A lot of time life experience teaches us a lot. I had always read & heard that early intervention really helps a lot when it comes to developmental disability/disorders. I never thought I will ever have a first-hand experience with this, but then no one expects or anticipates such things. When my daughter was diagnosed on ASD Spectrum, diagnosed to have Asperger’s Syndrome, for a moment it made me feel like my whole world has come to an end. A lot of people including my daughter’s development pediatrician wonder how we were able to identify that there is some development issue at such an early age? The answer to this question is PATTERN – A unique yet common pattern in her behavior & speech.
When this reality struck us, I went into denial & wasn’t ready to accept the fact that my child can have it. But then denial doesn’t help anyone, does it? The thing that helped us was Early Recognition of the symptoms & then of-course Early Intervention. So here I am, writing about the symptoms that might help other parents like me identify the early signs of Autism & act early.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a developmental-behavioral disability that causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The children on ASD spectrum communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The child may have normal or even above average intelligence quotient and still have autism.
It is characterized by impairment or lack of social interaction, defects in language development and communication skills, stereotype, restrictive & repetitive patterns of behavior, interest and activities which limits and impairs daily functioning.
Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
There are chances of the child falling on the spectrum if any or all of the following is noticed in terms of development milestones.
- If baby doesn’t babble by the age of 12 months.
- Gestures like waving, pointing, nodding etc are missing by the age of 12 months.
- Can’t speak single words by the age of 16 – 18 months.
- Can’t speak 2-word phrases by the age of 2 years.
- Goes back on language or social skills at any age.
Also, if you notice any, few or all of the following in the behavior of the child at any age, It might indicate that the child is on the spectrum & needs intervention. In these cases, always consult a development pediatrician instead of panicking or coming to a conclusion.
- Repeating pattern in actions over & over again.
- Avoiding eye contact & wanting to be alone.
- No interest in pretend-play games.
- Having troubles adapting to new routines.
- Repeating or echoing words or phrases told to them.
- Not pointing at objects to show interest.
- Not looking at objects when other person points at them.
- Not responding to sounds or other people talking to them.
- Being very interested in people but unable to talk, play or interact with them.
- Having trouble expressing their needs in words.
- Having strong reactions to a sensory stimulus such as sound, smell, taste, feel & look.
- Having trouble relating to people.
P.S. – The aim of this article is not to scare any parent or create a panic in case any or few of these symptoms are present, but to spread awareness to help parents to be able to take a call on time & help the child better.