5 Warning Signs of Autism - Does your child show any of these?
In 2018, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a neurodevelopmental disorder that presents with impairments in language, communication, cognition, emotional expression & socialisation and seemingly meaningless repetitive behaviours. Autism is understood today as a spectrum disorder, iand may differ from child to child. Some children may showcase mild symptoms, while others might display severe Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms and signs.
More often than not, parents are not able to identify the warning signs, nor are they aware of what the diagnosis could be. With the need to educate and spread awareness, parents and caregivers are slowly seeking intervention for their children and catching all the necessary warning signs of Autism, at the developmental stage itself.
Here are five Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms that parents should be aware of:
When the child does not respond to their name:
Young children and toddlers who are unresponsive to their names, especially at the critical developmental stage, are most likely to have a developmental disorder. Studies show that children usually respond to their names even by the time they are seven months old. However, in the case of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, they do not respond to their names unless they are guided in a language they understand. While this can be challenging for parents and caregivers, it takes time and a lot of repetitive exercises to make the child understand his/her name.
When the child finds it challenging to understand feelings or emotions:
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder do not show their feelings or emotions the way most children do. However, that does not indicate that they lack empathy, only that they experience feelings differently from most other people. Keep an eye on your child and see if he/she smiles often or smiles at all. Even when they cry, note down what makes them cry or if they appear disturbed when they see another baby cry. With social-communication difficulties, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder find it challenging to recognise facial and tonal emotions. Even basic emotions, being happy, sad, angry, scared etc., are difficult for them to gauge, something which persists even when they grow into adolescence or adulthood.
When the child is unable to be imaginative with toys and games:
Children love to play games, often engaging in ‘pretend play’ with their dolls or toys. Children with Autism seldom participate in this imaginative form of playing. Autistic children may also not demonstrate communication and social skills while playing. Signs of this developmental disorder include delayed reactions and behavioural problems such as repetitive and perhaps meaningless play.
When your child showcases little to no shared/joint attention:
Children, when looking at a vibrant object, tend to get excited, and through their actions, try to communicate with their parent or caregiver. When a child looks at a balloon, for instance, the child would actively look or point at the object, alerting their parent or caregiver to look at the object too. This is an indication of early language skills. However, autistic children fail to initiate communicative gazes or seek shared or joint attention, or do so infrequently. Children with Autism may thus also fail to create opportunities for social learning, particularly when they reach that critical developmental stage.
When your child does not imitate your expressions or behaviour:
Children at the developmental stage tend to mirror their parents’ or caregiver’s expressions and behaviours. They could repeat an oft used phrase or hold objects the way their parents or caregivers do. However, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder do not mimic behaviour or expressions. For example, when everybody around them claps or waves, autistic children tend to show little or no reaction. While they can mirror words or passages, referred to as Echolalia, mirroring expressions is not common among autistic children. Parents and caregivers tend to find it challenging to understand what their child could be feeling, even when the child feels petrified or sad.
Studies show that the best way to manage Autism is to detect it early and seek early intervention. At Buddhi Clinic we take a scientific approach to the diagnosis of Autism in children and adolescents and provide a range of solutions as an integrated care program: from psychological therapy, neurodevelopmental therapy and neuromodulation to Ayurveda, Naturopathy, & Yoga, offering a ray of hope to the client and their family.