Autism Signs & Diagnosis

September 14, 2023
Supportive ABA Therapy expert working with little girl with ASD

Autism is a condition that affects an increasing number of children in the United States, with a prevalence of nearly 1 in 44 children. 

It is important for parents to understand that autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder, and there is no need to be afraid. Early recognition of autism signs and timely diagnosis can pave the way for effective interventions, such as ABA therapy, that can help children with autism thrive.

Reading the Signs

Recognizing autism signs is the first step towards seeking a diagnosis and appropriate support for your child. While autism should always be diagnosed by a professional, here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Repetitive Behaviors– Many children with autism may engage in repetitive behaviors or activities, such as hand-flapping, rocking, or lining up toys. These repetitive actions can be a way to self-soothe or cope with sensory overload.
  • Sensory Sensitivities– Heightened or diminished sensitivities to sensory stimuli, such as light, sound, taste, or touch, can be indicative of autism. Some children may become overwhelmed or distressed by sensory inputs.
  • Social Challenges– Children with autism often struggle with social interactions. They may avoid eye contact, have difficulty understanding or expressing emotions, and find it challenging to engage in conversations or play with peers.
  • Fixated Interests– Autistic children may develop intense interests in specific topics or objects. They might immerse themselves in these interests to an unusual degree.
  • Communication Difficulties– Delayed speech development, limited vocabulary, repetitive language, and difficulty understanding non-verbal communication cues are common in autistic children.

Diagnosis of Autism

Autism can be diagnosed as early as 12-18 months, although it is typically diagnosed around the age of 2. The diagnosis process involves a multidisciplinary assessment carried out by a team of specialists and professionals, such as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). 

The assessment process may take place in a single session with all professionals present, or it may involve individual assessments conducted over a period of time at different locations. Certain professionals and behavior analysts may collaborate and share their observations to arrive at a diagnosis.

There is no single test for autism. Instead, the diagnosis is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the following: 

  • Behavior 
  • Communication Skills
  • Social Interactions
  • Sensory Sensitivities

At Step Forward, our mission is to help children with autism achieve a brighter future through ABA therapy interventions in New Mexico and Florida. Early intervention and tailored therapy can make a significant difference in the lives of children with autism, helping them develop essential skills and reach their full potential. 

If you are seeking the best techniques to support your child’s development, consider our team of behavior analysts as your trusted partner on this journey. Get in touch with us today to learn more about autism signs and the potential of ABA therapy! 

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