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What is Autism SOS?

“SOS” stands for 3 types of autism signals in young children. Their actions may be a call for help. The sooner you help, the better off they'll be.

If you notice these signals, speak to your child’s pediatrician right away.

Social Avoidance

AT 12-18 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • More interest in objects than people
  • Not giving or returning eye contact
  • Not mimicking you or following your lead when playing
  • Not wanting to be touched, cuddled, or picked up
AT 18-24 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • Not wanting to play with you or with other children
  • Disliking being touched
  • Not understanding or responding to emotional cues, smiles, or expressions

Obsession& Repetition

AT 12-18 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • Looking at their hands or rolling an object over and over
  • Staring at objects or visual patterns for long periods
AT 18-24 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • Rocking, hand flapping, or other repetitive movements
  • Obsession with unusual or spinning objects
  • A strong need for sameness, order, or routine
  • Getting upset by loud sounds, harsh textures, or other sensory disruptions

Speech Delays

AT 12-18 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • Not saying vowels and consonants together for sounds like “ba ba,” “da da,” or “ta ta”
  • Not pointing, reaching, or making sounds to try to communicate
  • Not responding to their name
AT 18-24 MONTHS, SIGNALS MAY INCLUDE:
  • No 2-word phrases by age 2
  • Repeating things over and over without intending to communicate
  • Not understanding simple statements or questions

Sometimes one parent doesn't see it, but the other approaches me privately. Learn what to say and how to say it.”Samad,Parent of a child with autism and a concerned friend

I saw signals at my nephew's first birthday. Bringing it up was hard, but necessary.”Shannon,Early childhood educator & aunt of a child with autism

I always mention little concerns to the parents, but some things need a bigger conversation.”Roma,Nanny for babies and children

If you see autism signals in a child you know, it's important to tell their parent. We can help.

Teacher or pediatrician?

Share or distribute our 1-page information sheet.

Ready to screen for autism?

If you see SOS signals, talk to your child's pediatrician immediately. Using an online screening tool can help guide your conversation.

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