Everyday, the word “Autism” is becoming more frequently a household term. With the frequency of Autism on the rise, everyone seems to know someone affected by Autism in some way.
The current research on Autism shows that a well-trained professional can diagnose Autism when a child is around 18-months old. The research further states that it is difficult to diagnose a child before that age.
However, a child with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism who might be talking at a young age and appear more typical, might not get diagnosed until school-aged. The majority of the parents I have interacted with who have young children with Autism say that they could tell something was “different” with their child since he or she was a baby.
With the rising popularity of Autism, more new parents worry about symptoms associated with Autism.
The three main deficit areas for children with Autism include: social skills, communication, and behavior. Below is a summary of challenges young children with Autism typically demonstrate as toddlers.
By this age, your child should be imitating words, using simple gestures (ex: waving ‘bye-bye’), and possibly smiling at people. A child with Autism might have difficulty learning to interact with other people. A child with Autism also might not show an interest in social games like peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake.
Approximately 40 percent of children with Autism do not talk. This is a major challenge for all children with Autism. Kids typically start saying their first words around 12 months. For children with Autism, they either do not develop words, they might only repeat what you say, or for 25-30 percent they might have words and then lose them at around 18 months to 2 years.
For children with higher functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome, they might develop language like typical children; however, they have difficulty using the language as other typically developing children might.
Young children with Autism will also frequently develop unusual behaviors such as repetitive motions. Repetitive motions are actions repeated over and over again. An example of repetitive movement can be arm flapping or rocking side to side. This can also be referred to as “stimming”. Besides the repetitive movement, children with Autism might also thrive on routines. They want an activity or routine repeated the same way every time. If the routine is changed or interrupted a child with Autism might have a breakdown.
Just remember, all children develop differently. This is a general guide, for more diagnostic information; talk with your child’s pediatrician.
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