Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are terms that have become more prevalent in recent years as research and understanding of this condition improve. This increased focus may also raise your concerns as a parent wondering whether your child may be affected. Recent studies show that 1 in 68 children have ASD. Although it tends to be more prevalent in boys, it does affect girls as well.
What is Autism?
Autism is known as a neurodevelopmental disorder because it affects brain development. It is viewed as a spectrum because the effects can range from mild to profound. Autism affects cognitive ability, communication, socialization, behavior and more. Signs of autism may appear at a very young age, becoming more noticeable as your child gets older.
Recognizing Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
It is important to remember that every child is different and develops at their own pace. Familiarizing yourself with common developmental milestones can help you track your child’s progress and alert you to any concerns. Here are few common signs of autism to be aware of:
- Delayed speaking
- Repeating the same words or phrases in repetition (echolalia)
- Avoiding eye contact or physical contact
- Showing little interest in toys or activities; does not play pretend
- Not engaging in back-and-forth interactions whether verbal or non-verbal
- Highly sensitive to their surroundings – be it touch, taste, smell, sounds, or sights
- Preferring to be alone rather than interacting with others
- Lack of facial expressions or expressions that do not match the situation
- Engages in self-stimulating activities such as rocking back and forth, wiggling their fingers in front of their eyes, or flapping their arms
These are a few of the signs that may indicate ASD in younger children. Remember, just because your child has one or more symptoms does not necessarily mean they have autism. If you are concerned about their development or behavior, contact PediaPlex about diagnostic testing and evaluation, as well as treatment options.
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