We believe there are certain things regarding autism that people should be aware of. But before we start, please note that the information shared in this blog regarding the signs of autism is based on observations made while working with autistic children. However, it is important to understand that every child with autism is unique because it is a spectrum.
We hope that as a family, teacher, parent, or caretaker, you will be able to gain knowledge about autism and use it to your benefit while taking care of a child with autism.
Autism, also known as “Autism Spectrum Disorder” or “ASD,” is an umbrella term for a number of neurodevelopment disorders that impair social interaction and communication. It is a chronic condition that is usually identified in early childhood.
The condition the child is dealing with can be broadly described as “autism.”
It is important to keep in mind that every individual is unique and has strengths and limits irrespective of any diagnosis or classification.
People with autism need respect and recognition for their talents and flaws, just like everyone else.
Children with autism have problems understanding social norms, communicating clearly, and adapting to changes. They enjoy repeating actions and following a pattern.
Causes of autism
Though the exact causes of autism are unknown, there are a few things that could be responsible for it, like:
- Environmental aspects such as exposure to air pollution or heavy toxic metals
- Exposure of the mother to specific viruses during pregnancy and after delivery, such as TORCH (toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes and other agents) infections
- Birth conditions that result in low oxygen (hypoxia), premature delivery, or low birth weight
- The parents’ age during conception
- External impacts on a mother’s health
Changes in the signs of autism in different age groups
Age: 6-12 months
- Rarely smiles and imitates sounds and movements made by others during interactions.
- Delayed or infrequent babbling
- Doesn’t make eye contact
- Doesn’t smile back
- Doesn’t reciprocate waves
- doesn’t use gestures to communicate
- Possibly unable to identify some objects
- Unusual postures or other recurring behaviors
- Delays in pushing up, crawling, and other motor milestones.
As a toddler
Signs of autism in toddlers:
- Dislikes interacting with new individuals
- Doesn’t respond to their name
- Unable to identify necessary items
- Using fewer words or remaining silent
- Struggling to ask for help when they need it
- Not pointing to things
- Limited speech sounds/language.
Age: 15-18 months
Signs of autism by the age of 15 to 18 months:
- Finds some tastes, scents, or noises distressing
- Performs repetitive motions, such as flapping of the hands, etc.
- Not responding to name
- Not copying others actions
- Limited language
- Plays with few toys in a repetitive manner
These symptoms can be easier to spot than the previous ones. However, the majority of autistic children are not recognised before the age of two due to missed warning symptoms by families or a lack of awareness.
Age: 2-3 years old
By the age of 2-3 years, most children are able to speak or attempt to imitate the actions of those around them. However, it’s different when it comes to children with autism.
- Avoid making eye contact
- Unable to speak or limited speech
- Struggles to understand simple instructions
- Communicate in little phrases or small words
- Lack of interest in interacting with other children
- Enjoys their own company
- Dislikes any disturbance in their routine
- Inability to express their feelings
- Does not respond to questions properly
Age: 4 years old
- Doesn’t respond when name is called
- Avoid eye contact
- Dislikes social interaction
- Has difficulty in understanding emotions
- Unable to form complete sentences
- Displays repetitive behavior
Age: 5 years old
It’s possible to overlook or misinterpret signs of your toddler’s development. If your child exhibits any of the following signs of autism, you should consult your child’s doctor.
- Displays behaviors such as unusual sadness, rage, or shyness
- Gets distracted easily
- Having trouble focusing on one thing for long periods of time
- Dislikes interacting with and playing with other children
- Incorrect use of grammar when talking, confuses pronouns (he/she, him/her)
- Losing traits or skills that one once possessed
- Not interacting with others
These are some signs of autism in children of different age groups. If you are noticing any such developmental delays in your child, then consulting a child psychologist would be the best decision.
eMbrace has the best child psychologist in India who helps you with the diagnosis of your child’s mental health and finds the best therapy method suitable for them so that they can acquire some developmental skills and live an independent life.