Insightful New Tool Helps Parents Spot Early Signs of Autism (VIDEO)

Watch It! 9

boy with rubber duckWhen my children were young, I was somewhat obsessed with looking for signs and symptoms of autism. There's so much information and misinformation about the disorder, and with rates of diagnosis skyrocketing, I wanted to make sure I was on top of it if one of my children was affected by it.

Neither of them was, but I spent a lot of time reviewing all of the lists of developmental markers to watch for, and intently watched to see if my children met them. Still I was never exactly sure what I was looking for. I never had any kind of real-life example I could watch and compare to my children's behavior. Fortunately, a new video has been released that provides exactly that.

Produced by researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, the free online video tutorial titled "Bringing Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders into Focus" is designed to spur earlier diagnosis. As we know early intervention can be key in helping children with autism. However, the average age of autism diagnosis is 4 even though about half of children with autism could be diagnosed by 14 months of age. That's a lot of crucial time being lost in treatment.

More from The Stir: 35 Things Not to Say to the Mother of a Child With Autism

The nine-minute video shows children interacting in a room with a therapist and some toys. A voice-over points out what the child is doing (or not doing) that may be an early indicator of autism. For example, they show one boy putting a telephone to his ear, which could be considered a form of imaginative play, but once you see the actions of the neurotypical child and how he plays with the phone, you can see the difference. It presents a much clearer picture of the indicator than any list ever could.

Of course, no one should make a diagnosis based on this video alone, but it's a good tool to alert parents to some red flags they may want to discuss with their doctor. If you have a young child, it's definitely worth a watch, and if you know of others who do, please pass it on to them. For more information, visit

 What do you think of this video? Do you think it's helpful?


Image via KennedyKrieger/YouTube

autism, in the news, toddler health, toddler development


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Rando... Randomlady

One of the biggest things I've seen is even though parents see some of these behaviors they are adamantly protesting anything is wrong, which can hinder their child from getting services. I live with an autistic 4 year old who has severe autism and has shown signs ever since he was a few months old, my sister in law won't believe her son has aspbergers no matter what I tell her.

the4m... the4mutts

You know, 2 of my 4 kids acted exactly like this, until they were 2. Then they became perfect social butterflies. Some children are just slower devolping than others in different areas. My youngest ignored me completely except at feeding time from 18months to 2 years. Never responded to his name, didnt smile at anyone, screamed if someone tried tohelp him with a toy or touch him.

But now? He couldnt be more social, and he has a fantastic personality.

None of my kids are on the spectrum. No doctor ever suspected that they were.

nonmember avatar mandy

This video freaked me out a bit. My son is 14 months, doesn't walk or say any words, never responds to his name. He has a few odd behaviors like flipping things over and over and getting very tense for no reason. He is, however, very sweet and loving and very smart for his age.I will definitely start paying closer attention and speak with his doctor. Better safe than sorry.

Rando... Randomlady

Mandy, even autistic kids can be affectionate. However the only way to really know is to have a qualified person look at him. Boys tend to talk later than girls as well.

Achieve Beyond

The red flags for Autism could vary based on the child and what spectrum disorder they have. This video does give a good overview of the potential signs of Autism in a child. The earlier an evaluation is done the better chance early intervention therapy can potentially help developmental delays from occurring in the child. Thanks for sharing the video and I hope more parents get to see it.

Achieve Beyond Pediatric Therapy & Autism Services

amazz... amazzonia

The level of paranoia o  American moms is just ridiculous 

Samantha N Kevin

My son was very much like those kids on the specturm in the video at that age. He was dx with PDD-NOS at 2 and a half. At almost 4 he is talking so much, socially engaging and has always been sweet and smiley and cuddly. We got him all the help he needed - always maintaining his happiness though regular time to be a kid. We'll never know if he grew out of these things or if it was therapy, but obviously better safe than sorry. Autism is a terrifying thing and a constant tightrope to make sure these kids reach their full potential. Though this video is so scary, it's important parents know as early as possible.

Jenna... JennaPBug

Very helpful to see the normal kid vs the ASD kid, I would of liked to see it done with older kids, like 3-4 yr olds too.

Rando... Randomlady

amazzonia, when the autism rates are 1 in 88 (1 in 50 according to some) it is hard not to be paranoid.

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