Autism is a developmental disorder present at birth. But while most babies with autism act as normal as the kids their age, at some point, they will show developmental delays and seem to fall behind other kids. Autism is usually diagnosed at age three. But the earlier it is detected, the better it can be treated. So if you are a parent, it is important for you to know the signs and symptoms of autism and detect the disorder as early as you can. Here are some of the signs.
- Has no social interaction. A child with autism looks as if he has a world of his own. He doesn’t respond to sound, his name, or cooing. He also doesn’t play with others, smile, wave goodbye, imitate facial expressions, or babble to get people’s attention. A child with autism seems to hold no interest in people. In fact, when a child around him cries, he is left undisturbed and doesn’t join in the whimpering like most children do.
- Has no eye contact. A child with autism avoids and doesn’t make eye contact. Unlike other babies, he is also not visually following objects.
- Has delayed communication skill. He may learn a few words, but at a certain time, he will have difficulty picking up a new word, will lose the words he has learned, or will stop speaking altogether. A child with autism also has strange speech patterns and experiences difficulty comprehending language. His non-verbal communication skill is also affected. He doesn’t point to things or wave and finds difficulty expressing himself. And when he learns to speak again, a child with autism is either monotonous or sing-songy.
- Likes routine. A child with autism displays a repetitive behavior. For instance, he wants to do the same things again and again and will be disoriented if a slight change is made in his routine. He is also very particular with things and organizes them in a particular way. There is also one word that he likes to say repeatedly even without knowing its meaning. A child with autism does repeated movements like hand-flapping and rocking.
- Does not engage in a pretend-game. Most children mimic other’s movements, tones, or expressions. A child with autism, however, doesn’t. He is more likely content on his own. He also doesn’t respond when is being talked to, appearing as if he can’t hear.
Finding any of these signs in your child cannot conclusively indicate he has autism. In fact, a child with autism may not demonstrate all these signs. But it is better to be sure. So if you notice any of these signs in your child, immediately talk to your pediatrician to do a screening test. If the test results indicate that your child is indeed has autism, you will be referred to a specialist. Your child then will undergo certain therapies to correct the developmental delays. A child with autism can live a normal life, and the quicker you do an intervention, the greater his chances of living normally are.