Does my child have Autism? Red flag signs for autism in kids
Autism reveals itself through a spectrum of symptoms. The disorder appears in infancy and early childhood, resulting in delays in many basic areas of development, such as learning to talk, play, or interact with others.
The symptoms of autism vary widely. Some children with autism may only have mild impairments, while others may face more obstacles to overcome.
However, every child on this spectrum has problems with the following areas:
Verbal and nonverbal communication
Relation with others and the world around them
Signs of autism in babies and toddlers
If autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed in infancy, treatment can be effective because of young brain’s remarkable plasticity. Although hard to diagnose before two years, symptoms of autism often surface between 12 to 18 months.
Early signs of autism in kids
Indications of autism spectrum disorder include babies and toddler not;
Making eye contact, for eg when being fed or smiling when being smiled at
Responding to his or her name, or to a familiar voice
Following objects visually or following gestures when you point things out
Using other gestures to communicate like pointing or waving
Making noises to get your attention
Demanding or responding to cuddles or not reaching out to be picked up
Imitating movements and facial expressions
Playing with other people and sharing interests and enjoyment
Noticing or caring if you’re hurt or experiencing discomfort
The following delays requires an immediate notice by your child’s pediatrician:
By 6 months: No joyful expressions like big smiles
By 9 months: Still no facial expressions with no sounds and noises
By 12 months: Doesn’t respond to name
By 12 months: No baby talk like babbling
By 12 months: No gestures, like pointing, reaching, or waving
By 16 months: No words spoken yet
By 24 months: No meaningful two word phrases without imitating and repeating
Seems uninterested and unaware of other people and what’s going on around them
Do not know how to connect with others, play, or make friends
Hates to be touched, held, or cuddled
Doesn’t understand feelings or talking about them
Ignores when others talk to him
Doesn’t share interests and achievements with others
Several kids with autism prefer to live isolated and detached from others.
Signs of speech and lingual difficulties
Speaks in an abnormally toned and oddly pitched voice
Repeats words and phrases often without an intention of communication
Rather than answering it, responds to a question by repeating it
Uses language incorrectly with grammatical errors, wrong pronunciation or choice of words
Referring to themselves in the third person
Faces difficulty communicating needs and desires
Can not understand simple directions or statements
Misses undertones of humor, irony, or sarcasm and takes them literally
Start/ begin talking late.
Signs of nonverbal communication problems
Avoids eye contact
Uses facial expressions that doesn’t match what they’re saying
Doesn’t understand other people’s facial expressions, tone of voice, or gestures
Makes very few gestures. May seem cold or robot-like.
Unusual reactions to views, smells, textures, and sounds. Are usually sensitive to loud noises. They can also be unresponsive to people coming or leaving trying to get their attention.
Are clumsy and have abnormal postures, and eccentric ways of moving like walking on tiptoes
Symptoms of inflexibility
Demands a rigid routine e.g. takes a specific route to school
Faces problems adapting to any changes in schedule or environment e.g. hates when the furniture is rearranged or lunch is not at its time
Unusual attachments objects like keys, light switches, keys, or rubber bands. Obsessively arranges things in a certain order.
Obsession with a specific topic of interest, usually involving numbers or symbols like memorizing maps or sports statistics.
Spends hours staring at moving objects like a ceiling fan, or wheels of a toy car
Repeats the same actions or movements like flapping hands, rocking, or twirling.
Common repetitive behaviors like;
Rocking back and forth continuously
Spinning in a circle
Staring at lights
Moving fingers in front of the eyes
Lining up toys
Spinning objects repeatedly
Staring at moving objects
Flicking light switches on and off
Repeating words or noises
How can parents spot the warning signs of Autism?
Being a parent is the best position to spot the earliest warning signs of autism in kids. They know their child better than anyone. They observe behaviors and quirks that a pediatrician might not have the chance to notice. They can be a valuable partner, but your own observations and experience is more important.
Monitor the development of your child. Keep a close eye on whether your child hits the key social, or emotional, and cognitive milestones to spot the problem early on.
If you’re concerned, take action. Every child develops at a different pace, but if your child is not meeting the benchmark for his or her age, this might suspect a problem.
Share your concerns with your child’s doctor immediately. Many concerned parents are asked not to worry, and wait instead. But the truth is, waiting is the worst thing you can do.
Trust your guts, sometimes, even well-meaning doctors overlook red flags and underestimate problems. Listen to your instincts if they’re telling you something, and be persistent about getting your child diagnosed.
Samantha Kindler is a world traveler, with four continents conquered and three remaining. She lives in Hawaii, where she enjoys hiking and has the beach available to her throughout the year. She recently got the opportunity to spend over ten months in Korea and fell in love with their minimalist way of life. She has driven to 49 states with her father, but upon visiting Hawaii, she just wanted to stay.