Signs Your Child Might Have Autism
Does my child have autism?
If youre asking this question, chances are you already have some serious concerns and that alone is enough to make most parents feel scared, bewildered, and alone.
But the fact is, many parents find themselves looking for signs of a possible problem and asking this question simply out of an abundance of caution. Thats just good parenting and its only natural with the amount of attention autism has received in recent years. The good news is, most of the time concerned parents discover that everything is absolutely fine. Noticing a single red flag or even identifying a combination of concerns often amounts to nothing more than a childs individuality expressing itself as some slight variation in normal developmental progress.
And on the other side of the coin, even if there is reason to believe your child may fall somewhere on the spectrum, the news is still good: You are not alone Your child will go to school just like the other kids and learn in a regular classroom You will get the help you need and your insurance will cover most of the expense Breathe everything is going to be all right.
Before you start arriving at any conclusions at all, its important that youre very clear about one thing: You may be able to identify some traits that indicate the possibility of autism, but only a medical professional is in a position to say for sure.
- Difficulty with social interactions
Employment: Casual And Part Time
Generally, in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, theres no minimum age for most types of casual or part-time work.
In Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, theres a minimum age of 13 years to start casual or part-time work.
All states and territories have exceptions and restrictions that apply to their age-related employment rules.
States and territories might have exceptions and restrictions on things like the:
- number of shifts, days or hours children can work
- times children can work
- way that paid work affects schoolwork
- requirements for supervising children at work.
Its important to check the relevant laws in your state or territory to make sure that your childs employment arrangements are fair and legal. This includes things like hours of work, supervision, pay rates and so on.
For more information
At any age, children can visit a doctor without a parent or a guardian being present.
From14, children can:
- consent to simple health care treatments
- control what goes into their My Health Record and who has access to it.
At 15, children can get their own Medicare card, or younger if they ask a parent for it.
From 16, children can consent to medical and dental treatment in the same way that adults can. But they dont have an automatic right to refuse treatment, particularly life-saving treatment.
When children are 18, they can give full legal consent for medical treatment and also refuse it.
What Are Some Early Signs Of Autism In Toddlers
When a baby becomes a toddler, various developmental differences, signs and symptoms may become more apparent with the growing age of the child.
During their first year, toddlers with autism spectrum disorder may not:
- like seeing new faces,
- may not be able to walk, or w__alk only on their toes__
- may find certain sounds, tastes and smells upsetting,
- may fall into repetitive movements, like flapping their hands.
These signs may be more noticeable compared to the signs presented early on. However, the majority of children with autism are not diagnosed before the age of two due to missed signs by caregivers, or lack of access to specialists.
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What Should I Do If My Child Has Delayed Milestones
Talk to your child specialist about your concerns. While it is absolutely normal for every child to achieve milestones at their own pace, you must always be on the lookout for red flags. If the child does not smile, coo, speak, react to your affections by hugging back, or have eye contact, you must consult your doctor.
You must specifically monitor your childs growth and development if
- You were on medications like Thalidomide, Valproic acid, or antipsychotic medicines during your pregnancy.
- You or your spouse was in late the 30s when you conceived .
- You have a family member with autism.
- You suffered from viral infections during your pregnancy.
- Your baby had a low birth weight.
Wait and watch policy will not help a child with an autistic spectrum disorder. In fact, from 1 to 2 years of age, the brain is still developing. If the therapy is started at this point, most symptoms of autism can be worked upon. Though, currently, autism is not curable, early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage the behavioral issues and teach them to cope better in social situations. Behavioral therapy involves teaching parents to reach out to their children. Children suffering from hyperactivity, convulsions, and sleep problems also need early medical management.
What To Do If Your Child Is Diagnosed
If your child receives an autism diagnosis, you might feel overwhelmed and have many questions racing through your mind: Will my child be OK? How will we cope? What does this mean for their future? Where do I even start?
Talk with your pediatrician about services that are available to help autistic kids develop and sharpen their communication, social, motor, and academic skills.
The key is to get educated, find support as early as possible, and have compassion not just for your child but also for yourself.
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Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder In Adults
Common symptoms of autism in adults include:
- Difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling
- Trouble interpreting facial expressions, body language, or social cues
- Difficulty regulating emotion
- Trouble keeping up a conversation
- Inflection that does not reflect feelings
- Difficulty maintaining the natural give-and-take of a conversation prone to monologues on a favorite subject
- Tendency to engage in repetitive or routine behaviors
- Only participates in a restricted range of activities
- Strict consistency to daily routines outbursts when changes occur
- Exhibiting strong, special interests
Autism spectrum disorder is typically a life-long condition, though early diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous difference.
Can You Detect Autism In Newborns
Autism spectrum disorder can be identified in babies as young as two months old. Although subtle signs can be missed if not observed closely, there are certain red flags.
Caregivers should observe the developmental milestones of their children to be able to detect early signs of autism. Parents should be aware of the eye contact of the newborns and follow the development.
From birth, all babies will look more at the eye part of faces. According to studies conducted with babies with eye-tracking technology, lack of eye contact is one of the signs that the newborn may have autism.
The following are some of the other signs seen in newborns as they grow older.
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Causes Of Autistic Spectrum Disorder
No one knows exactly what causes autism spectrum disorder . Its likely to be a mix of factors rather than one single thing.
ASD runs in families if a child has ASD, theres about a one in 10 chance their brother or sister will have it too. Other factors that may play a part include:
- their parents being over 35 when they were conceived
- being born early and underweight
- getting certain infections as a developing baby or soon after birth
- the health of their mother while pregnant, for example, diabetes, high blood pressure or a vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of ASD
Lots of research has proven that there is no link between ASD and the MMR vaccine.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.
Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.
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Early Signs Of Autism In A 2 Year Old
If you feel like your 2-year-old doesnt seem to be catching up with their development milestones, you may start looking for certain signs of autism spectrum disorder for any delays.Mild symptoms can be mistaken for being shy or the terrible twos.
Here are some red flags that may indicate ASD:
- Doesnt speak more than 15 words,
- Cant walk ,
- Doesnt know functions of household items like fork,
- Doesnt imitate parents actions or words,
- Doesnt use items for their own purposes,
- Doesnt follow simple instructions
Diagnosis In Young Children
Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.
Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups
Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.
Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.
Stage 2: Additional Evaluation
This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.
This team may include:
The evaluation may assess:
- Blood tests
Home Activities Perfect For Your Child With Autism
As much of the world finds itself staying in to prevent the spread of the unfamiliar COVID-19 or coronavirus, millions of kids are finding themselves limited to entertainment and exercise within the walls of their own home. This includes a vast number of children with autism who are struggling with the new and unexpected changes to their daily living routines.
After a few weeks and a few more to come, you may be running out of ideas, so weve put together at home activities for your autistic child. If you have the AngelSense GPS Tracker for Kids there are some additional tips and activities you can do with it here.
We also put together a list of online freebies for kids to help as well.
In-home Activities Perfect for Children with Autism
Since autism is a wide spectrum, you cant expect all children to respond the same way when they are told that they will be staying home for the next several weeks, and in some cases without an answer as to when theyll be able to go back out into the community. As a parent, you are more familiar with how your child will react than just about anyone. Assess their response, expect some resistance and behavioral problems that come with the changes, allow for them to be upset, and then start adjusting your in-home plan to keep them occupied and engaged.
Communicate With Your Team
Communicating with the doctor, therapist, teachers, and other healthcare providers can help make your daily tasks a lot easier.
For parents, this can mean asking for suggestions to continue practicing the skills your child is learning in therapy, which makes it easier for them to be more successful.
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Previously Called Autism And Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the following:
- Difficulties in social communication differences, including verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in social interactions.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and sensory problems
Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.
Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
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How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
Signs Of Speech And Language Difficulties
- Speaks in an atypical tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch .
- Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent.
- Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
- Uses language incorrectly or refers to him or herself in the third person.
- Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
- Doesnt understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.
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Kids Are Getting Diagnosed Sooner
There’s no laboratory or medical test for detecting autism, so doctors must rely on behavioral signs. In the past, many were reluctant to label a child as autistic until symptoms became obvious. “The average age for diagnosis had been about 3.5, with many children diagnosed much later,” says Amy Wetherby, Ph.D., director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. But that’s changing.
One reason is that pediatricians are becoming more aware of autism. At the same time, autism specialists are better at identifying early telltale signs such as a lack of babbling or pointing. “Most children with autism will show some signs of developmental disruption by their first birthday,” says Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., an autism researcher at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute.
And while no one is yet diagnosing autism in children that young, doctors can now make a reliable assessment by 24 months when a child’s brain is still rapidly developing. “If we can intervene while a child’s brain is very immature, it will be much easier to help change her behavior,” Dr. Wetherby says.
How The Development Of Autism Works
If it is not possible for a teenager or an adult to develop autism, how does autism actually develop? A 2014 report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that brain changes that take place long before birth might be what causes the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Looking at the brains of children with autism and those without, scientists discovered abnormalities in the brain regions that control language, social, and emotional control in 90% of the children with autism. And the abnormalities themselves were formed as the result of a process occurring long before birth.
In terms of timing, these changes occur in the cortex around the second trimester of pregnancy. Speaking to NPR, one of the authors of the study explained that something must have gone wrong at or before the second trimester.
Commenting on the study, the director of the National Autistic Society Centre for Autism in the United Kingdom stressed the importance of early detection. This is primarily because the earlier the intervention, the easier it will be for patients, parents, and therapists to compensate for the problematic developments in the brain.
Secondarily, it is for fear that undetected cases of autism will lead to more misconceptions that the disability develops as some people age. This misconception will affect how these people are treated.
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