What Age Does Autism Usually Show Up
The behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in the childs development. Many children show symptoms of autism between 12 and 18 months of age or earlier, but in others autism may not become obvious until the age of 2 or 3 years. The age of diagnosis, as well as the range and severity of symptoms, can vary widely and so professional evaluation is critical.
This Is A Great Time To Parent A Child With Autism
“I am grateful that we live in the times that we do. So much new information has been discovered about autism. We live in the age of the internet and I can connect with another autism mom who lives several states or even countries over and talk about our shared experiences. I am grateful to have things like iPads that not only help my son communicate but also gives us a chance to share a moment while watching one of his favorite YouTube clips. A tip of my cap to the families that went before us. They really helped pave the way for the benefits my son has now. I hope I can do the same for the ones coming behind us.”
Eileen Shaklee, Wall, New Jersey
Celebrate All Of Your Childs Achievements
I wish I had known that unlike other parents we cant take even the smallest achievement or milestone for granted. When our son started wearing his coat without a fight and expressed that he was cold, when he was able to participate in circle time during music class and when he got up on stage with the other kids at his school show we celebrated.
Steven Grossman, Los Angeles
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Risk Factors For Chances Of Having Another Child With Autism
There are several factors that will raise your chances of having a child with autism. A lot of the data has been studied extensively by;Sven Sandin, statistician and epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
He studied health records of more than 5.7 million children born between 1985 and 2004 in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Western Australia.
The data showed increased chances of having a child with autism if these factors are present:
Less time between births
You are more likely to have a child with autism with 1 year between siblings than 3 years for example
If the mother is over 40years old the chances of having a child with autism rise steeply.
And its not just the mother. Fathers who are over 50 years old increase the chances 66% higher chance due to defects in sperm quality.
There is a link with teenage parents and increased risk of autism. Teenage girls are 18% more likely to have a child with autism than women in their 20s.
Large gap in age of the parents
If there is over 10 years in age gap between the parents there is increased chance of having a child with autism.
Children are least likely to have autism if both parents are in their 20s or 30s at the time of birth.
Early Signs; Is My Child Autistic
It might be challenging for you to spot the early signs of autism in your young ones if you are not an autism expert. Below mentioned are the common red flags for autism, and if your child displays any of these then it is high time for you to get them checked.
1. Speech and language hindrances
If your child is on the spectrum then he might show some communication impairments. He might have delayed speech and language skills. His voice will be robotic, flat and unusual. You will find it absurd how he would keep on repeating same thing over and over again. He would be unable to stay on one topic and would not respond to hand gestures like waving.
2. Difficulty in delivering body language
Your child would perform repetitive behaviors like hand flapping and twirling often. He would develop an extreme sensitivity to touch, light and sound. Your little one will be clumsy and would have trouble walking straight or standing erect. ;He would seldom stretch his arms to be carried or guided to be walked.
3. Difficulty in being flexible and easy going
Your childs aggressive behavior and short attention span will be clear indication that he is suffering from ASD. He would have fussy eating habits and would be adamant to change those. Your child would be impulsive and would be hyper and temperamental. He would prefer to be alone and would reject any emotional affiliation either with you or a random person.
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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.
Doesn’t Respond To Your Call
Your child interacts with you and others and has normal play habits and sensory responses, but doesn’t respond to your voice when they have their back turned away from you. This may occur in children with autism along with many other symptoms that point to autism.
You may notice patterns of behavior such as those that involve a sensory processing disorder or a lasting and intense focus on objects or topics along with a lack of:
- babbling or use of words
- eye contact
If your child is simply not hearing you, there’s a good chance they are either very engaged in play or have some level of hearing loss. If you find that this is an ongoing issue, it is vital to bring up the issue with your child’s health care provider.
There may be no need to worry just yet that your child has autism.
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Dont Worry About What Other People Are Thinking
The most freeing moment of this journey for us was when we stopped worrying about public appearance. Your child needs for you to be 100 percent in tune with them and what they are experiencing, not worried about how you are perceived.
Sarah McKamey, Manchester, Tennesseee
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What To Do If Youre Worried
If your child is developmentally delayed, or if youve observed other red flags for autism, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician right away. In fact, its a good idea to have your child screened by a doctor even if he or she is hitting the developmental milestones on schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as specific screenings for autism at 9, 18, and 30 months of age.
Schedule an autism screening. A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for autism. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms. Your pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your childs behavior.
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Know That Medical Issues Can Be Involved
I wish I had known about the invisible medical issues of autism right from the start. For years, I had no idea that gastrointestinal dysfunction, including constipation, acid reflux, inflammation and pain, could dramatically affect my sons sleep patterns, mood, irritability, aggression, attention, and even communication. Our son had to power through those problems all by himself on a daily basis, and it breaks my heart that we never suspected the cause of many of his struggles.
Janet Lintala, West Virginia
What Should I Do If I Think My Child Might Have Early Signs Of Autism
If your child has exhibited early signs of autism, talk to your pediatrician. He or she can use a standardized screening tool to determine if your child has autism or is at risk.
While there is no cure for autism, early intervention can make a big difference. Behavioral therapies can help kids develop social and language skills, for example, and medications can treat impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.
If you havent spotted any of these symptoms but are still worried your child has autism, try not to let your fears get in the way of enjoying your time with your son. Pay attention to his behavior patterns , and ask questions of your pediatrician. Chances are he’s just fine!
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Explaining Autism To Your Family And Friends
After receiving your childs autism diagnosis, youll likely have new questions every day. One thing that most parents struggle with at first is how to explain autism to their friends and family. Being honest about your childs diagnosis and how it affects him/her is important. The more you educate people in your childs life, the more successful interactions will be.
Give people concrete ideas on how to support your child and interact with him/her. Explain to family and friends how autism affects your child. Give specific examples and explain your childs reactions. To the extent that you are comfortable, provide comprehensive answers to their questions.
People will likely have lots of questions. It is okay to tell people you are still figuring things out. It is fine to say that you do not have all the answers and refer them to a helpful article. These conversations are ongoing ones. Each time you start a new conversation, it will likely get easier.
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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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.
Helping Your Child Thrive
The benefits of speech therapy for children with autism are plentifulthe power of expression rates highly among these. Parents often share sadness at how much their kids struggle with frustration, because they lack the means to express themselves.
Most children experience feelings of being small in a big world, with too little control over their lives. Their way of exercising control over their environment is often by expressing needs, wants, feelings and frustrations. Helping your child to gain speech and language skills will help with feeling more in control, with having a say.;
When starting speech therapy parents need to recognize their power in helping their child with one of lifes most valuable skills. Parents with their unmatched knowledge of their childs strengths, interests and uniqueness are in a premium position to encourage and empower better speech and communication.;
American Psychiatric Association. . Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders .
Brundage, S. B., Whelan, C. J., & Burgess, C. M. . Brief report: treating stuttering in an adult with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43, 483489. .;
Mody, M., & Belliveau, J. W. . Speech and Language Impairments in Autism: Insights from Behavior and Neuroimaging. North American journal of medicine & science, 5, 157161. .
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How Common Is Autism
In 2018 it was determined that every 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. And probability of boys being autistic is four times higher than that of girls. This disorder affects children of all ethnicities and social and economic groups. You may also notice that most autistic children are diagnosed at age of 4 however this disorder can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
Prioritize Independence And Communication
After baseline medical needs are met and you figure out how to deal with the everyday, I recommend that parents pay particular attention to the areas of communication, self-help and socially appropriate skills. A child who has a high academic ability, but poor communication skills, hygiene or a proclivity to hurt others will greatly limit their opportunities.
Nicole Sugrue, Port Washington, New York
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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.
Loss Of Language Or Social Skills
Children with autism may seem unwilling to speak or verbalize even though they used to do so. For example, a baby who used to babble or make nonsense noises might stop as he gets older. Children with autism may also withdraw from social situations even though they used to seem comfortable playing with or around other kids, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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The Research By The Numbers
The team of researchers studied data from Danish national health registries that included three generations and nearly 1.5 million children.
They found that the chance of having ASD for children born to parents who are in their 30s is up to 10 percent higher than parents who are 25 to 29 years old.
The researchers also reported that the chance is 50 percent higher when the parents are in their 40s or 50s.
We observed that children with young maternal grandparents and children with young and old paternal grandparents had higher risk compared with children of grandparents who were 25 to 29 years old at the time of the birth of the parents, Liew said.
He says these findings, however, are unique and require further replications.
Officially The Answer Is No
According to the DSM-5 , the answer is no, it is not possible to grow out of autism.
In other words, says the DSM, autistic symptoms start early and continue throughout life, though adults may be able to “mask” their symptomsat least in some situations. But according to the DSM, it is impossible to “grow out” of autism.;In fact, if a person with an autism diagnosis does appear to completely outgrow their early symptoms, they were not properly diagnosed.
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Be Grateful For The Strong Connection You And Your Child Will Forge
In reflecting over the last 24 years of our journey, I will say this: My son gives me 100 kisses and hugs every day, he is always happy to see me and he will always be with me. He doesnt lie and he doesnt judge. He is welcoming to anyone that wants to enter his world. On the other hand, my father sees me about twice a year since we live 1,000 miles apart. So which dad is better off? Its not better or worse, its just different. Once you understand that, your road will be smoother.
Scott Sanes, Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Which Children Are Most Likely To Radically Improve
Every now and then, a child with relatively severe symptoms improves to the point where he or she is able to function effectively over time in a typical school setting. But this is rare. While inclusion may be appropriate for a period of time, most children with severe or even moderate autism find it difficult or impossible to manage increasingly complex demands in the areas of social communication, executive functioning, and abstract reasoning.
The reality is that the children who are most likely to radically improve are those whose symptoms are already relatively mild and do not include issues such as seizures, speech delay, learning disabilities, or severe anxiety. In general, therefore, the children most likely to apparently “defeat” autism are those with normal or above normal IQ’s, spoken language skills, and other existing strengths.;
It’s important to note, though, that leaving behind an autism spectrum diagnosis isn’t the same thing as becoming “normal.” Even very high functioning children who appear to “outgrow” their autism diagnosis still struggle with a variety of issues. They are still likely to have sensory challenges, social communication difficulties, anxiety, and other challenges, and may well wind up with diagnoses such as ADHD, OCD, social anxiety, or the relatively new Social Communication Disorder.
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