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Autism Symptoms In Toddlers

Autism symptoms in babies and toddlers can be elusive. Toddlers grow and develop at different rates. We know that. What happens when you start to notice areas where a child isn’t hitting the developmental milestones?

Have you noticed any of these 7 early developmental red flags?


  1. Lack of eye contact.
  2. Preference for being alone
  3. Loss of speech, babbling or social skills.
  4. Repeating words or phrases
  5. Dislikes change
  6. Language is delayed or child is non verbal
  7. Difficulty conveying and understanding feelings


Autism Symptoms in 12 Month Olds

By 12 months old children will be using simple gestures to communicate such as waving bye.

They will also be crawling, walking and exploring their environment.

When to be concerned with development:

  1. Doesn’t turn head when he hears his name.
  2. Lack of babbling, cooing, smiling
  3. Does not make eye contact
  4. Lack of enthusiasm
  5. Hard to sooth
  6. Doesn’t like or seek attention
  7. Subtle differences in development will be noticeable by the 1st birthday

Your child at 1 year CDC

Autism Symptoms 18 Month Old's

18 month old’s can walk alone, point to an object they want or say single words and shake their head no.

  1. A child with delayed speech skills will point, gesture, or use facial expressions to make up for her lack of talking.
  2. A child with autism might mimic or echo exactly what is said to them or around them without any meaning to conversation
  3. Doesn’t point at things to show needs or share things with others
  4. May not speak at all by 16 months and doesn’t communicate non verbally
  5. Doesn’t like attention, cuddling
  6. Babbling
  7. May actually regress and lose previous language

Your child at 18 months checklist CDC

Autism Signs 2 Year Old's

2 years old interact for the joy of interaction with a parent.

A parent might be more of a means to an end …….ie fill my cup with juice instead of a fun interaction


  1. Not speaking in 2 word phrases
  2. Avoiding eye contact
  3. Does not like even minor changes in routine
  4. May develop a great memory for specific topics:  ie-letter, numbers
  5. Prominent differences in development may show up by the 2nd birthday

Your child at 2 years CDC

Autism Symptoms 3 Year Old's

3 year old’s begin to understand social and cooperative play.

They choose friends, learn what it means to share and play side by side with their new friends.

You may notice delays in social play such as having a conversation, making friends, or understanding social cues such as a friendly smile.

Also look for these signs:

  1. Plays alone
  2. Doesn’t share
  3. Avoids social contact
  4. Doesn’t grasp the concept of making friends
  5. Gesturing
  6. Very literal
  7. Impulsive
  8. Routines


Your child at 3 years CDC


1st stop is to make an appointment with your pediatrician.


This is your home base. Let your pediatrician know your concerns and take your behavior observation journal with you.

You can ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician, child neurologist or child psychiatrist.

All of these child specialist can provide a more in-depth understanding of your child and their behavior.


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About Brewgirl

Hey there!  I'm Betsy.  Mom, RN, special education teacher and blogger at The Autism Daily Brew.  Working hard to bring you the best resources in autism.