Monday, June 27, 2022

How To Tell If A Child Is Autistic

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Difficulty With Social Interaction

How To Tell Your Child They Are Autistic

Social interaction is very stressful for people with autism and those with high functioning autism are no exception. This is mostly because those of us on the spectrum dont know how to appropriately interact and have social anxiety.

I myself cannot be in a group full of people because I have so many thoughts running through my mind. Whether its at the grocery store, my childs pediatricians office, or even outside I get overwhelmed. This is one huge reason that I work from home.

My children also have difficulties with social interaction. One of my children has no sense of social boundaries and things go right over her head, while my other child has difficulty playing with other children his age. He will often watch other kids play but will not play with them.

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.

How Accurate Is It

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about autism read Psycoms guide to autism spectrum disorder .

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Also Check: Has Camels Milk Helped Anyone With Autism

What If My Child Has Autism

If your child has signs of autism, Dr. Frazier advises scheduling a visit to your pediatrician right away. Youll discuss developmental concerns, and the doctor will evaluate your baby for autism. We have evidence that suggests the quicker you can get a diagnosis, the earlier you can enroll in developmental and behavioral interventions, says Dr. Frazier.

Confronting Misgivings About Revealing Your Child’s Diagnosis

How Do I Know If My Child Has Autism?

Before you talk to your child about his diagnosis, it’s imperative that you work through your own fears and misgivings if you seem anxious or upset when you discuss autism with your child, he’s likely to pick up on your emotions and frame the information negatively in his own mind.

Parents frequently fear that their child will not be able to understand his diagnosis . They also worry that their child will shy away from opportunities he would otherwise embrace after learning about his condition, or that he might start to use his condition as an excuse to avoid doing things that are challenging for him, but ultimately necessary.

While it’s true that one or more of these issues may arise at some point, with patient and compassionate parenting, they can invariably be resolved. Likewise, it’s important to remember that most children – autistic and neurotypical alike – will bump into similar hurdles during their developmental years. What child has not worried that he is different from time to time, or limited himself in some way, or tried to find excuses to avoid difficult situations? Informing your child of his diagnosis and educating him about what it means will not make him more prone to encountering these natural stumbling blocks on the contrary, giving him the information he needs to find solutions that work with his unique way of thinking, feeling, and perceiving, will make him more willing and able to move past them.

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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.

What Is A Spectrum Disorder

Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that people can experience a wide range of symptoms and of varying severities. For example, a person with autism who is towards the high functioning range of the spectrum will have a good grasp of language, but a person towards the low functioning range of the spectrum may not speak at all.

As such, it is important to note that a person with autism spectrum disorder will not display all symptoms and symptoms will vary in severity. However, a person with ASD will display several of these behaviors and signs.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Symbol For Autism

How To Use Visual Timetables For Autistic Children

Visual timetables can help autistic children better understand what is about to happen and reduce anxiety around change of routine. They can be used to explain any routine or activity helping your child prepare for the event.

Did you know we offer fully-funded autism assessments? You can find out more .

Behaviour: Early Signs Of Autism

How To Know If Your Child Has Autism

Repetitive and restricted interests If young children are autistic, they might:

  • have an intense interest in certain objects and get stuck on particular toys or objects for example, theyll flick the light switch off and on repeatedly, or play only with cars or dolls
  • interact with toys and objects in limited ways for example, they might mainly spin the wheels of a toy car rather than pretending to drive the car along the floor, or take the clothes on and off a doll repeatedly
  • be very interested in certain objects or activities and get upset if they cant do that activity for example, watching the same TV show over and over
  • focus narrowly on objects and activities, like lining up objects or putting toys into a pile.

RoutinesIf young children are autistic, they might be easily upset by change and need to follow routines. For example, they might need to follow the same route to child care or a grandparents house every time.

Repetitive movementsIf young children are autistic, they might repeat body movements or have unusual body movements, like back-arching, hand-flapping, arm-stiffening and walking on the tips of their toes.

Sensory sensitivitiesIf young children are autistic, they might:

If youd like to check your childs behaviour and development for early signs of autism, you can download ASDetect a free, evidence-based, app developed by La Trobe University and suitable for use with children aged 11-30 months.

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Other Issues Associated With Autism

Older autistic children and teenagers often have other issues as well. These might include:

  • difficulty with sleep for example, they might have difficulty falling asleep, or might regularly wake up or have broken sleep patterns
  • or feeling overwhelmed for example, they might feel anxious about going to new places, or being in social situations
  • older autistic children and teenagers who are aware of their differences are also often aware of how others see them and can feel like outsiders. These feelings of low mood might be intensified by changing hormone levels during puberty
  • aggressive behaviour they often have sensory sensitivities that can lead to sudden aggressive behaviour. They might have difficulty understanding whats going on around them, which can lead to frustration building up
  • eating disorders for example, they might have difficulty moving to secondary school and might develop an eating disorder to cope with feelings of anxiety
  • difficulty with organisational skills they might find the increase in complexity at secondary school hard to manage
  • school refusal they might feel overwhelmed or confused at school. They might also be vulnerable to at school
  • gender dysphoria autistic children and teenagers can be more likely than other children and teenagers to identify as a gender thats different from the sex they were assigned at birth. If they feel distressed about this its called gender dysphoria.

Make The Most Of Technology

Technology has opened many doors for children with autism. Autistic children can now practice speech using mobile communication technologies.

The best thing about using mobile phones or tablets for communication is that your child would not have to interact with anyone, even while practicing. There are many mobile applications that help children with autism practice verbal communication. Download these apps and help your child improve their communication skills without the pressure of interacting with people.

Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

How Can You Tell If Its Autism Or Just Behavior

I get asked a lot about where that line is between autism and behavior.

The thing is, theres a question behind the question here that most people miss.

Parents ask things like

What is autism? Whats behavior?

How do I know if its a typical kid thing, or if it is an autistic trait that needs to be accommodated for?

But the real question theyre asking me is

What is the behavior I should intervene? And what is the behavior that I should leave alone?

What is the behavior I should accept? What is the behavior I should change?

And heres the thing, the fact that you are asking this question actually tells me that youre well on your way in your autism journey.

And heres why

It tells me that you know already that autism isnt a negative thing that should be changed. It tells me you already want to protect who your child is.

And at the same time, there are some behaviors that just arent actually acceptable.

And so how do you know if what your child is doing is an actual autistic trait that should be accepted and accommodated for, or if its a harmful behavior that actually should be changed.

Social Communication And Interaction Skills

How do you know if your autistic child

Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.

Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:

  • Avoids or does not keep eye contact
  • Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
  • Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
  • Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
  • Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
  • Does not share interests with others
  • Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
  • Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
  • Does not pretend in play
  • Shows little interest in peers
  • Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
  • Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age

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Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder

In order to determine whether your child has autism spectrum disorder or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child interacts with others, communicates, and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behavior that are revealed.

If you are concerned that your child has autism spectrum disorder and developmental screening confirms the risk, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to refer you immediately to an autism specialist or team of specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Since the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is complicated, it is essential that you meet with experts who have training and experience in this highly specialized area.

The team of specialists involved in diagnosing your child may include:

  • Child psychologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Special education teachers
  • Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your childs problem, multiple evaluations and tests may be necessary.

    Unusual Reaction To Sounds Sights Or Textures

    Babies with autism can show unusual reactions or be very sensitive to certain sounds, sights, or textures. They may get overly excited about a page in a book or hold their hands over their ears in response to loud sounds, squint or flap their hands to certain lights, gag when they eat food with certain textures, or get upset about a tag in a shirt or something sticky or gooey.

    If your child shows unusual reactions to sounds, sights, or textures, this may be an early sign 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 Spot Signs Of Autism In Teenagers

    How and When to Tell Your Child They’re Autistic

    This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Childrens Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.There are 32 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 91,087 times.

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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.

    Early Signs Of Autism In Preschool Kids

    You may notice differences in your childs behaviors and communication right before they go to school. Some of these signs may mean that your kid is at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Here are some of the signs listed by CDC:

    • Speaking less than 15 words
    • Seeming confused by the function of everyday items
    • Not responding to their name when called
    • Not walking
    • Has repetitive behaviors like rocking back and forth

    Most girls show symptoms in infancy or early childhood. But they may not be recognized.

    Some studies suggest that certain symptoms are seen more commonly in boys than in girls. Repetitive behaviors, for instance, may appear more often in boys. They are easier to spot.

    In addition, girls deal with ASD differently than boys. They may hide their symptoms or spend more energy on adapting to social norms.

    They are more able to form friendships. This may cause ASD to not be determined early on.

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    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:

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