Autism Symptoms in Children
Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that develops in childhood and may eventually cause behavioral, social and communication problems. Often, children with autism show symptoms before their first birthday. Others hit most or all of their developmental milestones and then begin regressing around age 2, when they may lose much of the progress they’d previously achieved. Some people with milder forms of autism do not receive a diagnosis until adulthood.
Signs of Autism
Our modern understanding of autism is that it is a spectrum. Some children with autism spectrum disorder struggle to process new information, and exhibit signs of learning disabilities. Other children are fast learners, but find it challenging to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.
Autism often co-occurs with other issues, like ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety and depression. The disorder’s symptoms and severity manifest differently in everyone, but may cause children to exhibit signs like these.
- Delayed speech, or losing the ability to speak
- Preferring solitude over playing with other children
- Difficulties establishing or maintaining eye contact
- Trouble interpreting other people’s nonverbal cues such as facial expressions or tone of voice
- Heightened sensitivity to sensory input like light, sounds, touch or textures
- Repetitive movements, including rocking, hand-flapping and spinning
- Ability to fixate on an object or activity with extreme intensity or focus
- Speaking with an abnormal tone or rhythm, such as using a singsong or monotone voice
- Discoordination, clumsiness or unusual movement patterns
- Inappropriate responses to social interactions
- Unwillingness to express emotions or inability to recognize other people’s feelings
Are You Born With Autism?
After learning their child is on the autism spectrum, many parents wonder what causes autism. First, it’s essential to realize that autism is not an illness or a condition in need of a cure. Instead, it’s a difference in brain function. Compared with neurotypical people, those on the autism spectrum experience the world differently. However, that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of living happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Many misconceptions and controversies surround autism, including that it is due to poor parenting, early childhood vaccines or malnutrition. However, all these myths have been comprehensively debunked. The most significant predictors of whether a child will develop autism are genetics and environment. Since autism spectrum disorder tends to run in families, some adults only discover they are autistic after their children get diagnosed.
How to Receive an Autism Diagnosis for Your Child
Because each child develops at a different rate and autism symptoms are so diverse, this disorder can be challenging to identify. However, babies on the autism spectrum usually display some developmental delays or impairments before their second birthday.
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, make an appointment with your family’s pediatrician or a licensed clinical psychologist. They may recommend various developmental tests to determine whether your child has delays in social, cognitive or language skills. A doctor experienced in diagnosing autism and other developmental disorders can also refer you to specific therapies that can improve your and your child’s quality of life.
Though children do not outgrow autism, early intervention and treatment can help your child learn to function and relate better to the world around them. At Pine Grove, we provide support and care for people on the autism spectrum. To learn more about what we offer, reach out to us today.