Autism Case Training:

Early Warning Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Course Information

Why Is This Case Important?

Evidence-based educational and interventional strategies can help children learn and build competency in areas of need. Many of these strategies are most effective when introduced early. It is important to be proactive about developmental concerns, and imperative that pediatric care providers be able to detect early warning signs of developmental delays so they can help to make a timely diagnosis when appropriate.

In the United States, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is usually diagnosed in children between 3 and 7 years of age. However, studies have shown that parents usually have concerns about their child's development, especially social development, at or before 18 months of age.

The risk factors for receiving a later diagnosis of ASD include:

  • Having many primary care providers rather than seeing one consistent provider
  • Living in a rural area compared with an urban setting
  • Living in a near-poor household versus a wealthy household

Children who have severe language deficits and/or display the symptoms of hand flapping or toe walking are more likely to be diagnosed earlier.