When you become a parent, the job comes with many worries and an autism diagnosis is no exception. However, when your children are young it can be difficult to distinguish whether your child is showing signs of autism or not.
There are many signs and symptoms of autism that may lead you to seek a professional diagnosis. So, how do you know if your child has autism? Take a look at some of the most common signs.
There are four different characteristics of autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder often includes:
- social impairments
- cognitive impairments
- difficulty communicating
- repetitive behaviors
The Autism Spectrum
You may have heard people speak about the autism spectrum. The spectrum is a way of diagnosing the severity of a person’s autism. Your child could be anywhere from mildly autistic to severely autistic. Wherever your child lands on the spectrum will determine the type of treatment or therapy he should receive.
Studies have shown that males are four times more likely to develop autism than females. Many parents will find that their children develop well throughout the first 12-24 months of their lives and then begin to regress. This regressive type of autism often includes the loss of social and language skills.
Early Signs of Autism
If you’re worried your child may have autism, it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the early signs. Early signs of autism could lead you to an early diagnosis which can often significantly help young children.
Some early signs include:
- Not responding to their name
- Showing no interest in objects or toys
- Appears to have no imagination or ability to play pretend games
- Refuses to make eye contact
- Prefers to play alone
- Has obsessive interests
- Has difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Has very little speech or repeats the same words
- Minor changes are very upsetting
- Hypersensitivity to their surroundings
- Avoids physical contact and social interaction
- Has little awareness of danger
These signs often develop before others but there are more signs of autism that parents should be aware of. Autism may present itself in many different forms, so try not to compare your own child to other children with autism.
Some parents may notice that their child has unusual interests or behaviors. If you’re around other children of the same age, your child’s behaviors may stand out. You may also notice that your child has a severe phobia or unusual phobia. For instance, some young children with autism develop a fear of walking through doorways.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your child likes to line up certain toys and becomes uneasy when they’re out of order. Children with autism usually like familiarity, so you may watch your child play with the same toys in the same way over and over again.
Your child may show interest in parts of toys, rather than the toy itself. For example, he may show a lot of interest in the wheels on a car. You may find that your child becomes upset if you try to replace or update their toys.
The Personality of a Child with Autism
You may notice differences between your child and children of a similar age. Children with autism are often hyperactive and impulsive. Your child may do things without any caution.
Although you’ll be able to work on your child’s development, you may notice that your child has a short attention span so you’re limited on how long you have each day. Sadly, some children with autism can become aggressive.
You may end up taking the brunt of your child’s tantrum or you may see your child try to self-harm. This can be upsetting for parents and children alike.
Your child may also have certain unusual sleeping and eating habits. Perhaps there are only certain foods that your child will eat or maybe you have to go through a bedtime routine religiously every night.
Screening for Autism
All children will be screened for autism at regular intervals until they’re at least two years old. This will usually happen at 9 months, 18 months and 24 or 30 months. This involves a short test to see if your child is picking up basic skills.
For instance, your child may be viewed to see how well he is speaking, behaving and moving. If there are any delays in development or concerns, your doctor will inform you at the time.
Your doctor may request additional screenings if your child was born pre-term or has a sibling with autism. If required, you may be referred to a developmental pediatrician for further investigation.
Autism Treatment for Children
When it comes to autism, there no such thing as one size fits all. You may be given advice on how to help your autistic child thrive in different environments. It’s important to stick to a schedule that your child is comfortable with and create a safe and secure environment at home.
There are many therapies that can be of benefit to autistic children. Why not visit this link for an idea of the types of therapies available. Other treatments include DTT (Discrete Trial Training) which involves focusing on positive reinforcement and PRT (Pivotal Response Training) which helps motivate the child to learn and communicate.
How Do You Know If Your Child Has Autism?- Using Your Instinct
Parents often develop a sixth sense when it comes to their children. If you have any suspicions that your child has autism and may need help, ask your doctor for additional screening.
How do you know if your child has autism? Often, your instinct is your best friend. Take a look at some great tips on bringing on your child’s development.