You’re Very Sensitive To Stimuli Like Sound
This is an interesting one, because it differs radically across the spectrum of autism, but it’s worth noting. What are called “atypical sensory-based behaviors,” or reactions to sensory stimuli that aren’t quite normal, are often a part of autism, with some people extremely sensitive to various sensations or sounds. It’s not the same for everybody, though. Autism seems to cause problems in some people when it comes to interpreting and processing sensory information, to the point of causing confusion and pain: you may have difficulty remembering faces, and be either over- or under-sensitive to things like noise and smell. If people keep commenting that your reactions to these things are unusual, it may be a marker of something deeper.
Images: Pixels, Giphy
How Is Asd Diagnosed
There is no simple medical test for diagnosing ASD.
To diagnose a child with ASD, a healthcare professional observes the childs levels of:
This could include the childs:
- verbal skills
- how they relate to others
- behaviours related to their interests and activities
- repeated actions related to how they speak, move or use objects
To determine the severity of ASD, the healthcare professional observes the amount of difficulty the child has with:
- social communication
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders to evaluate ASD.
If a health care provider thinks that your child may have ASD, get a referral for a diagnosis. A specialist will create a detailed description of your child’s strengths and challenges. A team of health professionals may work together for this assessment.
Testing for ASD will also make sure that this is not a different condition. For instance, sometimes hearing loss can explain your childs unresponsiveness in social situations or when their name is called.
Loss Of Language Or Social Skills
Children with autism may seem unwilling to speak or verbalize even though they used to do so. For example, a baby who used to babble or make nonsense noises might stop as he gets older. Children with autism may also withdraw from social situations even though they used to seem comfortable playing with or around other kids, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
You May Like: Can Autism Be Passed Down
How To Help Your Child After An Autism Diagnosis
There are many things you can do to help a child with autism spectrum disorder. Start by ensuring their treatment plan is tailored according to their individual needs and work closely with the therapists, teachers and doctors involved to make sure you are following through with the therapy at home and school. It is also important to provide children with autism with a sense of structure in their lives. Create a detailed routine for your child and stick with it. You can also create consistency at home by reinforcing things the child may have learned in other settings and using positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
Symptoms Of Mild Autism In Children
You may recognize the signs of mild autism in children in how they interact with others, their toys and with the way they use everyday items.
Children with mild autism exhibit their disorder in these ways, according to the WebMD:
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Unusual facial expressions
- Abnormal posture
- Inability to recognize changes in speech tone and pitch, which could change the meaning of what the person is saying
- Speaking in a monotone voice
- Intolerance for changes in routine
- Lack of social skills
- Difficulty starting or maintaining social interactions
- Difficulty taking turns talking
- Difficulty reading other people’s body language
- Advanced language skills for his age
- Talking a lot about certain topics with which he has a preoccupation
- Verbalizing internal thoughts
- More interested in parts of items than the whole item
- Hypersensitivity to lights, textures, tastes, noises and other stimuli
As you can see, many of the symptoms for high functioning autism involve social relations. When studying your child, if he has mild autism, you would most likely see most of these signs while he is in a social situation playing with children his own age.
Also Check: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
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
The Difference Between Classic Autism And Mild Autism
The difference between classic autism and mild autism is that those with a milder form usually have normal language and intellectual development. Some even have above average language and intellect.
The other difference is that people with classic autism refrain from engaging in social situations, but mildly autistic people will seek social activities and want make friends with others. The challenge is that they just may not know how to do it.
Also Check: How To Tell If My Child Is Autistic
How To Explain The Diagnosis To Your Child
The primary rule to remember when revealing your child’s autism diagnosis is to stay positive. There is absolutely no need for the news to come across as ominous, worrying, or disappointing, and to convey it as such may do irreparable damage to your child’s self-esteem. Remember that we are living in a society where the concept of neurodiversity is gaining considerable momentum, so introducing your child’s diagnosis as a natural variation in the human mind – one that is to be embraced and understood – is often the best way to go forward. You may wish to begin the conversation by highlighting your child’s positive traits, e.g., Have you ever noticed how much more analytical and organized you are than most of your classmates? Likewise, before you reveal your child’s diagnosis, it’s a good idea to establish the concept that differences between people are normal, acceptable, and beneficial for example, you may point out that while you are good at math and your spouse is not, he is much better at writing or working with people, and when you both work together, these different skill prove to be highly complementary.
You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture
The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. It’s 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.
May Have No Interest In Interacting With The World Around Them
For the neurotypical child, the world is full of bizarre and wonderful things that they have never seen or encountered before things that naturally pique their curiosity and draw them in. The normal response to a new experience or discovery is typically wide-eyed wonderment, dismay, amusement and inquisitiveness.
Children with ASD respond to the world very differently. You might notice that your child doesnt really respond with eye contact or normal outward signs of curiosity when you try to get their attention. Perhaps they dont even turn their head in your direction when you say their name. They might not point at objects, show a normal level of curiosity, or attempt to engage you by showing you their toys and drawings in an effort to share their interests and elicit a positive response.
A lack of responsiveness to stimuli and a lack of interest in trying to seek parental attention is a pretty common sign that a child may fall somewhere on the spectrum.
Children typically learn through imitation. Even at an early age, the neurotypical child will begin copying adult behaviorsyou might catch them pretending to cook, holding an object up to their ear as if they are talking on the phone, or pretending to feed and care for a doll.
Children on the spectrum may also have adverse reactions to normal physical contact, such as a hug, holding hands, or being picked up off the floor and held.
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.
Don’t Miss: What Does Autism Look Like In Girls
+ Important Signs Your Child May Be Autistic
Now some of these signs you may already know, and some might be new to you.
Its important to read this list with an open mind. Some things might seem like all children do that or some may not pertain to your childs autism.
Not every autistic child will do all of these things, and not all children who do these things are autistic.
This is simply a guide to help you if youre new to autism and are unsure of what to look for.
Ive decided to split these signs up into the major categories: social, developmental, behavior, and communication.
What Are The Symptoms Of Autism
Autisms early warning signs usually emerge sometime before a child turns three. Symptoms can start as early as 12 or 18 months for some children, while other kids with autism may not be diagnosed until the second or third grade, Pandey says. Symptoms occur over time, and they dont always happen in a doctors office, she says. Thats why parents watching for symptoms and providing that information is important.
Pandey also says parental symptom-spotting is vital because the sooner a health professional can intervene, the better off the child will be. You cannot get autism-specific intervention until you get a diagnosis, she adds.
So what are the symptoms of autism? Here are 12 that parents need to know. Just keep in mind: Diagnosing autism is complicated. We need to see a number of these symptoms to make a diagnosis, not just one, Pandey says.
Also, different symptoms emerge at different ages. What may be a red flag for autism at age 3 could be considered typical behavior at age 1 or 2. While you should tell your childs doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, spotting one of themor even several of themis not a guarantee that your child has autism.
Don’t Miss: Is Autism Heritable
How Should I Tell My Child
There isn’t one ‘right’ way to tell your child about their diagnosis. However, here are some points to consider.
Who is the best person in the family to help bring up the subject? If your child is comfortable with a grandparent or aunt, it might be a good idea to get them involved too.
Choose a moment when you’re both in a calm mood and in a familiar place where you both feel comfortable. Autistic children can find it difficult to process new information, especially if they’re feeling anxious, stressed or are in an unfamiliar environment.
Try to make sure you won’t be interrupted. Your child may need time to think about what you’re saying or to ask questions.
One of the ways some parents start a conversation about autism is to talk first about differences. For example, you could write a list of family members’ strengths and weaknesses, then talk about what your child is good at and what they find difficult. You could point out that there is a name to this particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses.
Your child may have met other autistic people. You could explain that although autistic people have some things in common, they are all different.
The following might be helpful:
Behaviors That Reveal A Child May Have Autism
Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by social withdrawal, by repetitive behaviors and by some kind of focal attention in its classic form. Basically, its an inability to relate to others. Harvey V. Fineberg
Autism spectrum disorder is not as mysterious as it used to be ten or twenty years ago. Now, we have a better understand of the spectrum, and with that understanding comes empathy and support. Children on the autism spectrum see and process the world differently than children who dont.
They may also have a harder time socializing and understanding social cues than other children. Without knowing what autism is, or without knowing how to stop the signs, these children can often end up with an unfair expectation put on them by both their parents, teachers and their classmates.
Like the name suggests, autism spectrum disorder exists on a spectrum of different types of behaviors, and things that a child can or may have a harder time doing that most, including auditory processing, speaking verbally and communicating. How can you know when your child might have autism?
There are some classic signs, and once you get a diagnosis you can help your child better interact with the world in a way thats safe and comfortable for them.
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.
When You Have An Interest It’s Intense And All
Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. It’s not the same as being a super-fan, though a “special interest,” as it’s termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them “intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic,” which sounds like a trio of children’s book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.
Also Check: Do Kids Outgrow Autism
What Does An Autism Diagnosis Mean For My Child
An autism diagnosis can result in some beneficial effects, but also comes with associated risks, disadvantages, and contraindications. Once your child is diagnosed with autism, you can expect your doctor to devise a specific treatment plan, comprised of therapy and/or medication to help your child function more easily in daily life. You can also seek specific guidance and support for your child to thrive at school. Despite these benefits, a diagnosis of autism also come with the risk of social stigmatization for the child. There is also a range of physical and mental-health conditions that frequently accompany autism including but not limited to: gastrointestinal problems, epilepsy, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
Develops Symptoms After Early Childhood
Your child developed and behaved like most children until they reached the age of 6 or older. Then symptoms that seem to point to autism sprang from nowhere.
In order to for be diagnosed with autism, your child must have first shown symptoms at an early age, even if those symptoms only caused problems in later years. A brand new symptom at age 12 or 14 may look a little like autism, but the likely cause is something else.
Don’t Miss: Life Expectancy With Autism