As a parent, it is very critical that you check the heath status of your child regularly. Autism in children can be detected as early as 18 months old. However, the condition can still be treated if discovered later in life. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have unique characteristics that differ from other kids. It is very hard to recognize the signs of ASD in infants. Kids with ASD develop a bit differently from others. A wholesome development in children is determined by how they achieve important milestones in life, be it in the physical, social, emotional or behavioral spheres.
In monitoring signs of ASD, it is important to focus on social communication development. Here, you watch certain behaviors such as eye contact, smiling and use of gestures. Most autistic children have problems in areas like communicating verbally and non-verbally, thinking and behaving flexibly and relating with others and the world around them. There are two categories that a parent should be aware of when determining signs of autism. These are social communication and behavioral characteristics.
The behavioral symptoms may include the child getting extremely sensitive to sensory experiences. Such a child gets easily upset by certain sounds, has unusual or repeated body movements like walking on toes, is easily unsettled by drastic changes and likes routines. The child also focuses intently on objects or activities, interacts with toys in an unordinary manner, or is interested in unusual activities.
For social communication, the signs are quite apparent. For instance, a child with autism does not use eye contact to get someone’s attention. The child doesn’t respond to his or her name consistently. Kids with autism can neither make gestures themselves nor point (or hold) objects. They can’t express their desire to possess something. They don’t show interest in other children and hardly engage in pretend play. They don’t like to hold conversations with others. They also find it difficult to understand simple step-by-step instructions. However, these kids love to imitate what they hear from other people or from the television.
It is the responsibility of every parent to spot the signs of autism in their children. You can do this by understanding your children better and observing their behaviors. It is important to get educated about autism so as to distinguish normal behaviors from abnormal ones. First, you should monitor your child’s development. Autism consists of many delayed developments. You should, therefore, be keen to notice if your child is hitting all the key milestones in time. Secondly, you should take action if you notice the signs of autism in your child. You shouldn’t panic if your child is a little late to talk since children develop differently. However, if your child is not hitting key milestones in time, share your concern with the child's doctor. Thirdly, you should trust your instincts. Doctors can miss a red flag or underestimate the problem. If your gut tells you that something is wrong, persist for a quick check-up from your doctor. Lastly, do not adopt a wait and see approach. By waiting, you risk losing valuable time at an age where the child has the best chance of getting well.