Autism, a neurological developmental disorder, affects 1 in 41 children. The disorder is often identified in children as young as 18 months old but is formally diagnosed when children are 2-3 years old. Many parents report that they are blindsided by the diagnosis. Some, also, mention that they noticed a regression in their child’s ability to speak and interact with others. Regardless, there are early markers that parents can use to determine if they need to have their child evaluated for a diagnosis.
4 signs to help you determine if you should have your child screened for autism:
- Your child has difficulty making eye contact: People with autism often have difficulty making eye contact with others. Autism Speaks reports that those on the spectrum feel more comfortable when they do not have to make eye contact with others when communicating with them. Often times people with autism experience stress when forced to make eye contact with others as it is not a natural behavior for them. If your child noticeably avoids eye contact or appearing to be engaged when people talk to them, it is one possible indicator of getting them screened for autism.
- Your child does not respond to their name: Children with autism have difficulty understanding social conversation cues, like responding to their name. Those with autism do desire to interact with others. However, social interaction does not come naturally to those with autism. A person on the spectrum that does not respond to their name is not displaying poor behavior. Rather, they may not understand the social cues around them to properly engage with others.
- Your child wants to play with the same toys over and over again: Many children prefer a certain toy. It is not uncommon to have a favorite game, toy or way to play with items. Specifically, people with autism experience repetitive and restricted behaviors that are habitual and part of their routine like lining up objects, arranging patterns or fiddling with objects that must be completed as part of their daily routine. It is important to identify when behaviors with toys become necessary for a person’s daily function that is a sign of autism.
- Your child prefers to play independently. One aspect of children on the spectrum is difficulty in understanding how to socially engage with others. Many people with autism are taught how to interact with others because social behaviors do not come naturally to them. If your child prefers to play alone and does not try to interact socially with others, it may be an indicator of autism. It is important to understand that the inability to socially engage with others is not a lack of desire for social interaction. Many children with autism desire social interaction and need help with learning how to appropriately interact with others.
Autism diagnoses have increased by nearly 80% in the last decade. The increase in diagnoses demonstrates that early intervention is key for long-term success for children with autism. These signs will help you identify if your child should determine if your child may need to be screened for autism. While each of these earmarks for autism it is important to have your child professionally screened for autism by a multidisciplinary panel. Not sure on how to go about getting your child screened for autism? Reach out to us and let our team help you get the process started.
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