Autism is a complex developmental disorder which appears in infancy and early childhood and causes problems in three major areas of development — social interaction, language and behavior. The three characteristic or defining features of autism include;
Most children with autism show some symptoms of delayed development by 18 months. As a parent, you may find it difficult to believe that your bundle of joy has a problem. But remember that ignoring a problem is not going to make it go away. In autism, early diagnosis and start of treatment at a younger age makes a huge difference. Experts consider that younger your child, the greater is the impact of treatment on symptoms of autism. Hence watching for signs of developmental delay in babies and toddlers is considered important.
Early detection of autism depends on parents
Every child is different and develops at his own pace, but there are certain milestones which they should definitely achieve by a certain age. As a parent you should educate yourself to know what’s normal and what’s not. If you are concerned about your child’s development share your concerns with a doctor immediately. Don’t wait or ignore them. If your doctor does not pay attention to your concerns or finds nothing wrong after an examination----seek a second opinion. Remember that a parent can note the earliest warning signs of autism or developmental delays. Your doctor can help you but your own observations and experience are most important.
Signs and symptoms of autism in babies and toddlers
Detection and start of treatment of autism in infancyis important as it can take advantage of the brain’s remarkable plasticity. The symptoms of autism start between 12 and 18 months and if the signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment can be started early. Some of the early signs of autism in babies and toddlers include;
If your child shows any of the above signs and symptoms seek advice. If your child has developmental delay it does not mean he has autism, it just indicates a heightened risk.
Some delays in infants and toddlers which warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician include;
Some signs of autism in an older child include;
Early detection of autism —ideally by the age of eighteen months—can improve prognosis. It may help to interrupt its development and minimize problems. But just because your child is older don’t lose hope as proper treatment can reduce the impact of autism and your child can learn, grow, and thrive.
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