We all have someone close who is diagnosed with autism, or they know someone who is. I thought my little girl Daisy might have had autism at several different stages and because of this, I went deep into research to find answers.

From what I found there is a broad spectrum of autism ranging from mild symptoms like wanting to be alone through to needing 24/7 support known as "level 3" by caregivers and professionals in the field. For those trying to find out if their child has autism or not here are a small stepping stone and some background advice to finding answers. There are different autistic developmental stages are leading up to 2 years old to be aware of. 

Here are some of the early signs of autism:
6-12 Months:
They are struggling to show joyful expressions. They find it hard to share sounds, facial expressions, and laughing/smiling. Common is not responding to their name when called.

12-16 Months:
There is often a lack of baby communication "baby talk" in the form of babbling. Lack of common back and forth conversation via simple gestures, like a glance, pointing or a reach for something. 

24 Months:
Toddlers at this stage should be showing signs of 2-word phrases and should be able to say a few words, other than merely repeating. 

Can We Treat Autism More Effectively?
Recent scientists, like Ami Klin, suggest if we can treat autism early enough we can attenuate and reduce the impact of the lifetime consequences for the child, family, and community. He believes that the brain is malleable for the first three years of life and then the window of opportunity diminishes considerably. 

Currently, diagnosis for autism in the USA is around five years old and disadvantaged populations this is even higher, which is alarming due to them being already behind with capacity to manage and properly care for what is now around 1-in-100 people diagnosed with autism of some degree.

How do you go from multiple causes to a syndrome? 
Development. The first two years are becoming more important to scientists studying autism and what causes multiple causes to turn into a syndrome is development. If we are to intervene at an earlier stage (2-3 years old), we would, in theory dramatically help those at risk and even dare I say it possibly cure altogether. 

How can we intervene?
How do we enter a 2-year old's world? How do we go from what most are experiencing of sitting right next to your child, being completely ignored, to beginning to engage and get a reaction? One of the best ways is to start young and spot the signs of autism in children early and then seek appropriate help usually a first point of call is a paediatric nurse. 

About the Author

Emily Dick is mother to Daisy and a writer at heart. She loves her new baby toys, helping out with some parenting advice and all-round aspiring parenting blogger. She currently writes for StarWalk Kids and her own blog Whooops-a-Daisy.com which she writes about all sorts ranging from gift ideas for kids with autism to formula feeding guidelines.Emily has a degree in social sciences from the Open University, works part-time in a café whilst writing and looking after daisy and the cats.