Posted By

Know the signs of Autism

October 27, 2018 | 1 Comment

No parent wants to acknowledge that their child has a problem, however with autism, the sooner it is diagnosed and therapy is started, makes a world of difference. Treatment will help the child adjust to various effects and help the child to learn and thrive. The parent is always in the best position to spot the early warning signs.

Monitor your child’s development, developmental delays may be signs of autism in your child. Knowing what his/her cognitive, vital social and emotional milestones would help to detect if there is a problem. Take action if you are worried that there might be a problem. Share your concerns with your child’s doctor if there are concerns. Do not wait to see, if as you may suspect that your child has a problem, the sooner you get him/her diagnosed the better. Always trust your instincts, schedule an appointment so your child gets evaluated.

Early Signs

Your baby or toddler doesn’t:

  • Make eye contact, such as looking at you when being fed or smiling when being smiled at
  • Respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
  • Follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out
  • Point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate
  • Make noises to get your attention
  • Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
  • Imitate your movements and facial expressions
  • Play with other people or share interest and enjoyment
  • Notice or care if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort

Developmental Red Flags

The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s paediatrician:  Know the signs of Autism

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions
  • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
  • By 12 months: Lack of response to name
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk”
  • By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving
  • By 16 months: No spoken words
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating

Signs and symptoms in older children

As children get older, the red flags for autism become more distinct. There are various warning signs and symptoms, but they usually revolve around impaired social skills, speech and language difficulties, non-verbal communication difficulties, and inflexible behaviour.

Signs of social difficulties

  • Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them
  • Doesn’t know how to connect with others, play, or make friends
  • Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled
  • Doesn’t play “pretend” games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways
  • Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them
  • Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to him or her
  • Doesn’t share interests or achievements with others (drawings, toys)
  • Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.

Signs of speech and language difficulties

  • Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch (e.g. ends every sentence as if asking a question)
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it
  • Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words) or refers to him or herself in the third person
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires
  • Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions
  • Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humour, irony, and sarcasm)

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking lat

Signs of nonverbal communication difficulties

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Uses facial expressions that don’t match what he or she is saying
  • Doesn’t pick up on other people’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures
  • Makes very few gestures (such as pointing). May come across as cold or “robot-like.”
  • Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. Maybe especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the child’s attention.
  • Abnormal posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving (e.g., walking exclusively on tiptoe)

Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the “give-and-take” of social interaction very difficult.

Signs of inflexibility

  • Follows a rigid routine (e.g., insists on taking a specific route to school)
  • Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment (e.g., throws a tantrum if the furniture is rearranged or bedtime is at a different time than usual)
  • Unusual attachments to toys or strange objects such as keys, light switches, or rubber bands. Obsessively lines things up or arranges them in a certain order.
  • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols (e.g., memorizing and reciting facts about maps, train schedules, or sports statistics)
  • Spends long periods watching moving objects such as a ceiling fan, or focusing on one specific part of an object such as the wheels of a toy car
  • Repeats the same actions or movements over and over again, such as flapping hands, rocking, or twirling (known as self-stimulatory behaviour, or “stimming”). Some researchers and clinicians believe that these behaviours may soothe children with autism more than stimulate them.
Comment (1)

Victor Iki April 8, 2019 at 5:01 am

I am a licensed Occupational Therapist practicing in Nigeria. I watched your program on national tv and got interested in what you are doing. I commend your good work.

I would like to know how I can collaborate with you on managing these special kids.


Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *