Classic Sign Of Autism Appears In Early Infancy Study Says
by Virginia Hughes;/;6 November 2013
Baby boys who will later be diagnosed with autism show a loss of interest in other peoples eyes between 2 and 6 months of age, according to a study published today in Nature1. This is the earliest behavioral marker of autism found to date.
The researchers found that the steeper the decline in eye fixation over the first two years of life, the greater the level of social and communication impairment at 2 years old.
Now we know that it is possible to develop a quantitative assay in early infancy that is predictive of both autism and level of social disability, says lead investigator Ami Klin, director of the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The study is the latest in a surge of research on the younger siblings of children with autism, dubbed baby sibs, who have a one in five chance of developing the disorder.
Researchers have found that some baby sibs have distinctive brain-wave patterns and a loss of interest in faces beginning as early as 6 months of age. The new study uncovers changes in brain development even earlier.
Were most excited about the fact that these are some of the earliest signs of autism weve ever observed, says co-investigator Warren Jones, director of research at the Marcus Autism Center. Were measuring what babies see, but more importantly, what they dont see.
Early Signs Of Autism In Babies May Include:
- Smiling rarely in social situations
- Unexpected reactions to new faces
- Little or no eye contact
- Doesnt respond to their name
- Doesnt turn their head to locate sound or react to loud sounds
- Overreacts to sounds
- Displays a lack of social anticipation. For example, baby doesnt reach out their arms to be picked up, or doesnt seem to understand the game of Peek-a-Boo.
- Doesnt use chatter or babble
- Doesnt use gestures such as pointing or waving in context.
- Dislikes being cuddled or touched
- Displays repetitive and unusual body movements.
Signs You Can Spot Before A Baby Is 9 Months Old
As your baby grows older, there are new milestones they should be reaching. Failure to reach these milestones can be cause for concern, even if it doesnt guarantee a diagnosis of autism. In addition to smiling in response to being smiled at, there are other reciprocal behaviors you should expect to see in your child.
At 9 months old, typically developing babies will engage in exchanging noises back and forth. They will also show some kind of response to the facial expressions of others. In general, by the time your baby is 9 months old, you should hope to see the very beginnings of social behaviors emerging.
Also Check: What Does It Mean To Be Mildly Autistic
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.
Which Treatment Strategies May Help Children With Autism
The main treatment for autism is called applied behavioral analysis . This is a behavioral program that breaks actions and behaviors down into small steps. It encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors. Other treatments include occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and strategies to improve communication, such as using pictures that children can point at to let caregivers know what they want.
Heres the thing: ABA and the other treatments are helpful for children with developmental problems, no matter what their cause. There is no downside to doing them even if the child ultimately is found to have a different problem or no problem at all. They are good for the child with autism, the child with a language disability, or a late bloomer. Yes, its hard for parents to hear a diagnosis of autism. But there is much reason for hope when it comes to autism, and we should never waste time when a child needs help.
The CDCs Act Early campaign has a whole host of resources to help parents and caregivers know if a child is developing normally, or if there might be a problem. If you think there is a problem, ask for help. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
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Tip : Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.;
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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Physical Therapy And Occupational Therapy
Some children with ASD experience difficulties with controlling physical actions. For example, they may have an unusual gait or trouble with handwriting. Physical therapy can build your childs motor skills. A focus on posture, coordination, balance, and muscle control can improve a childs social life and sense of well-being.
Occupational therapy helps children with autism build everyday skills that are useful at school or around the home, such as feeding, grooming, and dressing themselves. Similar to physical therapy, occupational therapy can enhance motor skills.
Sessions focus on an individuals unique needs, so your child may also learn to use assistive devices to adapt to situations and complete tasks. Examples of such devices include a speech-to-text app for a child who struggles with handwriting and a dry-erase board for a child who has difficulty with verbal communication.
Signs In The First Six Months Of Life
Absence of these interactions is one of the chief signs of autism during the first six months of a babys life. If your child isnt smiling at you or showing expressions of enjoyment by this age, this might be a clue that your baby may have some developmental delays, according to Helpguide.org.
There is also some evidence that very young babies who do not seem interested in the faces of others are at a higher risk for autism. One study, performed by researchers at Yale, observed the amount of time infants spent looking at images of faces.
More than two years later, researchers followed up with this same group of infants and found that those who went on to be diagnosed with autism were more likely to belong to the group of infants who spent less time looking at faces.
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How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD affects about 1 in 59 children in the United States. It affects children of all backgrounds, but its almost 4 times more common in boys than in girls. More people are being diagnosed with ASD today than ever before. Were not sure exactly why, but it may be because of several reasons, including:
- The way health care providers define and diagnose ASD has changed. A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately, like autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified and Asperger syndrome. Now these conditions are all called ASD.
- In the past, only children with the most severe ASD symptoms were diagnosed. Today children with less severe ASD symptoms are diagnosed.
- People are more aware of ASD. More families know the signs and symptoms of ASD, so more children are checked for it. More providers are screening for ASD now than in the past.
- Schools are more aware and are able to help identify signs and help children receive more special education services.
Excessive Interest In Particular Objects Or Activities
Babies readily shift their attention between people and objects creating opportunities to learn from social interaction.
Babies with autism may show excessive interest in particular objects or activities and can get stuck or overly focused on these.
This interest may be so intense that its difficult to shift their attention away from an object of interest to something else.
An intense interest can lead to skills that are advanced for their age, such as building with blocks, or learning the shapes of letters and numbers, and can be missed as a sign of autism.
If your child shows excessive interest in particular objects or activities, this may be an early sign of autism.
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When Can You Diagnose Autism In A Baby
Signs Of Autism In Infants And Children Ultimate Guide
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If You Suspect Signs Of Autism In Infants
During your childs development, its helpful to keep a notebook to jot down events, milestones, and unusual things you may witness during their development. This is a great way of keeping a log of both memories, but also any potential issues that a medical professional might want to look into.
If youve read through all the signs of autism in infants and suspect your child may be in need of an assessment, please contact us to book an appointment. Our office proudly serves Texas families and residents just like you!;
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How Early Can You And Should You Diagnose Autism
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Autism is common. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 1 out of every 59 children has been diagnosed with autism. Thats a marked rise from 2000, when only 1 in 150 children had been diagnosed with autism.
There is a lot we dont know about autism, such as exactly what causes it or why it is becoming more common. But one thing we do know is that the earlier we start treating it, the better. Communication and social skills are built very early. We have our best chance of improving things if we work within that natural window. Thats why there has been a steady push toward making the diagnosis as early as possible.
It is not easy for parents to hear that their child has, or might have, autism. Even when there are worries about the childs development, it is natural to hope that a child is just a late bloomer, or a bit quirky. And indeed, some children are late bloomers, or quirky, or have an entirely different problem with their development. So how early can you reliably diagnose autism?
Getting An Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
The road to an ASD diagnosis can be difficult and time-consuming. In fact, it is often two to three years after the first symptoms of ASD are noticed before an official diagnosis is made. This is due in large part to concerns about labeling or incorrectly diagnosing the child. However, an ASD diagnosis can also be delayed if the doctor doesnt take a parents concerns seriously or if the family isnt referred to health care professionals who specialize in developmental disorders.
If youre worried that your child has ASD, its important to seek out a clinical diagnosis. But dont wait for that diagnosis to get your child into treatment. Early intervention during the preschool years will improve your childs chances for overcoming their developmental delays. So look into treatment options and try not to worry if youre still waiting on a definitive diagnosis. Putting a potential label on your kids problem is far less important than treating the symptoms.
Read Also: How Do You Get Diagnosed With Autism
About Early Diagnosis Of Autism
Because of the nature of autism, it isnt easy to spot in young children. This is because in some cases, children may appear to be developing typically only to regressor lose some of their developmental skillsas they grow older.
In the same fashion, some babies will actually struggle to meet their expected developmental milestones and then suddenly catch up to what is typical for their age.
Thus many doctors wait until children reach 24 months before they will make a definitive diagnosis of autism.
This doesnt mean that infants cannot be screened for developmental delays, however. According to Autism Speaks, some symptoms of autism can be detected as young as 6 months of age, and this advocacy organization encourages parents to be on the lookout for any troubling symptoms in their children.
Here are some tips on how to spot autism in your infant, starting when they are 3 months old.
How Does Your Health Come Into Play
Researchers know that maternal health during pregnancy has an impact on the unborn child, and ASD is certainly no exception to this rule. “For instance, women who are severely ill and require hospitalization during pregnancy may be more likely to have children who develop autism,” says Dr. Wang. Specifically,;studies;have shown;associations between maternal infections during pregnancy and subsequent risk for their children developing an autism spectrum disorder.
In general, women should do what they can to remain healthy during pregnancy. “This includes optimizing nutrition, taking prenatal vitamins as recommended by their obstetrician, avoiding exposure to unnecessary drugs and medications, and ensuring that their own vaccinations are up to date,” says Dr. Wang. Also,;a recent study in the;Journal of the American Medical Association;found that gestational diabetes developed by 26 weeks is linked with an increased risk to ASD. Ask your doctor about the right plan for you and then stick with it.
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What Are The Tell
Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. It can be seen in all groups of age. The Centers for Disease Control states that the disorder does not discriminate between racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Oftentimes, certain severe forms of ASD are diagnosed before the child turns two. However, high-functioning individuals may not be recognized and diagnosed until later ages in their lives.
- The level of science,
- Knowledge on autism spectrum disorder itself at the time,
- Lack of social and economic means they had,
This happens because autistic adults were not diagnosed when they were children.
Since autism spectrum disorder is still, in part, a mystery, studies generally focus on where the disorder stems from to figure out how it occurs in the first place. This has caused the focus to be on children. The adults who have never been diagnosed in their lives were partially left out in the research sphere.
However, in recent years, awareness of autism spectrum disorder in adults has increased significantly. This is due to the fact that the public is now aware of the signs and understands that a diagnosis can be made even later in life of a person.
Autism spectrum disorder impacts three main areas in an individuals life: the social aspect, communication, and their behaviors.
Since we understand autism more and more every day, we are now able to differentiate and diagnose more adults with ASD.