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How To Tell If Your Child Has Autism

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asd

How To Know If Your Child Has Autism

Every person with ASD is unique, so the timing and severity of the first signs and symptoms can vary widely. Some children with ASD show signs within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms may not become obvious until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD appear to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then stop gaining new skills and/or start losing skills.

During infancy , a child may show symptoms that include:

  • Limited or no eye contact
  • No babbling
  • Appearing not to hear
  • Playing with toys in an unusual or limited manner
  • Showing more interest in objects instead of people
  • Starting language skills but then stopping or losing those skills
  • Showing repetitive movements with their fingers, hands, arms or head

Up to 2 years of age, there may be continuing symptoms from infancy. A child may also:

  • Focus only on certain interests
  • Be unable to have reciprocal social interactions
  • Move in unusual ways, such as tilting their head, flexing their fingers or hands, opening their mouth or sticking out their tongue
  • Have no interest in playing with other children
  • Repeat words or phrases without appearing to understand them
  • Have behavioural issues, including self-injury
  • Have trouble controlling their emotions
  • Like to have things a certain way, such as always eating the same food

Possible signs of ASD at any age:

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disability that causes social, behavioral and communication challenges. Autism affects approximately one in every fifty-nine children in the United States. Symptoms vary widely from patient to patient.

Importance of Autism Awareness and Support

If you are looking for support services for children with Autism in Little Rock, knowing where in the Spectrum your child falls is important to finding appropriate care. Children with HFA tend to have very few intellectual challenges, and their IQ is usually above 70. Your child may score normally or above average on an IQ test and perform well in school, but she could still be autistic. Because children with HFA can have an above-average IQ and no intellectual challenges, High Functioning Autism awareness tends to be low. With little to no support for these children, they often become emotionally distressed.

Causes of Autism

The causes of autism have not been discovered, but doctors suggest the condition originates from structural underdevelopment of specific regions of the brain. There is no cure for ASD, but with therapeutic treatment for autism, your child can live a normal and fulfilling life. Knowing what to look for goes a long way in helping a child with autism receive the support they need.

Any Form Of Autism Can Benefit From A Therapeutic Approach

Unnoticeable signs of autism can be detrimental to a childs wellbeing when caregivers neglect to investigate further. People with autism can be given strategies and support that can help them work alongside their condition and be successful while still being completely and utterly themselves.

Once you begin talking with professionals about your childs unique situation and any unexpected behaviors or occurrences, you can begin to understand him or her better. With support from clinicians and the community, you can provide conditions and strategies that encourage your child to have a less stressful, more fulfilling life.

If you think your child or a child in your life might have autism, take the first step toward seeing if they need extra care, attention, and support from you. Seek a diagnosis and support from professionals who use an evidence-based approach to achieve goals that help children thrive.

Therapeutic Pathways offers evidence-based autism treatment, including assessments post diagnosis for treatment purposes. Contact us today with concerns or for resources to help you determine if your child has ASD and the steps to take after receiving a diagnosis.

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Can A Person Have Mild Aspergers

The milder the symptoms, the more chance that Aspergers will be diagnosed later rather than sooner, says John Carosso, PsyD, a child psychologist and certified school psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is why you have teenagers and adults who have not been diagnosed, he says.

Often, children with Aspergers are very high-functioning, with good verbal skills, 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. They can be considered gifted children with great verbal skills, yet they may have a relative deficiency in the non-verbal skills area.

What Is The Outlook For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Parody Autism Help Chart

In many cases, the symptoms of ASD become less pronounced as a child gets older. Parents of children with ASD may need to be flexible and ready to adjust treatment as needed for their child.

People with ASD may go on to live typical lives, but there is often need for continued services and support as they age. The needs depend on the severity of the symptoms. For most, it’s a lifelong condition that may require ongoing supports.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Through research, there has been much that has been learned about autism spectrum disorder over the past 20 years. There is ongoing active research on the causes of ASD, early detection and diagnosis, prevention and treatments.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2020.

References

Recommended Reading: High Functioning Autism Vs Low Functioning Autism

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.

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:

  • articulation
  • 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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What Are The 3 Main Symptoms Of Autism

  • What Are the 3 Main Symptoms of Autism? Center
  • Autism or autistic spectrum disorder can manifest as different symptoms in different children. The average age of diagnosis is 2 years, though some children may be detected at around the age of 5 years.

    The symptoms to look out for in children for suspected autism are:

    • Delayed milestones
    • A socially awkward child
    • The child who has trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication

    Delayed Milestones: Every child starts cooing, rolling over, babbling, smiling, pointing, and sitting up at an expected age. These are called milestones. Though every child grows at their own pace, you must visit the pediatrician if:

    • The child does not smile by the age of 6 months
    • The child has no facial expressions by the age of 9 months
    • The child does not make cooing noises or babble by the age of 12 months
    • No pointing or waving by the age of 12 months
    • The child does not speak by the age of 16 months

    Signs of social awkwardness: You must be concerned if your child

    • Avoids eye contact while you feed him
    • Prefers to play alone
    • Does not respond to their name
    • Does not like being touched
    • Prefers fixed routines and even a minor change may upset them greatly
    • Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them

    Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication:

    • Echolalia: They keep repeating words over and over
    • They talk in a flat tone, devoid of expressions
    • They do not understand emotions in a conversation
    • Have difficulty communicating what they want

    Autism In Young Children

    How Can You Tell if Your Child Has Autism?

    Signs of autism in young children include:

    • not responding to their name
    • avoiding eye contact
    • not smiling when you smile at them
    • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound
    • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body
    • not talking as much as other children
    • repeating the same phrases

    Signs of autism in older children include:

    • not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling
    • finding it hard to say how they feel
    • liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
    • having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
    • getting very upset if you ask them to do something
    • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own
    • taking things very literally for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”

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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.

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    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 support, 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.

    Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

    Early Signs Of Autism

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    Signs of autism in babies

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder, which means that signs become apparent as a child does not develop as expected, for example developing speech or learning to crawl later than expected.

    As such, there are few signs of autism that are noticeable in newborns. However, if a baby fails to reach the developmental milestones expected at two months old, four months old, six months old, nine months old and a year old, this could be one of the first signs of autism or another developmental condition.

    Good to know: Not all babies reach developmental milestones at the exact same time. It is normal to have some variation in development. If in doubt about a childââ¬â¢s development, check with a doctor.

    Some of the early signs that a baby under one year old may have autism spectrum disorder include:

    • Not babbling by four months old
    • Not smiling by five months old
    • Not laughing by six months old
    • No interest in games like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo by eight months old
    • Not responding to their name by 12 months old
    • Not looking at objects pointed out by other people by 12 months old
    • Being upset by loud noises
    • Not looking to a parent for comfort in new situations
    • Being happy to play alone for long periods of time
    • Not making eye contact

    Signs of autism in toddlers

    Some of the signs that a toddler, between one year old and two years old, may have autism spectrum disorder include:

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    Talks Later Than Most Kids

    It’s true that many children with autism are late talkers. Some never learn to talk at all. But if your child develops normally except for not yet using spoken words, autism is not the likely problem.

    Speech delays can be the result of many factors. Your child may have hearing problems or other issues that impact the brain, such as aphasia. This can affect the part of the brain that controls language.

    The pace at which children develop language skills can also differ. Many of these issues can be treated or even cured.

    Meanwhile, there is a good chance that your child’s speech will progress in its own time just fine. But if this issue persists, talking with your child’s health care provider can help address these delays in a timely manner.

    Speech And Language Difficulties May Present As Early Signs Of Autism

    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 autism symptoms in children often include delayed speech.

    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 of autism in young children and an indicator 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, speaking 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.

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    Early Signs In Infants And Toddlers

    Early signs of autism can often be detected in infants as young as 6-18 months. For example, if a baby fixates on objects or does not respond to people, he or she may be exhibiting early signs of an autism spectrum disorder.

    Older babies and toddlers may fail to respond to their names, avoid eye contact, lack joint attention , or engage in repetitive movements such as rocking or arm flapping. They may play with toys in unusual ways, like lining them up or focusing on parts of toys rather than the whole. Parents who notice these signs, or are concerned their children are not meeting developmental milestones, should contact their pediatricians and request a developmental screening. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine screening of all infants for autism as part of 18-month and 24-month well-baby examinations.

    Early diagnosis and early intervention are critical. Studies show that about half of children with autism who are in an evidence-based early intervention program from age 3-5 can gain enough skills to be mainstreamed for kindergarten. There are now evidence based interventions for babies as young as 12 months old, and studies are underway to design treatments for 9 month old babies at risk for autism.

    Learn more about the early warning signs of autism including milestones for development up to age 5 and what to do if you are concerned.

    Confronting Misgivings About Revealing Your Child’s Diagnosis

    How To Tell Your Child They Are Autistic

    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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