How To Know If Your Baby Has Autism: Signs And Symptoms
Autism is a spectrum disorder, similar to Asperger’s syndrome that can appear during infancy and early childhood and causes delays in many areas of basic development such as learning to talk, play or interact with others. Autism can vary in how seriously it affects people, with some having more serious impairments than others. There are many differing opinions on the causes of autism and how best to treat it, however it is widely agreed that the earlier the condition is realized, and intervention implemented, the better it is for the child in the long term. There are several ways that you can spot signs of this disorder in young children, so in this OneHowTo article, we’re going to discuss how to know if your baby has autism: signs and symptoms.
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of autism in babies is considered quite important. This is due to the fact that if your infant does in fact display signs of the disorder, that treatment can be started early on in their development which therefore means the likelihood of it being effective is higher.
The signs of autism in babies can be difficult to spot. Diagnosis before the age of 24 months is rare, but symptoms can be displayed between the age of 12-18 months. One of the signs of autism is regression. If a child was communicating with basic words such as ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ and then stops using language entirely, this can be a warning sign of autism.
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 To Tell Your Child That He Has Autism
Dr. William Chen | January 6, 2018
Parents of children on the autism spectrum often balk at breaking the news of a diagnosis to their son or daughter after all, while they know that they will always love and accept their autistic child because of, and not in spite of, who he is, there’s no way to be sure that the child will feel the same way. Parents are all too aware of the stigma that comes with being and feeling different, and as such, they sometimes mistakenly believe that hiding their child’s autism diagnosis may be healthier for him. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth: To be comfortable with himself, your child must first learn to know himself.
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Develops Symptoms After Early Childhood
Your child developed and behaved like most children until they reached the age of 6 or older. Then symptoms that seem to point to autism sprang from nowhere.
In order to for be diagnosed with autism, your child must have first shown symptoms at an early age, even if those symptoms only caused problems in later years. A brand new symptom at age 12 or 14 may look a little like autism, but the likely cause is something else.
Who Is This Child Autism Quiz For
Answer the quiz questions below to see if your child could have autism.
Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder . Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often your child has experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
Please be aware that some behaviors are developmentally appropriate for your young child and are not signs of autism.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Autism
Autisms early warning signs usually emerge sometime before a child turns three. Symptoms can start as early as 12 or 18 months for some children, while other kids with autism may not be diagnosed until the second or third grade, Pandey says. Symptoms occur over time, and they dont always happen in a doctors office, she says. Thats why parents watching for symptoms and providing that information is important.
Pandey also says parental symptom-spotting is vital because the sooner a health professional can intervene, the better off the child will be. You cannot get autism-specific intervention until you get a diagnosis, she adds.
So what are the symptoms of autism? Here are 12 that parents need to know. Just keep in mind: Diagnosing autism is complicated. We need to see a number of these symptoms to make a diagnosis, not just one, Pandey says.
Also, different symptoms emerge at different ages. What may be a red flag for autism at age 3 could be considered typical behavior at age 1 or 2. While you should tell your childs doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, spotting one of themor even several of themis not a guarantee that your child has autism.
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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Early Signs Of Autism In Babies Aged 0
Shortly after they are born, babies begin to smile and coo at people around them. By the time they turn 2 months old, they are able to pay attention to faces.
If the child has autism spectrum disorder, this may not be the case. If a child doesnt smile, or smile as big, and is not showing any warm expression, it may be a sign of autism spectrum disorder.
The following signs can also be seen by the time the baby turns 3 months old:
- Doesnt respond to loud noises,
- Doesnt grasp objects,
- Doesnt follow objects with their eyes,
- Doesnt babble,
- Doesnt point to things,
- Doesnt respond to their names,
- Cant stand when supported,
- Doesnt babble
Signs Of Speech And Language Difficulties
- Speaks in an atypical tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch .
- Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent.
- Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
- Uses language incorrectly or refers to him or herself in the third person.
- Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
- Doesnt understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.
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Other Signs Of Autism In 4
These signs are usually accompanied by some of the other signs listed above:
ASD encompasses a broad range of signs and symptoms. An autistic child may need minimal support in some aspects of their life and more significant support in other aspects.
An autistic child who needs minimal support may have:
- little interest in social interactions or social activities
- difficulty initiating social interactions or maintaining conversations
- trouble with appropriate communication
- trouble adapting to changes in routine or behavior
- difficulty making friends
An autistic child who needs a moderate amount of support, or who needs daily support, may have:
- difficulty coping with a change to their routine or surroundings
- a significant lack of verbal and nonverbal communication skills
- severe and obvious behavioral challenges
- repetitive behaviors that interfere with their daily life
- an unusual or a reduced ability to communicate or interact with others
- narrow, specific interests
An autistic child who needs significant support on a daily basis may:
Sensory Stimuli May Result In An Overreaction Or No Reaction At All
Many autistic individuals have trouble processing sensory information and can become easily overwhelmed, even on an outing to a restaurant or grocery store. Sights, sounds and movements, even tastes and smells, can all be overwhelming to the autistic child, especially in combination with one another.
This may present itself as one of two extremes: you may notice either an observable overreaction or an under-reaction to stimuli.
In the case of an overreaction, an autistic child may flinch away from touch, even something as gentle and unthreatening as a pat on the head or a touch on the arm. Others may throw a fit when getting dressed because the tactile sensation of the clothing creates a feeling of anxiety.
Some children with hypersensitivity to noise and other stimuli may react in the opposite waythey may show no response at all to sounds and visual stimuli, even things that would usually startle or surprise a child. This might strike you as so unusual that it causes you to wonder if your child is having difficulty hearing. An autistic child may also have no reaction to sensory stimuli that would ordinarily be fun, curious and exiting, something that can be just as disconcerting for a concerned parent.
ABA therapy can do wonders for sensory processing disorders, which are often a part of ASD, but also may affect neurotypical children.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.
There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives others can work and live with little to no support.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a persons life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
Why Should I Tell My Child They Have Autism
If you dont tell your child they have autism, theres a good chance someone else will let it slip, or your child will eventually figure it out themselves, says Kelly Price, a registered psychologist who assesses children for autism in Victoria, B.C. This is particularly true if your child is participating in programs and receiving services for people with autism because the A-word is bound to come up, he adds. You dont want someone else to spill the beans before youve had the opportunity to describe it yourself, he says, adding that its unfair for parents to withhold information about their child from them when they reach a certain age, and their child may feel betrayed if they do so.
Dundon adds that kids may feel ashamed if they find out theyre autistic from someone other than their parents because it may seem like their parents were trying to hide it. She says its important for kids to know that theyre autistic because it helps them understand who they are, particularly in relation to their peers. Kids do sense that theyre different, and not helping them see why isnt okay, she says. It causes distress because they cant fit in, they dont know why things are difficult for them, they feel like theres something wrong with them. When they do find out, its like, Oh, that explains it. But Ive had all of these years of thinking that I was somehow less than my peers and that there was something wrong.
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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.
Other Signs Of Autism
Another sign of child autism is not playing socially with other children. They may also exhibit a lack of empathy for others along and withdraw from social situations.
A child with autism may also exhibit the following signs:
- Unusual body posturing or facial expressions
- Use an unusual tone of voice
- Avoid eye contact or have poor eye contact with others
- Experience behavioral disturbances
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Early Signs Of Autism In A 5 Year Old
Once your toddler grows up, certain signs can be missed or confused with signs of growing up. You may want to consult your childs doctor if you see the following signs, which may mean your child has a developmental delay:
- Shows extreme behaviors like unusually aggressive, shy, or sad
- Doesnt show a wide range of emotions
- Usually isnt active
- Has trouble focusing on one activity for extended periods of time
- Doesnt respond to people
- Cant understand the difference between real and make-believe
- Doesnt play with peers
- Doesnt use grammar correctly
- Doesnt talk about daily activities
- Loses skills they once had
Social Differences In Children With Autism
-May not keep eye contact or makes little or no eye contact-Shows no or less response to a parents smile or other facial expressions-May not look at objects or events a parent is looking at or pointing to-May not point to objects or events to get a parent to look at them-Less likely to bring objects of personal interest to show to a parent-May not have appropriate facial expressions-Has difficulty perceiving what others might be thinking or feeling by looking at their facial expressions-Less likely to show concern for others-Has difficulty making and keeping friends
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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!
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.
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Choosing When To Tell Your Child About His Diagnosis
Today, thanks to advances in our understanding of autism spectrum disorders, many autistic children are diagnosed at a young age, leaving parents with the task of deciding when their child is old enough to be told about his condition. There is no single right answer to this question, however children on the spectrum develop at different rates and while one child may have the social awareness and maturity needed to process what an autism diagnosis means by age five or six, another might not be ready until he is eight or ten. Usually, knowing your child well and monitoring his overall developmental progress will provide you with the insight you need to choose the right time to reveal his diagnosis.
If your child is not diagnosed until he is older, choosing when to tell him ought to depend on his overall emotional state: If he is struggling with depression and low self-esteem as a result of prior bullying and other bad experiences, you may wish to wait until his emotional state has been improved by professional intervention. If, on the other hand, your child has received a prior diagnosis of some kind and is therefore comfortable with the concept, he may be ready to hear about his autism diagnosis right away . Once again, observing your child and understanding his current needs and feelings is key to selecting the right time to reveal his diagnosis.