Study Shows That Many Nonverbal Autistic Children Overcome Severe Language Delays
Hopeful news for families study counters belief that nonverbal children wont acquire speech after age 4
Many parents of children with autism have been told that if their child isnt speaking by age 4 or 5, he or she isnt likely to ever do so. Some researchers have countered this view citing cases of children who developed language during grade-school, or even adolescence. Today, a study of more than 500 children confirms those promising reports. It appears online in the journal Pediatrics.
Scientists at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, in Baltimore, looked at information on 535 children, ages 8 to 17, diagnosed with autism and with severe language delays at age 4. At age 4, their language delays ranged from not speaking at all to using single words or phrases without verbs.
The researchers found that, in fact, most of these children did go on to acquire language skills. Nearly half became fluent speakers. Over two-thirds could speak in simple phrases.
The researchers also wanted to see what factors might predict whether a severely language-delayed child with autism would eventually develop speech. They found that most of the children who did so had higher IQs and lower social impairment. Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found a childs level of repetitive behaviors and restricted interests did not affect the likelihood of language development.
Difference Of Autism Signs In Boys And Girls
The symptoms of ASD may range from mild to extreme, and there is no definitive list of symptoms that are sure to be shown by each and every child. On top of that, since boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder four times more than girls , classic symptoms may be described in a way to refer more to the boys.
The symptoms are generally the same for the both. But, an autistic girl may be:
- hide their feelings better
- good at imitating social behaviors.
This can make the impairs seem much less noticeable compared to the case of boys. Also, the autism traits in girls are reported less by their teachers.
It is important to note that not all children with autism show all of the signs. In addition, many children who actually dont have autism may show a few of the symptoms and signs. That is why professional evaluation is of utmost importance.
There are certain developmental milestones children reach in terms of their language and social abilities. Caregivers should take notice of these milestones. They should observe children closely during the first few years of their lives. These are crucial times in terms of early diagnosis and intervention. Although not reaching a milestone at a specified time or achieving it late does not necessarily mean that the child has autism, it may be a sign of a developmental delay.
Other Signs Of Autism In 4
These signs are usually accompanied by some of the other signs listed above:
ASD encompasses a broad range of signs and symptoms. An autistic child may need minimal support in some aspects of their life and more significant support in other aspects.
An autistic child who needs minimal support may have:
- little interest in social interactions or social activities
- difficulty initiating social interactions or maintaining conversations
- trouble with appropriate communication
- trouble adapting to changes in routine or behavior
- difficulty making friends
An autistic child who needs a moderate amount of support, or who needs daily support, may have:
- difficulty coping with a change to their routine or surroundings
- a significant lack of verbal and nonverbal communication skills
- severe and obvious behavioral challenges
- repetitive behaviors that interfere with their daily life
- an unusual or a reduced ability to communicate or interact with others
- narrow, specific interests
An autistic child who needs significant support on a daily basis may:
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What Are The Tell
Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. It can be seen in all groups of age. The Centers for Disease Control states that the disorder does not discriminate between racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Oftentimes, certain severe forms of ASD are diagnosed before the child turns two. However, high-functioning individuals may not be recognized and diagnosed until later ages in their lives.
- The level of science,
- Knowledge on autism spectrum disorder itself at the time,
- Lack of social and economic means they had,
This happens because autistic adults were not diagnosed when they were children.
Since autism spectrum disorder is still, in part, a mystery, studies generally focus on where the disorder stems from to figure out how it occurs in the first place. This has caused the focus to be on children. The adults who have never been diagnosed in their lives were partially left out in the research sphere.
However, in recent years, awareness of autism spectrum disorder in adults has increased significantly. This is due to the fact that the public is now aware of the signs and understands that a diagnosis can be made even later in life of a person.
Autism spectrum disorder impacts three main areas in an individuals life: the social aspect, communication, and their behaviors.
Since we understand autism more and more every day, we are now able to differentiate and diagnose more adults with ASD.
How Does Autism Develop
People on the autism spectrum, like most people, develop with age from infancy to adulthood. We could strengthen our understanding of non-autistic individuals, build coping strategies for our sensory sensitivities, learn to conceal our stimming and strong interests, and so on. Many of us can develop social skills in our early adulthood that non-autistic people learn in their adolescent years.
As a result, some of us have employment, partnerships, marriages, and families, and some of us can even be deemed successful. This can mean the loss of anxiety, tension, exhaustion, burnout, and exhaustion, as well as the need for a lot of alone time to settle down and reduce sensory overload and stress.Existence does not, however, come to an end at 30, or even 50. Autistic people, like non-autistic adults, mature and can gradually run out of resources to keep up the mask of coping and social skills. Masking and concealing autistic symptoms can become more difficult as people age. Retirement, on the other hand, can offer more time alone and less tension.
Is it true that non-autistic people improve as they grow older? That, of course, is dependent on the age group. Autism sufferers are in the same boat. Someone in their seventies or eighties can cope in a different way than someone in their thirties or forties.
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Does Autism Get Better Or Worse During Mid
But autism can get better, right? I mean, weve all heard a story about someone who seemingly shook off the spectrum the boy who went from not being able to speak to suddenly being unable to shut up, or the girl whose obsession with Harry Potter one day magically disappeared.
Well, the truth here is that, in21% of these examples, there is a lot more than meets the eye as what might sound like an overnight success to an outsider, actually comes from a lot of blood, sweat and tears, usually beginning with early diagnosis and followed by years of trial and error.
I say trial and error because, as is always the case with autism, not only does the success of learning coping tactics vary from person to person but, what might work one day, might suddenly stop the next. As such, its crucial to note that learning to manage negative autism traits can often be an uphill marathon where, by the end, you feel drained physically .
Furthermore, in many cases where certain challenging traits are held at bay by some form of a crutch, its not uncommon for them to manifest and mutate in different ways. Take, for example, the boy who found his voice, he will probably now spend extensive hours recharging his batteries after socialising, whilst the girl who abandoned Hogwarts may have moved on to some other fixation, such as work or a hobby.
What Causes Selective Mutism
That leads us to the next question: if autism doesnt cause selective mutism, then what causes it?
According to the SMART Center, selective mutism has different causes, including:
Just like most conditions, having selective mutism can be traced back to genetics.
Those who have other family members who tend to be anxious are more vulnerable to develop anxiety.
You can see the symptoms in children as manifested through separation anxiety, moodiness, frequent tantrums, and more.
- Sensory Processing Disorder
Those with this condition have difficulties processing sensory information.
Thus, they find it challenging to react emotionally to uncomfortable social interactions that can then potentially lead to selective mutism.
- Lack of Self-Esteem Caused by Speech Abnormalities
Those who have speech or language-related issues might find it almost painful to interact with other people in fear of being bullied.
This insecurity can then lead to selective mutism in fact, it doesnt even have to be a speech impediment, like having a lisp or stuttering.
It can even be caused by something as simple as a weird accent or the lack of skill in communicating in a certain language.
- Still a Mystery
Finally, there is a small percentage of people with selective mutism with no apparent cause.
As mentioned above, we still have a lot to learn about this condition.
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Look For Support At School
Many kids with autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed by age 3 and receive early intervention services. When they turn 3, they’re eligible for additional services at their local school district with the help of an individualized education program .
The IEP may include therapy for speech/language, behavior, or sensory concerns. In school, kids might get extra support through a classroom aide or during a “lunch bunch” or social skills group.
Parents meet with an IEP team to determine a child’s needs. While you can’t insist on certain services, you can appeal the IEP if you feel that the plan doesn’t meet your child’s needs. The IEP is reviewed and updated each year, but you can ask for updates before that to make sure your child is meeting goals.
Not all kids with autism need an IEP. Those who do not qualify for an IEP can get educational assistance through a 504 education plan, which provides for accommodations in a regular classroom that improve a child’s learning experience.
Do Autistic Children Laugh
Children with autism mainly produce one sort of laughter voiced laughter, which has a tonal, song-like quality. This type of laughter is associated with positive emotions in typical controls. In the new study, researchers recorded the laughter of 15 children with autism and 15 typical children aged 8 to 10 years.
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Early Signs Of Autism In Preschool Kids
You may notice differences in your childs behaviors and communication right before they go to school. Some of these signs may mean that your kid is at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Here are some of the signs listed by CDC:
- Speaking less than 15 words
- Seeming confused by the function of everyday items
- Not responding to their name when called
- Not walking
- Has repetitive behaviors like rocking back and forth
Most girls show symptoms in infancy or early childhood. But they may not be recognized.
Some studies suggest that certain symptoms are seen more commonly in boys than in girls. Repetitive behaviors, for instance, may appear more often in boys. They are easier to spot.
In addition, girls deal with ASD differently than boys. They may hide their symptoms or spend more energy on adapting to social norms.
They are more able to form friendships. This may cause ASD to not be determined early on.
Early Signs Of Autism In Babies
A lifelong condition, autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed before the child turns two. Early diagnosis can make an enormous difference in their quality of life later on.
There are certain early signs that can be observed in a newborn if your child is on the spectrum. You can detect the first signs in your infant really early in their life.
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Language And Communication Skills
An autistic child who needs more support in developing language and communication skills may exhibit some of these signs:
- cannot form sentences
- does not answer questions appropriately or follow directions
- does not understand counting or time
- reverses pronouns
- rarely or never uses gestures or body language such as waving or pointing
- talks in a flat or singsong voice
- does not understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing
Repetitive Or Restrictive Behaviors
An autistic child who has adopted certain repetitive or restrictive behaviors may exhibit some of these signs:
- performs repetitive motions, such as flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or spinning
- persistently or repeatedly lines up toys or other objects in an organized fashion
- gets upset or frustrated by small changes in their daily routine
- has to follow certain routines
- plays with toys the same way every time
- likes certain parts of objects
- has obsessive interests
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Do The Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time
A person with autism will always have impairments in cognitive, social, and behavioral function. However, these symptoms can change with time, getting better or worse. Frequent follow-up with a primary care physician can allow for earlier intervention and hopefully a better outcome.
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.
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Does Aba Therapy Cure Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is not cured once the goals of an ABA based therapy program are met or exceeded. In fact, no cure exists for autism spectrum disorder, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. The goal of treatment is to maximize your childs ability to function by reducing autism spectrum disorder symptoms and supporting development and learning. ABA therapy promotes the learners ability to function and reduces the severity or impact of the learners symptoms.
Some children may just need six to twelve months of ABA-based services while others may need the services for a more extended period of time. Irrespective of whether the services are needed for a relatively short time or on an ongoing basis, one of the greatest benefits of the therapy is that the parents/caregivers are given proper training so that the family may maintain and continue to generalize their childs learned skills from the services, with or without the services from the ABA therapy team. Equally important are the parents/caregivers ability to generalize their own skills when presented with similar situations that their child may face in the near future and again, in the absence of an ABA team.
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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Early Autism May Not Last A Lifetime
A new study found that some children correctly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders at an early age may lose symptoms as they grow older. Further research may help scientists understand this change and point the way to more effective interventions.
ASD includes several related brain disorders, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. People with ASD generally have trouble with social interactions and communication. ASD affects about 1 in every 88 children.
Optimal outcome a term used when symptoms are lost later in life has been documented in previous ASD studies. However, questions remained about whether the symptoms disappeared or the original diagnosis was wrong.
A research team led by Dr. Deborah Fein at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, sought to investigate whether optimal outcome could be seen in children whod had a confirmed ASD diagnosis before age 5. Optimal outcome participants had to be currently enrolled in regular education classrooms and have a documented report of their earlier diagnosis from a physician or psychologist specializing in autism. To confirm this assessment, the reports were edited to remove all information except the descriptions of behavior. They were then reviewed by an ASD diagnostic expert.
The optimal outcome group appeared to have somewhat milder social problems at an early age than the high-functioning ASD group. However, both had similar communication and repetitive behavior symptoms.