• The Definition

    The following bullets are the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition – this is the “manual of manuals” for psychologists and psychiatrists to recognize mental health disorders) criteria for ASD: 
    1) Impairments in social interaction (Area 1) 
    2) Impairments in communication (Area 2) 
    3) Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities (Area 3) 
    Delays or abnormal functioning in social interaction, communication, or symbolic/imaginative play prior to age 3 
    Autism can be diagnosed as early as 16 months – early intervention is crucial.  Look for the following “red flags” (as stated from autismspeaks.org).  
    1) No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter 
    2) No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter 
    3) No words by 16 months 
    4) No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months 
    5) Any loss of speech, babbling, or social skills at any age 
    Knowing milestones help to monitor a child’s learning, behavior, and development.  Take a look at these important ones at 3-4, 7, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months by clicking on the link below.