Eye on the Signs – Recognizing AutismChildren who are developing autism spectrum disorder will express a variety of signs. While these behaviours are all part of the condition, it’s important to remember: No two children with ASD will have the same symptoms. The nature of the condition can be vastly different between children. Due to this complexity, here are some of the social, behavioural, and communication difficulties that a child developing ASD may begin to exhibit. Medical professionals are clear; however, some of these alone can simply be a child developing normally, which is a path of many pitfalls by nature. Remember, do not take a single sign of autism as a diagnosis. Instead, use it as a signal to pursue a physician, perhaps if you believe your child is developing ASD.
- Doesn’t acknowledge pain as much as other children.
- Likes to keep within a routine, and have a sense of order in their life. That can cause the child to be very upset if this order is affected.
- Can develop a sensitivity to smells, bright lights, certain textures, and touch.
- Often will use their vision in peculiar ways, such as not looking directly at objects or staring at a spot for a long time.
- Has a habit of rocking, swinging, fiddling with their hands, walking on their toes, or even flapping. These are considered some of the most stereotypical signs that develop in children with ASD.
- Will rarely point at objects, and can often get frustrated when their needs are not met despite not communicating correctly.
- Can have a hard time sharing with other children, especially with objects the child may own. It’s not uncommon for children to struggle with this. However, ASD can cause this learning experience to be prone to massive outbursts.
- Difficulty learning words, most notably past 16 months of age.
- Will not respond to their name, but will still be seen responding to the sounds around them (Such as cars on the street, or the TV.)
- Will often parrot other adults, repeating the exact words they just said with no understanding.
- Has trouble wanting to communicate with others, and will often search out solitude.
- Will not hold a conversation, and attempt to simply drift away or immediately lose interest if someone tries to engage them in one.
- Does not use toys, or other objects, as people in their pretend play.
- Will often mix pronouns up, such as not correctly identifying themselves as “I” and others as “You.”
- Has trouble with eye contact and will often avoid it if they can.
- Will not show concern for things that other children will emotionally respond to quickly. Such as a child getting hurt or a person is yelling around them.
- Isolated, with no effort, or interest, in making friends.
- Will often not use the right facial expressions, and not respond to facial expressions shown to them. Such as a parent smiling, or being upset.
- Will not look at things pointed at, often appearing to ignore what people want them to look at.
- Is unable to understand what others are feeling, or respond to heightened emotion directed at them.
- Will not bring objects of interest (Such as a favourite toy, or nice rock they found) to anybody else to show.
The Development of Autism in ChildrenIt can be difficult for parents to know if the development of their child is normal or beginning to show signs of ASD. With the nature of a child’s development, it’s not always easy to see what is a normal hurdle of development or a sign of something more.
Here we explore what the development of a child with ASD may look like in the early months.
Between 0 – 12 Months of Age
- If the child is developing normally, they will exhibit no problem responding to their name being called.
- A child developing ASD may not respond, and you could begin to have difficulty getting the attention of your newborn.
- Will ignore repeated calls of their name, even if it’s within their line of sight.
Between 12 – 18 Months of Age
- Your child may be behind on their language skills, and not showing an interest in picking up new words and using them.
- Will point and gesture at things, often getting upset, as they do not possess the language skills to communicate their needs.
- May begin to parrot the words on TV or other media, and not pay much attention to delayed speech directed at them.
Between 18 – 24 Months of Age
- At this age, it is normal for children to begin to bring objects to their parents. That is a social skill of sharing, and shared enjoyment, that most children develop at this age.
- A child developing ASD will be reluctant to show anything to their parents, and will often be seen quietly and privately playing with their toys alone.
- If a parent might include themselves in their child’s playtime, the child will not make eye contact and begin to grow upset with an invasion of their play space.