Paediatricians would usually provide parents with broad guidelines regarding the ‘normal’ developmental milestones of a child. However, kids hardly adhere strictly to the same timeline as every individual develops uniquely.
That said, most diagnostic tests available for ASD do rely heavily on tracking the child’s development. Often, they also take into consideration factors like behaviour, communication skills and social interactions of the child.
The diagnosis can be made as early as between 18 and 24 months. However, a more reliable diagnosis can only be made once a child is a little older and starts to engage with other children or people outside of the family unit.
In milder cases, the symptoms are often regarded as the quirks of the individuals. This leads to many of them being recognised as being autistic much later in life. This is much more common for girls who have been found to be good at ‘masking’ the common symptoms as well as manifest the condition in a much different way than the boys.
Depending on how it affects the individual, the condition can be further described by words like non-verbal, minimally verbal, high functioning, etc. These descriptors are an indication of the severity of the condition and the interventions required rather than the ability of the person.