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.
#7 Let Your Child With Autism Escape
Sensory sensitivity is common among children with autism and may be one of the more challenging struggles. A new baby comes with new sounds, smells and more. While youre busy with the seemingly endless list of tasks that need to be accomplished it can be easy to overlook how your child with autism is responding to this new sensory experience.
Provide your child with a quiet space and/or headphones to escape from the crying, especially if the baby cries for longer than a few minutes at a time. Take the baby into another room to change her diaper. Remember, anything that might be unpleasant for you may be even more objectionable for your child with autism.
Case Identification And Matching
The California Department of Developmental Services determines and coordinates services for persons with developmental disabilities through its 21 independent contracting regional centers. The Client Developmental Evaluation Report is the instrument used to periodically evaluate clients age 3 years and older. For younger clients, the Early Start Report is used. We obtained these files from the Department of Developmental Services for the period of 1990 2008 and matched them with California birth records of 1990 to 2002 to identify children in the birth file who developed autism. The overall matching rate was above 90%. Details of the matching method and identification of autism cases in the Department of Developmental Services data base have been described elsewhere.
Autism cases were defined as full syndrome autism on the Client Developmental Evaluation Report, or International Classification of Disease code 299.0 in any field in which ICD codes could be noted on either the Client Developmental Evaluation Report or the Early Start Report, or a checkmark for autism under developmental disabilities. Those children who met the criteria and were younger than six years of age at the time of the diagnosis were considered cases.
Prenatal Exposure To Environmental Pollution
Information released by Harvard states that pregnant who are exposed to air pollution in the third trimester are twice as likely to have a child with Autism, as compared to women who were not exposed. The study compared 116,000 pregnancy women from all 50 states. The variables that were compiled included where the women lived during their pregnancy as well as pollution levels in that area as provided by the EPA . Levels of PM2.5 or fine particulate matter were noted in 245 children diagnosed with Autism. The comparisons were made before, during, and after pregnancy. Exposure during pregnancy and especially in the third trimester posed a significantly increased risk with diagnosis. The evidence is quite convincing that maternal exposure to air pollutants is a huge risk factor for offspring Autism. Researchers hope that the information will be useful in considering ways to prevent the disorder.
#10 Enlist The Help Of Your Child With Autism
Allow your child to be a helper. Show her how to give the baby a pacifier. If youre giving the baby a bottle, let her help hold it. When burping the baby show her how to pat her on the back.
Dont make helping a requirement. When children are given the choice to help or not to help, they feel empowered. When children are told to help, they feel burdened.
#8 Keep An Eye On Your Child
Watch your child with autism for signs of discomfort or frustration. He may not have the words to tell you how he is feeling. If you feel that your child is becoming agitated, frustrated or upset be prepared to jump in. Anticipate your childs behavior and intervene before it happens.
If possible, have someone else take your child into another room. If youre alone with both children, put the baby in a swing or someplace safe then help your child with autism settle down. Juggling the needs of two children is always difficult but with practice it will get easier.
Limited Or No Response To Their Name
At 6 months , most infants show an awareness of their own names, especially when its spoken by their mother.
Autistic infants show a developmental difference: By 9 months, many babies who later develop ASD dont orient to their own names. say this usually appears as a pattern of nonresponse, rather than a single instance.
Risk For Autism Higher For Babies Born Premature: Study
A new Swedish study suggests that babies born preterm and early-term births are associated with an increased risk for autism among boys and girls.
Researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and Lund University in Sweden looked at 4 million people born between 1973 and 2013.
It also points to a slightly higher prevalence of autism among children who were born just a couple weeks before their due datewhat doctors call early term.
Most children born preterm do well, stressed lead researcher Dr. Casey Crump, a professor at Mount Sinais Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.
But this study, he said, strengthens the evidence that early birth is a risk factor for autism.
In addition, preterm babies had a 40 percent higher chance. Early term babies had a 10 to 15 percent higher chance.
Our findings provide further evidence that gestational age at birth should be routinely included in history taking and medical records for patients of all ages to help identify in clinical practice those born preterm or early term, the study authors wrote.
Such information can provide additional valuable context for understanding patients health and may facilitate earlier evaluation for ASD and other neuro-developmental conditions in those born prematurely, they wrote.
Crump said babies and children who were born early should have their development tracked, to catch any delays as soon as possible.
That suggests a causal relationship, Crump said.
#3 Teach Your Child To Follow A Play Schedule
There are many benefits to teaching your child with autism to follow a play schedule. It helps her learn to stick with an activity longer than she might have preferred and helps her learn to deal with transitions, which will be important when the baby comes.
1. Use a picture or written schedule to structure your childs play
2. Teach your child to stay with an activity until the timer goes off signaling to move to the next activity
3. Build your childs ability to sustain engagement in and transition between activities until he can stay with a schedule for at least 30 minutes
4. Include favorite activities and/or foods into the schedule as reinforcement
To learn more about picture schedules, read the post: 5 Ways to Use Schedules to Help your Child with Autism. For even more information on using visual supports and visual schedules, take a look at this great resource from Autism Speaks.
Delays In Language Development
age of 1 year , a child should be able to say one to three single words and try to copy words that other people say.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders notes that autistic children may have trouble developing language skills and understanding what other people say. According to March of Dimes, about 40% of autistic children do not speak at all.
What Are Some Early Signs Of Autism In Toddlers
When a baby becomes a toddler, various developmental differences, signs and symptoms may become more apparent with the growing age of the child.
During their first year, toddlers with autism spectrum disorder may not:
- like seeing new faces,
- may not be able to walk, or w__alk only on their toes__
- may find certain sounds, tastes and smells upsetting,
- may fall into repetitive movements, like flapping their hands.
These signs may be more noticeable compared to the signs presented early on. However, the majority of children with autism are not diagnosed before the age of two due to missed signs by caregivers, or lack of access to specialists.
Autism Signs By 12 Months
She doesn’t say single words.
She doesn’t use gestures such as waving or shaking her head.
She doesn’t point to objects or pictures.
She can’t stand when supported.
It’s important to note that these criteria aren’t conclusive evidence of autism. “Theyre simply things we look for to determine if we need to further assess the baby, says Mandi Silverman, PsyD, MBA, senior director of the Autism Center at the Child Mind Institute. Another social or developmental factor may be to blame.
Prenatal Exposure To Viral And Bacterial Illnesses
You may or may not have heard this one before that getting sick during pregnancy can up the odds of an Autism diagnosis in your baby. This information has been around for quite awhile now that when infections stimulate the central nervous system of the mother, her immune response might trigger an alteration in the unborn baby. While some might assume that a more serious illness is needed, that is not necessarily true. The main causes for concern are viral infections during the first trimester, and bacterial infections in the second trimester. The highest threat arises when the mother is sick enough to be hospitalized in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. The biggest culprits are the flu, the herpes virus, congenital rubella, and borne disease. When we see rubella, we often think of the MMR vaccine and the ongoing debate over a link between Autism and the scheduled shot. Direct evidence that the vaccine could cause Autism has not been found. It is still unknown whether the risk for Rubella is still present when the mother is exposed to live vaccines.
Autisms Genetic Risk Factors
Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child . Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo. Again, the majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. They simply increase risk for the disorder
Use Of Specific Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy
What is the truth about the prescription drugs we take during pregnancy? Could they be helping us but harming the baby? There are three major drugs that have direct links to Autism: they include a drug used in labor, a preventative drug for seizures, and certain Antidepressants. Terbetuline is a drug commonly used to stop premature labor. Babies exposed to it in the third trimester are 4 times as likely to be diagnosed with Autism. Pregnant women who are given Valporic Acid, a medication for preventing seizures, early in pregnancy during the formation of the neural tube, may be associated with Autism. The study has only been done on rats, but just one dose of the drug, resulted in changes to the brain that mimic those of people diagnosed with Autism. Now, for the Antidepressants. It is a widely held belief that antidepressant used during pregnancy is safe, but according to JAMA Pediatrics, women who take them are 87% more like to have a child with Autism as compared with women who did not. Researchers say that taking antidepressants is still not a proven cause of Autism, but it is correlated with it. Experts say that pregnant women should not stop being treated for depression, but if their symptoms are mild, it might prove beneficial to consider alternative non-drug treatments like psycho-therapy and exercise.
Signs Of Social Difficulties
- Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or whats going on around them.
- Doesnt know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
- Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
- Doesnt play pretend games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
- Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them.
- Doesnt seem to hear when others talk to them.
- Doesnt share interests or achievements with others .
Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.
Brain Development And Autism
The brain develops differently in autistic children compared with typically developing children.
In young children, the brain is developing all the time. Every time a child does something or responds to something, connections in the brain are reinforced and become stronger.
Over time, the connections that arent reinforced disappear theyre pruned away as theyre not needed. This pruning is how the brain makes room for important connections those needed for everyday actions and responses, like walking, talking or understanding emotions.
In autistic children, the brain tends to grow faster than average during early childhood, especially during the first three years of life. The brains of autistic babies appear to have more cells than they need, as well as poor connections between the cells.
Also, pruning doesnt seem to happen as much in autistic children. This means that information might be lost or sent through the wrong connections. The lack of pruning might also explain why the brain seems to be growing faster in autistic children than in typically developing children.
Its not yet clear what causes this difference in brain development.
Large Head Size Is A Red Flag
Recent findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that the brains of children with autism develop differently from an early age. Researchers discovered that most infants who were later diagnosed with autism had small head circumferences at birth but had heads and brains much larger than normal by 6 to 14 months. “Some of them went all the way up to the 90th percentile in just a few months,” says study coauthor Natacha Akshoomoff, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Those who ended up with the most severe form of autism were found to have the most dramatic acceleration of brain growth during infancy.
Pediatricians don’t always measure head circumference at well-baby visits, so it’s wise to request it. However, don’t panic if your baby’s head size is above the norm. Some babies just have big heads. “Rapid head growth is not a way to diagnose autism,” Dr. Akshoomoff points out, “but it means that a child should be watched closely to be sure that she meets speech and behavioral milestones.”
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.
Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.
New Research On Autism And Our Environment
Sex hormones, medications, certain metals such as lead, pesticides, and chemicals used to make plastic hard or pliable have long been suspected of having a role in autism. They have not been proven to cause autism, but these are known to trigger or worsen other health problems, including some that affect the brain. Many studies have shown that chemical exposures during development in the womb can have much more serious health effects than the same exposures would in adults.
A large 2014 study investigated the connection between autism and genital malformations using health insurance claims from almost a third of the U.S. population. Like autism, genital malformations are increasing: cases of undescended testicle increased 200% between 1970 and 1993, and the percentage of boys born with a deformity of the penis known as hypospadia doubled. Many studies have shown that these malformations are more common among children whose mothers have high levels of chemicals that affect the hormones in their bodies, such as phthalates which are found in cleaning products, medicines, and personal care products like shampoos and creams The link between these chemicals and genital malformations has surfaced in other studies, particularly those involving women in professions that require working daily with these chemicals.
Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities
These can include:
- an increase or decrease in sensitivity to specific sensory information from their surroundings, such as a negative reaction to a specific sound
- fixated interests or preoccupations
Autistic people are evaluated within each category, and the intensity of their symptoms is noted.
To receive an autism diagnosis, a person must display all three symptoms in the first category and at least two symptoms in the second category. Get more information on symptoms and how they may manifest in kids.
The exact cause of ASD is unknown. The most current research demonstrates theres no single cause.
Some suspected risk factors for ASD include:
- having an immediate family member whos autistic
- genetic mutations
An ASD diagnosis involves several screenings, genetic tests, and evaluations.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Autism
Although theres currently no cure, studies have found that certain actions can help pregnant women prevent autism. Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological disability that causes significant development delays, especially in social functioning. According to Autism Speaks, one in 45 children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism. New mothers should take preventative steps to increase their chances of delivering a healthy baby. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine found that disparities in brain development begin as early as the second trimester for autistic children. Starting at conception, the following tips can help expectant mothers prevent autism in their growing fetus.
What Are Other Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
A child with ASD may have challenges in communication, social and behavior skills, including:
- Has delayed speech and language skills. Some children with ASD cant speak at all or speak very little. About 40 in 100 children with ASD dont speak at all. Other children with ASD speak well.
- Has trouble talking to other people, starting a conversation and sharing his needs using typical words or motions like pointing. A child with ASD may talk a lot about something he really likes rather than have a conversation with another person.
- Doesnt understand jokes, teasing or sarcasm. Sarcasm means using bitter or teasing words to make fun of someone or something.
- Mixes up pronouns
- Repeats or echoes words or phrases
- Seems unaware when people talk to him, but responds to other sounds
- Talks in a flat, robot-like voice or talks in a sing-song or high-pitched voice
Other challenges or signs
- Is hyperactive or has trouble sitting still or paying attention
- Is impulsive
- Isnt afraid of dangerous things but is very afraid of harmless things
- Is violent
- Has temper tantrums often or hurts himself, like by banging his head or biting himself
- Has different eating or sleeping habits. Some children with ASD may eat just a few foods. Others may want to eat nonfoods, like dirt or rocks. This kind of eating problem is called pica.
- May have a good memory, especially for numbers, letters, songs, TV jingles or a specific topic
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for ASDs. But some children can do well when they get treatment as soon as possible. In addition to early intervention services, children with ASD may need other kinds of treatment, including:
Medicines. While medicines cant cure ASD, certain medicines can help some children with ASD to function better. No two children with ASD are exactly alike, but talk to your childs provider to see if any medicines may help your child.
Early Intervention Services. Early intervention services can help children from birth to 3 years old learn important skills. Services include therapy to help the child talk, walk and interact with others. Visit the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center to find your states contact information for early intervention services
Behavior and communication treatment options and therapies. These include:
Complementary and alternative medicine. To help manage or relieve ASD symptoms, some parents and providers use treatments that are different from what a pediatrician typically recommends. These are called complementary and alternative medicine .
Other CAM treatments have not been studied and may be dangerous. Before starting any treatment, talk to your childs provider.
Early Signs Of Autism In Babies
Learn about the signs and symptoms of autism in babies from 0 to 12 months.
Watching your baby grow is an unforgettable experience. But while every child develops at her own level, failing to reach certain milestones could raise red flags. Some parents recognize signs of autism spectrum disorder when their baby is around 6-12 months and maybe even earlier, says Thomas Frazier, PhD, a clinical psychologist, autism researcher, and chief science officer of Autism Speaks. Here are the early signs of autism in babies, and why prompt diagnosis is key to treating the condition.
What Disorders Are Related To Asd
Certain known genetic disorders are associated with an increased risk for autism, including Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis each of which results from a mutation in a single, but different, gene. Recently, researchers have discovered other genetic mutations in children diagnosed with autism, including some that have not yet been designated as named syndromes. While each of these disorders is rare, in aggregate, they may account for 20 percent or more of all autism cases.
People with ASD also have a higher than average risk of having epilepsy. Children whose language skills regress early in life before age 3 appear to have a risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. About 20 to 30 percent of children with ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood. Additionally, people with both ASD and intellectual disability have the greatest risk of developing seizure disorder.
#1 Prepare Your Child
Before the babys arrival, prepare your child with autism for the changes that are to come. While there are many ways to prepare him, using social stories and watching videos of babies are two great ways.
Use social stories. Social stories are visual, concrete representations of challenging situations. These visual representations of complex ideas help children with autism know what to expect in a given situation. To learn more about creating social stories to help your child check out this great book by Carol Gray who developed this amazing format:
Autism.org has a an excellent explanation of social stories, how to use them and how to create them yourself.
Watch videos. There are many videos available of babies doing what babies do: eating, sleeping and being introduced to a sibling. Try these YouTube videos to get started:
Risk Is Low No Matter The Timing Of Birth But New Insights Could Improve Understanding Of Asd
- A study of more than 3.5 million Nordic children suggests that the risk of autism spectrum disorder may increase slightly for each week a child is born before or after 40 weeks of gestation.
A study of more than 3.5 million Nordic children suggests that the risk of autism spectrum disorder may increase slightly for each week a child is born before or after 40 weeks of gestation. Martina Persson of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine.
The causes of ASD are complex and remain unresolved, but they likely involve both genetic and environmental factors. Some previous research suggests that children born before or after their due dates may have an elevated risk of ASD. However, most of those studies have been limited in scope and have not accounted for sex and birth weight.
To better understand potential links between gestational age and risk of ASD, Persson and colleagues analyzed medical registry data on more than 3.5 million children born in Sweden, Finland, or Norway between 1995 to 2015. Within that cohort, 1.44 percent of the children were diagnosed with ASD, and 4.7 percent were born pre-term — before 37 weeks of gestation.