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Early Recognition Signs Developmental Delays

Tips by ABA Works

Evidence shows that early recognition and (ABA) early intervention dramatically improve the development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and children with developmental delays. Early intervention programs have been proven to further a child’s communication and social skills. Read more about early intervention benefits here.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is learn the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder or developmental delays and become familiar with typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.

Symptoms must be present in the early development period but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or can be masked by learned strategies in later life. For each person, the symptoms are very different, so it is important to be aware of indicators and typical development expectations.

Early recognition signs of ASD (or developmental delays):

  • Does not respond to name
  • Unusual focus on pieces: children with ASD often focus on parts of a toy rather than playing with entire toy
  • Not engaging in pretend play (e.g., pretending to feed a doll)
  • Avoids physical contact
  • No big smiles or other joyful expressions by 6 months
  • No back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by 9 months
  • No babbling and forming word sounds by 12 months
  • No joint gestures (pointing, showing, waving) by 12 months
  • Has not spoken first word by 16 months (40% of children with ASD do not speak at all)
  • No meaningful two-word phrases by 24 months
  • Any loss of previously learned language skills
  • Stereotyped and repetitive movements (flapping hands, spins in circles)
  • Lines up toys or other objects
  • Upset by minor changes
  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits
  • Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

If your child is presenting some of the above indicators, there are several steps of actions a parent can take. An online Autism screening survey: M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) can help determine if you should get a professional evaluation for your child. In addition, any concern about your child’s development should be openly discussed with your family doctor. Further, ABA service providers, like ABA Works, often provide assessment services from trained professional staff. Read more here about what an assessment may look like for your child.Interested in receiving professional, customized ABA services for your family in the home, after-school program or at school in the Netherlands or Spain? Our BCBA and staff will help with behavior challenges, developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Disorders, ADHD or related disorders. Contact ABA Works at

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