“When and How to Seek Autism Testing for Your Young Child” is written by Kim Hoehne: Kim Hoehne, MA, BCBA, board certified behavior analyst, child development specialist and founder & CEO of KGH Autism Services*.
Embarking on the journey of parenthood, whether it’s for the first time or fifth, brings with it an innate awareness of the developmental milestones our little ones are meant to meet. It is exciting to witness each milestone as our children grow, but it can also raise concerns when certain milestones are not met. Currently, 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism, and taking steps early can significantly improve the overall quality of life for a child.
In this feature, we will explore the significance of developmental milestones, the key benefits of early intervention, and we’ll also equip you with the next steps if you choose to seek testing for autism.
Significance of Developmental Milestones
While every child is different, and may achieve milestones at varying ages, having a general understanding of your child’s development is crucial. Milestones serve as a roadmap; they allow parents to monitor their child’s growth, identify delays, and ensure optimal development.
Key Signs of Autism by Age
- 6 months
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging facial expressions
- Limited or no eye contact
- 12 months
- Little or no babbling
- Little or no meaningful gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving
- Little or no response to name
- 18 months
- Minimal or no spoken words
- Little interest in social interaction
- Repetitive behaviors
- 24 months
- Does not pretend play
- Difficulty understanding simple instructions
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
- Any age
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills (regression)
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
Early Intervention: Purpose and Key Benefits
Early intervention aims to support and enhance a child’s development during their crucial early years. Research shows that early intervention services can significantly improve the outcomes for children with developmental disabilities and delays.
It can feel overwhelming and daunting to seek testing options, but it can change the developmental trajectory and have major long-term positive effects on symptoms and later skills. Early intervention not only gives children the best start, but the best chance of developing to their full potential.
About KGH Autism Services
For over two decades, KGH Autism Services has been empowering parents and guardians by providing guidance in navigating the challenges of an autism diagnosis. As a clinician-owned and operated practice, KGH offers a welcoming environment, dedicated to serving the whole family. If you would like to inquire about support reach out here or call (847) 498-5437 to start a conversation.
About the author, Kim Hoehne: Kim Hoehne, MA, BCBA, the visionary founder of KGH, has created a space where the entire family feels supported. Kim’s journey with individuals on the autism spectrum began 30 years ago, and she has since dedicated her career to improving the lives of children with autism and their families.
*This post is sponsored by KGH Autism Services