Signs of Autism

Red Flags of ASD in Toddlers

from Autism Navigator

Social Communication

  • Limited use of gestures such as giving, showing, waving, clapping, pointing, or nodding their head
  • Delayed speech or no social babbling/chatting
  • Makes odd sounds or has an unusual tone of voice
  • Difficulty using eye contact, gestures, and sounds or words all at the same time
  • Little or no pretending or imitating of other people
  • Stopped using words that they used to say
  • Uses another person’s hand as a tool (e.g., putting parent’s hand on a jar for them to open the lid)

Social Interaction

  • Does not look right at people or hard to get them to look at you
  • Does not share warm, joyful expressions
  • Does not respond when someone calls their name
  • Does not draw your attention to things or show you things they’re interested in
  • Does not share enjoyment or interests with others

Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests

  • Unusual ways of moving their hands, fingers, or whole body
  • Develops rituals such as lining objects up or repeating things over and over
  • Very focused on or attached to unusual kinds of objects such as strips of cloth, wooden spoons, rocks, vents, or doorstops
  • Excessive interest in particular objects, actions, or activities that interferes with social interaction
  • Unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects or looking out of the corner of their eye
  • Over- or under-reaction to certain sounds, textures, or other sensory input


1) Baby Navigator is a screening tool for children 9 to 18 months from Florida State University (no cost):

  • Infants and toddlers can be screened for skills that develop before children learn to talk, such as gestures, sounds, and actions with objects used in play.
  • Baby Navigator is an online screening tool designed as a universal screen based on parent report for children 9 to 18 months of age.
Click on the link to begin Baby Navigator
This screening tool is free to use.  You will need to register your email address and create a password. The tool is for children 9 to 18 months regardless if they have any words or not. 
Baby Navigator Milestones and videos;  Great videos to check milestones, starting at 2 months of age.

2) If you have private health care insurance through your workplace, check to see if it covers a psychologist.  You may want to book privately as wait-times are very long through our provincial health care.  Check our Resources page for a list of private psychologists. It's important that the psychologist you choose has experience is doing a diagnostic assessment for children your child's age who are showing signs of autism.

3) If your child is over 18 months: Autism Speaks - Autism Spectrum Disorders Video Glossary is an innovative web-based tool designed to help parents and professionals learn more about the early red flags and diagnostic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).


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