difficulty learning letters

  • Fails to learn letters in own name

  • Does not associate letters with sounds

  • Unable to read common one-syllable words

  • Runs away from reading time

  • Complains about reading

  • Social avoidance (clingy, temper tantrums, poor eye contact)

  • Does not explore environment (only likes certain textures)

  • Poor visual-spatial organization (avoids jungle gyms)

  • Poor fine-motor skills (hands)

  • Poor social skills (needs rules)

  • Little or  no speech prosody

  • Academic problems: poor handwriting, reading comprehension, mechanical arithmetic, written spelling

Older Children and Adolescents

  • Academic decline

  • Conduct related concerns or behavioral issues

  • Child complains of feeling “dumb”

  • Others report that child is “lazy” or “just not trying”

  • Failing exams even after studying

  • Reduced self esteem

  • Teachers report concerns

  • Not handing in assignments

  • Social concerns

  • Emotional difficulties: withdrawal, irritability, anger, anxiety, sadness

  • History of alcohol or drug use

  • Oppositional behaviors toward homework


Retrieved from First Signs