Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is My Baby Autistic? Tips to Help You Answer This Question

This is the most common question that parents ask whenever they notice odd behaviors from their children. A lot of people assume that if their child fails to talk at the age or 2 or 3, he is autistic. This is a big misconception. There are numerous reasons as to why speech might be delayed in toddlers, and a lot of other reasons why some children are not hitting their milestones, but sadly, autism is one of them. It is comforting to know though, that talking late in toddlers does not automatically mean that your child is autistic.

Autism is a disorder that lasts a lifetime. It is referred to as a developmental disorder because symptoms normally manifest before a child reaches the age of 3 which is a critical period of development. It then causes concerns in the child's development, learning and growth. When a child has autism, the areas that are affected normally concerns delayed skills in the following:

- Sensory - the way a child receives and process information with the use of his senses, namely; the sense of sight, taste, movement, touch, hearing, and taste.

- Cognitive - the manner in which a child learns and thinks.

- Social Interaction - the manner in which a child interacts or relates to others.

- Motor - the manner in which a child moves his body.

- Language - the manner in which a child comprehends and makes use of gestures and words.

Here is a list of concerns observed among toddlers and young children with autism spectrum disorder. This list is derived from a number of sources:

- Does not follow directions given.

- Seems to hear you at times, but is not consistent.

- Does not respond to his name at all times.

- Used to make attempts to talk, but suddenly stops.

- Throws severe tantrums.

- Manifests strange movement patterns like flapping arms, more so when excited.

- Doesn't smile in return.

- Avoids eye contact. The child seems to look past you.

- Normally doesn't cooperate when asked to do daily chores/routines.

- Is hyper most of the time.

- Prefers to play alone.

- Is an extremely picky eater. May only prefer to eat 4 different foods.

- Mimics what he hears instead of using his own words.

- Spends a lot of time putting things in a row, lining things up and gets very distressed when interrupted.

- Has a great attachment to toys or objects.

If your child has these symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean that he/she is autistic. Make time to discuss your child's signs with a healthcare provider. Finally decide if an intensive assessment is needed.

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