Get a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

 

This past week I came across an interesting series on Netflix called the ‘Good Doctor‘. It follows a young surgeon who lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This sparked an interest in me and I decided to research more to get a better understanding of what is Autism Spectrum Disorder. During the course of my research, I discovered that it is a developmental disability that affects the way a person behaves, interacts and communicates. At this stage, the cause cannot be pinned to a particular reason. The signs and symptoms vary and below we will get to explore the different symptoms and spectrums.

Communication

It is unfortunate that about 40% are unable to talk. Between 25% and 30% may develop language skills when they are infants however, they then lose the skill as they grow. There are also children who begin talking at a later stage.

Problems with communication, including the below:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Flat, robotic speaking voice, or singsong voice
  • Problems with pronouns (saying “you” instead of “I,” for example)
  • Not using or rarely using common gestures (pointing or waving), and not responding to them
  • Inability to stay on topic when talking or answering questions
  • Not recognizing a joke

 

Behavioural Patterns

Autistic children behave in unusual ways see some of the examples below:

  • Specific routines or rituals (and getting upset when a routine is changed, even slightly)
  • Lack of coordination, clumsiness
  • Impulsiveness (acting without thinking)
  • Aggressive behavior, both with self and others
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, light, and sound
  • Repetitive behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, or twirling
  • Constant moving (pacing) and “hyper” behavior
  • Fixations on certain activities or objects
  • Not taking part in “make-believe” play or imitating others’ behaviors
  • Fussy eating habits
  • Short attention span

 

Social Skills

Autistic children usually have a challenge with interacting with other people, they might want to have a close relationship but are unable to form one. This is a sign that medical professionals usually identify quickly.

Some social symptoms that may be identified from 10 months (assessed by a medical professional)

  • They don’t respond to their name by their first birthday.
  • Playing, sharing, or talking with other people don’t interest them.
  • Prefer to be alone.
  • Reject physical contact.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • When they’re upset, they don’t like to be comforted.
  • They don’t understand emotions — their own or others’.
  • They may not stretch out their arms to be picked up or guided with walking.

 

Early Signs and Symptoms

As parents, it is important to be mindful of every moment in your child’s development. When Autism is identified early on, the treatment becomes more effective. If you are worried that your child is not meeting the below developmental milestones, or if they meet but lose them later. Take that bold step and make an appointment with your paediatrician if you have medical insurance to discuss your concerns about your child’s development. If you are not privileged enough to afford medical insurance you can ask the questions when you take your child for immunisations/inoculations at a public health care facility.

  • Smiles by 6 months
  • Imitates facial expressions or sounds by 9 months
  • Coos or babbles by 12 months
  • Gestures (points or waves) by 14 months
  • Speaks with single words by 16 months and uses phrases of two words or more by 24 months
  • Plays pretend or “make-believe” by 18 months

Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Toddlers - Speech & OT

Read more: Did you know that hoarding is a disorder?

Source: Webmed