I attending a workshop on Autism. It was a very well done presentation by the mom of a little girl who has autism. She told her story, how she found out, the process of evaluation and assessment, and the struggles that come with raising a child with autism. At the end, she gave tips on how to help families. Something that stood out to me was recognizing the early signs.
Autism is treatable.
Early intervention is critical.
Know the warning signs of autism in young children.
Warning Signs of Autism in Early Childhood
Parents should ask their child’s family doctor for referral to a developmental pediatrician for assessment if there are concerns with any of the following:
• No babbling by 11 months of age
• No simple gestures by 12 months (e.g., waving bye-bye)
• No single words by 16 months
• No 2-word phrases by 24 months (noun + verb – e.g., “baby sleeping”)
• No response when name is called, causing concern about hearing
• Loss of any language or social skills at any age
• Odd or repetitive ways of moving fingers or hands
• Oversensitive to certain textures, sounds or lights
• Lack of interest in toys, or plays with them in an unusual way (e.g., lining up, spinning, opening/closing parts rather than using the toy as a whole)
• Compulsions or rituals (has to perform activities in a special way or certain sequence; is prone to tantrums if rituals are interrupted)
• Preoccupations with unusual interests, such as light switches, doors, fans, wheels
• Unusual fears
• Rarely makes eye contact when interacting with people
• Does not play peek-a-boo
• Doesn’t point to show things he/she is interested in
• Rarely smiles socially
• More interested in looking at objects than at people’s faces
• Prefers to play alone
• Doesn’t make attempts to get parent’s attention; doesn't follow/look when someone is pointing at something
• Seems to be “in his/her own world”
• Doesn’t respond to parent’s attempts to play, even if relaxed
• Avoids or ignores other children when they approach