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.
Should I Get My Child Assessed
You should get your child assessed for ASD if:
- you have concerns
- you notice any signs or symptoms
- your child has a close relative with ASD
Normally, your health care provider will test your child first. You can help your health care provider understand the unusual behaviour you see by:
- taking photographs
- maintaining logs or diaries
- capturing these behaviours on video
If there are concerns, then your health care provider should refer you to a specialist for more tests. A specialist is the best person to help diagnose your child.
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.
Autism Symptoms In Adults At Home
Other peoples feelings baffle you. You have a collection of figurines on your desk that must be in the same order at all times. These, and other common manifestations of ASD, may be apparent in adults at home:
- Your family members lovingly refer to you as the eccentric professor of the family, even though you dont work in academia.
- Youve always wanted a best friend, but never found one.
- You often invent your own words and expressions to describe things.
- Even when youre in a quiet place, like the library, you find yourself making involuntary noises like clearing your throat over and over.
- You follow the same schedule every day of the week, and dont like unexpected events.
- Expressions like, Curiosity killed the cat or Dont count your chickens before they hatch are confusing to you.
- You are always bumping into things and tripping over your own feet.
- In your leisure time, you prefer to play individual games and sports, like golf, where everyone works for themselves instead of working toward a common goal on a team.
Is There A Cure For Autism
No, currently autism has no cure. Early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage their behavioral issues.
Treatment options include
- Behavioral therapy: This focuses on reducing problem behaviors. Children are taught how to behave in social situations and communicate better with others. It also involves counseling the parents and teaching them ways to reach out to their child.
- Educational therapies: Children with autism spectrum disorder respond well to highly structured educational programs. Successful programs consist of various activities to improve social skills, communication and behavior. Speech therapy to improve communication skills, occupational therapy to teach activities of daily living and physical therapy to improve movement and balance may be beneficial.
- Medications: Specific medications can help control symptoms such as , extreme and severe behavioral issues. Some kids may also have medical issues, such as , poor and that need medical management.
Signs Of Nonverbal Communication Difficulties
- Avoids eye contact.
- Uses facial expressions that dont match what they are saying
- Doesnt pick up on other peoples facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures.
- Makes very few gestures . May come across as cold or robot-like.
- Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the childs attention.
- Atypical posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the give-and-take of social interaction very difficult.
Advice On Managing Behaviour In Autism For Adolescents
If you think that your teenager may be , or you have an autistic child and want to know what to expect when they become a young adult, we have outlined the symptoms that can appear as an autistic child becomes an adolescent.
You will also find the steps to take if you believe that your teenager is autistic, and the strategies that can help you to manage particular behaviours.
Steps To Take If You Believe A Teenager Has Autism
If you think your teenager has autism, is it important for you to carry out research. Sites such as Child Autism UK can help you better understand the condition and the steps to take next.
You should also contact their special educational needs coordinator to discuss the symptoms. It is also important to speak to your GP who can provide medical advice and referrals where necessary.
Has Autism Been Diagnosed In Dogs
As early as , veterinarians were talking about the occurrence of autism-like symptoms in dogs. More recently, a presentation at the 2015 American College of Veterinary Behaviorists reported on investigations into tail chasing behavior in Bull Terriers and a possible link to autism. The study included observations of specific traits and DNA analysis of 132 Bull Terriers; 55 tail chasing and 77 control . The researchers found that tail chasing is:
a) more prevalent in males, b) associated with trancelike behavior, and c) episodic aggression . These findings, coupled with the repetitive motor behavior of the tail-chasing behavior and a tendency for phobias, led us to conclude that tail chasing could represent a canine form of autism.
While not definitive, the study also indicated that this syndrome in dogs could be linked to a genetic condition called fragile X syndrome.
For people with fragile X syndrome, prevalence of concurrent autism spectrum disorder has been estimated to be between 15 and 60 percent . People with fragile X syndrome have a prominent forehead, long face, high-arched palate, and large ears . The characteristic long, bowed “downface” of bull terriers and their protruding ears mean that they have similarities to people with fragile X syndrome.
Can You Be A Little Autistic
No, there is no such thing as being a little autistic. Many people may show some characteristics of from time to time. This may include avoiding bright lights and noises, preferring to be alone and being rigid about rules. This does not make them autistic.
However, a person can be mildly autistic. Mildly autistic people are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them. However, they have normal intelligence and can carry their day-to-day activities.
He’s Resistant To Touch
When someone has ASD, they may not be as affectionate as you might like, and may act as if they’re being tortured when you give them a spontaneous hug. It isn’t that they can’t show their love; it’s that they must feel comfortable and in the right frame of mind to snuggle, hug, or cuddle.
“The brains of people high in autistic traits aren’t coding touch as socially relevant,” says Martha Kaiser, associate director of the Child Neuroscience Laboratory at the Yale Child Study Center.
Is There A Test For Asd In Adults
Clinicians have developed different tests that can help diagnose ASD in adults. These diagnostic tests such as ADOS 2 Module 4, ADI-R, and 3Di Adult.
However, it is not clear how reliable these tests are for adults. The reasons for this :
- Researchers who look at the reliability of ASD tests often a small number of study participants.
- Not many research studies on testing for adult ASD enough participants from historically underserved groups, such as People of Color or people who are LGBTQIA+. This means the results of studies looking at ASD testing methods may not represent a true population of autistic adults.
- Many clinicians may not be familiar with the signs of ASD in adulthood. This is especially true if the patientâs symptoms are not severe or if the patient also has other conditions, for example, anxiety.
Autistic people may have of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or , than those in the general population.
What Do The Experts Say
Kristy Forbes, an educator, autism and neurodiversity support specialist, says families need to lay the groundwork before telling their child they are autistic.
“Positive autistic identity is cultivated firstly in the family home,” she says.
“This requires families to invest their time and energy in ensuring that their autistic children have access to positive autistic identity and culture. Finding autistic mentors, connections with autistic peers and engagement with a narrative that diverges from the medical model of disorder.”
Ms Forbes says discovering that she was autistic was transformative.
“I went through life knowing I was in many ways not like most others, but could only see my differences as weaknesses and personal challenges and traumas to overcome,” she says.
“I sat with professionals of all kinds trying to overcome whatever was inherently flawed within me.”
When she was finally seen by a team of allied health professionals specialising in autism and identified as autistic, Ms Forbes says she felt “normal” for the first time in her life.
“I came to understand that I wasn’t a broken version of a neurotypical person, but a perfectly whole and complete autistic person,” she says.
She believes an earlier diagnosis would have helped her avoid numerous suicide attempts and drug and alcohol addiction.
“Knowing we are autistic means we can design a lifestyle that is right for us, that is constructed in ways that helps us to thrive,” she says.
New Symptoms That May Appear During Adolescence
Autistic children can often find adolescence very difficult. Although they have the same hormones as all other teenagers, they dont naturally develop complex relationships and arent able to interpret or engage in the more types of relationships which develop as children get older. They can be prone to isolation and low moods, which can appear very intense and be difficult to read.
He Has Unusual Physical Behaviors
Some of the classic indicators of ASD are repetitive speech, physical tics, and looking anywhere else besides a person’s eyes when speaking with them. People on the spectrum may exhibit unusual behavior due to difficulties they have in responding to their environment.
Behaviors may include unusually tense or focused interests, stereotyped and repetitive body movements such as hand flapping and spinning, repetitive use of objects such as flipping lights on and off, insistence on sticking to routines, unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects, and sensory sensitivities including avoidance of everyday sounds.
Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
Signs Of Autism In Babies
Some parents recognize autism signs when their child is 6-12 months old, depending on the symptoms and their severity. Pay attention to whether or not the baby is reacting to social information and the environment. Within the first year of life, babies start to babble and use gestures like pointing, says Dr. Frazier, adding that babies may also smile at their caregivers. Baby noises should have some social function as well, and they should try communicating with parents. Babies with autism sometimes fail to communicate through sounds or gestures, and may not respond to social stimulation.
Here are other early signs of autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
May Exhibit Difficulty Recognizing Facial Expressions And Making Eye Contact
From an early age, children learn to make eye contact with their parents, smile when they are being smiled at, and point or wave at things they find interesting, such as an animal at the zoo or a favorite toy.
Children on the autism spectrum have a harder time recognizing emotion in facial expressions and may show little to no emotion themselves. When something startling occurs , its actually normal for a child to look to their parent and in seconds process their facial expression to identify what emotion is being conveyed. This is done as a way to verify if they too need to be concerned with what just happened. With an autistic child, however, there is often no reaction at all, which for a parent, can be very puzzling and concerning.
Older children with ASD will often look at the ground or let their eyes wander when an adult is speaking to them; making eye contact is often a key struggle for children with ASD.
Because children on the spectrum have trouble reading facial expressions, they may fail to react or even react inappropriately when a parent or sibling is expressing joy, anger, or sorrow.
Sharing The Diagnosis With My Son
I told my son about his diagnosis one morning when he had climbed into bed with me for a cuddle before we started the day. I recognised this quiet moment together as a good opportunity to tell him.
“Do you remember how we saw Rosemary recently?”
“And she asked you lots of questions and played some games with you?”
“Well, Rosemary thinks you might be autistic.”
I had decided to use language that made it less definitive, so there was space for him to reject it.
He didn’t respond.
“Have you heard that word, autistic?”
“What does it mean?”
I explained how people with autistic brains think differently to most people.
He let out a heavy sigh. I hugged him.
“It’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have people who think differently. There are many autistic people doing all sorts of amazing things. And there are lots of other autistic kids.”
I was stuck. My son has some autistic friends, but their parents hadn’t told them about their diagnoses.
I was disappointed I couldn’t share their names and normalise autism for him.
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.
Can A Child Be Slightly Autistic
A child can be mildly autistic. Every child with autism spectrum disorder is unique and so symptoms may differ in severity and range between individuals. Children diagnosed as mildly autistic are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them, but they do have normal intelligence and can conduct their daily activities.
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.
What Are The Different Types Of Autism
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is published by the American Psychiatric Association . Clinicians use it to diagnose a variety of psychiatric disorders.
The most recent fifth edition of the DSM was released in 2013. The DSM-5 currently recognizes five different ASD subtypes, or specifiers. They are:
- with or without accompanying intellectual impairment
- with or without accompanying language impairment
- associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
- associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder
Someone can receive a diagnosis of one or more specifiers.
Before the DSM-5, autistic people may have received a diagnosis of:
- autistic disorder
- pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified
- childhood disintegrative disorder
Its important to note that a person who received one of these earlier diagnoses hasnt lost their diagnosis and wont need to be reevaluated.
Symptoms of ASD typically become clearly evident during early childhood, between 12 and 24 months of age. However, symptoms may also appear or .
Early symptoms may include a marked delay in or social development.
The DSM-5 divides symptoms of ASD into two categories: problems with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.
Common Signs Of Autism
- 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.
You Notice Patterns Everywhere
It’s often a special feature of the autistic brain to be able to see patterns all over the place: in letters, numbers, formations of objects, anything. A 2011 study of nearly 750 people found that the brain regions that process patterns are very active in autistic people, while the regions associated with planning and decisions were less active. If you’re able to pick out patterns nobody else can see, without even thinking, you may have one of autism’s peculiar advantages.
Articles On Autism Diagnosis
Autism spectrum disorder is usually diagnosed in young children. But what if you think you may be on the spectrum, and it never got diagnosed?
Parents of very young children are on the lookout for classic symptoms like lack of contact, repetitive movements, and sensory issues. And all kids are screened for these signs at their 18- and 24-month pediatrician well-child visits, so most cases of autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed by age 2.
That wasnât always the case. Not too long ago, some kids who would be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder today might have been labeled as âdifficultâ or âlearning disabled,â and may not have gotten the help they needed.
Now, those children are adults and they or their family members may wonder if they might have ASD.
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.
He Has Frequent Meltdowns
Meltdowns can be part of the package with someone with ASD, and how they handle them is different from person to person. They usually happen after a buildup of tension or frustration and can come out of nowhere. They’re almost always purely emotional.
Emma Dalmayne, an adult on the spectrum and a mother of autistic children, says,”When you have a meltdown, it’s as if the world is ending. Everything is too much and you feel like overwhelming darkness has engulfed your very being. Irrepressible anger that may seem completely irrational to an outsider can be inwardly devastating us internally.”
Diagnosis In Older Children And Adolescents
ASD symptoms in older children and adolescents who attend school are often first recognized by parents and teachers and then evaluated by the schools special education team. The schools team may perform an initial evaluation and then recommend these children visit their primary health care doctor or doctors who specialize in ASD for additional testing.
Parents may talk with these specialists about their childs social difficulties including problems with subtle communication. These subtle communication issues may include problems understanding tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language. Older children and adolescents may have trouble understanding figures of speech, humor, or sarcasm. Parents may also find that their child has trouble forming friendships with peers.
Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests
People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by only problems with social communication and interaction.
Examples of restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors related to ASD can include:
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
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 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.
Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities
These can include:
- an increase or decrease in sensitivity to specific sensory information from their surroundings, such as a negative reaction to a specific sound
- fixated interests or preoccupations
Autistic people are evaluated within each category, and the intensity of their symptoms is noted.
To receive an autism diagnosis, a person must display all three symptoms in the first category and at least two symptoms in the second category. Get more information on symptoms and how they may manifest in kids.
The exact cause of ASD is unknown. The most current research demonstrates theres no single cause.
Some suspected risk factors for ASD include:
- having an immediate family member whos autistic
- genetic mutations
An ASD diagnosis involves several screenings, genetic tests, and evaluations.