A diagnosis of Autism isn’t a negative thing, with most people who have the condition leading full and fulfilling lives as functioning members of society. A diagnosis means that a person with Autism is better able to access the support they require to navigate society and understand how they fit in. The younger that a diagnosis is made, the earlier supports can be put in place, thus making life easier in the long term. There are signs that children may display from a young age that you can look out for.
Loss Of Acquired Speech Or Lack Of Speech Development
Concerns regarding speech are often one of the first things that can signal potential Autism. A young child may appear to be developing normal speech in the first couple of years and then regress. Or speech may not develop as expected with significant delays and lack of understanding.
Inability To Understand Other People’s Feelings
Toddlers and preschoolers view the world from the perspective that they’re the center of the universe, and everything revolves around them. But they do learn from this young age to show empathy to others and react to emotions such as happiness and sadness. A young child with Autism may not develop this understanding. Between 16 to 30 month old test for Autism can help you understand if Autism is the cause or if there is potentially something else at play.
Unusual Reactions To Sensory Stimuli Such As Sound, Light, Taste, And Smell
While we all have things we don’t like, such as a particular food or unpleasant smell, a child with Autism may display unusually intense reactions to sensory stimuli. A loud sound or taste they don’t like might result in a full-blown meltdown rather than putting hands over ears or spitting food out. They may also have a restricted diet due to these strong reactions, more so than an average fussy eater.
Preference For Solitude
Tiny children naturally play alone, alongside other children, only learning to play with others as they approach three years old. However, it becomes concerning when a child prefers to play alone away from others all the time.
As a child’s interests develop, an autistic child may develop repetitive habits and obsessions in a narrow field of interest. These behaviors can include repetitive body movements such as flapping hands, rocking, or walking on tiptoe a lot. Or it can involve playing with toys in an atypical manner, such as opening and closing a door repeatedly on a car but not pushing the car around as expected.
If your child displays any of these signs from a very young age, talk to your Primary Care Physician about your concerns and get them on the diagnosis pathway. These behaviors will likely continue into later childhood and adulthood in some form. By embracing your child and their needs and putting suitable supports in place as early as possible, you’re setting them up for the best life they can have.
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