Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Do you wonder why your child is not developing as expected? Did you notice any odd behaviours? Did the words "Autism Spectrum Disorder" ever crossed your mind? Maybe it is time for you to find out more information about the early signs of Autism.

  • Speech represents one of the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder. At first, either you might notice a lack of interest and vocabulary. It is also possible to observe that your child's speech and vocabulary progresses at first then suddenly, there is a loss of vocabulary and interest in verbal communication. Some children may slowly recover that lost vocabulary, others might become non-verbal. You may also realize that if your child is able to speak, conversations or meaningful words might not be shared appropriately. For a child affected by the Autism Spectrum Disorder, language does not always make as much sense as bringing you the desired object. Certain intonations or odd patterns may also be present it your child's speech.

  • Social Skills are usually not well developed in the child affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. You may notice a lack of interest to be with people or surrounded by them, often preferring to be alone. There might be no initiative taken by your child to play with other children. Body language, empathy, a lack of eye contact or a lack of display of affection might also be present. In certain situations, your child might either cling to you or leave the room. Sometimes, if hurt, your child might not even consider sharing this information with you or get help.

  • Senses might send a weak message to some children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and a stong message to another child. This situation might create difficult situations or provide a lot of frustration to your child. For example, a child with a weak response with heat might end up suffering from burns as a child that over-respond to heat might scream in pain when in fact, you can barely feel it. The things that might affect a child affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder are: light, touch, smells, noises and tastes.

  • Special skills may be observed in certain children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially if a certain subject or topic appears to be of interest. You may notice that your child happens to be gifted in Math, drawing, music and an excellent memory about facts. Gifted does not mean that your child will display an easiness to understand everything as well. For example, if you try to talk about topics such as weather, time or understanding what was read earlier, your child might be unable to react as expected during these conversations.

  • Playtime might be quite different for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. You might be able to notice a lack of interest in playing with other children as well as no display of imitation of children or adults.

  • Routine is an important element in your child's life when affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. You might observe a high level of frustration when there are changes as routines represent a safe way to go through the day. Unknown is scary for your child if nothing is done as expected which can create tantrums. Also, your child may display certain behaviours such as: flicking, flapping hands, lining up objects and drawing or repeating an activity several times, sometimes even for hours.

  • Behaviour might be a problem sometimes when you have a child that is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Your child may be passive or hyperactive at times. There also may be an obsession with activities or objects. When frustrated, your child might even display a certain aggressivity towards others or himself. Often, the frustration is caused by changes made to your child's routine.

These early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be very helpful when in doubt, giving you the chance to have your child evaluated and provide him with all the services that will help improve his quality of life. Now that you understand more how your child might react and the causes and reasons influencing both his behaviour and his development, you are better equiped to meet his needs while diminishing the frustration level of the both of you.