There is a small window before the age of four or five where a child's brain is still developing. For its treatment of autism spectrum disorders, early interventions can make a difference by teaching children how to communicate and play with others, and reduce the odd behaviors that distinguish them as autistic.
Signs of autism
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children be screened for autism at 18 months and 24 months. But some children show early signs of autism, which include:
Not pointing at things, interacting or trying to share experiences with you
No cooing, chattering or nodding before 12 months
Not saying a word before 16 months
Not understanding feelings
Loss of language or skills at any time
Playing inappropriate games, such as doing the same move over and over again
Repetitive behaviors such as spinning, rocking and slapping
If your pediatrician reassures you about your son's condition, ask for another opinion or two, i.e., if you feel something is wrong, insist on an autism test as soon as possible. However, if your pediatrician says your child needs further evaluation, it doesn't necessarily mean your child has autism. "There are many false positives," and your child may have a different condition such as ADHD.