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Early detection for autism can significantly impact your child's life

Daniel Cross Pediatric Physical Therapist A Step Ahead Pediatric Therapy
Early detection for autism can significantly impact your child's life

As a parent, you never want to think that your child may have a problem. When dealing with autism spectrum disorders, early detection makes a huge difference in treatment. The younger the child, the greater the impact treatment can have. Treatment can reduce the disorder’s effects and help your child to learn and thrive.


Do

Do notice how your child engages with you

If your child does not engage you with consistent eye contact or appears to be in their “own world” more often than not, then it would be good to speak with your pediatrician. Children as early as 3-6 months old can consistently choose their parents face out of a crowd. If your child does not respond to your voice or touch in a familiar way it should be investigated.

Do figure out your child’s vocabulary

If your child does not use 300 plus words by 2, then it could be a good sign that they have some sort of developmental disorder. Children start mimicking words and phrases at or around 18 months, so if you are not hearing true conversation by 24-30 months talk to a professional.

Do notice if your child is obsessed with a certain toy

Children have their favorite toys, but children with Asperger's have an obsession with a certain type of toy and they will choose that toy over all the other toys. Also, when they do have it, they tend to withdraw while they play with it. This is another good sign that you and your child may need to follow up with a pediatrician.

Do watch how your child is developing

Keep an eye on your child to see if they have a skill and then lose it for no reason; for example if your child starts talking then stops. A child’s development is always moving forward, they may use one skill less as they are learning another, but as they master that skill, the rest should return to their previous levels. Though if your child seems to lose a skill, it could be a good sign that they have Asperger’s.

Do watch for what types of stimuli affects your child

All children can be sensitive to different situations, but children on the autism spectrum can be at the extremes by seeking or avoiding situations that impact their daily routine. If your child seeks or avoids different stimuli lights, sounds, or textures, contact your pediatrician and tell them which types of stimuli your child is drawn to or avoids.


Don't

Do not worry if your child is continually reaching their milestones

If your child continues to reach their milestones, it is a good sign that you shouldn’t be concerned. We all progress at different rates, some children walk earlier than others, some talk earlier, but we all continue to gain skills and learn.

Do not worry if your child acts out occasionally

Even though your child may act out during certain situations in a negative way, if it is normal child behaviour, you shouldn’t worry. A child may react in a negative way at certain times but if it the behavior is isolated, infrequent, and does not impact their daily routine it is usually not a worry.

Do not worry if your child becomes disinterested for a week or two

If your child becomes disinterested for a week or two, you shouldn’t worry. Like adults, children act differently toward different people, toys, and situations. If your child acts out of what is normal but comes back to their baseline, it is OK.

Do not be concerned if your child is clumsy

As children grow, especially in their first growth spurt, they become very uncoordinated, but as they learn their body this should improve as they get older. Being overly clumsy is just your child growing into their new body.

Do not worry if your child is shy

If your child is only shy in new situations or around new people, this is normal. As their comfort level increases, so should their involvement. It is best to encourage your child to open up to new situations and people, but most children are shy at first.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

The best policy is to be open with your pediatrician. No question is a silly question. When it comes to your child’s health and wellness, being a little over-cautious is a good thing. If you find that your child is showing these symptoms, call your doctor and schedule a screening. If your child is diagnosed with autism or an autism spectrum disorder, don’t lose hope. Search out your local treatment options and find a local support group of other families with autistic children.


More expert advice about Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Photo Credits: Small child runs on Morro Strand by Flickr: mikebaird; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Daniel CrossPediatric Physical Therapist

A recognized leader in pediatric rehabilitation, Daniel Cross delivers a positive, therapeutic experience through expertise, flexibility and patient centered care at A Step Ahead Pediatric Therapy. As president and managing therapist at A Step A...

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