I was pointed to this blog post with some great information for parents on what to look for regarding “normal development” of babies.
Here’s a pertinent excerpt:
For our purposes, I have developed an easy way to remember the signs to look for as your young child is developing. When making a diagnosis, my colleagues and I focus on a baby being able to do several early developmental skills around social interactions and play. I have also created some short video clips showing these skills as they begin to develop. The video shows what your baby should be doing by their first birthday for each part of the acronym: B.L.I.S.S.
B = Babbling- your baby should be playing with vocal sounds a lot, making a variety of vowel and first consonant sounds such as b, d, and m – think mama, dada, baba, etc.
L = Looking – this involves your baby looking at you when you talk, looking back at you when they are playing to “check in”, and looking at something you point to, to see what it is.
I= Imitating – your baby should imitate your basic play actions such as clapping hands, waving bye-bye, blowing kisses, or banging blocks together, etc.
S= Sharing – your baby should share enjoyment with you by laughing and giggling for familiar games such as peak-a-boo, or “Sooo big”.
S = Showing – your baby should hold objects up to you to “show” them to you. They often won’t let go of the item, but they want to get your interest in what is interesting them. If they are walking, they may “bring” it to you to show you.
So this is the new kind of baby B.L.I.S.S. I hope every parent becomes aware of and I want you to remember it for yourselves and for all of your friends. Remember, if your friends or family have concerns, by just starting with these questions, you will know almost immediately if you should have an autism specialist take a look. It is important to note, this is by no means a diagnosis, it is just a way to be aware of the early signs so that if this is what it is, the correct course of action can be taken and a diagnostic assessment can be done as soon and as early as possible.
In our experience (although it’s getting harder and harder to remember–it was 4 years ago now!), Nate really lacked in the “Babbling” and “Showing” areas. The other areas were also delayed, but not as severely.