Autism, ASD, or autism spectrum disorder is among the most common developmental disabilities that affect the nervous system. When a child suffers from ASD, his or her life is affected in various ways. Communication along with social interaction becomes pretty challenging. To help your child and get them early treatment, you need to spot the signs of autism as early as possible.
Signs of ASD
The signs vary from age to age, and not all children show signs of autism in their early stages. Katherine G. Hobbs from the AP Magazine says that the signs of autism in infants can be hard to catch if you are not well informed. This is all the more reasons parents should contact a healthcare provider for thorough screening. A diagnosis can be done as early as when the baby reaches 9 months.
Nonetheless, recognizing the signs of autism can be broken down into several categories that can help you catch possible red flags. As will be discussed below, these include social, communication, and behavioral red flags. On this note, here are some helpful pointers on how to tell if your child is developing Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
1. Social Red Flags:
If you have been around a one-year-old toddler, you know they are playful and love to use simple gestures like claps and waves to express their emotions. But this may not be the case when it comes to a child with ASD. They have a rough time interacting with others or developing friendships. Most will have high sensitivity, which does not allow them to be touched. They prefer hugs and cuddles. Common social issues may include when the child:
- Gives flat facial expressions
- Resists physical contact like handshakes
- Avoids eye contact
- Prefers being on their own
- Does not empathize with others
- Is afraid of talking about their emotions
2. Communication Issues:
Communication happens differently for children with autism. Some have proper communication, while for some, they cannot talk at all. Research indicates that 40% of children with ASD do not talk or have nonverbal autism, while 20%-30% grasp some words from age 12-18 months then they afterward lose them. Some autistic kids tend to be more interested in back-and-forth conversations about what they like, and their facial movements may not match their alterations. To stay on the lookout, some common communication red flags you should know of include:
- Reverse pronouns, e.g., they say “you” instead of “I.”
- Delayed speech and language development
- Echolalia, i.e., repeating words and phrases.
- May not take jokes and teasing kindly.
- They have a robot-like voice.
- They cannot start and end a conversation.
3. Behavioral Differences
These are the manners they are obsessed with and tend to repeat over and over again. They tend to have a repetitive motion in their actions. For instance, an autistic child could repeatedly flap their arms when irritated or when responding to a certain stimulus. Also, a lot of kids with ASD do not respond well to new environments. Some will even have a meltdown when exposed to new environments, no matter how fun or exciting the new place is. They find it difficult to blend in an environment they are not used to because a new environment means they have to change their routines. Being denied their routines cause them severe frustrations, which triggers emotional and even physical responses. To tell if your kid is developing ASD, some behavioral issues to look out for may include:
- Minor transitions upset them
- He/she plays with a specific part of a toy and not the whole toy
- May seem like they feel no pain
- Unusual gazes and stares at certain objects
- Some seem obsessively organized
- Highly sensitive or not sensitive at all to smell, feel, and light
For most children with autism, they develop different rates compared to other children their age. They may have delays in learning, but their other abilities like walking and movements are the same as other children of their age. With all the weaknesses as mentioned earlier, they may have strengths in areas like computer skills and puzzle-solving.
The fact that children grow at different rates, it may be difficult to tell the exact time a child should learn a specific skill. However, there are specific events used to gauge child growth and development. Experts advocate that parents allow their children to spend time with other children as much as possible. As you watch how your kid interacts and behaves around his peers, you could spot differences that may help suggest whether they are autistic or not. If you notice any of the above signs, you will want to get medical help as soon as possible. All the same, the surest way to detect autism is by ensuring your child gets regular medical checkups.