Social Signs Of Autism In Children
One of the biggest autism stereotypes is that were anti-social. But what in the world does that even mean?
A lot of autistics I know are very social, we just tend to socialize differently than neurotypical people do.
There are definitely some social signs of autism in children that parents can watch for, so Ive outlined a few of them below.
First, autistic children may struggle to relate to people outside of their close family.
It takes us a while to connect with new people, so were often most ourselves with close family.
Autistic children also may not play with other children as you might typically expect.
Autistics tend to prefer parallel play where they play near other children without directly interacting.
Your child may also seem like they are in their own world a lot of the time.
Maybe they dont respond when called or seem to zone out.
One of the biggest signs for my son, A-Man, was that he played with the exact same toys in the exact same way every time.
He liked his routine and playing in a way he knew that he enjoyed helped him to feel safe and in control.
You may also notice that your child prefers to play alone, rather than with peers.
Autistic children tend to be very specific in their play, and adding in other children adds a lot of uncontrollable variables.
Which brings me to my final social sign of autism
Autistic children may have extremely strict rules to follow during play.
What Are The Symptoms Of Aspergers Syndrome
Children with Aspergers Syndrome exhibit poor social interactions, obsessions, odd speech patterns, limited facial expressions and other peculiar mannerisms. They might engage in obsessive routines and show an unusual sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
While all children with Aspergers Syndrome are different, what sets them apart are their unusual social skills and obsessive interests. For a child with Aspergers Syndrome, you may see one or more of the following symptoms:
- Inappropriate or minimal social interactions
- Conversations that almost always revolve around themselves or a certain topic, rather than others
- Not understanding emotions well or having less facial expression than others
- Speech that sounds unusual, such as flat, high-pitched, quiet, loud, or robotic
- Not using or understanding nonverbal communication, such as gestures, body language and facial expression
- An intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects
- Becoming upset at any small changes in routines
- Memorizing preferred information and facts easily
- Clumsy, uncoordinated movements, including difficulty with handwriting
- Difficulty managing emotions, sometimes leading to verbal or behavioral outbursts, self-injurious behaviors or tantrums
- Not understanding other peoples feelings or perspectives
- Hypersensitivity to lights, sounds and textures
How Is Aspergers Diagnosed In Children
Your pediatrician or a social worker should be able to recognize that your child has a developmental delay, 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. He or she will then most likely refer you to a specialist like a child psychiatrist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental neuropsychologist for an evaluation that includes various diagnostic tests. The parent may be interviewed about early childhood symptoms, Dr. Hollander says.
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New Symptoms That May Appear During Adolescence
Autistic children can often find adolescence very difficult. Although they have the same hormones as all other teenagers, they dont naturally develop complex relationships and arent able to interpret or engage in the more types of relationships which develop as children get older. They can be prone to isolation and low moods, which can appear very intense and be difficult to read.
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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How Do Teens With Autism Communicate
Teens on the spectrum can still be delayed in speech or language skills even when they have normal to above-average intelligence. Teens diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, also known as high functioning autism, typically dont have the delays in speech, motor, and physical skills. The delay is on social and communication skills which are made more obvious once the child has been exposed to social situations.
Because of their social and verbal limitations, autistic teens might:
- Not respond appropriately
- Only talk about a specific interest
- Not respond to jokes or sarcasm
- Talk using a formal, business-like tone
While these communication gaps might not be severe, it can hurt a teens social life.
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.
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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:
What Will Happen If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Aspergers
As part of your childs comprehensive evaluation, you will be asked about early childhood symptoms and your childs behavior will be observed, 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. This evaluation will be critical to make sure your child gets the appropriate support services such as specialized educational settings, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social skills training, he says.
You may also be referred to an autism diagnostic and treatment center. The nonprofit organizations Autism Speaks and ICare4Autism can connect you with resources and advocate for services at low or no cost to your family, Dr. Hollander says.
Its a good idea for parents of children diagnosed with Aspergers to seek counseling so they will be able to help their child learn to function, says John Carosso, PsyD, a child psychologist and certified school psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It can also be helpful to get connected to a support group to help you, the parent, he says.
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Teenage Autism Signs: How To Properly Diagnose
Your child is always growing and changing. One day, they’re merry little people who can’t wait to chatter about their days with you. The next, they’re sullen creatures who won’t make eye contact or talk with you at all. Could you be seeing signs of autism in teens?
Most autism cases are diagnosed during childhood. People can’t develop the disorder later in life. But mild autism symptoms can be overlooked when people are young, and they may cause added concern during adolescence.
A teen autism diagnosis can be freeing. Some people appreciate the deeper understanding that comes with a label and therapy. Be prepared to support your child through this process.
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.
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What To Do If Youre Worried
If your child is developmentally delayed, or if youve observed other red flags for autism, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician right away. In fact, its a good idea to have your child screened by a doctor even if he or she is hitting the developmental milestones on schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as specific screenings for autism at 9, 18, and 30 months of age.
Schedule an autism screening. A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for autism. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms. Your pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your childs behavior.
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.
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What Are The Common Signs Of Autism In Teenagers
The outward signs of ASD arent the same from person to person.
But the signs of autism in teens arent all that different from those in children or adults.
Heres a brief summary of the diagnostic criteria for autism according to the DSM-5:
- having difficulty with social interactions and communication, such as having conversations or misunderstanding gestures
- having intensely focused or restricted patterns of behavior, such as repetitive motor functions like hand-flapping, or a strict adherence to a daily routine to the extent of feeling distressed if these patterns are disrupted
- outward signs of autism are identifiable early in development, even if theyre not easy to spot, as they may become more apparent when the child gets older
- autism signs result in noticeable challenges adjusting to functions expected in social or workplace norms
- autism signs arent more clearly part of a different intellectual disability or developmental disorder diagnosis
These signs are also diagnosed according to their severity.
Some people diagnosed with autism may show only mild forms of these signs. But others may experience severe forms that disrupt their ability to adjust to neurotypical social and communication norms.
This is why many people think its critical to get a diagnosis and get treated as early as possible.
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 Does Aspergers Look Like
The three characteristics a child with Aspergers exhibits are social awkwardness, obsessiveness, and sensory issues, says John Carosso, PsyD, a child psychologist and certified school psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They might be bossy, very physical, and lack empathy, he says. They may be aggressive. They want to be friendly with other children but they dont know how. Temper tantrums, self-injury, and aggression are other possible signs, as are language delays and the habit of avoiding eye gaze.
Look for deficits in social communication, repetitive behaviors, and rigidity, 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. A child with Aspergers may obsess over one item, always carrying it around, he says. This also can interfere socially since this may be all the child talks about, he says. And they may be hypersensitive to clothing, sounds, touch, textures and smells.
Additionally, Dr. Hollander says, because life is generally so difficult for these children, they may mishandle social situations. These kids tend to be very emotional and are always having tantrums, he says. They are routine-oriented and very rule-oriented. They have the attitude: These are the rules and you stick with the rules.
Autism First Signs And Checklist For Teenagers
Being a teenager can be hard work at the best of times. Fitting in can suddenly become very important, and trying to negotiate the nuances of social networking can be tiring! Add a bunch of hormones, quick growth and the increased academic demands, and it can be a testing time.
For the teenager who might be on the autism spectrum, adolescence can be a particularly challenging time.
If they havent yet been diagnosed, and dont understand that the way they process the world around them could be part of being on the spectrum, they may feel isolated and confused.
Parents may suddenly find their child withdrawing, or be quick to temper, or easily distressed, anxious or confused.
But much of this could just be typical teenage behaviour? Knowing some of the signs of autism in teenagers can be the first step in working out if their behaviour is related to their stage of life, or whether they might be on the spectrum.
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Getting Started: Introducing Your Child To His Or Her Diagnosis Of Autism
;Marci Wheeler, MSW
Many parents are fearful that labeling their child as having an autism spectrum disorder will make him or her feel broken, or that they may use their label as an excuse to give up and not try. Adults on the autism spectrum have found the opposite to be true. Giving your child information on the nature of his/her differences will give them a better understanding and the motivation that is needed to drive through challenges.
Discussing an autism spectrum diagnosis with your child is an important issue and one for which many parents seek advice. This article will focus on aspects of explaining your childs diagnosis to him or her, and provide resources that can assist and guide you.
Behaviour Signs Of Autism In Older Children And Teenagers
Repetitive behaviour and interests Older autistic children and teenagers might:
- have unusual interests or obsessions for example, they might collect sticks or memorise football statistics but not really be interested in the game
- have compulsive behaviour for example, they might line things up or need to close all the doors in the house
- have an unusual attachment to objects for example, they might carry toys around, or collect unusual items like chip packets or shoelaces
- be easily upset by change and like to follow routines for example, they might like to sit in the same seat for every meal or have a special order for getting ready in the morning
- repeat body movements or have unusual body movements, like hand-flapping or rocking
- make repetitive noises for example, grunts, throat-clearing or squealing.
Sensory sensitivitiesOlder autistic children and teenagers might:
- be sensitive to sensory experiences for example, they might be easily upset by certain sounds or uncomfortable clothes, or eat only foods with a certain texture
- seek sensory stimulation for example, they might like deep pressure, seek vibrating objects like washing machines, or flutter fingers to the sides of their eyes to watch the light flicker
- be less responsive to pain than other children.
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