How Do You Talk With Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis
It can be hard to decide what and how much information to share when talking to your child about their autism diagnosis. Setting a positive tone when discussing autism spectrum disorder and making sure you understand what your child is truly asking is very important. Establish a positive attitude about their differences from the outset, then answer their questions simply and honestly. If your child is of reading age, you may want to consider finding some childrens books on the topic of autism spectrum disorder to read with them.
Unusual Reaction To Sounds Sights Or Textures
Babies with autism can show unusual reactions or be very sensitive to certain sounds, sights, or textures. They may get overly excited about a page in a book or hold their hands over their ears in response to loud sounds, squint or flap their hands to certain lights, gag when they eat food with certain textures, or get upset about a tag in a shirt or something sticky or gooey.
If your child shows unusual reactions to sounds, sights, or textures, this may be an early sign of autism.
Development Of Infants With Early Signs Of Autism
While your baby is growing up, you may wonder if they are developing as they should. There are certain developmental milestones children hit as they grow up.
It is important to keep an eye out for these so that you can see if your child is behind on their development.
- smile at people
- try to look at their parents
- turn their head towards sound
If you notice that your baby is not engaging in such activities, you may want to get your child tested for ASD.
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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:
How Is Asd Diagnosed
There is no simple medical test for diagnosing ASD.
To diagnose a child with ASD, a healthcare professional observes the childs levels of:
This could include the childs:
- verbal skills
- how they relate to others
- behaviours related to their interests and activities
- repeated actions related to how they speak, move or use objects
To determine the severity of ASD, the healthcare professional observes the amount of difficulty the child has with:
- social communication
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders to evaluate ASD.
If a health care provider thinks that your child may have ASD, get a referral for a diagnosis. A specialist will create a detailed description of your child’s strengths and challenges. A team of health professionals may work together for this assessment.
Testing for ASD will also make sure that this is not a different condition. For instance, sometimes hearing loss can explain your childs unresponsiveness in social situations or when their name is called.
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Checklists Of Autism Signs
Through its Learn the Signs. Act Early campaign, the CDC aims to raise awareness of the early signs of developmental delay, including autism. Through a series of milestone checklists, the CDC provides information on what most babies do at different ages and which signs parents should discuss with their childs doctor. Milestones are included for children 2 months to 5 years of age, reflecting a belief among researchers that even infants may show early autism signs.
Early signs of autism or other developmental delays include the following:
Become Familiar With Gross And Fine
Children with autism sometimes have motor coordination issues that need to be addressed. There are two main types of motor functions: gross and fine.
Gross motor skills involve big body movements and muscles. Physical therapy tends to work on these skills, such as crawling, walking, jumping, and navigating stairs.
Fine motor skills, on the other hand, are small, delicate movements, such as writing, zipping up a jacket, or buttoning a shirt. For these, your child will work with an occupational therapist. These skills tend to take a good deal of motor skill and hand-eye coordination, and they often need extra practice.
Try to think of fine motor skills the same way you would think about teaching someone algebra. There are a number of complex movements and motor planning strategies that go into learning each activity, and much like algebra, they need to be taught and mastered in order.
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What Should You Know
Autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC estimates that an average of 1 in 44 children in the U.S. has ASD or autism. Lets learn more
Follow the 8 steps below for your Web Quest.
Step 1: See what you think about kids with autism. Take the Fact Checkup!
Step 2: Think about some questions to ask. Lets see
Step 3: Check out some quick facts.
Step 4: Check out some great websites to help you learn more.
Step 5: Find out about people who have been diagnosed with autism to help with your Quest.
Step 6: Learn about movies and books that can give you information.
Step 7: Check out your school and neighborhood.
Step 8: Now see if your attitudes have changed. Take the Fact Checkup again.
Seek Out Appropriate Treatments
This is one of the first things to do, given the proven benefits of early intervention. Autism treatment usually consists of a structured, intensive therapy program and likely includes speech, occupational, and physical therapy, as needed.
Some therapy programs focus on behavioral treatment, which targets specific behaviors and skills. Other programs emphasize developmental therapies, which focus on natural play and development of social skills. Examples of common behavioral treatments include Applied Behavioral Analysis , Discrete Trial Training, and Pivotal Response Training. Well-known developmental therapies include Floortime and Relationship Development Intervention .
There is no single treatment approach that works for all kids, but its best to look for programs that encourage parent involvement and set up clearly defined goals that are monitored frequently. Your childs strengths and weaknesses as well as the established effectiveness of the program should be considered. There is no quick cure for autismbe wary of any program that says so. When evaluating treatment programs, start by looking for ones that are evidence based. This means they have been rigorously tested in well-designed scientific research studies and have been proven effective.
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Later Warning Signs Include:
Its important to note that each and every child is unique. Autism is a complex spectrum disorder and symptoms will range widely from person to person. Each child will vary depending on their measured intelligence, social interaction, communication, behaviors, sensory response, and motor skills. For example, in terms of repetitive behaviors , where do they fall on a scale from mild to intense?
Pay special attention to playtime. If a child under the age of two shows zero interest in showing or sharing toys or prefers to line their toys up instead of playing with, they should be evaluated.
Make An Appointment With A Health Professional
If you think your child has autism, its good to act quickly and make an appointment with a professional. For example, you could talk to your child and family health nurse, your GP or a paediatrician.
Its a good idea to write down your concerns, including examples of what youve noticed and any concerns that your childs early childhood education service or school has raised. You can share this information with the health professional.
If the professional doesnt have any concerns about your child, but youre still worried, its OK to ask for a second, or even third, opinion from another professional.
You can monitor your childs social communication behaviour and interaction using the ASDetect app. It gives clear examples of what to expect in the early stages of your childs social and language development.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brains remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.
The earliest signs of autism involve the absence of typical behaviorsnot the presence of atypical onesso they can be tough to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms of autism are even misinterpreted as signs of a good baby, since the infant may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.
Some autistic infants dont respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.
What If Your Child Shows Some Early Signs Of Autism
Any one of these signs may not be a problem. But in combination, they may signal a need to conduct a screening or diagnostic evaluation.
As a general guide, if your child shows any 4 of these early signs, use our free online Social Communication CheckUp to screen your baby for autism.
If your child shows 8 or more of these early signs, ask for a referral for a diagnostic evaluation.
Talk to your childs doctor or teacher about any of these early signs or contact your local early intervention program. Share this article with them.
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You will know if your baby has autism when you notice delays in any of the following developments can sometimes be early signs of autism: By 6 months: Signs of smiles or other happy, warm expressions are not noticed. Your child may not show signs of smiling or react when they see your face.
A study conducted by Courchesne found that, in certain cases, children diagnosed with autism were born with small head circumferences, but within two years the circumference grew rapidly so that it reached larger dimensions of head circumference in comparison to typical development of children. This sign is not conclusive for autism.
Rarely Shares Enjoyment With You
Babies readily share enjoyment with you by smiling or laughing and looking at you.
Some children with autism smile to show theyre happy but dont their enjoyment.
Others show little facial expression or have flat affect and rarely smile so you may not know when theyre happy.
If your baby rarely shares enjoyment with you, especially when youre available to interact, this can be an early sign of autism.
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The Early Signs Of Autism Unfold From 9 To 16 Months
The early signs of autism are easy to miss. Autism can be diagnosed by 18-24 months but its not usually diagnosed until 4-5 years.
This article illustrates 16 early signs of autism that unfold from 9-16 months to help you detect autism before it’s usually diagnosed.
Diagnosing autism can be difficult because there are no medical or blood tests. The diagnosis is based on behavioral symptoms or features.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism at 18 and 24 months. Autism can be diagnosed by 18-24 months, but its not usually diagnosed until 4-5 years.
The early signs of autism can have a cascading effect on brain development and lead to significant social, language, and cognitive deficits, as well as challenging behaviors, if theyre not caught early.
Autism In Young Children
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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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 Early Can I Test My Child For Autism
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during regular well-child visits at 9, 18, and 24 months. Screening specifically for autism begins at the 18-month visit. A diagnosis by a specialist can be considered very reliable once the child is 2 years of age.
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Understand They Experience A Different Sort Of Sense
You may have seen children with autism sitting in adaptive chairs or stimming, or making repetitive movements such as rocking their bodies or flapping their arms. These movements are typically due to increased sensory needs. They are no different than the habits someone without autism may have, such as chewing on the end of a pencil or tapping their foot. These behaviors all serve an internal purpose, but for children with autism, the repetitive movements may be disruptive in certain situations.
Occupational therapy tries to develop a sensory diet that provides the input a child needs in a controlled, socially appropriate way. If a child needs to jump up and down to calm themselves, OTs will build activities that offer the same input that jumping provides. This could include trampoline breaks, foot squeezes, or sitting on yoga balls.
Early Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Studies have shown that autism can be diagnosed as early as 14 months. It typically appears in the early ages of an individual.
This means that the infants first year is crucial in terms of the diagnosis of the disorder.
Many children with autism spectrum disorder show developmental differences. This can especially be seen in their social and language skills. There are certain developmental milestones babies hit while they are growing up.
Parents and caregivers should observe their childrens behaviors so as to be able to catch the disorder early on.
The 10 early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children can be as follows:
- Little to no eye contact during infancy,
- No babbling,
- Not expressing emotions,
- Not seeming attached to parents.
Subtle differences caused by autism may appear before the childs first birthday. These differences will be visible in childrens interaction with their surroundings.
When 2-months old, babies generally begin to smile at people, coo, and are able to pay attention to faces. This may not be the case for children with autism spectrum disorder. By 6 months, if a baby
- doesnt smile,
- doesnt smile as big,
- is not showing any other warm, joyful, and engaging expressions
It may be a sign of autism spectrum disorder.
By 9 months, children with ASD:
- make limited or no eye contact with anyone
- dont share sounds,
- dont smile back-and-forth with parents.
Before their first birthday, babies on the autism spectrum,
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Signs Of Nonverbal Communication Difficulties
- Avoids eye contact.
- Uses facial expressions that dont match what they are saying
- Doesnt pick up on other peoples facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures.
- Makes very few gestures . May come across as cold or robot-like.
- Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the childs attention.
- Atypical posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving .
Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the give-and-take of social interaction very difficult.