Some signs that indicate your child may have autism
Babies are usually friendly and noisy. In some cases, a toddler will avoid other children, become easily fixated on an object, and sometimes avoid speaking. It’s the long silences that lead to most cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) being diagnosed.
Experts say that since autism has no physical signs, delayed speech is mostly what gets the attention of parents. Experts say that if a child is not able to take part in a meaningful conversation by the age of two, or repeats words a lot, parents must see a doctor.
Many parents believe that autism can only be diagnosed at around the age of three years. However, experts say that signs can become visible at the age of six months. Some of the signs to look for are reluctance to make eye contact or respond to their name. Parents should also look out for long periods where the child does not interact.
Early diagnosis is important as remedial education and behavioral therapy play a huge role during the early years, for children with ASD.
A major factor for the late diagnosis of autism is that parents are in denial. This means a child spends years without the intervention needed to cope with the condition.
The first step in intervention is a neuropsychological assessment, which gives an assessment of cognitive functioning.
There is also an online test, called M-Chat, or Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, that parents can take as a first step, say some experts.
M-Chat is a developmental screening tool for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age. It’s not fool proof but can be an indicator of whether you need professional intervention.
The ideal person to approach is a behavioral analyst if your child tests positive for ASD, say experts. The analyst can teach the child the skills appropriate for the age, help identify and capitalize on strengths, and begin the process of moving forward.