Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) impacts how a child interacts and perceives his or her environment. It results in problems with socialization, behavior and communication. Some children show symptoms after the first two years of life and others in infancy. Children at times reach developmental milestones, regress, and are able to be diagnosed by two years of age.
Symptoms and Behaviors
Stacking or lining up toys and objects
Plays with toys the same way every day
Likes parts of objects
Upset easily by minor changes
Follows certain routines
Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
Actions that are repeated over and over again are calming and soothing, for example, turn the light switch on and off repeatedly.
Acting without thinking
Causing self- injury
Unusual eating and sleeping patterns
Unusual reactions to sound, smell, taste, and feel
Children with ASD develop at different rates and in different areas. They may have delays in language, or social and learning skills. They might be very good at solving computer problems and math, but have difficulty with social skills. Children develop at their own pace. It is therefore difficult to tell when a child can or will learn a specific skill. Developmental milestones are used to measure a child’s social and emotional progress.
Children with ASD are quite attached to their parents; however, the perspective of the parent is that they are very disconnected from them. Children and adults with ASD have difficulty finding meaning in other people’s emotional ques such as smile or wave --they mean nothing to them. Many individuals with ASD have similar problems in seeing things through another individual’s perspective.
Signs To Look For
Little or no eye contact
Lack of interest in peer interactions or friendships
Lack of imaginary or make-believe play
While there is no cure for ASD, there are treatments and educational approaches that can address some of the challenges associated with this disorder. Parental training and education can be especially effective in the improvement of children with ASD.
Specialists such as Psychiatrist, Primary Care Physician, Neurologist, Speech and Occupational
Parent Psychoeducation and Training
It is important to remember that everyone is unique and special. One method or intervention might not work for every child. It is important to build on the child’s strengths to help them in the best possible way.