If your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, you are not alone. Approximately 1 in 54 children are identified on the spectrum.
Receiving a diagnosis for your child can be difficult. When it comes to autism in children, it is important to know what signs and symptoms to look for. Early interventions and therapies can make a big difference in your child’s functioning.
Here is your guide to everything you need to know about childhood autism.
What Is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder is a brain development condition that affects a person’s ability to socially interact and communicate with others. It is typically accompanied by repetitive behavior patterns and fixations on specific activities.
The word “spectrum” is used because the condition has a wide range of symptoms and the severity differs for each individual.
Autism spectrum disorder usually begins in childhood. Symptoms are often noticeable within the first year and become more apparent after age two. Problems with social functioning and lack of communication are the most common signs.
Although there is no cure for this disorder, there are early interventions and intensive treatments that can make daily function easier for children on the spectrum.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Children
Each child with autism spectrum disorder will display common behavioral, social, and communication issues. They will have a distinctive pattern of behavior that varies in the level of severity ranging from low to high functioning.
Some kids have difficulty learning and are calmer in social settings, while others display higher intelligence but have more difficulty in communication and social interaction.
By two years of age, signs and symptoms are usually apparent for children on the spectrum.
Lack of Social Interaction and Communication
Most children on the spectrum will exhibit some kind of problem with communication and difficulty in social settings. Although these symptoms vary in severity, there are frequently experienced symptoms including:
- Inability to respond to their name by age one
- Preference for paying alone
- Lack of eye contact and facial expressions
- Resistance to physical affection like hugging
- Lack of understanding emotions in others or themselves
- Delayed speech or no speech
- Disruptive behavior in social environments
- Cannot follow simple instructions
- Inability to show feeling or emotion
Some symptoms, such as lack of eye contact can start as early as infancy. Other symptoms become more apparent later in childhood such as indifference to caregivers and lack of speech.
For therapies and early interventions, the team at nytpsnyc.com has a variety of services for you and your child.
Repetitive Patterns of Behavior
One of the most common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder is a fixation on certain interests and repetitive behaviors. These are some commonly observable signs and symptoms:
- Repetitive rocking, twirling or jumping
- Pacing, fidgeting, or constantly moving
- Fascination with certain objects with intensity and focus
- Rigid rituals and routines that cannot be changed
- Lack of imagination
- Sensitivity to touch, sound, and light
- Aggression towards others
- Picky during mealtime
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Impulsive actions
- Short attention span
Some children become less symptomatic and show fewer disturbances in behavior as they get older. They can even lead normal, functioning, adult lives. However, teenage years can heighten emotional and behavioral problems.
Final Thoughts on Autism in Children
As a parent, knowing the signs and symptoms of autism in children is an important part of understanding how to be there for your child. Getting help from a professional team can benefit your child’s functioning and give you the support that you need.
If you found this article helpful, keep visiting our blog for more useful parenting information!