Autism: When Should One Seek Medical Advice?

By  , Expert Content
Sep 26, 2011

Most children with autism show some symptoms of delayed development by the age of 18 months. If you think your child has signs and symptoms of autism, consult your doctor. Some behaviours which are abnormal and for which you should seek medical help include the following.


  • Your child seems self-absorbed, appears to live in a private world or is oblivious to surroundings.
  • Does not make friends with peers and prefers to play alone.
  • Doesn't interact well with others and does not want to share experiences or emotions with you or other people (family and caregivers)
  • Doesn’t uncommunicative (both verbal and non-verbal communication such as hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expression).
  • Has difficulty in understanding meaning of even simple words and sentences.
  • Has difficulty in speaking or using words correctly especially while communicating/talking with other people.
  • Has bad temper tantrums.
  • Does not like changes in routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change in them.
  • Does repetitive or compulsive actions such as rocking, spinning, banging or hand-flapping.
  • As early diagnosis and intervention can improve prognosis experts recommend that babies or children should be evaluated for autism if they do not meet the following developmental milestones:
  • Does not babble or coo by the time they are 1.
  • Does not use hand gestures such as point, or wave at an object as an infant, by the time they are 1.
  • Does not speak a single word when 16 months old.
  • Does not speak in 2-word phrase by the time he is 2.
  • Has any loss of language or social skills at any age.


If you think your child’s development is delayed and even one of these statements is true consult your doctor rather than “wait and watch." Most children are diagnosed with autism at about 4 to 6 years age. Your child may not have autism but any kind of development delay or abnormal development should be addressed. Note that early diagnosis of autism preferably before age 3 (or for that matter any development problem) can improve the prognosis.


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