Categories: HealthParenting

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:

  1. Verbal and nonverbal communication
  2. Relation with others and the world around them
  3. Flexible behaviors

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

13 Early Signs Your Child May Develop Mental Illness

Signs of social complications

  • 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
  • Flapping hands
  • Spinning in a circle
  • Flicking fingers
  • Banging head
  • Staring at lights
  • Moving fingers in front of the eyes
  • Finger Snapping
  • Ear tapping
  • Scratching
  • Lining up toys
  • Spinning objects repeatedly
  • Spinning wheel
  • 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.

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Samantha Kindler

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.

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