Signs That Your Child Might Have Autism
1 out of every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the US.
How do you know if you should seek out a diagnosis or additional help?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) “is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences” (Autism Speaks, 2017)
This broad range of challenges is indicative of why the diagnosis is on a spectrum. Every child experiences the world around them differently. With every child being unique, how do I know if my child is showing early signs?
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically demonstrate some important indicators around 18 months to three years of age. Here are signs to look for:
- Your child is not reaching the typical developmental milestones such as no babbling by 1 year of age or not saying any words by 16 months of age. For a reference sheet of developmental milestones, read more here.
- A lack of engagement in social interaction, whether it be between mom and baby or peers at the park. Your children should be able to enjoy a fun game of peek-a-boo by the end of year one and smile at mom or dad when they are present. In addition, by the age of two, children show interest in peers and want to play together, or alongside in the same game, instead of alone.
- Engaging in “odd’ repetitive play behaviors. These behaviors are referred to as stimming and can include waving items in front of the face, lining up toys which are not intended to be played with in that manner, or hand flapping.
- Your child seems to be developing at the typical rate, but then regresses. For example, the child engages in clapping at least 3 times a day, but now the child won’t clap, even if asked or told to do so. This regression could also include language. For example, the child was engaging in approximations for words like “mamama” for mom or “ball” when seeing a ball, but now the language has not been observed nor have new words been created by the child.
Recognizing these signs of ASD is the first step to seeking help!
Although some children experience several of the delays, some only demonstrate one. If any of the above behaviors are observed by your child, professionals recommend seeking out a diagnosis by your Pediatrician, Neurologist, or Psychologist in order for your child to receive the additional care and attention needed for them to have the most successful, independent, and happiest life possible.