Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be observed in children as young as 6 months. Early intervention is key to the success of a child with ASD; therefore, the earlier ASD can be diagnosed, the better. Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in identifying early signs and pursuing treatment.
While ASD can present in a variety of ways, there are some common symptoms that parents and caregivers can look out for. Here are three areas of interest to consider when looking for signs of autism:
1. Social impairments
– Pay attention to how the child interacts with others. Children with ASD may not respond to their name or make eye contact. They may be uninterested in playing with others, and may not seek comfort from a caregiver, even when upset. In older children, social impairments could include failure to recognize and interpret facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.
2. Communication deficits
– Children with autism may develop communication skills at a slower rate than their peers. This can include delayed speech development. Children with ASD may also have difficultly using speech correctly, including making grammatical errors or struggling to communicate needs.
3. Repetitive behaviors
– Some children with autism are inclined toward routine or repetitive behavior. This can include a variety of forms, including repetitive motor movements or speech sounds. This may also be characterized by issues with interruptions in routines, which may result in tantrums or other problem behaviors. Children with ASD often also have restricted interests, including fixating on items, actions, or topics.
If your child is displaying symptoms of ASD, talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. They can provide additional help and potentially refer you to a developmental specialist for further evaluation.