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What are the main red flags for autism?

Red flags for possible autism in young children involve difficulties with social communication and interaction.

The following warning signs could mean a child is potentially at risk for autism:

  • Not smiling or expressing joy by 6 months
  • Not sharing smiles, facial expressions, or sounds back and forth with caregiver by 9 months
  • Not responding to name or babbling by 12 months
  • Not gesturing back and forth with others (e.g. pointing, showing, waving) by 12-14 months
  • Not using words by 16 months
  • Not participating in pretend play by 18 months
  • Not combining two words together on his or her own by 24 months
  • Regression of previously learned language and social skills

If your child shows any of these warning signs, act fast and talk to your pediatrician right away.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019

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