Ad Blocker Detected
Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.
Autism is a spectrum disability, meaning that there are many different ways your child may manifest, or show, signs of autism across a wide spectrum of behaviours. The autistic child experiences disordered brain development that is typically demonstrated through difficulties or differences in intellectual ability, social interaction, nonverbal and verbal communication, and stimming (self-stimulation, such as repetitive movements). Although every autistic child is unique, it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms as early as possible to secure early intervention services to help you and your child live life to the fullest possible.
- Make eye contact. A typically developing baby can return eye contact by six to eight weeks of age. An autistic child may not look at you, or may avoid looking at your eyes.
- Smile at your baby. A non-autistic baby can smile and offer warm and happy expressions by six weeks of age or earlier. An autistic baby may not smile, even to a parent.
- Make faces at your baby. See if they mimic you. An autistic child may not participate in playing copycat.
- Typically developing babies will be able to call you Mama or Dada in return by 12 months of age.
- An autistic toddler may appear disconnected from the world, or deep in thought. A non-autistic toddler will be involving you in their world by pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months of age.
- A typical child engages in parallel play until they are about three years old. When your toddler engages in parallel play, this means they play alongside other children and enjoy their company but do not necessarily engage in cooperative play.Don’t confuse parallel play with an autistic child not being socially engaged.
- If your child loves strawberry ice cream, tell your child that chocolate ice cream is your favourite, and see if they argue or get upset that you do not share the same opinion as them.
- Many autistic people understand this better in theory than in praxis. An autistic girl might understand that you like the color blue, but have no idea that it would upset you if she wandered off to check out the balloons across the street.
- An autistic child experiences many challenges, and may attempt to “bottle up” emotions to please caregivers. Emotions may spiral out of control, and the child can become so frustrated that they engage in self-injury, such as banging their head against a wall or biting themselves.
- Autistic children may experience more pain due to sensory issues, mistreatment, and other problems. They may lash out more often in self-defense.
- A typical baby will be able to share sounds back-and-forth with you like sharing a conversation by nine months of age. An autistic baby may not be verbal at all or may have been verbal but then lost the skill.
- A typical child will be babbling by about 12 months of age.
- An autistic child tends to misplace words in sentence structure or simply repeat others’ phrases or sentences, called parroting or echolalia. They might mix up pronouns, saying “Do you want pancakes?” when they are trying to say that they want pancakes.
- Some autistic children pass over the “kid-speak” phase and have superior language skills. They may learn to speak early, and/or grow large vocabularies. They may converse differently than their peers do.
- If you have a moment of sarcastic frustration and claim, “How wonderful!” when you find your autistic child has used his red marker all over the living room walls, they may think you literally mean their art is wonderful.
- Robotic, singsong, or unusually childish tone of voice (even into teen or adult years)
- Body language that does not seem to match their mood
- Little variation in facial expressions, exaggerated facial expressions, or otherwise unique expressions
- All children partake in some verbal mimicry until the age of three. An autistic child may do this more often, and beyond the age of three
- Some repetitive behaviours are called self-stimulation or “stimming,” meaning that they stimulate the child’s senses. An example of this is if your son wiggles his fingers in front of his eyes to stimulate his vision and amuse himself.
- Try breaking the pattern: rearranging the dolls they are lining up or passing in front of them while they are trying to walk in a circle. An autistic child will be noticeably bothered by you interfering.
- Autistic children may be able to engage in imaginative play with another child, especially if that child takes the lead; however, these children will usually not do it on their own.
- An autistic child may develop a special interest about a topic, and gain an extraordinary depth of knowledge. Examples include cats, baseball statistics, The Wizard of Oz, logic puzzles, and checkers. A child may “light up” or open up when asked about these subjects.
- A child may have one special interest at a time, or a few. They can change as the child learns and grows.
- Routines may have to do with the order of daily tasks, but they may also be verbal (such as asking the same questions repeatedly), have to do with food (only eating foods of a certain color), clothing (only wearing clothes of a specific fabric or color), the location of furniture, and so on.
- Routines can be very comforting for a person with autism. The world can seem unpredictable, confusing, and scary to this person, and a routine can give them some sense of control and stability.
- Autistic children may “overreact” to new sounds (e.g. a sudden loud noise or a vacuum cleaner), textures (e.g. an itchy sweater or sock), et cetera. This is because the particular sense is magnified, so it causes real discomfort or pain.
Method 4 Assessing Autism Across the Ages
- In some children, signs may be noticed in the first one to two years of life.
- Some are not diagnosed until college, when their developmental differences become especially obvious.
- By age three, children are often able to walk stairs, work with simple dexterity toys, and play make-believe.
- By age four, a child can retell their favourite stories, scribble, and follow simple directions.
- By age five, a child can generally draw pictures, talk about their day, wash their hands, and focus on a task.
- Older autistic children and teens may exhibit strict adherence to patterns and rituals, engage passionately in special interests, enjoy things that are not typical of their age group, avoid eye contact, and be highly sensitive to touch.
- Most skills that are lost are still “there” and can be regained.