Nervous about autism? You're not alone. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed new guidelines to help parents and physicians recognize the signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)-a range of developmental disorders characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired communication and social interaction-as early as infancy. But an expert behind the guidelines warns parents not to panic if their baby exhibits a symptom or two on occasion. "It's the consistent lack of interest in wanting to connect
with others that defines autism," notes Chris Plauché Johnson, M.D. Alert your doctor if you notice any of these warning signs:
? by 2 to 3 months, your baby isn't making frequent eye contact
? by 3 months, he isn't smiling at you and the sound of your voice
? by 1 year, he isn't consistently turning to you when you call his name and beginning to wave bye-bye and babble back and forth with you
? by 18 months, he isn't pointing to things he wants
? at any time, he shows a loss of any of his previously mastered skills. Still concerned? On <a href="http://www.autismspeaks.org"target="_blank">autismspeaks.org</a>, you can watch more than 100 videos that illustrate the difference between normal and truly autistic behaviors.