Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system, resulting in challenges with cognitive, emotional, social and physical health.
An autistic child faces challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors and speech
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition caused by brain abnormalities. Science till date doesn’t know the exact causes these differences for most people with ASD. There are multiple causes of ASD, although most are not yet known but it’s been known to be an interplay of some genetic and environmental factors.
Children with autism spectrum disorders may speak, interact, behave, and learn differently than their peers who are typically developing. An experienced expert can diagnose autism spectrum disorders using a detailed developmental history and behavioral observation. Early detection and high-quality, intense interventions have positive long-term neurodevelopmental results, according to scientific evidence. As a result, it’s critical to be aware of red flags in a child’s development and to recognize early warning indications.
The following are some red flags that parents should look for in their child and seek expert advice if they see them:
By 6 months of age, there are few or no huge smiles or other warm, pleasant, and engaging expressions.
By 9 months, there had been no back-and-forth exchange of noises and facial expressions.
By the age of 1 year, they have no or a poor response to their name.
By 14 months, doesn’t point at objects to demonstrate interest (the point at an aeroplane flying over)
By 18 months, there is no pretend play or make-believe activities (pretend to “feed” a doll)
Prefers to be alone and avoids eye contact.
Preoccupied in self or an object
Have difficulty comprehending other people’s sentiments or discussing their own experiences
At the age of two, there are few or no meaningful two-word phrases.
Delay in speech and language skills
Loss of previously learned speech, babble, or social abilities
Over and over, say words or phrases (echolalia)
Give answers to questions that have nothing to do with each other.
Get upset by minor changes
Have obsessive interests
Continuously flapping their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
Have strange reactions to objects that sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
If you see any of the above warning flags in your child’s development, get him or her screened by your doctor. A simple M-chat, (Modified checklist for autism in Toddlers) freely available online can be used by parents for self-screening of autism between 16 to 24 months of age.
Accepting the diagnosis is the first step in parenting a kid with autism spectrum disorder. Treating them as any other child and not separating them from other children can make life easier for you. Early and intense intervention, as well as studying how your kid learns, can play a critical influence in the kid’s long-term development. While teaching your child to celebrate minor victories, encourage the kid and use plenty of positive rewards, stick to routines, teach self-help and life skills, and finally, take time for self-care and enjoyment, as well as exercise for better health. Because autism is not a choice, but acceptance is, a driven autism parent does better.
(Dr. Himani Narula is a Developmental Pediatrician and Co-Founder of Continua Kids)
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