Lack Of Eye Contact And Joint Attention
Joint attention refers to two people sharing a focus on the same object after one alerts the other to the item using verbal or nonverbal cues. For example, a parent or caregiver will point to a toy or tell the child about it, and the child will then look at the toy. Joint attention is an important way of connecting and interacting with other people.
According to a 2016 article in PLOS ONE , from about 9 months old, a baby should be able to make regular eye contact and share focus with their caregivers.
Autistic babies can find it challenging to pick up on these social cues and may ignore the person or the object that they are pointing out.
Inflexibility Signs Of Autism In Children
Autistic children are often restricted in their behaviors and movements. They are inflexible, and even obsessive in terms of their activities, behaviors and interests.
- Inflexibility, to an extent, can be an indication of ASD. The following are the signs of inflexibility
- Strict routines – insisting on taking the same route to school every day
- Limited topic of interest – memorizing the train schedules
- Repeating the same actions – flapping hands, rocking back and forth these are also known as stimming, self stimulatory behavior
- Unusual attachments to objects – obsessively lining the trucks or arranging them in a certain order
- Difficulty in adapting to change – getting upset when their routines are interrupted
Delayed Language Or Speech
Research shows that young autistic children often say and understand fewer words than children with nonautistic development at 12 months. If a child isnt saying single words by 16 months or isnt using two-word phrases by age 2, its a good idea to talk with a pediatrician.
The National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says language development could be uneven, with exceptional language development in some areas and impairment in other areas.
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Show Interest In Other Children
A child at risk for autism may have little interest in the communicative , play , or social actions of other children.
- Example of a typically developing child: Mrs. Smith notices that Johnny immediately joins in a game of chase at the park with new children at their playgroup.
- Example of a child at risk for autism: Sam avoids other children at the park and appears to prefer to play alone when Mrs. Jones encourages him to go play.
- Lin, S., Tsai, C., Li, H., Huang, C., & Chen, K. . Theory of mind predominantly associated with the quality, not quantity, of pretend play in children with autism spectrum disorder. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 26, 1187-1196.
- Macari, S., Koller, J., Campbell, D., & Chawarska, K. . Temperamental markers in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 58, 819-828.
- Vostanis, Smith, Corbett, Sungum-Paliwal, Edwards, Gingell, Golding, Moore, & Williams . Parental concerns of early development in children with autism and related disorders. Autism The International Journal of Research and Practice, 2, 229-242.
- Folstein & Rosen-Sheidley . Genetics of autism: Complex aetiology for a heterogeneous disorder. Nature Reiviews: Genetics, 2, 943-955
The Top 9 Signs That Your Infant May Have Autism
By C. Dixon
The most recent statistics show that 1 in 68 children are now being diagnosed with autism. While diagnosis is on the rise, a child typically is not diagnosed by a professional until he or she is over two years old.
However, there are signs that could indicate your child is on the spectrum as early as six months of age. Signs and symptoms can vary, as can the severity of the symptoms. Be sure to monitor your childs development, and consult your doctor if anything concerns you. Its important to note that autism in infants can be recognized by a lack of normal behavior, rather than the presence of strange behaviors.
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The National Autistic Society Outline Common Autism Traits
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that impacts how you communicate and interact with others. Autism is not an illness or disease, being autistic simply means your brain works in a different way from the majority of people. A huge one in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, according to the National Autistic Society. Even though youre born with autism, some people go undiagnosed until they are adults. Express.co.uk reveals the eight key signs of autism in adults.
Make Good Eye Contact
A child at risk for autism may not use his/her eye gaze appropriately to initiate, terminate, or regulate social interactions. Please note, however, some children with an autism spectrum disorder may have appropriate eye contact and gaze.
- Example of a typically developing child: When making a request, Johnny alternates looking at Mrs. Smith then the treat and then back at Mrs. Smith to convey what he wants.
- Example of a child at risk for autism: Sam actively avoids eye contact with Mrs. Jones by turning away, pushing away, or closing his eyes.
- Gangi, D., Schwichtenberg, A., Iosif, A., Young, G., Baguio, F., & Ozonoff, S. . Gaze to faces across interactive contexts in infants at heightened risk for autism. Autism : The International Journal of Research and Practice, 22, 763-768.
- Jones, W., & Klin, A. . Attention to eyes is present but in decline in 2-6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism. Nature, 504, 427-31.
- Wetherby, Woods, Allen, Cleary, Dickinson, & Lord . Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473-493.
- Zwaigenbaum, Bryson, Rogers, Roberts, Brian, & Szatmari . Behavioral manifestations of autism in the first year of life. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 23, 143-152.
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How Pediatricians Screen For Autism
Children are screened by pediatricians after they are born. Your childs pediatric primary health care provider will start screening your kid for any developmental or communication challenges.
This will happen at your childs first well-baby appointment.
Pediatricians observe the behavior of your child. They inspect the babys giggles, eye movements. They point or wave and call your babys name to assess their reactions.
In addition, they get family history, examine the health of the child as well as the input from the childs parents or caregivers.
With that, pediatric primary health care providers identify whether the child is at risk for autism spectrum disorder.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for ASD at their 18 and 24 month well baby visits.
This is done in addition to the regular developmental observance and screening. This may identify children with significant developmental delays early.
Multiple tools can be used by the health care provider for ASD screening like Ages and Stages Questionnaires SE-2 , Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test-II , Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales , and Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised with follow-up .
However, screening does not equal to diagnosis.
If pediatricians notice a delay or suspect ASD, they will refer your kid to a specialist in order to provide a certain diagnosis and plan on a treatment plan.
Signs Of Nonverbal Communication Difficulties
- Avoids eye contact.
- Uses facial expressions that dont match what they are saying
- Doesnt pick up on other peoples facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures.
- Makes very few gestures . May come across as cold or robot-like.
- Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the childs attention.
- Atypical posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the give-and-take of social interaction very difficult.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism In Babies
Autism doesnt change a babys physical appearance. The condition does affect how babies communicate and how they relate to the world around them.
Autism is described as a spectrum condition because signs, symptoms, and abilities can vary widely. If you notice any of these developmental differences, its important to talk with your childs doctor or healthcare professional about them.
The Importance Of Early Diagnosis
The American Academy of Pediatrics joins with the CDC in recommending screening at a young age to ensure early intervention and better developmental outcomes. In the U.S., the majority of autism costs are for adult rather than child services . With early diagnosis and treatment, the cost of care over a lifetime can be reduced by two-thirds.
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Look When You Try To Direct Their Attention
A child at risk for autism may not look to an object or another part of the room far away from them in response to a parent shifting their gaze to shift the childs attention by turning their head and/or pointing.
- Example of a typically developing child: Johnny looks at a toy car across the room after Mrs. Smith shifts her eye gaze from Johnny to the toy with a slight move of her head toward the car.
- Example of a child at risk for autism: Sam does not look at the car across the room from him after Mrs. Jones shifts her gaze from Sam to the car, points at the car, or gestures at the car with a point and encouragement.
- Del Bianco, T., Falck-Ytter, T., Thorup, E., & Gredeback, G. . The developmental origins of gaze-following in human infants. Infancy, 24, 433-454.
- Helminen, T., Leppanen, J., Eriksson, K., Luoma, A., Hietanen, J., & Kylliainen, A. . Atypical physiological orienting to direct gaze in low-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research : Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 10, 810-820.
- Luyster, Gotham, Guthrie, Coffing, Petrak, Pierce, Bishop, Esler, Hus, Oti, Richler, Risi, & Lord . The autism diagnostic observation schedule toddler module: A new module of a standardized diagnostic measure for autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 1305-1320.
Autism Signs Appear In Brains Of 6
The findings suggest that there is a potential to disrupt autism during a child’s first year before the disorder becomes entrenched
The early signs of autism are visible in the brains of 6-month-old infants, a new study finds, suggesting that future treatments could be given at this time, to lessen the impact of the disorder on children.
Researchers looked at how the brain develops in early life, and found that tracts of white matter that connect different regions of the brain didn’t form as quickly in children who later developed autism, compared with kids who didn’t develop the disorder.
“The way the wiring was changing was dampened” in the children with autism, said study researcher Jason Wolff, who studies developmental disabilities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “It was a more blunted change over time, in how the brain was being wired,”
In contrast, in the brains of infants who did not later develop autism, white matter tracts were swiftly forming, Wolff said. “Their brains were organizing themselves in a pretty rapid fashion.”
The findings suggest that during a child’s first year, “there is a potential to intervene, to disrupt autism before it becomes entrenched,” Wolff said. “There are a lot of possibilities to improve outcomes for these children.”
The study is published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
A crucial time
What’s causing the brain differences?
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Don’t Be Afraid Learn The 16 Early Signs Of Autism
“It’s going to be a problem eventually that you will have to deal with. Don’t be afraind. Don’t let that stop you from helping your child.” Jacobi’s mom
Go to BabyNavigator.com to find tools and resources on what every parents needs to know about early learning. Because, what you do and say can make all the difference.
Diagnosing Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke cites four major classic symptoms which are often used by pediatricians to diagnose children with autism:
- Poor communication skills
- Stimming and repetitive behaviors
- Limited to no verbal skills
However, many of the above are almost impossible to see in a small baby who is not yet in the age range of talking or developing interests. This means many parents do not seek diagnosis until a later stage, and their child might miss out on the benefits of early intervention.
So, lets break down some of the early signs of autism parents can look out for.
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Early Signs Of Autism Identified In Infants
Findings Could Lead to More Effective Treatment
April 29, 2005 — Canadian researchers say they can recognize the early signs of autism in children as young as 6 months old, and they hope their findings will lead to better early treatments for the disorder.
In their ongoing study that now includes autism centers across 14 cities in Canada and the U.S., the researchers are following the progression of younger siblings of children with autism.
According to the National Alliance for Autism Research, a child born into a family in which an older child has been diagnosed with autism is 50 times more likely to develop the disorder than a child with no afflicted siblings.
In this study, researchers show that by age 1, siblings who are later diagnosed with autism may be distinguished from other siblings by early developmental behaviors.
“This is groundbreaking work that is pushing the frontier of what we know about the biological nature of autism, and why it emerges so early in life,” says researcher Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, MD, of Ontario’s McMaster University. “Our hope is that it will lead to the development of new and earlier treatments that could make a huge difference for these children.”
Communication: Early Signs Of Autism
In the first year of life, childrens social and communication development is an important area to watch for early signs of autism. Social and communication development includes things like learning to smile, make eye contact, and use gestures.
Social interaction and communicationIf young children are autistic, they might:
- not consistently use eye contact to get someones attention for example, they might not always look at you and then at a snack to show you they want it, or not look back towards you when they see something that excites them
- rarely point to or hold up objects to show you things for example, they might not point to a dog and look back at you to make sure youve seen it too, or they might drop a toy in your lap and walk away instead of holding it up and looking at you
- not consistently respond to their name being called
- not consistently use gestures on their own for example, they might not wave bye-bye or clap without being told to, or without copying someone else whos waving or clapping
- not consistently smile at you or other familiar people without you smiling at them first
- rarely copy other peoples actions, like combing their hair when you do it
- not sound like theyre having a conversation with you when they babble
- not understand simple, one-step instructions for example, Give me the block or Show me the dog.
Relationships and playIf young children are autistic, they might:
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Early Signs Of Autism In Babies Aged 0
Shortly after they are born, babies begin to smile and coo at people around them. By the time they turn 2 months old, they are able to pay attention to faces.
If the child has autism spectrum disorder, this may not be the case. If a child doesnt smile, or smile as big, and is not showing any warm expression, it may be a sign of autism spectrum disorder.
The following signs can also be seen by the time the baby turns 3 months old:
- Doesnt respond to loud noises,
- Doesnt grasp objects,
- Doesnt follow objects with their eyes,
- Doesnt babble,
- Doesnt point to things,
- Doesnt respond to their names,
- Cant stand when supported,
- Doesnt babble
Getting A Second Opinion
If your doctor is unsure if a diagnosis of autism is appropriate for your infant, the CDC recommends seeking a second opinion. The earliest interventions can serve as building blocks for your childs future therapies.
They also suggest acting early as interventions can change your childs developmental path and improve outcomes in school and relationships. The CDC cites that, in the first three years of a childs life, his/her behaviors are most malleable and that children are more likely to change undesirable habits and adopt positive ones most willingly during these years. They suggest trying several interventions until you find one your child responds to best.
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Early Signs Of Autism In Infants Toddlers And Preschoolers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 59 school-aged children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder , a condition characterized by difficulties with social interactions and by behavioral challenges. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, as girls may be more likely to have symptoms, such as social impairment, that are harder to detect than behavioral issues.
Signs Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers
According to the CDC, every one in 68 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder.
As with any health issue, its best to get diagnosed as early as possible. The same goes for children with autism.
Many children dont get diagnosed until theyre older, even though experienced professionals are able to make reliable diagnoses by age 2. The average age of diagnosis is 4 years old, with some variance based on the type of disorder.
Heres the breakdown from the CDC:
- Autistic disorder: 3 years, 10 months
- Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified : 4 years, 1 month
- Asperger disorder: 6 years, 2 months
Its important to pay close attention to a childs behavior early on to see if theyre displaying the signs of autism, as early intervention is beneficial. And research also shows that parents generally notice developmental differences in their child even before he or she is a year old. If your parental instinct tells you something may be delayed in your child, its a very good idea to trust that and seek an expert opinion.
Theres no one medical test that can determine if a child has an autism spectrum disorder, but there are a number of behaviors and developmental delays that could indicate your child has autism.
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