Signs of autism can include difficulty with learning to walk.

But there are many potential symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD looks different for every individual, and no single symptom is usually enough to diagnose the condition.

Crawling is a much-anticipated milestone in a baby’s development. When they start moving independently, parents may feel pride, joy… and perhaps some anxiety. Movement indicates the baby is growing and maturing, looking to explore their environment on their own. And parents may rush to baby-proof their home, ensuring their child remains safe.

Crawling is generally a sign of healthy development. However, it may seem concerning if the child is not moving around as anticipated.

Most children begin exploring by crawling on all fours with their bodies lifted slightly above the ground. But, it may come as a surprise to learn that not all infants take on the same posture. In fact, there are many different ways in which a child may choose to crawl. One of the more common alternatives to the all-fours posture is ‘army crawling.’

Babies and the ‘army crawl’: not necessarily a symptom of Autism

Army crawling gets its name from the battlefield. Soldiers often use only their arms while laying on the ground to move about in a dangerous war zone. Staying low to the ground protects them against injury.

While it might be adorable to observe a young one army crawling across the kitchen floor, parents may wonder why they’re doing it and when they’ll outgrow it. They also may be concerned that this alternative form is a sign of a developmental disorder, like autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Army crawling is generally not a sign of this spectrum disorder. However, there have been studies that have linked army crawling with ASD.1 The only way to determine whether their form of movement is cause for concern is to allow a professional to observe the child and come to an informed conclusion.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts an individual’s brain chemistry. It impairs a person’s ability to engage with others. Those with ASD often struggle with communication and they may exhibit repetitive thoughts and behaviors.

Many people diagnosed with ASD tend to have unique learning, movement, and attention styles. Autism is considered a ‘spectrum’ condition because symptoms and severity can vary widely from person to person.

Some individuals with ASD rely on being cared for by others, but not all do. Many individuals are able to live independently and take on daily responsibilities with limited difficulty. They can hold down a job and ensure their basic needs are met.

It’s important to note that neuro-diversity is something that is becoming more recognizable and accepted by society. Not all brains are wired the same, and not all persons with neuro-divergent cognitive abilities meet the criteria for an autism diagnosis. While ASD may be present, babies who prefer to army crawl could simply be processing their environment in a unique way.

Is ASD Common in Babies?

While every kid grows at their own pace, failure to complete particular developmental milestones might be cause for concern. Some parents are able to identify symptoms of ASD when the infant is between six and twelve months of age, and sometimes even earlier. If a child is not responding appropriately to social cues and appears aloof and unemotional, these could be signs of a developmental disorder.

ASD Behaviors in Children

Again, depending on the nature of the symptoms, some parents may notice autism in their kids as early as six months of age. And although it is always essential to remember that newborns mature at various rates, it might be good to be aware of possible red flags in terms of development.

Parents will want to pay close attention to see whether your baby reacts to social interactions and surroundings. If they’re not responding, it may be a sign of autism. Babies with autism may also have difficulty communicating by using noises or gestures and may not react appropriately to stimuli. Here are some early signs of ASD:

The First Three Months

By three months, babies should be able to babble, smile, and follow movements with their eyes. If a child is not doing these things, it may be that his or her milestones are delayed or it could be an early sign of autism. Some other signs of ASD at this age include:

  • They are not visually following movements.
  • They have little to no vocalization (i.e., babbling).
  • They have a flat affect.
  • They won’t respond to loud noises.

Seven Months

This is when a baby should be attracting a caregiver’s attention through actions; if they aren’t, it can be one of the many signs of autism. Here are a few other things to look for:

  • They do not move their head to identify the source of the noises.
  • They show you no love.
  • They do not create giggling or squeaking noises.
  • They do not grasp items.
  • They do not try to smile.
  • They do not attempt to get attention through their behavior.
  • They have no interest in such games as peekaboo.

Twelve Months

During this period of time, signs of ASD may become more pronounced.2 3 Here’s what to look for:

  • They can’t speak any words.
  • They may not be crawling at all.
  • They do not use motions like waving or head shaking.
  • They need to use someone or something to stand up.

If a baby is still army crawling at this point, it may be time to take them to their primary care provider. A doctor can help a parent understand what is going on and whether they should be concerned.

Treatment for Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is permanent and irreversible; however, it can be treated. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy as symptoms vary widely, but interventions will generally aim to enhance a child’s capacity to function socially, promoting learning and growth.

It’s important to know that a baby diagnosed with ASD will have a rich and full life as long as their caregivers seek help early on. Early intervention will help the child develop crucial social, communicative, functional, and behavioral skills.

If there is concern that ASD may be present, making an appointment with a healthcare professional is the first step to getting a proper diagnosis. Early intervention is key, and it’s also important for caregivers to make time to engage in self-care and get therapeutic help to manage any stress and anxiety. In this way, parents will be better equipped to satisfy the child’s needs.

Summing It Up: Use Caution and Speak to a Professional

Army crawling could be an early sign of autism, but this is not always the case. If an infant chooses to move about with just their arms, sliding across the floor, this could simply be a sign of neuro-diversity.

The exact causes of ASD remain unknown, although genetic abnormalities and environmental factors are thought to contribute to its development. If a child is exhibiting other problematic behaviors, it may be time to schedule a check-up. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and getting connected with resources early on can make all the difference in the world.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that if your child has symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, you should contact a healthcare professional to have your child screened for ASD.

  • Info about screening for ASD is available on the CDC Website.
  • There is no cure for ASD, but there are autism therapies that can greatly help a child’s development.

Taking Tylenol® (Acetaminophen / Paracetamol) while pregnant can affect the child’s brain development. 4 5

“We have sufficient data from multiple populations and studies to say that acetaminophen is not as safe as it is considered.” 6

Prenatal acetaminophen consumption has been connected to:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Language delay (in girls)
  • Decreased Intelligence Quotient (IQ).7

We Are Warriors For The Injured

Our only goal is justice for our clients, whatever that means for them.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) attributable to acetaminophen taken during pregnancy, now is the time to seek legal assistance.

You need experienced attorneys on your side.

Our Austin and San Antonio mass tort lawyers have successfully represented dozens of victims injured by dangerous pharmaceuticals and other hazardous substances. That’s exactly why we were founded.

The legal team at Justinian and Associates has years of experience dealing with personal injury cases involving health conditions like ASD, and medications that are far more dangerous than represented by the companies selling them.

We have the knowledge, experience, resources and trained investigators to take on large adversaries like billion dollar manufacturing companies.

All we do is fight for injured victims.  And we do not accept defeat.

Unless we get you money for your injuries, you don’t pay us a dime.

Call, text or email us for a free consultation, with no obligation.

(855) 452-5529

[email protected]

Speak to an Austin personal injury attorney from Justinian & Associates (not a “screener” or paralegal) to understand your rights.


[1] Chen, Julia, “Gesture Use in Toddlers with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder: Gestural Differences and Developmental Predictors” (2019). Doctoral Dissertations. 2225. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/2225.

[2] Lavenne-Collot, N., Jallot, N., Maguet, J., Degrez, C., Botbol, M., & Grandgeorge, M. (2021). Early Motor Skills in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Are Marked by Less Frequent Hand and Knees Crawling. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 128(5), 2148–2165. https://doi.org/10.1177/00315125211037983.

[3] Philip Teitelbaum, Osnat Teitelbaum, Jennifer Nye, and Ralph G. Maurer. Movement analysis in infancy may be useful for early diagnosis of autism. PNAS, 95 (23) 13982-13987. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.95.23.13982.

[4] A Systematic Review of the Link Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Acetaminophen: A Mystery to Resolve, interpreting data from Parker SE, Collett BR, Werler MM: Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and childhood behavioural problems: Discrepancies between mother- and teacher-reported outcomes. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020, 34:299-308. 10.1111/ppe.12601).

[5] Paracetamol use during pregnancy—a call for precautionary action, Bauer, A.Z., Swan, S.H., Kriebel, D., Liew, Z., Taylor, H.S., Bornehag, C.G., Andrade, A.M., Olsen, J., Jensen, R.H., Mitchell, R.T. and Skakkebaek, N.E., 2021. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 17(12), pp.757-766.

[6] A Systematic Review of the Link Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Acetaminophen: A Mystery to Resolve, interpreting data from Parker SE, Collett BR, Werler MM: Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and childhood behavioural problems: Discrepancies between mother- and teacher-reported outcomes. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020, 34:299-308. 10.1111/ppe.12601).

[7] Paracetamol use during pregnancy—a call for precautionary action, Bauer, A.Z., Swan, S.H., Kriebel, D., Liew, Z., Taylor, H.S., Bornehag, C.G., Andrade, A.M., Olsen, J., Jensen, R.H., Mitchell, R.T. and Skakkebaek, N.E., 2021. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 17(12), pp.757-766.