Autism is a serious illness that can affect your child’s ability to function in the world. There is a wide range of disorders that fall along the autism spectrum, with some being more serious than others. Your doctor will screen your child for autism, but it’s smart to look for the signs yourself as well.
Why Look for Signs
Those with autism typically have problems interacting with others in social situations. They may have trouble making friends or reading facial expressions, unable to determine when their behavior has upset or pleased someone. When you catch this early, you can work with professionals to help your child deal with this, teaching him ways that he can act in the real world.
Signs of Autism in Infants
Signs of autism can start to show up as early as 6 months of age. These signs include not responding to loud noises, lack of interest in other people, not smiling, lack of babbling, lack of interest in people, not enjoying traditional baby games like peek-a-boo and not trying to do anything to get your attention. As your child grows older, you’ll notice this behavior intensifying.
At your child’s well-child exams, your doctor will give you a questionnaire that acts as an autism screen. It will ask questions related to your child’s behavior and certain positive or negative responses may show that your child has autism. Answer these questions honestly, as dishonest answers could lead to misdiagnosis or lack of early detection.
If you see some signs of autism in your infant, you may jump to conclusions. It’s important to note that even having a few of the symptoms does not necessarily mean that your child has autism. For example, not responding to loud noises may be the result of a hearing problem and not responding to people’s faces may signify a sight problem. Only your doctor should diagnose your child with autism.
If your child does have autism, ask to speak with a professional behavior therapist to help you modify your child’s behavior. For example, the therapist can help you create a schedule for your child, which will make her feel more confident and set her up for success.