Signs of Developmental Delays
Parents are often the first to notice their children are not behaving the same as other children, or are not reaching developmental milestones. The first step is to discuss your concerns with your doctor or paediatrician.
Signs of Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterised by repetitive behaviours and difficulty communicating and socialising.
According to Autism Spectrum Australia, potential signs of ASD include:
- Inexplicable tantrums, limited interests or attachments, unusual and repetitive movements like hand flapping or rocking, overactive and uncooperative behaviour and difficulty coping with change
- Fear of some everyday sounds, use of peripheral vision to look at objects, eating a very limited range of foods, a preoccupation with or an aversion to certain textures and walking on tiptoes
- Not responding to his/her name by 12 months, not pointing or waving by 12 months, loss of words previously used, no speech by 18 months or spontaneous phrases by 24 months, responding to certain sounds but ignoring the human voice, unusual language or repetitive speech
- Looking away when you speak to him/her, not returning your smile, lack of interest in other children, often seeming to be in his/her own world, unable to follow simple instructions, such as, “Please give me your shoes”.
If your child is displaying a number of these behaviours, please consult your doctor or paediatrician.
Visit the following websites to find out more about the characteristics of Autism:
- Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) - 'What is Autism?'
- Raising Children Network - 'Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder'
Other developmental delays
Some disabilities may be detected during pregnancy or early in your child’s life. However, detecting and obtaining a diagnosis for some conditions can take time.
By two years of age you might have noticed:
- delayed language or speech
- delayed development of motor skills
- delayed social and emotional skills
- problems with vision or hearing.
If you think that your child may have developmental delays or disability, consult your doctor or paediatrician to discuss next steps.
More information about delays and disabilities is available on the Raising Children Network website.
Autism - Personal journey
Parents talk about noticing the early signs of ASD
Disability - Personal journey
What do you do if you are worried about your child’s development?
Next step: How do I get a diagnosis?