Autism: What You Need to Look For

November 12, 2012

Autism: What You Need to Look For

Autism symptoms are wide and varied but there are certain hallmarks to look for.

It can be very difficult to identify autistic behaviors simply because they vary from one child to another. For that reason, autism symptoms are referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If you have had the chance to interact with more than one autistic child, you can see that their behaviors can be quite different. Some children can appear to be distant, uncommunicative, mentally underdeveloped and isolated while others appear talkative and interactive. This can be difficult to assess in a young child making it difficult to know what to do.

Beyond the varied sets of behavior, each child is unique unto themselves. Many behaviors are not written down so you have no way of knowing whether those behaviors are significant. Depending on exactly where lesions occur in the brain along with any number of genetic complications, the individual may demonstrate different sensory inputs and motor outputs than expected. Again, that’s why this is called autism spectrum disorder. Nevertheless it is still possible to observe symptoms that are relevant so that you can seek help from the proper professional.

The National Institute of Mental Health can Help You

There are lists of indicators stating clearly what to look for by age that have been put out by medical professionals that can guide you. There is a manual put out from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that can get you started. Simply go the NIMH website and click on autism spectrum disorders and read the parents guide. I think you will find this very helpful. However, this is no substitute for proper medical assistance. One of the problems with diagnosing autism symptoms is that it develops at different rates and times. Some children appear to develop normally and then all of a sudden things go awry when they are older. This is easier to diagnose. Others develop symptoms earlier on making it difficult to diagnose. Take a look at the lists below. They have been broken up into two categories: early onset versus late onset autism symptoms. This will give you an idea of what the NIMH site has to offer you. These lists on autism symptoms are by no means exhaustive but I think you will get the idea.

Early Onset Autism Symptoms

  • Infant is not responding to attention such as not grinning when you approach

  • Infant is avoiding eye contact most of the time

  • At the age of one year, infant is not talking and/or pointing to objects

  • At the age of two years, infant is not speaking

  • Infant is not acknowledging their name when spoken to

  • Infant may be lining up objects in a row repeatedly

Late Onset Autism Symptoms

  • Child doesn’t seem to be able to make friends or want to

  • Avoids social interactions in terms of playing

  • Lack of imagination

  • preoccupation with something, could be an object or toy they won’t leave alone

  • Child sticks to some pattern of behavior such that it becomes a ritual and won’t stop

  • Extreme focus

As children develop differently, don’t take it to heart if your child demonstrates any one of the autism symptoms above. You need to see several behaviors done consistently through time. Infants and children often go through phases just as we do as adults but then it passes. Some individuals are naturally neat and orderly and will line up or organize objects. Nothing wrong with that. It is possible that your child may have a hearing or visual impairment that may cause them to ignore inputs. Nevertheless, if you see several of these autism symptoms it is best to get to a medical professional for an examination. Your doctor knows best.

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