Children with autism spectrum disorder will crawl, sit and walk on time like other neurotypical babies. Therefore, it might be hard for a parent or guardian to notice something special about their child when they are very young. However, the subtle differences in their body language, speech, facial expressions, and social interactions as they grow are tell-tale signs that your child is different from the rest and requires special care and attention. This article will describe autism spectrum disorder in depth, discuss the symptoms of autism in babies and toddlers and explain the advantages of early intervention.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological condition that affects the brain and how the individual perceives the world and socializes with others. In the past, ASD was categorized as different conditions because it encompassed numerous disorders. However, specialists today appreciate that the spectrum is so vast, and the child could fall anywhere within it. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for autism.
Signs of autism in babies
Here is a list of common signs of autism you should look out for in babies.
- No signs of smiling by the six-month mark.
- Lack of babbling noises, pointing, or other gestures by the time they reach 12 months old.
- Lack of two-word phrases at the 12-month mark.
- Loss of language and social skills.
- Avoiding physical contact with a parent or caregiver.
- Lack of eye contact with others.
- Not noticing when people enter or leave the room.
Signs of autism in toddlers
In this section of the article, we will discuss the communication, social and behavioral signs of autism in toddlers
A child with autism might depict the following difficulties in communication.
- Disinterest in starting or continuing a conversation
- Lack of pretend play
- The child might fail to respond to their name but respond to other sounds
- Mixing up pronouns, for instance, referring to self as you and others as I
- Inability to point at things they want or need
- Language regression by the time they hit 15 months
- Inability to utter single words or two-word phrases
Please note that a problem in communication isn’t always related to autism. The underlying reason behind this problem can be one of the many types of speech sound disorders. So, before you come to the conclusion that your child is autistic, make sure to weigh all the options.
Children on the ASD spectrum struggle to form social bonds and interact with others. Therefore, you might notice the following signs.
- Irresponsiveness to a parent’s smile or other people’s facial expressions.
- Inability to form facial expressions.
- Lacking empathy towards others.
- The child might have a hard time making and keeping friends.
- They won’t point at an object to make you look at it,
- Avoiding eye contact
- Disinterest in bringing objects to you that tickle their fancy.
Behavioral signs of autism may include repetitive and obsessive habits such as the following.
- Flapping their hands, swaying, twirling their fingers, and walking on tiptoes.
- Playing with specific parts of a toy instead of the entire toy.
- Not exhibiting signs of pain or fear.
- Extreme sensitivity or a lack of it to textures, light, smell, and sounds.
- Preference to routines and rituals.
- Looking at objects from an unusual stance or angle.
- An obsession with particular activities that they repeat severally throughout the day.
Instances when signs of autism overlap with other conditions
It is not uncommon to assume another condition with autism because of the similarities in the symptoms. In other extreme cases, some children might have a combination of ASD and other developmental conditions. For instance, you could mistake an isolated speech delay for autism. Limited facial expressions, eye contact, and disinterest in communication are common tell-tale signs of isolated speech delay in toddlers and children. Therefore, healthcare providers ought to determine whether the child is experiencing a social delay so they can rule out ASD. Specialists believe that both genetic and non-genetic factors could result in the development of autism. However, suppose you think your child’s diagnosis was due to prenatal exposure to Tylenol. In that case, you could contact a Tylenol autism lawyer to fight for your rights and help you get compensation.
Advantages of early intervention
Early intervention in infancy and toddlerhood helps the child gain more skills to navigate the life that awaits them. Not waiting too long to diagnose autism will help family members understand the condition and provide the help and care the child needs. However, it is never too late to diagnose autism and start corrective action.
As we conclude this article, we would like to remind you that not all children in the ASD spectrum will exhibit similar symptoms. The severity of their symptoms could also vary from mild to severe, depending on their position on the spectrum. Since you know your child best, we advise you to trust your gut and take them to a specialist if you see fit. We hope this article has helped you recognize the tell-tale signs of autism in babies and toddlers and provided effective early intervention methods.