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.
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.
What Is The Difference Between Aspergers Syndrome And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The name for Aspergers Syndrome has officially changed, but many still use the term Aspergers Syndrome when talking about their condition. The symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome are now included in a condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder . ASD is now the name used for a wide range of autism-like disorders. Some providers may still use the term Aspergers Syndrome, but others will say ASD without intellectual or language impairment. These two syndromes are, for the most part, the same.
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Doesnt Point Or Respond To Pointing
Children will typically start pointing out things to their parents by 14 months. If a child doesnt point out airplanes or dogs or other interesting things, that could be a red flag. The same is true if a child doesnt look at things her parent is pointing out. Failure to wave or to respond to waving is another warning sign, notes the CDC.
Very Focused On Or Attached To Unusual Objects
Babies with autism can be very focused on or attached to objects that are unusual for their age, such as long strips of cloth, utensils, chains, rocks, sticks, flowing water, or gadgets they can take apart and put together.
If your child is very focused on or attached to unusual objects, this may be an early sign of autism.
Speech And Language Difficulties May Present Themselves During Early Stages Of Language Development
Children with ASD may have a hard time speaking and communicating at the expected level for their age.
Even during infancy, you might notice that your child does not babble or coo in response when you talk and attempt to interact. By their first birthday, most toddlers can speak a word or two, but children on the spectrum often dont learn to speak until much later.
Sometimes, children with ASD babble and coo in the first few months of life, and then cease to communicate altogether. In these cases, all forms of verbal communication and normal language development and experimentation with speech abruptly stop. This can be disconcerting for parents and is often a sign that its time to investigate further by seeking professional help.
Even in cases where autistic children do speak and demonstrate pretty typical signs of normal language development, they often repeat unrelated words and phrases over and over and, in essence, speak without really communicating or conveying a feeling, thought or desire.
Early intervention is key to helping autistic children learn to communicate, whether it is through spoken language, or in more extreme cases, through sign language or even an alternative augmentative communication device.
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
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Signs Of Autism At 1 Year Old
The National Institute of Mental Health notes that that the differences between an infant with autism and an infant without the disorder become apparent between 12 and 36 months of age 2. When autism is caught early, intensive treatment may be able reverse some of the symptoms or lessen the severity of the disorder, explains HelpGuide.org 3. However, since the signs of autism consist of the absence of normal behavior rather than the presence of specific signs, parents can miss some of the early warning signs 3. Parents who learn more about what the average one year old can do may better understand when their baby may be at risk of having this disorder.
Screen For Autism: Perspective
The new finding is an important step forward, says Geraldine Dawson, PhD. She is the chief science officer for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks supported the study as did the Organization for Autism Research and the National Institute of Mental Health.
“We do know that many babies who go on to develop autism begin to show symptoms early on,” she says.
It may be half or more of all children with autism, she says.
”For babies who have this pattern of early onset, to use a screen that is quick and can be used in a pediatrician’s office efficiently is of great value,” she says. The earlier autism is detected, the earlier intervention can begin.
Karen Pierce, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience, University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Autism Center of Excellence.
Geraldine Dawson, PhD, chief science officer, Autism Speaks.
Pierce, K. The Journal of Pediatrics, published online April 28. 2011.
Shattuck, P. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, May 2009 vol 48: pp 474-483.
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Do Use Metaphors And Picture Books
hairdryer brain vs toaster brain explanation1. “Autism is…?”Target audience:Description2. Ian’s WalkTarget audience:Description3. Can I tell you about autism?Target audience“Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome?”Description:4. Different Like Me: My Book of Autism HeroesTarget audienceDescription:5. Autistic PlanetTarget Audience:Description
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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May Be Easily Startled By Sounds Or Agitated By Background Noise
Although all children may exhibit adverse reactions to loud sounds, children with ASD have a particularly strong aversion to loud noises that may cause them to react by grimacing or wincing, rather than showing surprise or a normal wide-eyed curiosity.
It may be symptomatic of autism if you see your child convey their strongest emotions in the form of an adverse reaction to the music or TV being turned up too loud or if adults in the room are having a loud and animated conversation or if other children are playing nearby are making loud sounds or even when you run the vacuum cleaner.
This is something worth paying close attention to.
Because children with autism process the world around them differently, they may have trouble filtering out irrelevant sounds coming from the microwave or washing machine sounds that would disappear as white noise in the background for neorotypical children.
These reactions may result in fits, crying, anger, or even physically aggressive behaviorthe reaction differs based on the child and the severity of their sensitivity to noise.
Signs And Symptoms Of Inflexibility In Autism
Children with autism spectrum disorders are often restricted, inflexible, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities and interests.
- Follows a rigid routine
- Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment
- Unusual attachments to toys or strange objects such as keys, light switches, or rubber bands
- Obsessively lines things up or arranges them in a certain order
- Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols
- Spends long periods of time arranging toys in specific ways, watching moving objects such as a ceiling fan, or focusing on one specific part of an object such as the wheels of a toy car
- Repeats the same actions or movements over and over again, such as flapping hands, rocking, or twirling . Some researchers and clinicians believe that these behaviors may soothe children with autism more than stimulate them
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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.
Repetitive Or Restrictive Behaviors
An autistic child who has adopted certain repetitive or restrictive behaviors may exhibit some of these signs:
- performs repetitive motions, such as flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or spinning
- persistently or repeatedly lines up toys or other objects in an organized fashion
- gets upset or frustrated by small changes in their daily routine
- has to follow certain routines
- plays with toys the same way every time
- likes certain parts of objects
- has obsessive interests
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He Drank From A Bottle For A Really Long Time
Not being able to adjust well to change is very normal for autistic children.
In hindsight, I am positive this is why it was so hard to wean him off the bottle. He never used a soother so at the time I thought the bottle was just very comforting to him but there was actually a little more to why he couldnt let it go.
This isnt the only way he was resistant to changes. He used to insist on keeping his shoes on in the house, sometimes wearing them to bed. It would take half the winter to get him to wear a winter hat, and then half the summer to get him to wear a sun hat.
My current challenge is finding him the same sneakers, over and over again, as he grows and needs a bigger size.
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose children as autistic by observing them at play and interacting with others.
There are specific developmental milestones that most children reach by the time theyre 4 years old, such as having a conversation or telling a story.
If your 4-year-old has signs of autism, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more thorough examination. A specialist will observe your child while they play, learn, and communicate. Theyll also interview you about behaviors youve noticed at home and may request input from your childs teachers or other adults who interact with your child.
While the ideal age to diagnose and treat the symptoms of autism is 3 years old or younger, the sooner your child receives treatment, the better.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , all states and Washington, D. C., are required to provide an adequate education to school-age children with developmental issues. Contact your local school district to find out what resources are available for preschool-age children in your area.
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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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Difference Of Autism Signs In Boys And Girls
The symptoms of ASD may range from mild to extreme, and there is no definitive list of symptoms that are sure to be shown by each and every child. On top of that, since boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder four times more than girls , classic symptoms may be described in a way to refer more to the boys.
The symptoms are generally the same for the both. But, an autistic girl may be:
- hide their feelings better
- good at imitating social behaviors.
This can make the impairs seem much less noticeable compared to the case of boys. Also, the autism traits in girls are reported less by their teachers.
It is important to note that not all children with autism show all of the signs. In addition, many children who actually dont have autism may show a few of the symptoms and signs. That is why professional evaluation is of utmost importance.
There are certain developmental milestones children reach in terms of their language and social abilities. Caregivers should take notice of these milestones. They should observe children closely during the first few years of their lives. These are crucial times in terms of early diagnosis and intervention. Although not reaching a milestone at a specified time or achieving it late does not necessarily mean that the child has autism, it may be a sign of a developmental delay.
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New Data On Autism Spectrum Disorder In 4
CDC scientists published a report on the prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder among 4-year-old children. This report is based on information from the Early Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Early ADDM is a subset of the broader ADDM Network, which has been doing ASD surveillance among 8-year-old children since 2000.
In this report, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries, scientists analyzed information from the health and/or education records of preschool-aged children. Identifying children with ASD early helps families get access to services in their communities. This report provides valuable information on progress made toward early identification of children with ASD, and informs providers, particularly public schools, of upcoming service needs. The data in this report demonstrate a continued need to identify children with ASD sooner and refer them to early intervention.
Why Autism Diagnosis Is Often Delayed
In most cases, the first signs of autism appear when a child is 2 to 3 years old. However, some signs are apparent in infancy. Symptoms and signs of autism are different for all children. And all children with or without autism have different skills, strengths, and personalities.
The variables in symptoms and children themselves can make diagnosis difficult outside the hands of an experienced physician. A few common reasons while autism diagnosis is delayed include:
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Noticing Early Warning Signs Of Autism
Everyone tells us not to compare our child with others, whether to our own or someone elses children, but how can we say we dont notice any differences, if were really being honest? We cant just ignore their development and tell ourselves, Theyll talk when theyre ready and similar statements. Sure, every baby is different, and some develop more quickly or slowly for non-concerning reasons. How are we supposed to know when to worry?
The key here is looking for a pattern. If your child does one or two things that seem a bit strange to you, that may not necessarily be reason to send up red flags. On the other hand, if you are noticing that your baby isnt hitting multiple milestones, or has several very strange behaviors, thats a good reason to check in with their pediatrician. Here are some of the common early warning signs of autism to be watching for around 12-18 months and beyond.