Updated: Feb 25
According to the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 44 children suffer from autism. The autism spectrum is a vast and broad spectrum that varies in levels of functionality within society. You can usually tell if your child may be autistic within the first three years of his or her life. These are some of the symptoms and signs that indicate it:
One common sign of autism is a delay in the speech of young children. You may have noticed that your son or daughter has not picked up any pattern of speech, and he or she is now two or three years old. This is often common in children within the autism spectrum.
Low Human Contact
You may also realize that your child seems to shy away from the human contact that seems like normal desired activity in many children. For example, your child may not enjoy engaging in hugs and affection. Instead, he or she may generally enjoy being far away from other people. Your child might even have a special hiding place where he or she prefers to go when other people are around. An example is a special hiding place underneath a chair or a table. This may be a strong indication that your child is autistic if coupled with other signs.
Repetitive Comforting Movements
You may recognize a difference in the way that your child handles stress compared to other children. For example, you might notice that your son or daughter engages in repetitive rocking movements when he or she seems to be under stress. For example, you may notice him or her doing this when you take the child around new people or situations. The child may also engage in these repetitive movements when you change a routine that you have with him or her. Take note of how many times your little one does this and what the situation is when you notice it. Then you can develop a strategy to help soothe your son or daughter.
Harmful Behaviors or Tantrums
Another sign of autism is if you notice that your child throws tantrums or enacts harmful or violent behaviors when a routine changes. The change in routine might be something like a difference in meal choices for the day or a decision to drive a different path on the way to one place or another. Headbanging is a common movement people notice in autistic children, but the discomfort may also manifest as strange loud noises, stomping, yelling, or something else. You may need to have your precious child evaluated if you notice any of those reactions to changes.
You can have your child interviewed and assessed by a professional who can give you a diagnosis. After you receive a diagnosis, you can choose the type of therapy or treatment you want to provide to your child. ABA therapy or applied behavior analysis has been found to be effective in such treatment, and it has been found to improve progressively. Several other options are available for treatment as well.