Prenatal Factors That May Contribute To Autism
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months.
Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid.
The age of the mother and father
Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia
Maternal infections during pregnancy.
Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant.
More research on these prenatal risk factors is needed, but if youre pregnant or trying to conceive, it cant hurt to take steps now to reduce your babys risk of autism.
Reducing the risk of autism: Tips for expectant mothers
Take a multivitamin. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Its not clear whether this will also help reduce risk of autism, but taking the vitamins cant hurt.
Ask about SSRIs. Women who are taking an SSRI should talk with a clinician about all the risks and benefits of these drugs. Untreated depression in a mother can also affect her childs well-being later on, so this is not a simple decision to make.
Practice prenatal care. Eating nutritious food, trying to avoid infections, and seeing a clinician for regular check-ups can increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Source: Harvard Health Publications
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Challenging Behaviors In Autism
People with autism spectrum disorder may exhibit behaviors which put themselves at risk, cause difficulties for people around them or which are not socially acceptable.
Around 50 percent of people with autism engage in behavior that can cause themselves harm when they feel frustrated, overwhelmed or unwell. Such behaviors can include:
- Banging their head on walls or other objects
- Hitting themselves, e.g. hitting their head with their hands
- Poking themselves in the eye
- Pulling their hair
- Biting themselves
- Smearing feces
A person with autism who feels frustrated, overwhelmed or feeling unwell may also display physically aggressive behavior. This can include:
- Throwing objects
- Hitting, slapping or biting other people
- Pulling other peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s hair
Some people with autism eat objects that are not edible, or keep the objects in their mouth, a behavior known as pica. It is the most common eating disorder found in people with autism spectrum disorder. People may eat anything, including dirt or soap.
What Are The Signs Of Asd In Babies
Diagnosing ASD is challenging. One reason for this is that the condition presents differently in all individuals.
Babies can reach developmental milestones at slightly different ages, even when they do not have any health conditions. However, some developmental differences indicate that a baby may be autistic. These include:
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Certain Environmental Factors And Changes That Take Place In Your Body During Pregnancy And Delivery Can Increase Your Child’s Risk Of Autism With World Autism Awareness Day Around The Corner We Tell You Can Safeguard Your Little One From This Developmental Disorder
Written by Editorial Team | Published : March 31, 2019 7:08 PM IST
Yes, autism can grip your child’s brain even when she is in the womb. Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term for a cluster of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, which impairs the normal growth of your child’s brain and manifests itself through abnormal behaviour, impaired communication, social and cognitive skills. According to the researchers of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, ASD can occur to babies when they are inside the womb. The researchers studied the brain tissues of dead autistic children in the cortex, the outermost part of the brain. Abnormality was found in 90 per cent of the cases in the brain regions responsible for social, communication and language skills. The researchers further noted that these cells were formed due to the defects that took place during the second or third trimester of the gestational period.
As per the WHO estimates, 1 out of 160 children suffers from autism globally. However, the occurrence of this condition in India is 2.25 per 1000 children, as revealed by a 2018 report of Indian Council of Medical Research. Though psychiatrists and developmental experts haven’t been to able to identify the cause of behind autism yet, the World Health Organization states that genetic and environmental factors can your child’s risk of being born with autism.
Behaviour: Early Signs Of Autism
Repetitive and restricted interests If young children are autistic, they might:
- have an intense interest in certain objects and get stuck on particular toys or objects for example, theyll flick the light switch off and on repeatedly, or play only with cars or dolls
- interact with toys and objects in limited ways for example, they might mainly spin the wheels of a toy car rather than pretending to drive the car along the floor, or take the clothes on and off a doll repeatedly
- be very interested in certain objects or activities and get upset if they cant do that activity for example, watching the same TV show over and over
- focus narrowly on objects and activities, like lining up objects or putting toys into a pile.
RoutinesIf young children are autistic, they might be easily upset by change and need to follow routines. For example, they might need to follow the same route to child care or a grandparents house every time.
Repetitive movementsIf young children are autistic, they might repeat body movements or have unusual body movements, like back-arching, hand-flapping, arm-stiffening and walking on the tips of their toes.
Sensory sensitivitiesIf young children are autistic, they might:
If youd like to check your childs behaviour and development for early signs of autism, you can download ASDetect a free, evidence-based, app developed by La Trobe University and suitable for use with children aged 11-30 months.
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If You Suspect Signs Of Autism In Infants
During your childs development, its helpful to keep a notebook to jot down events, milestones, and unusual things you may witness during their development. This is a great way of keeping a log of both memories, but also any potential issues that a medical professional might want to look into.
If youve read through all the signs of autism in infants and suspect your child may be in need of an assessment, please contact us to book an appointment. Our office proudly serves Texas families and residents just like you!
Following A Red Object
Lay your baby on his/her back and place a pillow on each side of the babys head, so that he/she cant turn his/her head from side to side very much.
Hold a red ball in your hand and move it slowly from left to right and back again about one foot away from the babys face.
What is the distance, approximately, that your baby follows the balls movement with his/her eyes? If you do this four times, how many times does baby follow the ball, even if he/she scans only a small distance?
Generally, you should expect a typically developing infant to scan and follow the object with his/her eyes all the way to about a foot to the left and to the right. The older the child, the more smoothly he/she will be able to scan without any blinking or jumping5.
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Signs Of Autism In Older Children And Teens
Although autism spectrum disorder can reliably be diagnosed from the age of two or three years old, many children do not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Milder symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder who are higher functioning may not be recognized until they are in school.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that children will have different experiences of day-to-day living. Children who are more than five years old and on into their teenage years, who have mild symptoms and are towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Develop a narrow range of interests or obsessions with certain topics
- Engage in repetitive behavior such as hand flapping, twirling or snapping a rubber band
- Not make eye contact
- Use formal language rather than the slang of their peers
- Place great importance on routines and rules
- Develop strong preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
Children who have more severe symptoms and are towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
- Not use speech at all
- Become extremely distressed at changes to routine
- Exhibit challenging behavior, such as being aggressive or banging head on wall
- Need assistance with everyday living, such as bathing and dressing
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking
- Insist on rules and routine
- Develop rigid preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
- Need specialized diets
How Parents Can Spot The Warning Signs
As a parent, youre in the best position to spot the earliest warning signs of autism. You know your child better than anyone and observe behaviors and quirks that a pediatrician, in a quick fifteen-minute visit, might not have the chance to see. Your childs pediatrician can be a valuable partner, but dont discount the importance of your own observations and experience. The key is to educate yourself so you know whats typical and whats not.
Monitor your childs development. Autism involves a variety of developmental delays, so keeping a close eye on whenor ifyour child is hitting the key social, emotional, and cognitive milestones is an effective way to spot the problem early on. While developmental delays dont automatically point to autism, they may indicate a heightened risk.
Take action if youre concerned. Every child develops at a different pace, so you dont need to panic if your child is a little late to talk or walk. When it comes to healthy development, theres a wide range of typical. But if your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or you suspect a problem, share your concerns with your childs doctor immediately. Dont wait.
Regression of any kind is a serious autism warning sign
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Early intervention is very important in children with autism spectrum disorder. Services such as speech therapy and behavioral and skills training are more effective if begun when a child is young.
For this reason, it is helpful to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. However, many children remain undiagnosed until they are in school. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adults.
If you suspect someone has autism, including yourself, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
My Child Has Signs Of Autismnow What
If your child has signs of autism, Dr. Frazier advises scheduling a visit to your pediatrician right away. You’ll discuss developmental concerns, and the doctor will evaluate your baby for autism. “We have evidence that suggests the quicker you can get a diagnosis, the earlier you can enroll in developmental and behavioral interventions,” says Dr. Frazier.
Early intervention is meant help your baby cope with autism symptoms and possibly even reverse them. As your child gets older, intervention might include speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and whatever else experts believe will help your child thrive. The ultimate goal is “making the symptoms more manageable and enhancing life as much as possible,” says Dr. Silverman.
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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about autism read Psycoms guide to autism spectrum disorder .
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
Routine Ultrasounds May Detect Autism In Utero
June 27, 2014 — Children with autism spectrum disorder may have more rapidly growing brains and bodies at the beginning of the second trimester than children without the disorder, new research suggests.
A small study looking at ultrasound scans that checked for fetal defects showed that children who went on to develop ASD had greater head and abdominal sizes at around 20 weeks’ in the womb than did their healthy peers.
“This gave us a small window into the fetal development of these children, and it looked like something about autism was happening at that 20-week mark,” lead researcher Lois Salter, a medical student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, tells Medscape Medical News.
“If we could explore this further, it might help with diagnosing earlier and treating earlier. It just opens a whole range of possibilities if autism is detectable this early on,” Salter says.
The findings could also lead to earlier and better education, she says. “We’re not waiting for symptoms to show up at age 3 or 4, when you’ve lost years of potential education for parents and for children.”
The results were presented at this year’s International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism
There are many signs and symptoms that could indicate a person has autism spectrum disorder. Not all adults or children with autism will have every symptom, and some adults and children without autism may display some of the same behaviors and symptoms.
People with autism spectrum disorder often have difficulties with communication, and connecting emotionally and socially with others. They may also process sensory information, such as sounds and smells, differently from other people. These differences can underlie some of the behavioral signs of autism that people may display.
When looking for early signs of autism spectrum disorder, there are developmental milestones that children are expected to reach by certain ages, such as babbling by four months old and being able to use simple sentences by two years old. If a child reaches these milestones later, or does not develop the skills at all, it may indicate a developmental disorder such as autism spectrum disorder.
Autism can be diagnosed by age two, though symptoms may be apparent much earlier.
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.
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What If Your Child Shows Some Early Signs Of Autism
Any one of these signs may not be a problem. But in combination, they may signal a need to conduct a screening or diagnostic evaluation.
As a general guide, if your child shows any 4 of these early signs, use our free online Social Communication CheckUp to screen your baby for autism.
If your child shows 8 or more of these early signs, ask for a referral for a diagnostic evaluation.
Talk to your childs doctor or teacher about any of these early signs or contact your local early intervention program. Share this article with them.
Speech And Language Difficulties May Present As Early Signs Of Autism
Children with ASD may have a hard time speaking and communicating at the expected level for their age.
Even during infancy, you might notice that your child does not babble or coo in response when you talk and attempt to interact. By their first birthday, most toddlers can speak a word or two, but autism symptoms in children often include delayed speech.
Sometimes, children with ASD babble and coo in the first few months of life, and then cease to communicate altogether. In these cases, all forms of verbal communication and normal language development and experimentation with speech abruptly stop. This can be disconcerting for parents and is often a sign of autism in young children and an indicator that its time to investigate further by seeking professional help.
Even in cases where autistic children do speak and demonstrate pretty typical signs of normal language development, they often repeat unrelated words and phrases over and over and, in essence, speaking without really communicating or conveying a feeling, thought or desire.
Early intervention is key to helping autistic children learn to communicate, whether it is through spoken language, or in more extreme cases, through sign language or even an alternative augmentative communication device.
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What Are Other Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
A child with ASD may have challenges in communication, social and behavior skills, including:
- Has delayed speech and language skills. Some children with ASD cant speak at all or speak very little. About 40 in 100 children with ASD dont speak at all. Other children with ASD speak well.
- Has trouble talking to other people, starting a conversation and sharing his needs using typical words or motions like pointing. A child with ASD may talk a lot about something he really likes rather than have a conversation with another person.
- Doesnt understand jokes, teasing or sarcasm. Sarcasm means using bitter or teasing words to make fun of someone or something.
- Mixes up pronouns
- Repeats or echoes words or phrases
- Seems unaware when people talk to him, but responds to other sounds
- Talks in a flat, robot-like voice or talks in a sing-song or high-pitched voice