By Amelia Dalphonse

 

If you pay attention to news about world health, you probably heard the term autism in a variety of contexts. With rising numbers of children and adults receiving the diagnosis comes questions about what the term actually means. If you’re a parent whose child has just received the diagnosis, your questions reach critical importance. You need answers, but many answers out there are confusing.

Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of neurologically diverse characteristics. The condition impacts different people in different ways making it difficult to describe the condition in one cohesive definition. Many individuals with autism experience difficulty with social interactions, struggle with communication and engage in behaviors that are problematic in some contexts. There are currently 2 diagnostic criteria for autism: impaired social interaction and restricted or repetitive interests but how individuals experience these symptoms can be very different.

Please keep in mind while reading this that autism is not a life sentence nor am I implying that autism is something bad. Individuals with autism learn and view the world differently than their peers. Identifying autism early in life can help parents and caregivers learn what they need to know to help their child thrive.

Our society has benefited greatly from contributions made by individuals with autism. Creative individuals like Jerry Seinfeld, Daryl Hannah, Emily Dickinson and Michelangelo are among those with autism. Important inventors and business leaders also qualify for a diagnosis of ASD. Among these leaders are Charles Darwin, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Bill Gates. Where would the world be today without their unique vision and perspective?

Early Signs of Autism

While every individual with autism expresses symptoms differently, early identification of the condition leads to significantly improved outcomes for children who experience serious deficits. Many children can be diagnosed as early as 18 months; however, a diagnosis around the age of 3 is more common.

Anyone who has concerns about the presence of autism symptoms can make a referral for evaluation. It can be difficult for parents to recognize missed developmental milestones, especially in their first child. Often teachers identify that the child is off-track developmentally once the child enters school.

A lack of joint attention may be one of the earliest signs of autism. Joint attention occurs when 2 or more people pay attention to the same item or action at the same time. Young children with autism often fail to achieve this milestone

 

Other early signs include repetitive behaviors such as lining up toys, rigidity around routines, a delay in speech development and/or a disinterest in peers. Young children with ASD often retreat from social situations, yet not all do. Some children may display distress when exposed to too much sensory input and others will seek additional sensory stimulation. Frequent reactions that are out of alignment with the situation may indicate that your child is experiencing these situations in a way that is different from his peers.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you feel your child displays these signs. One or even all of these early signs does not equal a diagnosis. Many different factors contribute to a diagnosis; however, take these early warning signs seriously enough to ask for an assessment.

By Amelia Dalphonse

 

If you pay attention to news about world health, you probably heard the term autism in a variety of contexts. With rising numbers of children and adults receiving the diagnosis comes questions about what the term actually means. If you’re a parent whose child has just received the diagnosis, your questions reach critical importance. You need answers, but many answers out there are confusing.

Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of neurologically diverse characteristics. The condition impacts different people in different ways making it difficult to describe the condition in one cohesive definition. Many individuals with autism experience difficulty with social interactions, struggle with communication and engage in behaviors that are problematic in some contexts. There are currently 2 diagnostic criteria for autism: impaired social interaction and restricted or repetitive interests but how individuals experience these symptoms can be very different.

Please keep in mind while reading this that autism is not a life sentence nor am I implying that autism is something bad. Individuals with autism learn and view the world differently than their peers. Identifying autism early in life can help parents and caregivers learn what they need to know to help their child thrive.

Our society has benefited greatly from contributions made by individuals with autism. Creative individuals like Jerry Seinfeld, Daryl Hannah, Emily Dickinson and Michelangelo are among those with autism. Important inventors and business leaders also qualify for a diagnosis of ASD. Among these leaders are Charles Darwin, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Bill Gates. Where would the world be today without their unique vision and perspective?

Early Signs of Autism

While every individual with autism expresses symptoms differently, early identification of the condition leads to significantly improved outcomes for children who experience serious deficits. Many children can be diagnosed as early as 18 months; however, a diagnosis around the age of 3 is more common.

Anyone who has concerns about the presence of autism symptoms can make a referral for evaluation. It can be difficult for parents to recognize missed developmental milestones, especially in their first child. Often teachers identify that the child is off-track developmentally once the child enters school.

A lack of joint attention may be one of the earliest signs of autism. Joint attention occurs when 2 or more people pay attention to the same item or action at the same time. Young children with autism often fail to achieve this milestone

 

Other early signs include repetitive behaviors such as lining up toys, rigidity around routines, a delay in speech development and/or a disinterest in peers. Young children with ASD often retreat from social situations, yet not all do. Some children may display distress when exposed to too much sensory input and others will seek additional sensory stimulation. Frequent reactions that are out of alignment with the situation may indicate that your child is experiencing these situations in a way that is different from his peers.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you feel your child displays these signs. One or even all of these early signs does not equal a diagnosis. Many different factors contribute to a diagnosis; however, take these early warning signs seriously enough to ask for an assessment.

What is Autism

Identifying and Understanding ASD

By FYLTeam

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