What Are The Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with autism often show symptoms before they are two years old. Some children begin to lose language or social skills at the age of one or two. Autism looks different in each child. Not every child shows every symptom, and some have more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of ASD are grouped into two categories:
Social Communication and Social Interaction
- Doesnt like to cuddle or hug
- Likes to play alone
- Hasnt spoken a word by 18 months
- Cannot say two-word phrases by two years old
- Speaks differently than other children:
- Sounds like a robot when speaking
- Speaks in a very singsong way
- Repeats phrases or puts words in the wrong order
- Can recite information but not use it to solve problems or have a conversation
- Rarely or never makes eye contact
- Has trouble carrying on a conversation and letting the other person talk
- Repeats the same action over and over again
- Focuses on small details and nothing else
- Struggles with changes in their routine
- Puts toys in order instead of playing with them
- Gets extremely focused on specific topics or objects
Additionally, children with autism are often sensitive to sounds, lights, textures or smells. This is called asensory processing problem. For example, loud noises or bright lights can make them very uncomfortable. Or, they may need more sensations to feel comfortable, so they will try to bump into things or constantly touch or smell things.
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.
How Can Parents Avoid Blaming Themselves
There is a long history of blaming parents for their childs autism, most prominently when psychologist Bruno Bettelheim falsely attributed autism to a cold, detached parenting style, infamously coining the term refrigerator mothers. Today we know that parenting style does not lead to autismthe condition is rooted in genetics and emerges from many different factors. Parents are not at all responsible for the development of the condition.
Yet some parents, often driven by societal misperceptions, may still struggle with feelings of blame. Parents can acknowledge their emotions and fears, and then recognize that their child also has strengths that they can support and appreciate. Those on the higher end of the spectrum may also reject the premise that there is anything to be blamed for, believing that autism is not a disorder but a different way of thinking and being.
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What Are The Tell
Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. It can be seen in all groups of age. The Centers for Disease Control states that the disorder does not discriminate between racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Oftentimes, certain severe forms of ASD are diagnosed before the child turns two. However, high-functioning individuals may not be recognized and diagnosed until later ages in their lives.
- The level of science,
- Knowledge on autism spectrum disorder itself at the time,
- Lack of social and economic means they had,
This happens because autistic adults were not diagnosed when they were children.
Since autism spectrum disorder is still, in part, a mystery, studies generally focus on where the disorder stems from to figure out how it occurs in the first place. This has caused the focus to be on children. The adults who have never been diagnosed in their lives were partially left out in the research sphere.
However, in recent years, awareness of autism spectrum disorder in adults has increased significantly. This is due to the fact that the public is now aware of the signs and understands that a diagnosis can be made even later in life of a person.
Autism spectrum disorder impacts three main areas in an individuals life: the social aspect, communication, and their behaviors.
Since we understand autism more and more every day, we are now able to differentiate and diagnose more adults with ASD.
What Is Autism And Is My Child Autistic
Autism is a wide range of related disorders which exhibit mutual symptoms. It is a spectrum neurodevelopmental disorder which varies in intensity from mild to severe. You would notice its eminent characteristics as:
1. Social disability3. Struggle to communicate4. Repetitive behavior
These disorders usually appear in infancy or childhood which delays the developmental areas like learning to talk, interact and getting along with other kids.
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Lets Summarize How To Tackle A Speech And Language Development Delay
So, in summary, if you are concerned about your child or any toddler that you know and you cant tell if its a speech delay vs autism, Step #1, learn typical milestones. Google the CDC website, learn the milestones, compare them to what the child is doing. Step #2, talk to your childs pediatrician and their preschool teacher and get a screening done. Start early intervention as soon as possible. And step #3 is you need to learn about ABA. And one of the best places to start is by going to marybarbera.com/toddler. Click the link below to get more information today.
And if you like this video blog, I would love it if you would leave me a comment, give me a thumbs up, and share the video with others who might benefit. Dont forget, you can download my free toddler guide called, Is It Autism, ADHD, or Typical Toddler Tantrums? 3 Steps You Can Take Today Instead of Worrying at , and I hope to see you right here next week.
Stop worrying about autism and take action today to see if its autism, ADHD or typical toddler tantrums!
Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism
There is no link between childhood vaccines and autism spectrum disorders. The CDC completed nine studies which concluded that there is no connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Thimerosal has been removed or reduced to trace amounts in all childhood vaccines, except for some flu vaccines.
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Study Found Gender Differences In Autism Severity Changes
- University of California – Davis Health
- A new study found that around 30 percent of young children with autism have less severe autism symptoms at age 6 than they did at age 3, with some children losing their autism diagnoses entirely. It also found that girls tend to show greater reduction and less rise in their autism symptom severity than boys with autism. Children with higher IQs were more likely to show a reduction in their symptoms.
During early childhood, girls with autism tend to show greater reduction and less rise in their autism symptom severity than boys with autism, a UC Davis MIND Institute study has found.
Early childhood is a period of substantial brain growth with critical ability for learning and development. It also is the typical time for an initial diagnosis of autism and the best time for early intervention. In the U.S., about 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder , with four times as many boys with ASD as girls.
Previous studies indicated inconsistent results in terms of changes in autism severity during childhood. The general sense was that the severity of autism at diagnosis would last a lifetime.
Change in severity of autism symptoms and optimal outcome
“It is also true that some children appear to get worse,” Amaral said. “Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to predict who will do well and who will develop more severe autism symptoms and need different interventions.”
How Can The Mother Lower The Possibility Of The Occurrence Of Autism
If you are a pregnant mother, there is a lot you can do to prevent autism in your child. A research concluded that mothers who took iron in healthy amounts decreased the probability of autism. So make sure that during pregnancy, your intake of iron is high. Higher levels of vitamin D intake during pregnancy can also ensure a healthy neurological development of child.
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Getting Evaluated For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parent interview In the first phase of the diagnostic evaluation, you will give your doctor background information about your childs medical, developmental, and behavioral history. If you have been keeping a journal or taking notes on anything thats concerned you, share that information. The doctor will also want to know about your familys medical and mental health history.
Medical exam The medical evaluation includes a general physical, a neurological exam, lab tests, and genetic testing. Your child will undergo this full screening to determine the cause of their developmental problems and to identify any co-existing conditions.
Hearing test Since hearing problems can result in social and language delays, they need to be excluded before an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be diagnosed. Your child will undergo a formal audiological assessment where they are tested for any hearing impairments, as well as any other hearing issues or sound sensitivities that sometimes co-occur with autism.
Observation Developmental specialists will observe your child in a variety of settings to look for unusual behavior associated with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. They may watch your child playing or interacting with other people.
Lead screening Because lead poisoning can cause autistic-like symptoms, the National Center for Environmental Health recommends that all children with developmental delays be screened for lead poisoning.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Siblings
Autism spectrum disorders diagnoses have increased over the years. Researchers have found that autism runs in families and younger siblings of an autistic sibling have an 18.7% risk of also having autism. Identical twins have the highest percentage of autism occurrence, about a 75% chance that both will develop autism if one twin has autism. As previously mentioned, boys are about four to five times more likely to develop autism.
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Repeating Phrases Or Babble
While many young kids babble or repeat themselves, Pandey says young children with autism may repeat the same jargony phrase over and over again in the exact same wayalmost like theyre singing the verse of a song. I had one child who would repetitively count the way he heard it on Elmo, she says. This is known as scripted language, she adds. Repeating a phrase or babble with odd rhythms or in sing-song voice are also warning signs, Mayo Clinic experts say.
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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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.
Severe Autism And Developmental Expectations
The first reason why I think its harder than ever to help children with severe autism is because I think as kids grow up, there are expectations. They shouldnt need babysitters, daycare, or help with showering and toileting. If they have severe autism when theyre two, its different than having severe autism when theyre 12. Expectations for kids continue to get harder and harder.
Its also harder to get care. Kids with severe autism are going to continue to need some kind of supervision and care. Its really hard to get babysitters if you have problem behaviors, toileting issues, or an inability to speak or shower independently. Some summer programs and camps are not able to accommodate kids if theres any kind of major problem behaviors. Most mainstream settings are not going to be able to accommodate. So when they do continue to need help, it takes a toll on parents. It takes a financial toll and usually an emotional toll. It can cause marital strain and all sorts of other things. So as the child ages, if they dont get milder with their autism, it does usually cause issues.
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A Lack Of Interest In Pretend Play
For kids with autism, pretend skills may be absent or lacking. dont use objects for pretend playstuff like picking up a sponge and using it as a pretend phone, she says. Play-feeding a doll or pretending the couch is a truck or train are other examples. If this kind of pretend play hasnt started by 18 months, thats a warning sign, notes the CDC.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
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How Is Asd Treated
One of the biggest challenges is finding the most effective form of treatment. The choices seem endless and differentiating one from another can be daunting. Parents often rely on therapists to direct and administer treatment, but many parents want to learn as much as possible so theyre in the best position to help their child. The most common treatments include applied behavioral analysis, relationship-building strategies, speech/language, and occupational therapy, counseling, and social skills groups.
To learn more, read our ASD Overview article.
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Occupational & Sensory Integration Therapy
Severe autism presents difficulties with the ability to perform daily life tasks, such as grooming, toileting, and feeding. Occupational therapy works to teach these self-reliance skills.
Occupational therapy can improve:
- Cognitive skills.
- Motor skills.
- Social skills.
An occupational therapist can work in a variety of settings, including within the home. The therapist identifies the individualâs particular strengths and weaknesses to design a plan that improves self-care and life skills. Occupational therapists can address both large and fine motor skills as well as help with specific skills for certain tasks.
Sensory integration therapy is essentially a type of modern occupational therapy that is often used to treat people with low-functioning autism.
Severe autism may involve extreme sensory issues, including a hypersensitive sense of touch, difficulties eating or swallowing food, trouble with loud noises, and being overly sensitive to bright lights. Sensory integration therapy can help a child with sensory issues learn how to process stimuli and manage sensory information better.
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Screening Tools For Assessing Possible Asd In Children
If you, as a parent or a caregiver, suspect a child may be exhibiting signs of ASD, here is a tool to help assess and/or screen the child for possible symptoms of autism:
- Modified Checklist for autism in toddlers, Revised with Follow-up
This tool is a two-stage parent-report screening process to assess possible ASD in children. The tool is designed to identify children 16 to 30 months of age effectively. It determines whether the child should undergo a more comprehensive assessment or evaluation for possible early signs of developmental delay or autistic behavior.
The checklist is one of the tools recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for screening children for possible ASD. The screening tool is implemented in two stages. The stages are:
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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