Early Signs Of Autism In Babies
A lifelong condition, autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed before the child turns two. Early diagnosis can make an enormous difference in their quality of life later on.
There are certain early signs that can be observed in a newborn if your child is on the spectrum. You can detect the first signs in your infant really early in their life.
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Best Sensory Toys For Autism
Price: $Youve likely heard of a fidget spinner. The idea with these snap-and-click chains is similar. Theyre a tactile fidget toy that may help reduce stress or anxiety while also increasing your childs focus and attention. Each link of 24 in a chain moves and locks into five different positions while also producing a satisfying clicking noise.Reviewers say these are a hit with their kids with ASD and that many of their little ones like breaking the chains, connecting them, and forming them into bigger shapes.This toy is best for older kids, though. The links may be stiff and difficult to move for small hands, and the pieces of the links are quite small, which could pose a choking hazard for little ones.
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Tips That Improved My Autistic Child’s Behavior
This guest post was written by Chrissy Kelly, a mom of two boys with autism. You can read more about her and her family on her blog, “Life With Greyson + Parker,” and also her page.
Our house has been a revolving door of Behavior Therapists over the past almost four years. Both boys put in about 20 hours a week of intense therapy. I never thought a kidless 20-something year old might be able to teach me something about my own children. The presence of autism in my life has grown my mind a thousand times over. So much of parenting children with autism is counter-intuitive. I say and do things I never thought would work, but they do. Here is a small list of techniques that we use daily that help reduce tantrums, increase understanding, direction following and happiness . There is no one thing that works for all children, and there is no one quick fix, however, many of these techniques will work for many children. Whether or not they have autism.
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Do Nonverbal Autistic Toddlers Babble
Around 40% of autistic children dont speak. Some others may speak while also having limited language and communication skills.
Babbling occurs when a newborn is practicing for speech. They open and close their mouths, move their tongues in different ways.
When typically developing babies babble, they begin their early development of language.
People with autism sometimes produce certain nonsensical speech sounds. These are called jargon. Sometimes they are self-stimulatory behaviors.
Generally, they are not used to communicating with others. The rate of babbling in nonverbal autistic individuals is low compared to their typically developed peers.
However, babbling could represent precursors to speech in an autistic child with speech-language delay.
Research suggests that the majority of nonverbal 4-year-olds with autism can develop spoken language if they have relatively strong social engagement and dont have intellectual disability.
If a nonverbal child with autism babbles along with eye contact or gestures directed towards other people, this behavior could be worked on to be used as a tool for meaningful social and communication exchanges.
Use Time To Decrease Transitional Tantrums
Many children have trouble leaving preferred places and activities. This is a BIG one for my 5 year old. There were times I wouldn’t even take him to our neighborhood park because I was so scared of that awful moment when we had to leave. He was unpredictable and erratic. Sometimes he would scream and fall to the ground, or try to run into a busy street to get away from me, or lash out to hit me. It broke my heart and downright scared me. One thing that has been life-changing for us is using Minute Warnings/Timers: Your child may need a 5 minute, 2 minute, or 1 minute warning before there is a change of activity. These warnings help the children prepare for the transition. They will begin to learn that the warning comes and then the change comes. Eventually, the minute warnings become routine, even if the next task is not.
We set a timer on our iphone. “In five minutes you need to take a bath.” “In two minutes we are leaving the park.”This helps a child feel more in control without controlling us. When the timer goes off you have to carry through every single time. We did this continuously for two weeks before we started to see results. Now it’s been years and it still works. Set your boundaries, stick to them, and follow through.
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Early Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder occurs in all age groups. It is generally characterized by social and communication difficulties.
Severe forms are usually diagnosed in the first two years of a childs life. However, high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until later in their lives.
Here are some of the symptoms in autistic adults:
- Difficulty in regulating emotion
Signs My Autistic Child Will Talk
You may ask yourself will my nonverbal autistic child ever speak?. The answer to that question is not easy to give.
Research shows that nonverbal children of age 4 who were nonverbal until that point could produce single words and phrases without verbs.
The important thing here is to provide the right support and help to your child, suitable to their needs. If your child is babbling, or trying to convey something through their behavior, you should lean into it and practice speech exercises.
Many parents and caregivers report that they have had success with such exercises at home, along with the help of professional intervention like speech therapy.
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How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.
Limited Or No Social Interaction
From a very early age, most babies enjoy smiles and being cuddled or held. Babies with autism usually do not respond to these things as other babies do. While many one-year-old babies may make noises to get your attention or imitates facial expressions, most one-year-old babies with autism do not. Smiles and eye contact usually do not occur in response to others. They may seem indifferent to expressions of anger or affection. Infants with autism also may not respond to their own name like others their age, and games of peek-a-boo or itsy-bitsy-spider usually do not hold the same appeal. Some infants may have responded to social interaction early on, but the regressed and stopped showing this social awareness.
- From a very early age, most babies enjoy smiles and being cuddled or held.
- While many one-year-old babies may make noises to get your attention or imitates facial expressions, most one-year-old babies with autism do not.
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Speech Therapy For Nonverbal Toddlers
Speech-language pathologists can really help children with their language and speech problems. They will first assess the best way to approach the situation. Here are a couple of techniques used during speech therapy for toddlers:
- Utilizing picture boards
- Exercising facial muscles to improve articulation
- Modulating the tone of voice
- Understanding body language
In speech therapy, the social communication and behaviors of the child are modified.
Caregivers and parents are also included in the process to create an approach best suited for the child. Certain techniques and combinations of them will be used in these sessions.
Understanding Common Autistic Behaviors
We usually discipline children because they consciously act in inappropriate ways, whether it’s swiping treats off a sibling’s plate or intentionally tripping a child on the soccer field. However, a child with autism may not be able to control certain behaviors, and it’s important that they are not harshly punished for them. Some behaviors that children with autism may struggle to control include:
- Biting their hands and fingers
- Hand flapping or rocking
- Screaming or yelling
- Hurting themselves by banging or hitting their heads
- Not looking at people or making eye contact
- Physical aggression toward peers and grown-ups, like biting or kicking
Many of these behaviors stem from children’s struggles to express their needs or desires or understand social norms and cues. You shouldnt place your child in time-out, shame them, or spank them because of these behaviors. Rather, it’s important you work to better understand why they are acting out in this way and, if necessary, try to avoid those triggers in the future.
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Behavior And Communication Treatments
Applied Behavior Analysis . ABA is often used in schools and clinics to help your child learn positive behaviors and reduce negative ones. This approach can be used to improve a wide range of skills, and there are different types for different situations, including:
- Discrete trial training uses simple lessons and positive reinforcement.
- Pivotal response training helps develop motivation to learn and communicate.
- Early intensive behavioral intervention is best for children under age 5.
- Verbal behavior intervention focuses on language skills.
Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach . This kind of treatment is better known as Floortime. Thatâs because it involves you getting on the floor with your child to play and do the activities they like.
Itâs meant to support emotional and intellectual growth by helping them learn skills around communication and emotions.
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-handicapped Children . This treatment uses visual cues such as picture cards to help your child learn everyday skills like getting dressed. Information is broken down into small steps so they can learn it more easily.
The Picture Exchange Communication System . This is another visual-based treatment, but it uses symbols instead of picture cards. Your child learns to ask questions and communicate through special symbols.
Causes Of Autism In Children
The causes of autism are still debated by both medical researchers and professionals. However, they all agree on one thing that it is likely that there are several causes of autism. Research shows that autistic behaviour in some instances can be caused by getting Rubella while pregnant, phenylketonuria in the baby, and encephalitis . Generally, the consensus is that the following things may be responsible for autism:
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Autism In A 3 Year Old Toddler Signs Causes Treatment
Autism is a spectrum of a disorder which manifests as a developmental problem in communication and behavior. It is 4 times common in boys than in girls and shows a 1% prevalence. Three kinds of abnormalities are required to make the diagnosis, which was initially identified by Kanner in 1943 and are still been used in DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnostic criteria. These include abnormalities of social development, abnormalities of communication and restriction of interests and behaviour. To make an effective diagnosis these signs and symptoms should manifest before the age of 3 years.
Signs Of Autism In Girls
The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is 4:1. However, there is some evidence that autism is going undiagnosed in girls, particularly those who are at the higher functioning end of the spectrum.
There is discussion around whether girls and women with autism may display different symptoms to boys and men, and that the current diagnostic criteria may be biased towards boys and stereotypical male behavior. Girls and women may also be better able to mask difficulties with social interactions than boys, and this may delay a diagnosis. New diagnostic criteria may be needed to assess ASD in girls and women. Past theories, including controversies such as the extreme male brain, may have led to under-referral and under-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls and women.
Signs that a girl may have autism include:
- Difficulties with social interactions however, differences from typical autism symptoms may include:
- Better grasp of emotions and ability to make friends than boys
- May mask lack of intuitive understanding of social situations by repeating role-plays seen in real life or film/television
- May be able to make friends but find difficulty keeping them
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Two Words: Gentle Consistency
Children with autism pick up on things differently than other children. For example, your child may not pick up on the irritation in your voice when you ask them not to do something.
These misunderstandings can make traditional discipline techniques less effective. Your child might not understand the consequences of their actions, which can be frustrating. However, you should refrain from any kind of physical or verbal punishment that could have a negative effect on your child.
Instead, be gentle with your words and actions. If your child is screaming and having a tantrum, keep calm and dont raise your voice. All children learn through imitation, so try and respond to your childs behavior clearly and gently.
And now for consistency. Consistency is the key to safe, effective discipline. Most children with autism respond well to structured discipline, perhaps due to their desire for sameness and routine.
Consistent discipline can also alleviate some of your childs anxiety, a common characteristic of autism. Consistent outcomes help children feel secure and confident in their choices.
If your child knows what to expect from a certain behavior , they may not feel as overwhelmed when you discipline them.
In other words, consistency gives your child the ability to predict the outcome of a situation, which is a powerful and necessary step toward independence.
Onset Of Autism: Early Onset Vs Regression
Autism develops sometime during pregnancy and the first three years of life. Some parents report that their child seemed different at birth. These children are referred to as having early-onset autism. Other parents report that their child seemed to develop normally and then had a major regression resulting in autism, usually around 12-24 months. These children are referred to as having late-onset or regressive autism. Some researchers argue that the regression is not real or the autism was simply unnoticed by the childs parents. However, many parents report that their children were completely normal until sometime between 1 and 2 years of age.
A study published in 2003, conducted by the first author, compared 53 autistic children with 48 typical peers. The parents of the early-onset autism group reported a significant delay in reaching developmental milestones, including age of crawling , sitting up , walking , and talking . Thus, there appeared to be a delay in gross motor skills as well as of talking, so many children with autism also need physical therapy. In contrast, the late-onset autism group reached developmental milestones at the same time as typical children.
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The Children Who Leave Autism Behind
Autism is usually thought to be a lifelong condition, but a small number of children lose the core symptoms and shed the diagnosis. Some researchers are beginning to explore how common this may be, and why some children outgrow autism.
Alex, aged 10, bounds onto his bed to pose with his Aaron Rodgers poster, grinning as proudly as if he had recruited the Green Bay Packers quarterback himself. Continuing the tour of his suburban New York bedroom, he points out his Packers-themed alarm clock, his soccer trophy, his Boy Scout trophy and then the big reveal: a homemade foam box in Packers green and gold.
Mmm, very nice, I say. Alex grins part shy, part sly as he turns it around to show me the message on the back: Jets stink.
Even though he seems to be an entirely ordinary boy, theres something unusual about Alex: He once had autism, and now he does not. There was a time when Alexs parents didnt know if he would ever speak in full sentences, let alone joke around with a stranger. His autism, they suspected, might prevent any such future.
Alexs parents began to worry about him before he was even 1 year old. He wasnt learning to sit, crawl or stand as his fraternal twin brother was. Even more striking was how much less social he was compared with his brother.
Treatments For Children With Autism
Intervention should start as early as possible. A definitive diagnosis isnt necessary for commencing intervention. Intervention should focus on the core features of autism i.e. deficits in social interaction and communication, and repetitive restricted patterns of behaviour, activities and/or interests. The Intervention should be evidence-based, specific, structured and suited to the developmental needs of the kid. The management of children should be done through interdisciplinary teams, and coordinated by the paediatrician. Note that the management of co-morbidities is very critical to the effectiveness of the treatment. Pharmacotherapy may be offered to kids when there is a specific target symptom or co-morbid condition.
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Assessing Whether A Medication Works
When your child starts taking a new medication, you and the professional need to monitor your child carefully.
It can also help if you understand the targeted behaviour or problem before your child starts the medication. Take a week to write down details like when, how often and how long the behaviour happens, and think about how intense it is. Also pay attention to your childs sleeping habits and appetite. This puts you in a good position to notice whether anything is changing once your child starts the medication.
When your child starts taking a medication, try not to change anything else about their routine or therapy program. Then if you notice any changes, itll be easier to tell whether theyve been caused by the medication. You could also ask a family friend it they notice any differences in your childs behaviour.