Early Signs

Watch for the Red Flags of Autism

(The following red flags may indicate a child is at risk for atypical development, and is in need of an immediate evaluation.) In clinical terms, there are a few “absolute indicators,” often referred to as “red flags,” that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age


*This information has been provided by First Signs, Inc. ©2001-2005. For more information about recognizing the early signs of developmental and behavioral disorders, please visit http://www.firstsigns.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/actearly.
    Early Screening Project PDQ-1

Among the most important steps a family can take with autism is early identification.  We have created an easy to use early screener.  The PDQ-1 Psychological Developmental Questionnaire -1. This tool is extremely useful to help a family take the vital first step toward a definitive diagnosis.

Research has well documented the importance to long term outcomes with the early identification and early treatment programs specifically designed for children with autism.

The PDQ-1 is a scientifically standardized tool which takes less than five minutes to complete and is a useful tool for all global communities.

We are currently working to translate this document into as many languages a practical for widespread use.

View the PDQ-1

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