Children develop at their own pace, so it can be difficult to tell exactly when a child will learn a particular skill. But, there are age-specific developmental milestones used to measure a child’s social and emotional progress in the first few years of life. To learn more about developmental milestones, visit "Learn the Signs. Act Early," a campaign designed by CDC and a coalition of partners to teach parents, health care professionals, and child care providers about early childhood development, including possible "red flags" for autism spectrum disorders.
If you have concerns, here are some steps you can take:
Talk to your doctor: Ask for a screening for an autism spectrum
disorder. A screening usually means answering about 20 questions that
the doctor or staff will ask about your child’s development. More
complete diagnostic testing may be needed later.
If your child is birth-3 years old, contact your local First Steps
program by calling 317-441-7837 or by visiting their website at
First Steps provides early intervention services to infants and young
children with disabilities or who are at risk for a disability, and who
are eligible. You do not need to have a formal diagnosis to contact
If your child is over 3 years old, contact your child’s local elementary
school or special education district for programs. Your child could be
eligible for public school programs for preschoolers 3-5 year old. Don’t
wait until kindergarten. The school will do their own evaluation to
determine if your child is eligible for educational services.
If you are still not getting helpful answers, ask your doctor for a
referral to a specialist for a full diagnostic evaluation. Riley
Hospital Child Development Center and the Christian Sarkine Autism
Treatment Center also at Riley Hospital are two centers that can do a
full diagnostic evaluation. Also check this listing of experienced
specialists who can diagnose and assess: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/index.php?pageId=269.