Autism in Children and the Signs You Should not Ignore

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC identified that 1 in 59 children has autism spectrum disorder or ASD, with boys four times more affected than girls. In the United States, approximately 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities to developmental disabilities, including autism.  

Autism can be diagnosed early at two years old, so it’s crucial to know the signs and never ignore them so you and your family can better prepare. Continue reading below to find out the early signs of autism in children.

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Not Showing Interest

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD refers to a developmental disability causing significant communication and social challenges. One of the behaviors of children with autism is not showing interest. For instance, a child does not point at objects or look at people to show interest but may display unusual reactions to how things look, feel, smell, taste, or sound.

If you suspect that your child has autism or any developmental problem, it is crucial to consult a doctor right away. Early intervention services, like those offered by Direct Focus Solutions, help children learn essential skills as early as birth to 3 years of age. These services include therapy to help your child walk, talk, and interact with other people.

Trouble Relating to Other People

A child with autism may be interested in people but doesn’t know how to talk and relate to them. Autistic children prefer to be alone and have trouble talking about their feelings, as well as understanding the opinions of other people. 

Also, an autistic child usually avoids eye contact and doesn’t want to be cuddled or helped. The child might be responsive to sounds, but unaware when a person talks or catches their attention. Early intervention services can help a child communicate with others, so it is vital to seek professional help if you notice this sign displayed by your child. 

 

Here are the benefits of early intervention services:

  • Perform developmental screening as early as possible to determine delays in developmental milestones and help diagnose ASD for the first treatment.
  • A child can be eligible for early treatment services even if not diagnosed with autism. Children age three years old who are at risk of developing developmental delays can benefit from such services.
  • Early treatment services for particular symptoms, like speech therapy for talking or language delays usually do not need to wait for a formal diagnosis of ASD.

Repeating Actions and Words 

Another characteristic sign of children with ASD includes repeating or echoing words or phrases that you are utter or use in place of a common language. In addition, autistic children cannot express needs and desires using mutual words or actions. Parents will even notice the inability of the child to play “pretend” games, like “feeding” a doll. 

An autistic child may repeat actions several times a day and may lose the skills exhibited earlier, such as the ability to stop saying the words again. That’s why developmental screening should be done early to help diagnose ASD.

Here are the facts about developmental screening:

  • It is a short test to determine if a child is learning necessary skills as you expect according to age, or if they exhibit developmental delays.
  • During the test, the doctor will ask the parents some questions or talk with the child to assess their capacity in learning, speaking, as well as actions and behaviors. Any delay in these areas is a probable sign of a developmental problem.
  • All children, ages nine months and above should undergo developmental screening to evaluate for developmental delays or disabilities.
  • You need additional screening for children who are at a high risk of acquiring developmental problems because of low birth weight, preterm birth, or other reasons.
  • All children at 18 and 24 months should undergo developmental screening specifically for autism during regular doctor visits.
  • You require additional screening if a child has a brother, sister, or other family members with ASD, or if the displayed behaviors are associated with ASD.

Cannot Adapt to Routine Changes

Children and teenagers diagnosed with autism find changes in routines very stressful. A child with ASD needs help to manage routine changes or new situations, such as leaving the house, going to a new place, like a dental clinic, having visitors at home, canceling activities (like not going to the park due to bad weather), and doing this in different times or order (like taking a shower at an unusual time).

Here are some tips to help your autistic child adapt to routine changes:

  • Take transition or switching from one activity to another slowly
  • Get your child ready and familiarize them to a new place before the event or activity
  • Use a timer to let your child know when an action should be over to set their expectations
  • Use words, pictures, or both to describe arriving at the doctor’s office, leaving the house, or having temperature taken, and so on. 

Conclusion

If you observe any of these signs displayed by your child, consult a doctor immediately. Doctors will screen your child for developmental delays and determine risks due to pregnancy issues or other medical conditions that might contribute to the problem, like autism.

Sarah Sabando
 

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