What To Look For In Toys For Autistic Kids
When looking for toys for autistic children, its important to keep these things in mind. Its not that your child wont enjoy any type of toy. Instead, its about finding what toy most engages your child and what may help them work on certain skills.
Also keep in mind your childs developmental stage . Toys usually appropriate for certain age groups may or may not work for a same-aged child who has ASD.
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.
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.
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What Can Mimic Autism
Developmental delays such as language, speech, or hearing problems can often be mistaken for autism. There are also a number of specific disorders that are characterized by similar behavioral symptoms to autism. According to the Autism Research Institute, Williams Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, are all closely related to autism.
Learn To Listen Without Your Ears
Learn to listen with your eyes. Having a delay in speech development or being nonverbal does not mean your child isnt communicating. Everything we do, even silence, is communication. The sooner you understand how your child communicates, the easier it will be to interact and respond to their language.
Speech therapy may focus on a number of aspects, including:
- nonverbal communication
- social pragmatics
Just remember: Everything your child does it trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen!
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Who Is This Quiz For
This brief, time-saving test is designed for anyone who thinks they might benefit from an autism screening or evaluation.
The items below will help you determine whether you may need an in-depth evaluation including screening tools, parental or family insight, and clinical observations.
A mental health professional can also help figure out if your symptoms might be a sign of another mental health condition and recommend treatment if needed.
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you have autism.
However, it will measure if you have any autism-related traits, based on your own self-assessment.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
When Your Child Is Diagnosed
When mum-of-two Hayley took her three-year-old son to be assessed for the first time, it was an emotional and stressful time for the family when it was confirmed he had Autism.
“It was a roller coaster. I was sad because it’s something we can’t fix and it’s for life. But I also felt validated – it wasn’t just me being a crap mum. He had real challenges fitting in with other kids,” she tells Kidspot.
“I was also scared about how hard his life will be and relieved that we pushed for help and had the diagnosis early and it was an opportunity for early intervention.”
Hayley isn’t alone. When parents get an Autism diagnosis, they often dont know where to start. It’s an overwhelming and worrying time.
Parents can go in search of all sorts of different treatment options with different practitioners that takes up a lot of time and money, adds additional stress to an already stressful situation, and ultimately often dont work because its not a cohesive plan for the child, Debra Goldfinch, CEO of Irabina Autism Services says.
For more on Autism Spectrum Disorder or the services Irabina offers, visit www.irabina.com. And if youre concerned about your child, speak to your local GP.
This article was first published in July 2017 and updated in November 2020.
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How To Test A Child For Autism
You may ask your childs healthcare provider to periodically check your child for signs of autism with a developmental screening test. A screening test alone will not result in a diagnosis but can indicate if your child should see a specialist. A developmental pediatrician, child psychologist or psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or other specialist can conduct a formal developmental evaluation.
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:
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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!
What Are The Causes Of Autism
Experts donât fully understand all of the causes of autism spectrum disorder. It seems to be genetic, but things such as parental age and prescription medications taken during pregnancy may be involved.
- A person is more likely to be on the spectrum if a brother, sister, or parent is. But it doesnât always run in families.
- About 10% of kids with ASD have a form of genetic disorder such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
- A large Danish study found a link between ASD and advanced parental age of either parent.
- Women prescribed opioids just before pregnancy are likelier to have a child with ASD.
Some children who are on the spectrum start showing signs as young as a few months old. Others seem to have normal development for the first few months or years of their lives and then they start showing symptoms.
But up to half of parents of children with ASD noticed issues by the time their child reached 12 months, and between 80% and 90% noticed problems by 2 years. Children with ASD will have symptoms throughout their lives, but itâs possible for them to get better as they get older.
The autism spectrum is very wide. Some people might have very noticeable issues, others might not. The common thread is differences in social skills, communication, and behavior compared with people who arenât on the spectrum.
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Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition and some people with autism spectrum disorder are not diagnosed until they are adults. This could be because they fall into the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum and their symptoms are less severe, or because they were misdiagnosed with a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Although treatment can improve some outward symptoms, people with autism will always process sensations such as sound, sight, touch and smell in different ways.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that adults will have different experiences of day-to-day living. An adult with mild symptoms, who is towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Have difficulties with social interactions
- Avoid making eye contact
- Not understand nonverbal facial or body gestures, such as frowning or shrugging
- Not understand changes in tone of voice, such as sarcasm
- Be comforted by rules and routine
- Get upset at changes to routines
- Be under- or over-sensitive to loud noises, strong smells or tastes
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as pacing or hand flapping
- Have a narrow range of interests
- Have a good memory and recall of facts
An adult who is towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
One common sign of autism spectrum disorder in adults is anxiety. Signs of anxiety can include:
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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When Can My Child Be Diagnosed With Autism
According to the Center for Disease Control , an autism diagnosis can be appropriately given at 18 months of age or sooner. Doctors screen for autism spectrum disorders at the nine-month, 18 month, 2-year, and 3-year wellness checkups. Many children with autism do not receive an official diagnosis until they reach the age of two or three. It is often after the child has started school. This is when the childs challenges in social skills become obvious. It is never too late to get a diagnosis and begin identifying resources to help make life with autism easier.
The earlier a child gets a diagnosis , the sooner the child can start therapy or treatment.
Getting A Second Opinion
If your doctor is unsure if a diagnosis of autism is appropriate for your infant, the CDC recommends seeking a second opinion. The earliest interventions can serve as building blocks for your childs future therapies.
They also suggest acting early as interventions can change your childs developmental path and improve outcomes in school and relationships. The CDC cites that, in the first three years of a childs life, his/her behaviors are most malleable and that children are more likely to change undesirable habits and adopt positive ones most willingly during these years. They suggest trying several interventions until you find one your child responds to best.
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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.
He Consistently Forgets Important Dates
For someone on the spectrum, they may not understand why there’s so much importance placed on certain dates. If they want to celebrate or buy a gift, they can do it any time they want, not because a specific date tells them they’re supposed to.
Myles says, “If birthdays, anniversaries, or other important events are overlooked or forgotten, try not to take it personally.”
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Is There A Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism
An April 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mothers-to-be who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes by their 26th week of pregnancy are 63 percent more likely to have a child with autism. That means for every 1,000 women with gestational diabetes, seven of them may have a child with autism. Researchers speculate that in utero exposure to high blood sugar may affect a baby’s brain development and heighten the risk for developmental disorders.
Earlier studies also have shown a possible connection between high blood sugar during pregnancy and autism risk. The key factor may be how high blood sugar levels get. Interestingly, the JAMA study found that babies born to mothers who had type 2 diabetes before getting pregnant didn’t have a higher risk of autism, perhaps because the women were taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes poses a number of problems for infants, including preterm labor, large birth-weight and an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Moms-to-be have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes, as well. “All expectant women should strive to keep their blood sugar under control, regardless of these study findings,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.
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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
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What Age Does Autism Usually Show Up
The behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in the childs development. Many children show symptoms of autism between 12 and 18 months of age or earlier, but in others autism may not become obvious until the age of 2 or 3 years. The age of diagnosis, as well as the range and severity of symptoms, can vary widely and so professional evaluation is critical.
Can A Child Outgrow Aspergers
If the symptoms are very mild and the concerns are addressed through treatment, your childs symptoms may not be noticeable as they grow older and mature, says John Carosso, PsyD, a child psychologist and certified school psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
As a child develops work-arounds and learns skills through social skills training, the deficits she has can be less noticeable and disruptive, says Eric Hollander, MD, director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Many children learn strategies that can help them, like having a note taker in school. And with these strategies and skill gains, a child can be part of mainstream education.
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