About 1 in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder, and autism is about 4.5 times more common among boys. Every parent wants their child to be safe and healthy. Looking out for signs of an autism spectrum disorder can help facilitate an early diagnosis so the child can receive the best possible care. Early therapeutic training can help a child with autism learn coping strategies when it comes to stress and social situations.

Here are seven early sings of autism all parents need to watch out for:

1. Not Responding To Interaction

Babies with autism may have a more difficult time interacting with people. If you notice your child isn’t responding to eye contact or words, it may be worth getting a doctor’s opinion. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children with autism may have “a tendency to look at and listen to other people less often.”

2. Not Responding To Name

Babies begin to respond to their name pretty early on. If your child doesn’t respond to their name by the time they’re one year old, it could be a possible sign of autism.

3. Reduced Interest In People

Babies generally look to adults to learn, gain approval and seek attention. They smile and make eye contact when their parents are around. Babies with autism often show a reduced interest in people. They may not wave, point, clap or make eye contact.

4. Delayed Babbling

Babies imitate the sounds they learn from their parents. If your child is almost one year old and not babbling, it could be a sign of autism. Children with autism spectrum disorder often have delayed speech and language skills.

5. Difficulty Playing Social Games

A common sign of autism in toddlers is difficulty playing social games. The CDC explains, “Typical toddlers also show interests in social games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. But a young child with an ASD might have a very hard time learning to interact with other people.”

6. No Imitation Of Others

Children often imitate their parents, but an autistic toddler might show less interest in imitating adults. According to the CDC, “Typical infants are very interested in the world and people around them. By the first birthday, a typical toddler interacts with others by looking people in the eye, copying words and actions, and using simple gestures such as clapping and waving bye-bye.” A toddler with autism may not smile or wave back.

7. Seeking Comfort By Self-Soothing

Children with autism are very sensitive to change, even if the change is minor. Any disruption to their routine might cause them to get upset. Toddlers with autism might seek comfort by rocking or flapping their arms to self-soothe and worth through their anxiety.

National Institute of Mental Health