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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Kids

Updated on September 28, 2012

Understanding Characteristics Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a life-long developmental disability present at birth- although signs may be difficult to notice. As there are no medical tests yet available that can diagnose ASD before age two, it is important for new parents to be aware of the symptoms of the disorder, which is unfortunately currently on the rise for the number of cases.

Research overwhelmingly supports that early intensive treatment lessens debilitation from ASD.The brain is pliable or malleable in infants and children. The developing pathways from neuron to neuron are "loose" and easily re-routed. As people age, the brain becomes more "hard-wired" making it more difficult to change from deep-rooted learning.

IDEA 2004 Regulations Part 300 A 300.8 c.1.i

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences

Autism Symptoms In Children And Adults

It will be helpful to develop a general knowledge of Autism and how Spectrum Disorders are related. There may be adults in the work place with ASD, especially if the disorder is of a milder form. A brief understanding may bridge gaps in communicating with these individuals.

ASD causes individuals to lack communication skills which in turn causes a lack of social interaction. Additionally, sensory processing delays result in problems learning new skills. Characteristics are varied and range from a pervasive disorder in which the individual does not speak at all to higher functioning disorder know as Aspergers Syndrome. These higher functioning individuals may even have a savant such as art or ability to memorize and calculate math facts. All of the disorders have a common core and is summarized in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA PL

Following is a reference to aid parents in the crucial early detection of ASD. It will be helpful to keep in mind that all children develop at different rates. Look for the absence of behaviors rather than the presence of abnormalities. General information on what to expect through adulthood is outlined.

Lack of developmental milestones in eye contact, cooing and babbling, smiling may be early symptom of autism.
Lack of developmental milestones in eye contact, cooing and babbling, smiling may be early symptom of autism. | Source

Early Signs And Symptoms Of Autism

Infant does not display these behaviors:

  • eye contact when feeding
  • following an object with visual tracking
  • make noise for attention
  • smile big at 6 months
  • mimic gestures at 9 months
  • babble or coo at 4 months
  • respond to name at 12 months
  • point, reach and wave at 12 months
  • speak words at 16 months
  • speak a meaningful two word phrase at 24 months

Later Signs And Symptoms Of Autism

  • child has begun to communicate and suddenly stops
  • may not appear to hear but will hear distant noises such as trains
  • rarely laughs or smiles
  • focuses on one part of a toy instead of the whole toy
  • may play alongside peers but doesn't interact
  • does not reach out to be picked up or hugged.
  • doesn't ask for help with tasks or make basic requests.
  • repetitive language or echoing other's speech
  • becomes preoccupied and fixated on sameness
  • prefers to play alone
  • may throw tantrums
  • may have odd movement patterns
  • may display hyperactivity
  • may be op-positional and uncooperative

What To Do If Signs Of Autism Are Present In Children

Conference with child's doctor if any of these symptoms are present. The pediatriction and staff can direct you to agencies that provide services for disabled children from birth to age 3. Contact the local school district from age 3 and above.


Signs And Symptoms of Autism In Teens And Adults

Teens will gain skills through the years, especially when provided with good research-based interventions. However, they will still be significantly to moderately behind in communication, social skills and in the ability to learn new skills. Puberty will be more difficult. Teens with ASD will be more inclined towards depression.

As teens move into adulthood maturity can help them become better in relating to others. Some may live normal lives eventually while others may continue to have communication and social problems.Some adults may have trouble understanding others' spoken intentions or use of humor.An estimated 33% of adults with ASD can live on their own. Some may even have an outstanding ability in one defined area such as art, music or math.

Unusual sensory perception may be noticed in some individuals with ASD. Deep touches may feel better than light touches. Certain noises can cause agitation in others. Some may have strong food dislikes Others may tend towards preoccupation with a habit. Adults may lack empathy for those in sorrowful situations and pain. They may have difficulty establishing friendships and will not show a sharing of the interests or achievements of others.

Treatment And Interventions For Autism Spectrum Disorders

Parents of children that have been diagnosed with a definite ASD will want to contact the Service Coordinator For Children With Disabilities in the local school district. The coordinator will provide information for intervention programs available. Most states have federally funded programs for children aged 0-3. Trained staff come into the home and practice interventions. Beginning at age 3 the local school district is required to provide services.

Structured teaching, assistive technology and applied behavior analysis are topics to explore for parents of children with ASD. Provide a lot of organization in the environment where the child spends the most time. Explore using visuals to communicate. Reduce any visual clutter. Plain white walls with little art work will have a calming effect. Natural lighting is best. Fluorescent lighting may be distracting to some. Minimize auditory distractions with carpet, acoustical tiles and headphones for audio equipment.


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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      All of our kids are special...and talented in one way or many!

    • dreamworld87 profile image

      Roberta 5 years ago from hammond,indiana

      My daughter is 4yrs old...She has Autism...i dont notice it...all i notice is that my daughter is doing things on her own pace...its helpful info...but it doesnt make our kids makes them how i always think of my daughter...she always will be special...even if she didnt have Autism..

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks Brandy. Glad you found Signs and Symptoms OF Autism Helpful!

    • brandyBachmann profile image

      brandyBachmann 5 years ago

      Very helpful information. Thanks for the details.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks phdast7. It sounds like you have had some interesting experiences with autism and Asberger's. I worked one on one with an Asperger's ked one year, whose parents we on the verge of suing the school district. He was very smart!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very informative and helpful. Very well written. Years and years ago I worked at a county school for the trainable mentally retard. There were several autistic children there with very sever and intense symptoms.

      More recently, every year or so I will have a student in one of my history classes with Asberger's Syndrome. They have such phenomenal memories, but of course struggle with nuances, interpreting what they read, and social cues. Very interesting young people.

      Thanks for an excellent hub.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I think it would be great to link, and I will do the same! I am honored by your compliment, I know you are an expert on this subject!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      rebeccamealey, well done. I agree with getweesoon as well. You have covered quite a bit of information and explained it nicely. As a parent of a child with autism and as a teacher I thank you for sharing this knowledge. We have a numerous amount of students at our middle school campus with autism. It is certainly on the rise. Your hub brings about awareness and understanding.

      I have several autism hubs myself. I'd like to see about linking this hub.

      Thank you for sharing - voted up

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I am so glad you said that. I have worked with autistic children. Having one at home makes your comment extra special!

    • getwellsoon profile image

      getwellsoon 5 years ago from US

      As a parent of a child with autism, this is a very well laid out article. Thank you for creating this hub article!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Autism is on the increase and many parents do not know their child has it until they are screened prior to entering school. This hub article is helpful in observing behavior that may indicate autism. Great coverage and voted up.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Interesting and informative hub about Autism. I've learned more about Autism in this hub then I thought I ever would know. Great hub and very educational!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      A very interesting and useful hub. It can be very difficult to understand ASD, but your hub has highlighted the main areas in a very easy to follow way. This hub will not only be a great help to parents with a child who has ASD but anyone interested in understanding the disorder.

      Voted up!!