Autism is a developmental disorder that affects physical, social and language skills. Most kids are diagnosed between the ages of 18 months and 5 years of age. However some are being diagnosed earlier due to inappropriate behaviors or the child’s failure to reach developmental milestones. Because Autism is a spectrum disorder the signs and symptoms may affect individuals differently. AUTISM affects 1 in 150 children and is 4 times more likely to effect boys than girls. It is more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. If you feel your child might suffer from autism you should contact your physician immediately. See the checklist below for signs and symptoms. Early intervention is key to your child success.
- Limited interest in activities or appropriate play. (Might like to watch the wheels of a car go round and round instead of rolling it across the floor.)
- Displays Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or the need for routine.
- Physical symptoms might include STIMMING. Stimming is usually classified as a sensory issue that might involve flapping of the arms, jumping or other repetitive behaviors.
- Significant lack of verbal language and communication skills are common in individuals with autism. Children with ASD can be non-verbal or have limited language, trouble expressing themselves and their receptive language is usually affected.
- Limited social interactions and relationships. In general they tend to be awkward in social settings and can be know to have tantrums.
- Your child should have certain developmental milestones:
- 6 months- Babbles, imitates sounds like "ooh" and "ahh", grasps objects with finger and thumb and can move object from hand to hand.
- 9 months- Says "mama" or "dada", pulls self up, feeds self finger foods. Red flag if unable to sit up by self.
- 12 months- pulls up and can stand, follows simple directions such as wave bye-bye. Red flag if not using single word like "mama" or "dada".
- 15 months- walks without support, stacks 3 or more blocks, says 4-5 words. Red flag if not walking without help. Should also be using finger to point to objects that he/she might like.
- 18 months- Scribbles with a crayon, prefers to feed self, runs little, squats to pick up toys. Red flag if doesn’t have 10-15 word vocabulary.
- 2 years- Engages in "pretend play", uses 2-3 word sentences, jumps in place. Red flag if unable to follow simple directions.
- 3 years- Feeds self, walks up steps, Speaks in 3 word sentences, takes turns playing, responds to others feelings. Red flag if doesn’t show interest in potty training.
These are meant to be guidelines only. Children develop at different rates. This is only meant to inform you of potential problems. If you have any concerns contact your child’s doctor. Project Autism of St Johns, Inc does not offer medical advice. You should discuss your individual needs with your physician.