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What Should I Look For If I Suspect My Child Has Autism?

What Should I Look For If I Suspect My Child Has Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects behavior and communication. Symptoms of autism typically appear in the first two years of life, and early intervention is highly beneficial.  

Knowing the signs to look out for can help you identify whether your child might be on the spectrum and enable you to seek the necessary support and interventions early on. A visit with your child’s pediatrician is the first step if you notice that your child is showing signs of autism. 

A licensed psychologist, child psychiatrist, or developmental pediatrician can perform an evaluation. Once you have an official autism diagnosis, our team here at PediaPlex can help you get started with treatment for your child, such as ABA therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy

Early signs in infants

In infants, the early signs of autism can be subtle, but they usually revolve around developmental milestones, particularly in social interaction and communication. Lack of eye contact is one of the first signs to take note of.

Babies typically start making eye contact at around two months, so an absence of this behavior can be an early indicator. Additionally, if your baby doesn’t smile or show joyful expressions by six months or fails to mimic sounds, facial expressions, or gestures by nine months, these could be early signs of autism.

What to look for in toddlers

As your child grows into a toddler, signs of autism become more prominent and diverse. One key area is communication. If your child has delayed speech development or doesn’t speak at all, it could be a sign of autism. 

Also, observe how your child plays with toys. Limited imaginative play or an unusual focus on parts of objects (like the wheels of a toy car) rather than the whole object is common in toddlers on the autism spectrum.

Another sign is a lack of interest in other children or an inability to engage in social games, like peek-a-boo. Additionally, repetitive movements such as rocking, spinning, or hand-flapping and intense interest in certain topics or objects are usual in autistic children.

Behavioral signs

Children with autism often show distinct behavioral patterns. They might insist on sameness and become highly distressed at slight changes in routine or environment. They may also have unusual responses to sensory inputs – such as indifference to pain or temperature, adverse reactions to specific sounds or textures, or a smell or touching objects.

Social challenges

Social communication and interaction can be challenging for children with autism. They might struggle with understanding or using non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. They may not understand how to play or interact with other children or prefer to be alone. Difficulty sharing interests or achievements and struggles with empathy or understanding others’ feelings can also be signs.

The importance of professional evaluation

If you notice these signs in your child, seek a professional evaluation. PediaPlex provides treatment in one location. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, there’s a wide degree of variation in the way it affects people. 

Some children might have mild symptoms, while others have more severe ones. An evaluation can provide clarity. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a major difference in the life of a child with autism. 

Therapies and educational strategies tailored to each child’s specific needs can help them develop essential social, communication, and behavioral skills, improving their ability to function and thrive.

If you suspect your child has autism, don’t hesitate to consult PediaPlex for a comprehensive evaluation. Early diagnosis and intervention can open doors to effective therapies and support, enabling your child to reach their full potential. Contact one of our offices today to get started. We have locations in Southlake, Fort Worth, and Frisco, Texas.

 

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