Does my child have autism?
That’s a question countless people ask themselves every day. One in 88 children can be classified as somewhere in the autism spectrum, so parents are rightfully worried. While autism isn’t usually diagnosed until three years old, there are some signs that can be observed early on.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, so it can range from quite mild to crushingly severe. It’s present in all ethnic, age, and socioeconomic groups. It’s a broad category of disorders that includes cognitive impairments, repetitive behaviors, communication difficulties, and social struggles.
It’s true that all children develop at different rates, but autism treatment has more success the earlier it’s started, so it’s a good idea for parents to watch out for some of these signs. If you suspect any of these, don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician so you can have a formal evaluation done.
- No hand gestures (reaching, pointing, etc.) by 12 months.
- No big smiles or happy faces by 6 months.
- No babbling or “talking” by 1 year.
- No words at all by 16 months.
- No two-word sentences (“I want”) by 2 years.
- Doesn’t play pretend games.
- Avoids eye contact.
- Any speech regression (loss of speech abilities) at any time.
- Unwillingness to respond to their name.
- Regularly wants to be alone.
- Repeats words or phrases (or reverses prounouns).
- Resists physical contact.
- Gives irrelevant or nonsense answers to simple questions.
- Low social skills (does not know how to behave in different settings).
- Hypersensitivity to certain stimuli (smells, tastes, appearances).
- Gets upset by minor changes to a routine.
- Flaps arms, shakes head or rocks body when stressed.
- Has unusual phobias.
- Play with toys in exactly the same way every time.
- Hyperactivity; has a super-short attention span and acts without thinking.
- Has unusual emotional reactions (ex. extremely sad when he/she should be happy)
- Sudden meltdowns past the age when those are common.
Obviously an autistic child won’t show all of those symptoms, but they are good guidelines to look out for.
All children are given a short developmental screening at their 9, 18, and 24/30 months wellness checkups. This is a simple test where the doctor asks mom and dad some questions and plays with the baby for a few minutes to determine how the child speaks, moves around and behaves.
If the doctor has any concerns, he/she will recommend a trip to a specialist for a proper autism evaluation, but you recognize any of the signs above, speak up with your concerns.
Written by Christine Barlow, Inventor of 5 Phases Eco-Friendly Baby Bottle System
Mom Christine Barlow is the inventor of 5 Phases eco-friendly and non-toxic baby bottles, the safest and healthiest way to bottle feed your baby. Her inspiration in creating an alternative to traditional feeding bottles came after the birth of her 1lb 7oz micro-preemie baby. Having a compromised child, she became aware how environmental factors were affecting our children. With all the concerns of plastics and infants being the most vulnerable, she felt there was a need for more options for parents who wanted to use glass. She knew she had to act – and the 5 Phases Hybrid Glass Baby Bottles were born.
5 Phases is dedicated to helping families achieve a healthier and organic lifestyle. Starting with baby, they develop products keeping both the environment and health of your family in mind. And when it comes to your baby nothing else will do – Christine knows, she’s a mom too!
For more information on 5 Phases, visit www.5phases.com!
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