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10 early warning signs of autism

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"Could my child have autism?" With one in 88 children being diagnosed with autism, according to the CDC's latest estimate, that's what many new parents want to know. Autism is generally not diagnosed until age three, but signs of developmental delay can begin to appear as early as six months of age.

Complete Coverage of Latest Developments in Autism

According to Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md., parents have the power to spot red flags of autism in its earliest form.

What are the signs of autism in infants 6 months to 1 year old? Keep clicking to find out...

10 early warning signs of autism

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1. Rarely smiles when approached by caregivers

Infants typically smile when smiled at, but babies with developmental delays often don't respond to smiles from caregivers.

10 early warning signs of autism

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2. Rarely imitates expressions

father, son, dad, kid, boy, parentInfant does not try to imitate sounds and movements others make, such as smiling and laughing, during simple social exchanges.


10 early warning signs of autism

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3. Delayed or infrequent babbling

mom, son, sad, no talking, autismBy six months of age, most babies start babbling or produce repetitive syllables.

10 early warning signs of autism

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4. Does not respond to his or her name

kid, baby, boy, child, no hearing, hears no evilAn infant should generally respond to his or her name with increasing consistency from 6 to 12 months of age. Lack of responsiveness to one's name is a sign of developmental delay.

10 early warning signs of autism

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5. Does not gesture to communicate

fat, scary, angry, mean, obese, babyBy 10 months of age, an infant should begin to communicate through gestures.

10 early warning signs of autism

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6. Poor eye contact

newborn, baby, face, closeup, stock, 4x3Most children with autism shy away from eye contact. Lack of eye contact is therefore a common warning sign parents should look out for.

10 early warning signs of autism

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7. Seeks your attention infrequently

Infants exhibiting this developmental delay express less reliance on parents' care and attention.

10 early warning signs of autism

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8. Unusual body movements

Infants who may later be diagnosed with autism may repeatedly stiffen their arms, hands, or legs. They may also display unusual body movements, such as rotating the hands on the wrists, uncommon postures, or other repetitive behaviors.

10 early warning signs of autism

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9. Does not reach up when parents try to pick him or her up

When parents reach for their children to pick them up or to hold them, infants generally respond by reaching back up toward the parents.

10 early warning signs of autism

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10. Delays in motor development

baby, crawling, reaching, stock, 4x3

These delays include slowed rolling over, pushing up, and crawling.

"If parents suspect something is wrong with their child's development, or that their child is losing skills, they should talk to their pediatrician or another developmental expert," Dr. Landa said in a statement. "Don't adopt a 'wait and see' perspective. We want to identify delays early in development so that intervention can begin when children's brains are more malleable and still developing their circuitry."

Click for complete coverage of latest developments in autism on CBSNews.com

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