Changes As The Child Grows
Lining up toys and other objects is one way in which autistic children exert control over their environment. As they grow and mature, this need for control may take different, more socially acceptable forms. In some circumstances, it might be used as an advantage in school or work situations where organization and structure is required. As a parent, you might be able to help your child use this characteristic to his advantage.
Signs Your Toddler May Have Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates impacts nearly 15 percent of children . While autism is present in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, the CDC reports it occurs 4.5 times more often in boys than in girls. According to the Autism Navigator, the signs of autism are usually seen in early childhood. Although there is no cure for autism, early intervention can help kids increase their development skills to help them do well in school, get involved in activities they enjoy, go on to college, and find jobs in adulthood.;
While the signs and symptoms of autism vary from child to child, I spoke with Dr. Latha Soorya from the Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment, and Services Center at Rush University Medical Center about the signs to look for that may indicate your toddler has autism. Dr. Soorya was quick to remind me of the adage, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” meaning every person’s experience with autism is different. That said, these are some signs to watch for.
He Doesn’t Share Interest With You Or Other Kids
According to Dr. Soorya, a typically developing child will want you to be involved in or see the things they are interested in. “They point, they look at you and make sure you’re looking at the same thing they’re looking at ,” she told me. Children with autism often don’t seek this shared attention or show interest in wanting you to be involved in their play. The same goes for showing an interest in other kids.;
“They don’t have to approach them,” Dr. Soorya said, “but looking at other children, being curious about what other kids are doing is an important developmental skill.” This lack of shared interest is suggested as the reason many people with autism, including children, struggle with conversational skills and research has shown that when it is addressed, it can be improved.
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S That Show What Autism Looks Like
Worry, fear, chaos, exhaustion, hope, love. These are some of the many words parents of kids with autism spectrum disorder use to describe their reality.
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we asked to share what autism looks like in their families. While no two stories are identical, these parents wish for what everyone wants for their children: acceptance and joy.
Keep scrolling to see what autism looks like and read what it means for nearly 50 different families.
Here Is What I Think That Row Of Tiny Toys Often Means:
Very young children have a natural interest in order and understanding spatial relationships. ;Kids like routine and familiarity way more than most adults. ;Some children who line up toys are just experimenting with how lines are formed or seeing how long a row of cars they can create. ;Some will even match colors or sizes.
It is OK if Lightening McQueen has to be the first in the line at all times. ;Sometimes rigid routines have a beneficial developmental purpose. ;When your child tells you that you just read Goodnight Moon wrong , he is really saying that he likes the familiarity and the orderliness of hearing those words said in exactly that order. ;Boring to you, comforting to him.
Experts in early literacy will tell you that a childs fondness for hearing the same story over and over is actually a developmental milestone in phonemic awareness, the cornerstone of language mastery.
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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
Hand Flapping: Is It Normal What Are The Possible Red Flags
Usually hand flapping is seen to occur in toddlers or preschoolers. It more or less looks as if the kids waving his or her hands in a rapid motion. This happens at the wrist while keeping hold of the arms which are bent at the elbow.; You can relate more if you have seen a baby bird trying to fly off for the first time.
Hand flapping mostly occurs because of a heightened emotional state, like when they are anxious or excited. Beware, it can also happen if your kid is upset. The main reason which makes the parents; concerned is when they see the kid flapping his or her hands as it is one of the symptoms seen in autistic kids.;
Children suffering with autism flap their hands as a self-stimulatory behavior. Other self-satisfactory behaviors occasionally; seen in kids with autism comprise spinning and rocking. These behaviors tend to help these kids to calm themselves or regulate their emotional states. It is indeed extremely hard to divert an autistic kid away from their self-stimulatory behavior.
Can hand flapping be normal?
No doubt that Hand flapping can often be seen in children diagnosed with autism. But, it can also appear in normal children, usually for a few months, before it disappears. For this reason, it is difficult to use as a sign to diagnose autism.
Does this always mean autism?
Hand Flapping alone doesnt have to be worrisome. These could be possible red flags
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How You Can Advance Your Childs Language Beyond Echolalia
Although research has found that echolalia is part of normal childhood development and a big part of learning communication, you still need to understand how your child is trying to talk to you. By doing so, you can focus on ways to help your child expand their communication skills.
Family plays a big role in overcoming echolalia and helping children to talk themselves . If youre concerned about the echolalia, reach out to a speech pathologist to find out how functional the echolalia is. With functional echolalia, you can make changes to how you talk to your child to help them speak and communicate better.
Make sure to use evidence-based methods that are geared to your childs age to see progress. What can you do? Here are some ideas:
- Instead of asking questions, make a statement. Dont ask them if they want to go to the movies; just tell them, Were going to the movies.
- Teach I dont know to your child, so they know they can use it when they dont have an answer to a question. ;
- Start a sentence and allow them to finish it. For example, say, I would like some ____ and allow them to give you the answer of what theyd like.
Every parent worries that there will be something wrong with their child, including autism. However, a child with echolalia does not mean they are autistic. Echolalia is common as children experiment with language and most children advance their speech and get past the echolalic stage, which usually ends around the age of three.
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.
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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
Identify Signs For Delayed Speech In Children
So, I assess an 18-month-old or a two-year-old by looking first at pointing. I never realized how important pointing is, but its very important. And by 18 months, or at least by two, a child should be pointing. Not just once a month pointing, but like pointing a decent amount. They should be pointing for things that they want like juice or a toy.
But they should also be pointing to get your attention, for joint attention is what we call it, by pointing to things to show you things, like pointing to an airplane thats flying up above, even if they dont have the language to say airplane, if theyre pointing with their index finger to show you the airplane, like, oh, oh, thats a good sign that it might not be autism because that lack of pointing is such a critical red flag for autism.
In addition to pointing, I also look for a child, even a child thats not talking, to understand some language. I remember when my boys were two years old and six months old, I had a photographer come to the house to try to get some pictures. This is back in the late 1990s. I remember the photographer giving Lucas a film canister and saying, Here buddy, throw this away. And he had no idea what the guy was talking about. The guy looked at him like you should know this, youre old enough.
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What Does It Mean When A Child Lines Up Toys
A toddler lining her toys up after making sensible distinctions is actually a skill. Its a development phase that speaks of the childs ability to differentiate items and group them together correctly. Be it on the basis of size, shape, colour or just any other trait, this activity shows that shes learning the art of ordering things through play.
Does The Child Naturally Imitate Play
Imitation is another form of communication, and is a key milestone on the road to verbal speech.
In addition to what Dr. Barbera mentions in her video, other communication signs that a child could have autism in addition to speech delay include a lack of response to their name and/or verbal attempts for attention, babbling and cooing during their first year and then stopping, and being unable to combine words into phrases or sentences .
Dr. Barbera recommends that concerned parents be familiar with milestones and not just those related to language. Self-care and self-regulation skills like feeding oneself and calming oneself are important to note, too. She emphasizes that there is a range in development, however, and not every two-year-old is doing everything. There is no need to panic if your child isnt meeting every milestone, but knowing what milestones they should be meeting can help put you on the right path to understanding what is going on with your child.
According to the CDC, if your child shows the signs Dr. Barbera mentioned and also cant walk, doesnt notice when their caregiver comes and goes, or loses skills at 18 months old, you should contact your pediatrician.
And if your child doesnt use two-word phrases, doesnt know what to do with common items , or doesnt walk steadily at two years old, the CDC recommends you contact your pediatrician.
Learn more in the video below.
Support Research & Therapy
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Early Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder occurs in all age groups. It is generally characterized by social and communication difficulties.
Severe forms are usually diagnosed in the first two years of a childs life. However, high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until later in their lives.
Here are some of the symptoms in autistic adults:
- Difficulty in regulating emotion
What Are The Next Steps
Signs of autism are usually evident by 4 years old. If youve noticed signs of autism in your child, its important to talk with their doctor to get them screened as soon as possible.
You can start by going to their pediatrician to explain your concerns. The pediatrician can give you a referral to a specialist in your area.
Specialists who can diagnose autism in children include:
- developmental pediatricians
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Starting Early And Moving Forward
Dr. Boyd, the researcher at UNC, theorized that repetitive behaviors, from rocking to special interests, may differ widely, but they have one thing in common. What connects this broad category of behavior is inflexibility. Maybe the reason the child spins the top all that time, or the reason someone talks about the same topic over and over, is that they are inflexible in their thinking. There isnt a drug that helps you be more flexible.
He advocates more research into behavioral interventions for repetitive behaviors, especially the less studied higher-order ones, along with early intervention.
Early intervention may help children learn early on to be more flexible, he said. The concern is that if you dont address some of those things early, they become more difficult as children age and the behaviors become more ingrained.
See IAN’s Challenging Behaviors section.
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
About Early Signs Of Autism
Some early signs of autism usually appear in the first 1-2 years of life.
Early signs of autism are listed below. Some children;have many early signs, whereas others have only a few. The number of signs autistic children have varies according to their age and the effect that autism has on their everyday lives.
Sometimes early signs of autism change over time. For example, children might lose or stop using social-communication or language skills, or signs might become clearer as children get older.
Rocking Bouncing And Twirling
Rocking back and forth, twirling in circles, or bouncing and jumping up and down are common behaviors in people with ASD, according to Autism Speaks. This movement can appear disruptive, but it may actually serve a purpose for the person doing it. The motion may be calming and regulating, allowing the individual to focus during exciting or stressful moments.
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Using A Parents Hand To Communicate
Sometimes a child will take their parents hand and pull them toward the kitchen to let them know they are hungry, often while glancing back at the parent. They may pat a parents arm or try to turn their parents face toward them if they want attention, such as when the parent is using their cell phone. This is not unusual. However, pay attention if your child tries to use your hand as a tool without looking at you. For instance, if they cant open something, do they pick up your hand and place it on the object without looking at your face? This is seen more often in children with autism than in typically developing children. It is as if they understand that this hand is able to open this thing, so they go directly to the source, the hand, to get the job done.;