Early Signs of Autism in Kids

(Co-Authored by Pinky)

An Indian Mother talks about the journey of her Autistic Child!

Pinky clearly sheds light on the early signs of autism that parents usually ignore in their kids. Check out the full article below.

My son, Palvit, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. I suspected he might have autism because he was behind on some milestones, but it wasn’t until he was 3 that it was medically confirmed. This was due to a lack of awareness and acceptance of the Autism among the family members.

The most difficult thing for any parent is when there is no hope for a better future for their children. “I chose to speak out and help other parents with autistic children learn about what it is like to live with autism and feel hopeful about the future”.

“Autism doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a Parent that never gives up”.

Early signs of autism might be difficult to detect because not every child follows the same way or exhibits the same symptoms. However, it’s more typical for symptoms to become apparent between the ages of 2 and 3. Around 18 months, children’s development toward some milestones appears to stop or regress, which causes the loss of previously mastered abilities like babbling, waving, pointing, or using other social gestures. Some parents may notice symptoms in their child before the first birthday. Some signs of autism are mild and undetectable until the child enters school. Autism frequently coexists with sensory sensitivities, physical conditions including gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, seizures, or sleep disorders, as well as psychological difficulties like anxiety, depression, and attention deficits.

SOME Early Signs of Autism THAT MOST OF THE PARENTS IGNORE:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Speech disability/ disability
  • Difficulty in pointing out things
  • Doesn’t like physical touches like holding or cuddling
  • Doesn’t smile or very less smile or laugh
  • By 12 months they fail to respond to their name when called
  • Can’t follow simple instructions
  • Don’t listen properly- Auditory issues
  • Very obsessed with certain things or order
  • Resist change and cannot follow a routine
  • Repetitive movements – flaps hands, rocks, or spins the body in a circle
  • Has difficulty babbling back and forth
  • Always prefer solitude and don’t mingle with others
  • Cannot show their emotions and understand other’s feelings
  • Use repetitive phrases or words or use monotone
  • Have behavioural problems
  • Have very less food choices and unusual food preferences
other signs of autism:

One of the biggest mistakes parents do when it comes to autism is ignoring the signs. Not all autistic children will be hyperactive, some will be calm and quiet. There are different levels of autism and the treatment or therapy differs for each child as per the level they are in. So, awareness should be made regarding the signs and symptoms of ASD, so that parents can identify it early which makes it easier for diagnosis and treatment.

If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs of autism then consult a doctor for a complete diagnosis. A team of child psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists do screening and evaluations. If you are sure that the child is autistic don’t hesitate to take him/ her to therapy sessions and treatment or think that the symptoms will get better as they grow up. Autism can be diagnosed as early as 8 months, provided you watch closely the behaviour and small changes in their actions.

Also, check Difficulties in learning and writing in kids

Different Levels of Autism:
Levels of Autism Signs and Symptoms
Level 1 – Mild AutismChildren with level 1 ASD have difficulty speaking properly with others. A person with ASD level 1 is normally able to converse and talk in full sentences.  They may try to make friends but are unlikely to succeed. They may also struggle to transition from one activity to another or to try new activities. Furthermore, they may struggle with organization and planning. 
Level 2 -Moderate Autism People with ASD level 2 will have more noticeable difficulties with verbal and social communication than those with ASD level 1. Similarly, they will find it more difficult to adjust their focus or transition from one activity to the next. Level 2 children have relatively narrow interests and engage in repetitive behaviours, making it difficult for them to perform in certain situations.
Level 3 – Severe AutismChildren in this group exhibit many of the same behaviours as those in levels 1 and 2, but to a greater extent. Problems expressing yourself verbally and nonverbally can make it difficult to operate, communicate socially, and adjust to a shift in focus or location. Another sign of level 3 ASD is engaging in repetitive behaviours.
Levels of Autism
DIAGNOSIS:
  • Medical exams like blood tests, hearing test
  • Gathering information about the symptoms that exist, and from when these symptoms started
  • Whether these symptoms are affecting their day-to-day life, or they find it difficult to socialize
  • Family history of ASD
  • It may also involve interviews or questionnaires for family members, teachers and others close to the child to know the causes of autism 
TREATMENT AND THERAPIES:

While there is no cure for ASD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.

  • Medication to treat some symptoms like irritability, aggression, repetitive behaviour, hyperactivity, anxiety and attention problems.
  • Behavioural, psychological, educational, or skill-building therapy to build self-confidence.
  • Speech-language pathologists are therapists who specialize in treating language problems and speech disorders. They are a key part of the autism treatment team.
  • Find an autism support group. Sharing information and experiences can help children with ASD and/or their caregivers learn about treatment options and ASD-related programs.

HEALTHY ASD DIET FOR KIDS:

It is very important to feed kids a nutritious diet from the early years, even more, important if the child is suffering from ASD. Along with the treatment and therapies, a healthy ASD diet for kids including essential nutrients is a must, which may help in reducing the symptoms. Experts say whatever is good for the brain is likely to be good for ASD and speech delay. Below is the list of essential nutrients and foods recommended as a part of a healthy ASD diet.

  • Protein
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Cocoa powder
  • Ashwagandha
  • Brahmi
  • Shankhapushpi

Refer here for the Healthy Diet Plan for Autistic Child

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