Autism Signs In Children
Spotting the early signs of autism in young children can be hard if youâre not an autism expert.
Many of these signs are common to all young children but they are seen more often in children who have autism.
Weâve listed here some common red flags for autism â if your child shows some of these then itâs time to check in with a qualified professional.
We also list typical developmental milestones which may be used as a guide to gauge a childâs development. If there are any concerns about a childâs development, or if there is a loss of any skills at any age, talk to a doctor as soon as possible.
- Does not turn head to locate sounds and appears not to respond to loud noises
- Does not push down on legs when feet placed on a firm surface
- Does not show affection to primary caregiver, dislikes being cuddled
- Does not crawl, cannot stand when supported
- Does not use gestures such as waving or pointing
- Cannot walk by 18 months or walks only on his toes, cannot push a wheeled toy
- Does not speak does not imitate actions, cannot follow simple instructions
- Does not appear to know the function of common household object such as a telephone by 15 months
When Should I Tell My Child
This is your decision. Some parents tell their children about their diagnosis when they’re quite young , as their son or daughter becomes aware of their differences and starts to ask questions. Other parents wait until their child is slightly older, as they feel they will understand the diagnosis better. You may want to ask your childs school or specialist psychologist to support you with your decision and approach.
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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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
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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How Might My Child React
Your child may be pleased that they now have a better understanding of themselves.
Some children will become concerned that there is something seriously wrong with them which will affect their health. You may need to emphasise that autism is not a disease and no one can die from it. Autism is a life-long condition but with the right support, autistic people can thrive. It may be that your child needs some additional support. For example, your child might have a teaching assistant at school who helps them with tasks they find difficult. You could also point out that your child is good at some things at school which other children need help with.
Be there if your child wants to talk or ask questions. Some children may not want to ask questions face to face. Having a question box, diary or email system can make it easier for some children to ask personal questions. It also gives them more time to process your answer or think of other questions.
Rarely Responds To Their Name Of Other Bids
Babies are tuned to listen to your voice when you call their name, they respond by looking toward you.
Babies readily respond to other social bids, like:
- come here with your arms reaching out
- wave bye-bye as youre leaving
- touch your nose
- or look where youre pointing
Some children with autism dont respond by looking where youre pointing but instead look at your hand.
If your baby rarely responds to their name or other bids for social interaction, this can be an early sign of autism.
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First Off Take A Deep Breath
A diagnosis of autism doesnt change who your child is or what they can accomplish. Research has grown exponentially over the past few decades, and there are always new treatment ideas and strategies being studied at colleges and research institutes across the country. Researchers have developed effective programs to help children with autism develop their communication, social skills, academics, motor skills, and vocational training so they can live long, healthy, productive lives. All of this starts with you, and the sooner it starts, the better.
You Find It Difficult To Socially Read People
Autism is, in its many forms, often about looking at the world very literally. And that means social situations can seem extremely weird, because there are a lot of unspoken rules, assumptions, communications, and other messages in any social situation, many of which may pass the autistic person by. If you feel perpetually as if you’re getting it wrong in social situations and don’t know why, you may simply be “socially deaf” to these kinds of cues.
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Going Forward With An Autism Diagnosis
The process of coming to terms with a diagnosis of autism often takes months, and understanding its effects on a deep individual level may take decades. As a parent, you must therefore remain patient, compassionate, and available for your child. Keep abreast of the latest developments in autism research, proactively steer your child in a positive direction when he’s struggling with his condition, and seek out support for not only your child, but for yourself as well. Though autism can be a challenging condition to manage at times, as your child grows and develops, you will be amazed to discover the intensely unique individual that he is.
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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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.
How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.
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What If My Child Has Autism
If your child has signs of autism, Dr. Frazier advises scheduling a visit to your pediatrician right away. Youll 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 Signs Of Autism In Boys
Autism is seen more prevalently in boys than in girls. Therefore, the core symptoms mostly coincide with the symptoms we have mentioned to be seen in children with autism in all ages.
Here are some of the early symptoms in autistic boys:
- Doesnt make eye contact
- Has repetitive behaviors
- Doesnt like physical contact
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
Signs You Could Be On The Autism Spectrum
Most of the stories you hear about people on the autistic spectrum feature them being diagnosed as children. It’s definitely common for signs of autism to first be noticed in childhood, when autistic kids don’t do much pretend play and find social interaction difficult. But it’s also perfectly possible for people, particularly those with more functional forms of autism , to reach adulthood without ever knowing they actually have a place in the autistic community.
When we talk about “the autistic spectrum,” we’re referring to a very wide range of disorders under the one banner of autism. There’s no one way to present autistic signs, which is why diagnostic tests about the possibility of autism in adults tend to be seriously involved. One quiz, offered by Psych Central to determine whether you might want to seek diagnosis from a medical professional, offers 50 different questions, from social interaction to patterns and empathy. But the basics of autism of any kind, according to The National Autistic Society, are three difficulties: with social communication, social interaction, and social imagination.
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Learn To Listen Without Your Ears
Learn to listen with your eyes. Having a delay in speech development or being nonverbal does not mean your child isnt communicating. Everything we do, even silence, is communication. The sooner you understand how your child communicates, the easier it will be to interact and respond to their language.
Speech therapy may focus on a number of aspects, including:
- nonverbal communication
- social pragmatics
Just remember: Everything your child does it trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen!
How Early Can I Test My Child For Autism
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during regular well-child visits at 9, 18, and 24 months. Screening specifically for autism begins at the 18-month visit. A diagnosis by a specialist can be considered very reliable once the child is 2 years of age.
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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture
The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. Its exceptionally detail-oriented, able to pick up on a lot of tiny information at once, but it finds it harder to put together into a big picture. A 2013 study from NYU indicated that autistic brains process information in a different way than non-autistic ones, possibly because of lower levels of oxytocin, which both influences our social bonding and helps our brains sort and prioritize information.
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Developmental Signs Of Autism In Children
The developmental signs of autism in children are the most likely to be picked up by your childs pediatrician.
The first developmental sign is one that happens so early, that most parents notice it retroactively after their child gets an autism diagnosis.
See, as a baby, many autistic children may not coo or make eye contact at the typical age.
Autistic children may also struggle with motor control, both gross motor and fine motor.
A-Man struggled with certain gross motor milestones like jumping with both feet, as well as fine motor skills like holding a pencil.
You may also notice that autistic children may not point or show interest in typical ways.
It isnt that we dont notice things or have interests, we just dont always think to share them with the others around us.
One of the biggest signs most parents notice is that autistic children may show extreme food preferences and aversions.
Now, Im not talking picky eating and not liking onions in their food.
A-Man had a legitimate phobia of pasta as a toddler and preschooler. Even still, he cannot handle eating pasta, but he can see it on the table without struggle.
Autistic children may also reverse pronouns longer than typical children.
For example, they may say you instead of I often.
This is because most autistic children who speak do so by copying scripts we hear others use.
Very Focused On Or Attached To Unusual Objects
Babies with autism can be very focused on or attached to objects that are unusual for their age, such as long strips of cloth, utensils, chains, rocks, sticks, flowing water, or gadgets they can take apart and put together.
If your child is very focused on or attached to unusual objects, this may be an early sign of autism.
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How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose children as autistic by observing them at play and interacting with others.
There are specific developmental milestones that most children reach by the time theyre 4 years old, such as having a conversation or telling a story.
If your 4-year-old has signs of autism, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more thorough examination. A specialist will observe your child while they play, learn, and communicate. Theyll also interview you about behaviors youve noticed at home and may request input from your childs teachers or other adults who interact with your child.
While the ideal age to diagnose and treat the symptoms of autism is 3 years old or younger, the sooner your child receives treatment, the better.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , all states and Washington, D. C., are required to provide an adequate education to school-age children with developmental issues. Contact your local school district to find out what resources are available for preschool-age children in your area.