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
Differences Between Mild And Severe Symptoms
Autism disorders fall along a spectrum of mild to severe. Some children with ASD have advanced learning and problem-solving skills, while others require daily living assistance.
According to the American Psychiatric Associations diagnostic criteria, there are three levels of autism that are defined by how much support a person requires.
Signs Of Autism In Girls
The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is 4:1. However, there is some evidence that autism is going undiagnosed in girls, particularly those who are at the higher functioning end of the spectrum.
There is discussion around whether girls and women with autism may display different symptoms to boys and men, and that the current diagnostic criteria may be biased towards boys and stereotypical male behavior. Girls and women may also be better able to mask difficulties with social interactions than boys, and this may delay a diagnosis. New diagnostic criteria may be needed to assess ASD in girls and women. Past theories, including controversies such as the extreme male brain, may have led to under-referral and under-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls and women.
Signs that a girl may have autism include:
- Difficulties with social interactions however, differences from typical autism symptoms may include:
- Better grasp of emotions and ability to make friends than boys
- May mask lack of intuitive understanding of social situations by repeating role-plays seen in real life or film/television
- May be able to make friends but find difficulty keeping them
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A Lack Of Interest In Interacting With The World Is One Of The Primary Signs Of Autism In Children
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 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.
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Common Signs Of Asd In Preschoolers
With some children, the signs of autism might not become entirely obvious until they reach preschool , when suddenly the developmental gap between them and their peers becomes more pronounced.In addition to the signs for babies/toddlers, here are some of the more common ways ASD might present itself in a preschool-aged child.
Social communication red flags
- The child generally does not point to or share observations or experiences with others
- The child tends not to look directly at other people in a social way. This is sometimes referred to as a lack of eye contact
- There may be an absence of speech, or unusual speech patterns such as repeating words and phrases , failure to use âIâ, âmeâ, and âyouâ, or reversal of these pronouns
- Unusual responses to other people. A child may show no desire to be cuddled, have a strong preference for familiar people and may appear to treat people as objects rather than a source of comfort
- The child may appear to avoid social situations, preferring to be alone
- There is limited development of play activities, particularly imaginative play
- There may be constant crying or there may be an unusual absence of crying
Behavioural red flags
âShe was so distant from us we found it hard to engage her. We would have to say her name at least six times before she would acknowledge us, often staring into space as if in a trance. We put this down to a hearing problem but test results showed otherwise.â
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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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.
Common Signs Of Autism
Some of the more common signs that may indicate a person has autism include:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Delayed speech and communication skills
- Reliance on rules and routines
- Being upset by relatively minor changes
- Unexpected reactions to sounds, tastes, sights, touch and smells
- Difficulty understanding other peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s emotions
- Focusing on or becoming obsessed by a narrow range of interests or objects
- Engaging in repetitive behavior such as flapping hands or rocking
- Children not responding to their name by 12 months
- Children not pointing at distant objects by 14 months
Worried you or someone you know might have some of the signs of autism? The Ada app can help you check symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
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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.
What Should I Do If I Think My Child Might Have Early Signs Of Autism
If your child has exhibited early signs of autism, talk to your pediatrician. He or she can use a standardized screening tool to determine if your child has autism or is at risk.
While there is no cure for autism, early intervention can make a big difference. Behavioral therapies can help kids develop social and language skills, for example, and medications can treat impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.
If you havent spotted any of these symptoms but are still worried your child has autism, try not to let your fears get in the way of enjoying your time with your son. Pay attention to his behavior patterns , and ask questions of your pediatrician. Chances are he’s just fine!
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Caring For An Autistic Child
Caring for an autistic child can present challenges, and the following strategies may help improve the quality of life for the child and their caregivers:
- Creating a safe zone: Autistic children may need extra support to feel safe and secure in their homes. Healthcare providers who know the child can suggest specific ways to create a safe home environment.
- Providing consistency: Structure and routine are important and can help support the childs learning and development. It may help to develop a strict daily schedule for various activities.
- Helping anticipate change: Give the child advance warning of any changes to their routine. Using photographs or drawings can help communicate these upcoming changes.
- Providing positive reinforcement: Reward the child for positive behavior and progress, even if the progress seems small.
- Avoiding sensory overload: Some autistic children are overwhelmed by loud noises, bright colors, or flashing lights, and it can help to avoid anything that inundates the childs senses.
- Being flexible with communication: If the child has difficulty communicating their feelings or intentions, it can help to work with the child to develop gestures or facial expressions for communicating things such as Help! or Im stressed.
- Getting outside: At first, it can be difficult to get an autistic child to visit new places, but working at this can help build their confidence and improve the childs quality of life.
What Is A Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that people can experience a wide range of symptoms and of varying severities. For example, a person with autism who is towards the high functioning range of the spectrum will have a good grasp of language, but a person towards the low functioning range of the spectrum may not speak at all.
As such, it is important to note that a person with autism spectrum disorder will not display all symptoms and symptoms will vary in severity. However, a person with ASD will display several of these behaviors and signs.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism In Babies
Autism doesnt change a babys physical appearance. The condition does affect how babies communicate and how they relate to the world around them.
Autism is described as a spectrum condition because signs, symptoms, and abilities can vary widely. If you notice any of these developmental differences, its important to talk with your childs doctor or healthcare professional about them.
Signs In Boys Vs Girls
The symptoms of autism are generally the same for both boys and girls. However, because autism is diagnosed in boys far more often than girls , classic symptoms are often described in a skewed manor.
For example, an excessive interest in trains, the wheels on trucks, or strange dinosaur trivia is often very noticeable. A girl who doesnt play with trains, trucks, or dinosaurs might display less noticeable behaviors, like arranging or dressing dolls in a particular way.
High-functioning girls also have an easier time mimicking average social behaviors. Social skills may be more innate in girls, which can make impairments less noticeable.
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Restricted Behavior And Play
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are often restricted, rigid, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. Symptoms may include:
- Repetitive body movements moving constantly.
- Obsessive attachment to unusual objects .
- Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, sometimes involving numbers or symbols .
- A strong need for sameness, order, and routines . Gets upset by change in their routine or environment.
- Clumsiness, atypical posture, or odd ways of moving.
- Fascinated by spinning objects, moving pieces, or parts of toys .
- Hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input .
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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.
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How Does Autism Affect A Childs Social Skills
A child with ASD has a hard time interacting with others. Problems with social skills are some of the most common signs. They might want to have close relationships but not know how.
If your child is on the spectrum, they might show some social symptoms by the time they’re 8 to 10 months old, including:
- They don’t respond to their name by their first birthday.
- Playing, sharing, or talking with other people donât interest them.
- They prefer to be alone.
- They avoid or reject physical contact, including hugging.
- They avoid eye contact.
- When theyâre upset, they donât like to be comforted.
- They donât understand emotions — their own or othersâ.
- They may not stretch out their arms to be picked up or guided with walking.
Development Of Infants With Early Signs Of Autism
While your baby is growing up, you may wonder if they are developing as they should. There are certain developmental milestones children hit as they grow up.
It is important to keep an eye out for these so that you can see if your child is behind on their development.
- smile at people
- try to look at their parents
- turn their head towards sound
If you notice that your baby is not engaging in such activities, you may want to get your child tested for ASD.
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What Are Some Early Signs Of Autism In Toddlers
When a baby becomes a toddler, various developmental differences, signs and symptoms may become more apparent with the growing age of the child.
During their first year, toddlers with autism spectrum disorder may not:
- like seeing new faces,
- may not be able to walk, or w__alk only on their toes__
- may find certain sounds, tastes and smells upsetting,
- may fall into repetitive movements, like flapping their hands.
These signs may be more noticeable compared to the signs presented early on. However, the majority of children with autism are not diagnosed before the age of two due to missed signs by caregivers, or lack of access to specialists.
What To Do If Youre Worried
If your child is developmentally delayed, or if youve observed other red flags for autism, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician right away. In fact, its a good idea to have your child screened by a doctor even if he or she is hitting the developmental milestones on schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as specific screenings for autism at 9, 18, and 30 months of age.
Schedule an autism screening. A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for autism. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms. Your pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your childs behavior.
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