Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by differences in the brain. Those with ASD often have problems with social interaction and communication and display restricted or repetitive behaviors. ASD may also cause differences in learning, moving, or paying attention. These differences can make it challenging for autistic people to navigate through life, making it important to diagnose it early. Thus, here are some early warning signs of autism.
Among younger children:
Some common early signs of autism in young children include:
Not responding to their name
Avoiding eye contact
Not smiling when someone smiles at them
Getting upset if they do not like a particular taste, smell, or sound
Engaging in repetitive movements such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers, or rocking their body
Not talking as much as other children
Not engaging in as much pretend play
Repeating the same phrases without understanding the meaning
It is important to note that one child with ASD may not necessarily have the same symptoms as another. The symptoms and their severity differ with each individual.
Among older children:
In older children, early signs of autism may include:
The inability to understand what others are thinking or feeling (lack of empathy)
Unusual speech, such as repeating phrases or talking ‘at’ others
Liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
Having a very keen interest in certain subjects and activities
Getting very upset if someone asks them to do something
Difficulty in making friends
Taking things very literally, or a lack of understanding of common idioms and phrases
Finding it difficult to verbalize feelings
Autism may also manifest differently based on a child’s gender. For instance, autistic girls may hide some signs of autism by copying how other children behave, withdraw in situations they find difficult, appear to cope better in social situations, and show fewer signs of repetitive behaviors. This makes autism difficult to spot in girls.
Furthermore, some children with autism may manifest gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea. Experts suggest a plausible connection between gut health and brain function, called the gut-brain axis. As with other symptoms, seeking evaluation and guidance from healthcare experts is paramount when a child experiences gastrointestinal discomfort.
For parents who think their child is showing signs of autism, it may be fruitful to speak to a family doctor or general practitioner, health professionals such as a therapist, and the special education needs staff at their school. An early diagnosis is key for ensuring that an autistic child gets all the extra support they may need.
Online psychiatry services offered by Brightside Health are a great place to start. These services can become a life-changing difference in diagnosing conditions like autism and learning how to support children more holistically.
Many parents of children with autism often worry about their child’s wellbeing, particularly in the long run. Life insurance policies can provide some financial security to parents and children. They can ensure that individuals with autism receive specific amounts of money after a certain age. Parents must choose from the available life insurance policies by considering the premium amount, the insured amount, and the reliability of the insurance company.