A boy with a pencil in his hand and staring

Autism – early detection is important

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development which impacts how a person perceives and socialises with others, causing problems with social interaction and communication.

Read the signs

While a professional evaluation is crucial in diagnosing ASD, it’s really important for a parent or caregiver to look out for the early signs of ASD at different stages of a child’s development.

By 6 months:

A baby of 6 months may not smile often or at all, and may show limited or no eye contact.

By 9 months:

By 9 months, a baby with ASD may not respond to or imitate sounds or facial expressions.

By 12 months:

By 12 months, a baby with ASD may not babble as most children do at this stage, imitate gestures such as waving and pointing, respond to their name, or immediately look in the direction that someone is pointing.

By 16 months:

By 16 months, most children can point to objects that are out of reach. Children with ASD may, however, lead a parent to an object. Children with ASD at this developmental stage may also not make eye contact and say few, if any, words.

By 18 months:

By 18 months, most children will point at an object and share their interest in it with their parent. However, a child with ASD will only point to an object if they want it. Children with ASD may also not play ‘make-believe’ games.

By 24 months:

Children at 24 months with ASD may still struggle with two-word phrases. This doesn’t include repetition or imitation of words.

Bestmed benefits

If you are concerned that your child is displaying any or a combination of these developmental difficulties, we recommend getting a professional diagnosis. Bestmed members can find their nearest healthcare professional via the Bestmed App or online Member Portal.

Bestmed covers the authorised treatment of autism on the Pace2, Pace3 and Pace4 benefit options as per the Non-Chronic Disease List (Non-CDL) guidelines and scheme rules. To apply for this chronic medicine benefit, you’ll need a prescription from a paediatrician, paediatric neurologist or child psychiatrist.

Authorisation for non-CDL chronic medicines is subject to clinical funding guidelines and protocols, formularies and designated service providers where applicable. Non-CDL chronic medicines are subject to an annual financial limit and medicine formulary.

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