Parenting a child with autism can be especially challenging. Doctors agree that the best thing for an autistic child is early intervention. The younger the child is when he or she begins to receive therapy and treatment, the more likely that child will thrive emotionally and developmentally. Here are the biggest warning signs that parents should look out for in a young child.

1. Lack of Eye Contact

Babies and toddlers should engage you with eye contact when you are speaking to them. A child with autism may appear distant, or may focus on an object instead of you during play. This is one of the earliest warning signs to detect in your child, and one of the easiest to spot in a young child.

2. Does Not Respond to Name

Babies begin responding to their own names at around five months of age. It is important to call your baby by his name consistently in order for him to know what to respond to. It is tempting to give babies all sorts of nicknames, but this can cloud the results when you test your baby’s ability to respond. If you find that he does not respond to his name when called, check with your pediatrician. This could be an early sign of autism or hearing loss.