- Family and Parenting
Does your baby show signs of Autism
When your child seems to be learning, developing, or growing slower than other children of the same age it can be worrisome and discouraging. The first step when you have any concerns is to take your child to the pediatrician. Ask for the pediatrician's opinion about your child's overall development, any physical or facial features that seem unusual. Also, any defects present at birth of the heart, kidneys, or other organs should be detected and monitored closely.
For many years, the diagnosis of autism has centered on a child s social interaction - from poor eye contact to lack of language skills. Although the autism community agrees that early intervention is key to effective treatment, the telltale signs of this disorder usually don t reveal themselves until the age of two or three. But what if it were possible to detect the potential for autism within the first year of life?
While a typical baby achieves milestones of righting himself, crawling, sitting and walking through specific movements, the autistic child's ladder of motor development progresses differently, for example, in asymmetrical positions, lagging reflexes or impaired sense of balance.
However, an important breakthrough makes it possible to spot precursors of these disorders in infants once you know what to look for the signs and symptoms of autism in infant babies. The earlier autism is diagnosed and therapy is begun, the greater the chance your child can be helped.
New book on autism in babies
Symptoms of autistic baby
Here are seven general areas where atypical brain development makes itself known in autistic babies.
- Symmetry: When your baby begins reaching for objects, he should be equally capable of reaching for them with either his right or left hand. Or when your baby props herself up from his stomach, his hands and arms should be positioned more or less the same on both sides of his body.
- Reflexes: Reflexes such as sucking, startle, and others reflexes should appear in all babies. Your baby's health care professional can find out easily if your baby has nine key reflexes at the right time in his development.
- Ladder of Motor Development: Every baby must go through every stage of development in order for the brain to mature properly. Key milestones include raising head off the floor in about 4 to 6 weeks; supporting her raised head with chest and arms (8-12 weeks); rolling from her back to her stomach in about 3 months; starting crawling in about 6-10 months; standing in about 8 to 10 months and walking by 13 or 14 months.
- Rolling: Typical rolling from back to stomach involves a rotation of the head in the direction of the roll, and a corkscrew rotation of the body that is in the same direction.
- Sitting: Sitting is important for brain development. A baby with typical brain development should be coordinated enough to sit, balanced, without the support of parents or pillows, at about 6 months of age.
- Walking: A baby who is having trouble walking and does not get help may have problems acquiring future motor abilities.
Remember: The earlier autism is diagnosed and therapy is begun, the greater the chance your child can be helped. See a medical professional if you suspect your baby is not keeping up with the normal timeline of development.
Alert your pediatrician if you notice any of the following:
- By 2 to 3 months, your baby is not making eye contact.
- By 3 months, not smiling at you and recognize the sound of your voice.
- By 6 months, no laughing or giggling
- By 9 months, no babbling.
- By 1 year, not recognizing when you call his name
- By 1 year, showing disregard for vocalizations, but has a keen awareness of environmental sounds.
- By 1 year, no back-and-forth communications with you.
- By 16 months, no words.
- By 18 months, not pointing to things that interest him.
- By 24 months, no two-word meaningful phrases.
To learn more about the specific symptoms to watch for, along with the exercises you can do with your baby early and often at home to help his brain develop, check out the new book " Does your baby have autism " and read the information and reviews at Amazon right now.
Osnat and Philip Teitelbaum, Husband-and-wife researchers in the field of "infant movement analysis" related to autism are co-authors of the book "Does your baby have autism?". This dedicated wife-and-husband team has worked for nearly two decades to develop ways of detecting signs of potential autism or Asperger's syndrome by examining a child's early motor development. By studying the patterns of sitting, crawling, and walking in typical infants, and comparing them with those of children who were later diagnosed with autism, the authors have been able to pinpoint movement patterns that appear to be the precursors of autism and Asperger's.