Prenatal Factors That May Contribute To Autism
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months.
Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid.
The age of the mother and father
Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia
Maternal infections during pregnancy.
Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant.
More research on these prenatal risk factors is needed, but if youre pregnant or trying to conceive, it cant hurt to take steps now to reduce your babys risk of autism.
Reducing the risk of autism: Tips for expectant mothers
Take a multivitamin. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Its not clear whether this will also help reduce risk of autism, but taking the vitamins cant hurt.
Ask about SSRIs. Women who are taking an SSRI should talk with a clinician about all the risks and benefits of these drugs. Untreated depression in a mother can also affect her childs well-being later on, so this is not a simple decision to make.
Practice prenatal care. Eating nutritious food, trying to avoid infections, and seeing a clinician for regular check-ups can increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Source: Harvard Health Publications
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause major social, communication and behavior challenges. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave and learn in ways that are different from most other people. Some people with ASD have strong skills in learning, thinking and solving problems; others have severe challenges with these skills. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives, but others need less help.
Premature babies may be more likely to show signs or symptoms of ASD than other babies. Health care providers can sometimes detect ASD in a child at 18 months old or younger. By the time a child is 2 years old, a provider may give an ASD diagnosis. But many children dont get a final diagnosis until theyre much older. This delay means children with ASD may not get the early help they need.
It’s really important to learn the signs and symptoms of ASD and get help for your child right away if you think he has ASD. Getting early intervention services as soon as possible can help improve your childs development. These services can help children from birth through 3 years old learn important skills. Services include therapy to help a child talk, walk, learn self-help skills and interact with others. Visit the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center to find your states contact information for early intervention services.
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.
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Communication Signs Of Autism In Children
We learned about my sons autism after begging our pediatrician for a speech therapy referral.
We knew he wasnt communicating like a typical child would, and we wanted to help him communicate to lower his frustrations.
See, autistic children often have significant communication struggles and delays, sometimes to the point of not speaking at all.
The first thing most people notice in autistic children is that they may not meet typical language milestones.
You may notice that your child often repeats quotes from books, songs, or movies that they have seen or heard.
My son used to quote the Tinkerbell Pirate Fairy movie constantly.
An autistic child may also struggle to begin or keep up with conversations.
Beginning a conversation takes several expressive language skills that many autistic kids struggle with, and keeping up with a 2-way conversation can be overwhelming and exhausting.
You might also notice that an autistic child may not respond to their name.
Sometimes this is because they are so engrossed in an activity that they block out other noises, and sometimes its because autistic children dont develop the same familiarity with their name that other children do.
Another common communication sign of autism in children is that they may seem completely unaware of the volume of their own voice.
A-Man is often yelling or whispering without realizing that hes doing it, or realizing how those different volumes affect those around him.
Behaviour: Early Signs Of 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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Can You Detect Autism In Newborns
Autism spectrum disorder can be identified in babies as young as two months old. Although subtle signs can be missed if not observed closely, there are certain red flags.
Caregivers should observe the developmental milestones of their children to be able to detect early signs of autism. Parents should be aware of the eye contact of the newborns and follow the development.
From birth, all babies will look more at the eye part of faces. According to studies conducted with babies with eye-tracking technology, lack of eye contact is one of the signs that the newborn may have autism.
The following are some of the other signs seen in newborns as they grow older.
How To Know If Your Baby Has Autism: Signs And Symptoms
Autism is a spectrum disorder, similar to Asperger’s syndrome that can appear during infancy and early childhood and causes delays in many areas of basic development such as learning to talk, play or interact with others. Autism can vary in how seriously it affects people, with some having more serious impairments than others. There are many differing opinions on the causes of autism and how best to treat it, however it is widely agreed that the earlier the condition is realized, and intervention implemented, the better it is for the child in the long term. There are several ways that you can spot signs of this disorder in young children, so in this OneHowTo article, we’re going to discuss how to know if your baby has autism: signs and symptoms.
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of autism in babies is considered quite important. This is due to the fact that if your infant does in fact display signs of the disorder, that treatment can be started early on in their development which therefore means the likelihood of it being effective is higher.
The signs of autism in babies can be difficult to spot. Diagnosis before the age of 24 months is rare, but symptoms can be displayed between the age of 12-18 months. One of the signs of autism is regression. If a child was communicating with basic words such as ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ and then stops using language entirely, this can be a warning sign of autism.
Heightened Sensitivity Or Sensory Aversion
Autism can cause a childs senses to be touchy. A child may enjoy rubbing smooth or soft surfaces, or he may smell everything, Pandey says. But he may not like to be held or cuddled. Everyday sounds might be really hard for them, she says of children with autism. She mentions toilet flushes and vacuum cleaners as common irritants. They might hold their hands up to their ears, she says. A child with autism may also be very sensitive to bright light, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Five Early Signs Of Autism
If youre a parent or caregiver who is concerned that your child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, getting a diagnosis as soon as possible is important because early intervention can be the key to the most optimal outcomes.
As many studies have now shown, early intervention is critical for the best outcomes in children with autism, and many believe the earlier the better, says Connie Kasari, a professor of human development and psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Only with a diagnosis can parents begin to obtain necessary intervention services for their child.
Autism Spectrum Disorder , a growing public health concern that is often widely misunderstood, has been gaining attention ever since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control;announced in 2014 that instances of autism are being diagnosed with greater frequency. According to the CDC, 1 in 68 children today have some form of the disorder; thats an increase from 1 in 88 in 2012, and 1 in 110 in 2010.
A founding member of the Semel Institute’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment, an initiative that offers assessment and treatment services for the public as well as resources related to ASD, Kasari has developed targeted interventions that focus on improving early social communication development for at-risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Additional information and resources:
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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.
Unresponsive To His Or Her Name
By 12 months of age, most children will look up or respond when someone calls them by name. If a child does not, that may be indicative of autism, the CDC says. These kids may also seem not to hear their parents or other people, or they may struggle to understand or follow simple commands or instructions.
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Little Pointing Or Gesturing
Babies usually learn to gesture before they learn to talk. In fact, gesturing is one of the earliest forms of communication. Autistic children generally point and gesture much less than children with nonautistic development. Less pointing can sometimes indicate the possibility of a language delay.
Another indicator of a developmental difference is when an infants gaze doesnt follow you when youre pointing at something. This skill is sometimes called joint attention. Joint attention is often decreased in autistic children.
Hard To Look At You And Use A Gesture And Sound
Babies learn to use gestures and sounds from 9-16 months to let you know what they want or dont want, and what theyre interested in.
It should be easy for your baby to use a gesture and sound while theyre looking at you.
If its hard for your baby to look at you and use a gesture and sound, all at the same time, this can be an early sign of autism.
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A Lack Of Interest In Pretend Play
For kids with autism, pretend skills may be absent or lacking. dont use objects for pretend playstuff like picking up a sponge and using it as a pretend phone, she says. Play-feeding a doll or pretending the couch is a truck or train are other examples. If this kind of pretend play hasnt started by 18 months, thats a warning sign, notes the CDC.
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.
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What Is Joint Attention
Problems with joint attention are one of the most early and common signs of ASD. Joint attention is when your child looks back and forth between an object and a person. When a child does this to share interest and interact with another person, he develops skills that help him connect with other people. Most children with ASD have delays in joint attention skills, or they dont have any joint attention skills.
These are examples of how children with ASD may show different joint attention skills:
What Should I Do If My Child Is Showing Symptoms Of Autism
Call your pediatrician or your state’s Early Intervention program to schedule an appointment for a formal autism screening. From there, you may be referred to a specialist for a full diagnostic evaluation.
Before your child’s screening, you may find it helpful to fill out the M-CHAT, which stands for Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers and is an American Academy of Pediatrics-approved screening tool for autism. Print out your results and bring them with you to discuss with your child’s doctor.
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Can A Child Be Slightly Autistic
A child can be mildly autistic. Every child with autism spectrum disorder is unique and so symptoms may differ in severity and range between individuals. Children diagnosed as mildly autistic are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them, but they do have normal intelligence and can conduct their daily activities.
Early Signs Of Autism In 3 Year Old
As your kid grows older, certain signs become a little bit less clear compared to the first few months. You can get a better idea by checking the developmental milestones to see if your child is behind on some.
- Some autism red flags for 3 year olds are as follows:
- Prefers being alone,
- Doesnt like physical contact
- Has difficulty in understanding feeling
- Doesnt respond when their name is called
- Is not able to form sentences
- Speaks in flat tone
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What Is Developmental Screening
Developmental screening is a short test that checks to see if a child is learning basic skills when he should, or if there are delays. During developmental screening, your babys provider does a short checkup to look for signs of problems. During screening, the provider may ask you some questions or talk and play with your baby to see how he plays, learns, speaks, behaves and moves. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child visits at:
- 9 months
- 18 months
- 24 or 30 months
If your childs provider doesnt do this kind of developmental screening, you can ask the provider that it be done. Some babies may need extra screening if theyre at high risk for developmental problems because they were born prematurely or with low birthweight or because of other reasons, like having a brother or sister with ASD. If the provider thinks your baby may have ASD, she needs a full evaluation before a diagnosis can be made.