The National Autistic Society launched the first ever World Autism Awareness Week last year and over 5,000 people took part and raised over £235,395 to help autistic people and their families in the UK.

The range from autism to Asperger's syndrome is characterized mainly by difficulty in social interaction and communication and restricted patterns of thoughts and behaviour. There is a wide degree of variation on the autistic spectrum and it is likely that two children with autism will experience different difficulties.

Parents can often be confused by the different terms and overwhelmed by the reality that their child might be autistic. It's an advantage to spot the 'red flags' as soon as you can, if your child is exhibiting any of the following, don't delay in asking your doctor for an evaluation. Here are ten early signs of autism in young children that you can look out for:

1. If your child doesn't smile or show any other joyful expression by six months old.

2. If your child doesn't make eye contact.

3. If your child doesn't respond to his or her name, or the sound of a familiar voice.

4. If you child is still non-verbal at 16 months old.

5. If your child isn't babbling by 12 months old.

6. If your child doesn't follow objects visually.

7. If your child doesn't point, wave, or us any other gestures to communicate.

8. If your child doesn't reach out to be picked up.

9. If your child doesn't share interest or enjoyment with playing with others.

10. If your child doesn't make a noise to get your attention.

When autism is caught in infancy, the treatment can be more effective. It is hard to diagnose autism before the age of two; however, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. The early signs of autism are usually the absence of normal behaviours and milestones that your child should be reaching. Often, the earliest symptoms are misinterpreted as signs of being a 'good baby.'

The most common symptoms to look out for are infants that don't respond to cuddling, don't reach out to be picked up and don't tend to look at their mothers when being fed. If these signs are missed, the older the child gets, the more evident the signs will become, especially with social interaction, communication and speech and language difficulties.

If you want more information on autism, visit The National Autistic Society website: http://www.autism.org.uk/

Do you think your child might have autism?

Do you think your child might have autism?


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk