How to Detect Autism Early On
Every parent wants what’s best for their child. As we watch them grow, it is an incredible experience to share in the joys of their growth and learning. But what happens when that growth doesn’t take place, or even regresses?
Autism is a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. It causes delays in many basic areas of development, such as learning to talk, play, and socialize. The signs and symptoms of autism vary greatly. While there are many different opinions about what causes autism and how to treat it, everyone can agree that early and intensive intervention makes a huge difference.
Some of the signs to look out for in your baby or toddler include:
- No eye contact, particularly during nursing or feeding
- Doesn’t smile when smiled at
- No response to their name being called
- No response to familiar voices
- Unable to visually follow objects
- Doesn’t use gestures to communicate, like waving goodbye or pointing at things
- Doesn’t respond to cuddling
- Doesn’t respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
- Doesn’t imitate your movements or facial expressions
- Never reaches up to you to be picked up
- Will not play with other children or show interest in them
If any of these sound familiar, don’t panic just yet. You’ll first want to keep track of your child’s development. Some children are slower to hit milestones than others but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are autistic. You’re the parent. You see your child every day and know how he is. While there is a wide range of what is considered normal, you’ll be the first one to notice if something seems off.
And if it is, by all means, act upon it if you’re concerned. Share with your child’s pediatrician your observations and have your child evaluated by an expert. When it comes to autism, you shouldn’t wait too long to address your worries. You risk losing valuable time when your child is at the age that has the best chance for improvement.
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can work wonders using the brain’s incredible flexibility. Symptoms of autism often appear between 12 and 18 months, and if they’re detected properly by the age of 18 months, intense treatment can help to reverse the symptoms.
The earliest signs of autism aren’t abnormal behaviors. They involve the lack of normal behaviors. Knowing what to look out for can make all the difference in helping your baby work through the symptoms of autism. If your baby seems too quiet and not very responsive, it might not be that he’s a good baby…it might be that he’s autistic and in need of treatment.