What are the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

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Whilst it is important to note that all children develop at a different pace, if your child exhibits one or more of the signs listed below, and the behaviours present repeatedly and frequently, your child may be showing early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is worth nothing that neurotypical children can also exhibit some of these behaviours at times, and not all autistic children exhibit every one of these behaviours. The frequency and the persistence of the behaviours are the main indication of a possible cause for concern. Research clearly shows that the sooner the parents are able to seek professional help, the better the prognosis for the child will be, so it is important to be on the lookout for these behaviours early on.

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder:

  • Delayed speech and language development (fewer than 5-10 words by the age of 2)
  • Repeating the same phrase or word over and over (echolalia)
  • Not responding to verbal requests; especially, not responding to their name
  • Limited imaginative or pretend play, and focus on repetitive play (loading/unloading, pouring, lining items up)
  • Unable to understand non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expression, emotions and gestures (not understanding own or others’ feelings)
  • Lack of interest in social interaction; unable to share feelings, interests or activities with other children and adults
  • Aversion to physical contact such as hugging, or seeking excessive sensory input such as running into furniture and people
  • Self-stimulatory behaviours such as hand flapping, rocking, spinning, jumping and head banging
  • Walking on tip toes frequently
  • A meltdown response to sensory stimulation such as bright lights, loud noises, clothing labels and tags, and unusual textures (e.g. when playing with sand or foam)
  • Consuming a restricted range of foods; extreme aversion to certain textures or tastes
  • Difficulty coping with transitions or changes in routine, even minor ones
  • Regression across social communication domains such as speech and social skills
  • Developmental milestones not reached on time

For a visual demonstration of some of the behaviours listed above, please have a look at the video below:

http://www.kennedykrieger.org/patient-care/patient-care-centers/center-autism-and-related-disorders/outreach-training/early-signs-of-autism-video-tutorial

Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention is the primary and best researched therapy for children with ASD, with decades of research supporting its effectiveness. Our highly trained and experienced team is here to help navigate and assist your family with early diagnosis and therapy for your child. Many families in the UK find it challenging to get an early diagnosis for their child. However, formal diagnosis is not required to begin therapy. It can begin as soon as the first signs of autism are identified, in some cases as early as 12-18 months of age. An early and intensive approach to therapy is proven to result in meaningfully better outcomes for children with ASD and helps the child narrow the developmental gap with their peer group. Please contact us for more information about how we can help with diagnosis and treatment of autism in children.

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