Early signs of Autism

1) Do you suspect that your child has autism?

A child with autism spectrum disorder has poor social skills, limited communication skills, and repetitive interests, activities, or behaviors. Possible warning signs may appear when the child is around 12 to 24 months old and include:

early signs of autism.jpg
Some of the early signs of autism noticeable when the child is around 12 to 24 months.

2) What is autism spectrum disorder?

According to BabyCentre.com, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the way the brain works and includes a range of social and behavioral disabilities. ASD is a “spectrum disorder” because the condition varies from very mild to severe.

People with ASD have problems with social interaction and communication. They also have repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. About one-third have an intellectual disability.”

Useful Resources

  • Autism 101, a slideshare by Autism Society Northern Virginia on ‘An Introduction to Understanding Autism’.
  • AutismWeb – Managed by parents, this site provides many different autism teaching methods. There is also a section on GFCF diet which some believe that children have shown mild to dramatic improvements.
  • Autism Resource Center (Singapore) – RC(S) is a not-for-profit charity based in Singapore dedicated to serving children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to help these individuals lead meaningful and independent lives in society.
  • Autism Highway  -Started by Kelly, whose son was diagnosed with autism, Autism Highway provides an extensive list of Autism related events, specialists and many fun games that children are sure to enjoy! Only thing is you need to register before you can access them.
  • Future Horizons – publications and workshops

3) What Is Asperger’s Syndrome (DSM IV)?

Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism, a condition that affects the way a person makes sense of the world and relates to others. A number of traits of autism are common to Asperger’s Syndrome including: difficulties in communicating, social relationships, and a lack of social imagination and creative play.

Persons with Asperger’s Syndrome usually have fewer difficulties with language than those with classical autism, often speaking fluently, though their words can sometimes sound formal or ‘unusual’ to the listener. Even though they have few difficulties with language, they do have significant difficulties with social aspects of communication.

Many children with Asperger’s Syndrome are able to adapt to learning in a mainstream school setting. With the right support and encouragement, they are able to make good progress and go on to further education and employment options.

Useful resources

4) Does your child read way beyond his or her age but doesn’t seem to be able to communication with others? Your child might have hyperlexia:

According to Dr. Darold who published a journal entry on Winconsin Medical Society, Hyperlexia is a “precocious reading ability in very young children before age 5 with little or no training”.

Exceptional abilities

  • display fascination with letters and/or numbers at an early age;
  • recognise more words than can understand them;
  • display strong auditory and visual memory; and
  • behave like a little professor because he/she can read fairly well and seem to know a lot

Problems with listening, understanding and following oral instructions

  • Listen selectively and hence, appear to be deaf;
  • have trouble understanding and following verbal instructions or orders, and hence, unable to respond appropriately;
  • Rarely initiate a conversation with anyone;
  • Find it difficult to follow a conversation and/or to respond appropriately;
  • Echoalia may be present i.e., repeating exactly word for word what another person says or asks;
  • Possess excellent word knowledge but without real comprehension of words
  • Find it difficult to understand figurative language (i.e., idioms, metaphors and similes);
  • Have trouble communicating with other children during play or group discussion;
  • Find it difficult to take turns in conversation with others; and
  • Can be quite fixated on a specific topic during conversation

Co-existing difficulties

  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)
  • Austistic Disorder
  • High-Functioning Autistic Disorder (HFAD)

Useful resources

If you suspect your child to have any of these signs, do consult your pediatrician and seek early intervention. For a parent who has worked with her child for two years, I truly see the benefits of early intervention and how it can contribute to a child’s long-term success.

You can also read up on our activities tab to find out speech-therapy, mathematics, cooking and simple art activities you can do with your child.

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