Posts Tagged ‘Signs of Autism’

by Shannon Penrod

People ask me almost every day what the warning signs of Autism are.  I can be on the phone with my credit card company and as soon as they know that I do a radio show about Autism or that I am a mom of a child recovering from Autism they start asking about symptoms.  Waitresses ask me, people in line at Disneyland ask me, friends of friends call me – they all have the same question – How do you know when to be worried?  It’s a really good question.  And while there is no easy answer, there are some guidelines that can help you to know whether you should seek out a qualified medical opinion.

It’s important to note that if you have concerns you should talk to your Doctor as soon as possible.  Early intervention is one of the most important keys to helping children with autism  lead happy and successful lives.  So if you have concerns, don’t hesitate to get a qualified opinion.

Here are some symptoms that can be warning signs for Autism and should warrant a discussion with a qualified physician.  Not everyone who displays these symptoms will have Autism, but theses symptoms need to be addressed.

1. A child  over the age of a year displays little of no eye contact.

If your child cannot make eye contact or struggles to make and keep eye contact they should be seen immediately.

2. The child shows a delay or lack of speech for their age.  By one year of age they should be cooing, by 16 months they should be able to use at least one word to identify an object and by two years of age they should be  able to use two words together without repeating what someone else has said.    If the child is not demonstrating these skills they should be seen immediately.

3. The child does not respond appropriately to social cues.  The child  does not respond when you call their name, they show no interest in playing, they do not point at things to show  you something, they do not wave good-bye etc. these are all symptoms that require further inquiry.

4. The child loses any skill at any age.  If a child is talking and stops talking, or even if their language seems to diminish this is a cause for immediate concern.

I can not say enough that it is best to follow your instincts.  If  you feel that there is a disconnect in communication with your child take them to a qualified physician who can recognize the signs of Autism.  I keep saying “qualified” because the vast majority of parents that I meet with a child on the Autism Spectrum report that at least one doctor told them everything was okay before they were ultimately diagnosed with Autism.  That was certainly our case.  Because our son was speaking in full sentences I stopped worrying about Autism.  Then when his language began to slowly deteriorate my concern spiked.  Our pediatrician patted my hand and told me I was overreacting, that our son would soon be speaking in paragraphs.  She was wrong and we lost six months.  By the time our son was diagnosed he was considered non-verbal and we had lost more than six months of precious time when he could have been gaining skills instead of losing them.

Make sure that your pediatrician is knowledgeable and if you aren’t sure don’t waste time – get a second opinion.  Remember that time is of the essence when diagnosing Autism.


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