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
Signs Of Social Difficulties
- Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or whats going on around them.
- Doesnt know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
- Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
- Doesnt play pretend games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
- Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them.
- Doesnt seem to hear when others talk to them.
- Doesnt share interests or achievements with others .
Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.
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:
Read Also: Autism Adhd Comorbidity
Autism Tests Your Child May Have
Youre not the only one watching your child and looking for autism signs. Your childs doctor is doing the same work during routine office visits. If a concern is spotted, the testing escalates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that doctors do several forms of autism checks, including:
- Developmental monitoring. Your doctor asks questions about how the child is progressing, and the doctor may talk to or interact with the child to test reactions and responses.
- Developmental screening. Tests like this are part of some well-child visits, but your doctor might also use them if you are concerned about your child. You will complete a questionnaire about behaviors you see, and your doctor will do the same thing.
- Developmental evaluation. Trained professionals, including developmental pediatricians, perform these tests. The specialist uses observations, test results, and parent questionnaires to develop a well-rounded understanding of how the child is progressing. Results help experts create early intervention programs.
It takes time to complete each step, and you cant skip ahead and demand higher levels of testing. You must progress through each stage right on schedule. The results can help you understand what type of treatment your child needs.
What Causes Autism In Children
The cause of autism is still unknown.
That is why parents should not blame themselves if they feel that they had been negligent in taking care of their kids during infancy, or if a mother thinks she might not have properly taken care of herself during pregnancy.
Just as the definite cause is still unknown, there is no definite treatment to get rid of autism. In fact, the very notion is ridiculous. Autism is a neurological disorder. It is not a disease. You shouldnt seek to get rid of your childs autism.
Also Check: What Does Level 2 Autism Look Like
What Happens If My Toddler Is Autistic
Embrace it. And remember: your child is still your child. Love them unconditionally.
The family may have to stick to a definite lifestyle to adjust to the needs of the child. This would require extra patience also. Send the child to a special education school. If the autism is relatively mild, be sure that you inform ahead the teacher or the principal of the condition.
More than anything else simply make the child feel your loving care.
Autism in children is considered a lifelong disability. And yes, they will grow up to be autistic adults.
The occurrence of the disability ranges from mild to severe. In mild form, the child with autism can live independently, whereas in severe form autism often requires medical supervision and support throughout his/her life.
The parent or caregiver is also going to need support and help during this time. I would recommend taking a look at these books:
Early Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Studies have shown that autism can be diagnosed as early as 14 months. It typically appears in the early ages of an individual.
This means that the infants first year is crucial in terms of the diagnosis of the disorder.
Many children with autism spectrum disorder show developmental differences. This can especially be seen in their social and language skills. There are certain developmental milestones babies hit while they are growing up.
Parents and caregivers should observe their childrens behaviors so as to be able to catch the disorder early on.
The 10 early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children can be as follows:
- Little to no eye contact during infancy,
- No babbling,
- Not expressing emotions,
- Not seeming attached to parents.
Subtle differences caused by autism may appear before the childs first birthday. These differences will be visible in childrens interaction with their surroundings.
When 2-months old, babies generally begin to smile at people, coo, and are able to pay attention to faces. This may not be the case for children with autism spectrum disorder. By 6 months, if a baby
- doesnt smile,
- is not showing any other warm, joyful, and engaging expressions
It may be a sign of autism spectrum disorder.
By 9 months, children with ASD:
- make limited or no eye contact with anyone
- dont share sounds,
- dont smile back-and-forth with parents.
Before their first birthday, babies on the autism spectrum,
Recommended Reading: Do People With Autism Die Earlier
Center For Disease Control: Learn The Signs Act Early Campaign
The Autism Science Foundation is a partner in the CDCs Learn the Signs, Act Early Campaign. The following early indicators of autism were developed by the experts in this program.
If your child is two months old, you should consider talking to your doctor if your child exhibits the following behavior:
- Doesnt respond to loud sounds
- Doesnt watch things as they move
- Doesnt smile at people
- Doesnt bring his/her hands to mouth
- Cant hold his/her head up when pushing up on tummy
If your child is four months old, you should consider talking to your doctor if your child exhibits the following behavior:
- Doesnt watch things as they move
- Doesnt smile at people
- Cant hold his/her head steady
- Doesnt make sounds or coo
- Doesnt bring things to his/her mouth
- Doesnt push down with legs when feet are placed on a hard surface
- Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
If your child is six months old, you should consider talking to your doctor if your child exhibits the following behavior:
- Doesnt reach for things
- Shows no affection for caregivers
- Doesnt respond to sounds around her/him
- Doesnt make vowel sounds
- Doesnt laugh or squeal
- Seems unusually stiff or unusually floppy
If your child is nine months old, you should consider talking to your doctor if your child exhibits the following behavior:
If you of autism in older children, teens and adults:
Mullen Scales Of Early Learning
Some research involves using tests like the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. The Mullen Scales evaluates children from birth to age five years, eight months. The following categories are evaluated during testing:
- Gross motor scale
- Receptive language scale
- Expressive language scale
The results of the test show the child’s strengths and weaknesses as related to the respective categories. In addition, the test shows where the baby’s skills fall in relation to babies in the same age group, noting if they are in the average, advanced or below average range.
You May Like: How To Self Diagnose Autism
What Are The Signs Of Autism
The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autisms early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, behaviors become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.
Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who dont have autism show a few. Thats why professional evaluation is crucial.
The following may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation right away:
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.
Recommended Reading: Does Lionel Messi Have Autism
Communication: Early Signs Of Autism
In the first year of life, childrens social and communication development is an important area to watch for early signs of autism. Social and communication development includes things like learning to smile, make eye contact, and use gestures.
Social interaction and communicationIf young children are autistic, they might:
- not consistently use eye contact to get someones attention for example, they might not always look at you and then at a snack to show you they want it, or not look back towards you when they see something that excites them
- rarely point to or hold up objects to show you things for example, they might not point to a dog and look back at you to make sure youve seen it too, or they might drop a toy in your lap and walk away instead of holding it up and looking at you
- not consistently respond to their name being called
- not consistently use gestures on their own for example, they might not wave bye-bye or clap without being told to, or without copying someone else whos waving or clapping
- not consistently smile at you or other familiar people without you smiling at them first
- rarely copy other peoples actions, like combing their hair when you do it
- not sound like theyre having a conversation with you when they babble
- not understand simple, one-step instructions for example, Give me the block or Show me the dog.
Relationships and playIf young children are autistic, they might:
Lack Of Eye Contact And Joint Attention
Joint attention refers to two people sharing a focus on the same object after one alerts the other to the item using verbal or nonverbal cues. For example, a parent or caregiver will point to a toy or tell the child about it, and the child will then look at the toy. Joint attention is an important way of connecting and interacting with other people.
According to a 2016 article in PLOS ONE , from about 9 months old, a baby should be able to make regular eye contact and share focus with their caregivers.
Autistic babies can find it challenging to pick up on these social cues and may ignore the person or the object that they are pointing out.
Also Check: How To Know If Youre Autistic
Early Signs Of Autism In Children
Early diagnosis means early intervention. It helps provide your child a higher quality of life through teaching life skills with therapies and games.
There are certain signs to look out for while your child is growing up. They hit developmental milestones, indicating that their social, communicative and behavioral developments are on track.
Here are some of the early signs that your child may need to be further examined and tested by your physician.
Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brains remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.
The earliest signs of autism involve the absence of typical behaviorsnot the presence of atypical onesso they can be tough to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms of autism are even misinterpreted as signs of a good baby, since the infant may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.
Some autistic infants dont respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.
Recommended Reading: Autism Speaks Symbol
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.
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
Don’t Miss: Pivotal Response Training Steps
Rarely Shares Their Interests With You
Babies are eager to share their interests with you, first with gestures like showing and pointing, and then with sounds and words.
Notice what your baby is paying attention to to figure out what theyre interested in.
If your baby rarely their interests with you, this can be an early sign of autism.
Children Receive A Diagnosis For A Related Condition
Sensory issues and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are conditions that are often associated with autism. If a child presents with ADHD or sensory issues, the physician may stop at that diagnosis and treat the child for those issues instead of an autism diagnosis.
If you have questions about autism signs, diagnosis, and treatment, call Smita Tandon, MD, in Fountain Valley, California, or request an appointment online.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Read Also: Schedule Boards For Autism
How Does A Baby Get Autism
Genetics. Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder.
Developmental Evaluation And Testing
During this evaluation, the physician takes into account the parents reports, the developmental screening, psychological testing, and speech and language testing. Sometimes neurological and genetic testing can help rule out other disorders.
Getting a medical diagnosis is the first step to accessing services and support for your child through health insurance.
Read Also: Mild Autism Signs
The Importance Of Early Diagnosis
The American Academy of Pediatrics joins with the CDC in recommending screening at a young age to ensure early intervention and better developmental outcomes. In the U.S., the majority of autism costs are for adult rather than child services . With early diagnosis and treatment, the cost of care over a lifetime can be reduced by two-thirds.
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.
Also Check: Life Expectancy Of Someone With Autism