NC Act Early

Red Flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Young Children

The following warning signs are associated with risk for developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in young children. If your child exhibits any of the warning signs below, talk to your pediatrician or local CDSA to get your child evaluated. For more information on how to talk to your child's doctor about developmental concerns, review the CDC's Concerned About Development? How to Talk with the Doctor worksheet.

Developmental Red Flags

  • Does not babble or coo by 10 months of age
  • Does not use gestures, such as pointing, waving, or reaching by 12 months of age
  • Does not use words by 15 months (for girls) or 18 months (for boys)
  • Does not follow simple directions by 24 months of age
  • Does not use two-word phrases by 2 years of age and there are other concerns about his/her comprehension, speech, or use of gestures
  • Does not point to show things or look at objects when another person points
  • Has language or play skills below those of his/her same-aged peers
  • Difficulty engaging with others during social interactions and preference for being alone
  • Avoidance of eye contact or touch
  • Repeating or echoing of words or phrases in place of spontaneous language
  • Difficulty engaging in pretend play
  • Repetitive hand or body movements
  • Insistence on specific rituals or routines and difficulty adapting to changes in routine
  • Overly intense or unusual interests, which may include interest in parts of objects
  • Unusual reactions to specific smells, tastes, textures, visuals, or sounds
  • Loss of language or social skills
  • If a child has a sibling with ASD, he/she may be at higher risk for developing ASD