Saturday, March 12, 2011

High-Functioning Autism Checklist - Know When It's Time to Talk to a Specialist

Having a child with high-functioning autism can be challenging, however, it can also be a joy if you have the right attitude and if you get your child help while he or she is young enough. That said the same symptoms of high-functioning autism can also be present with other disabilities or conditions, so it can be hard to know when to talk to a specialist about your child. Here are some things to look for, however, it is not perfect and finding out that your child does not have high-functioning autism even if they have some of these things on this list is still possible. In any case it is better to know and have peace of mind either way than it is to wait and find out too late that your child does have high-functioning autism.

1. Does your child have visual perceptual problems? This is one of the main problems with children with high-functioning autism. Yet it can also be one of the hardest to notice. Usually this problem will surface when your child starts school as it manifests itself as a learning disability.

2. Does your child walk on his or her toes rather than with the whole foot? If so, try teaching your child to walk properly and if this does not work, it may be a sign of the disability.

3. Does your child have sensory problems? These can appear in various methods. Some of these include feeling uncomfortable with certain kinds of clothing or materials on the skin such as soap or other cleansing products, freaking out in the dark or in unfamiliar situations, eating or trying to eat things that are not edible etc.

4. Does your child have good eye contact? If not, this is a strong sign that something is wrong. They may look at you or others briefly but then their eyes wonder off in all different directions or they stare at the ground when speaking.

5. Does your child do any kind of stimming? Examples include: turning around in continuous motion for no reason, waving their hands around a lot in excitement, rubbing body parts for extended periods of time, licking their hands and other body parts excessively etc. Usually stimming starts to appear after about age four. So if they are very young, then you would not notice this yet.

6. Does your child seem withdrawn from the real world? or Does he or she have any abnormal social issues or seem like he or she is awkward around people?

7. If your child has already started school, have his or her teachers said anything about your child's behavior?

8. What does your regular doctor think about your child's behavior or development? When speaking with a regular doctor you may need to be blunt and make sure that he or she knows that you want an honest opinion about what he or she really thinks.

9. If you have another child or children, how does this child's behavior compare to that of the other child or children? Is it the same or do you see remarkable differences.

10. Has your child already been diagnosed with another learning disability? In many cases children with high-functioning autism are diagnosed with something else first before the real diagnosis is found.

AnnaLaura Brown was diagnosed herself with high-functioning autism at age 5. Today she is a successful grown woman who works as a librarian and with her own home business. Learn more about what she is doing to help parents of children with special needs at Learn more about her as well on her blog at

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