Diagnosing Autism from a Younger Age: 11 Social Cues to Look for
Parents often intuitively know there is something "off" about their children from a very young age as they notice subtle or over differences between social responses in their own children and that of others, but doctors are often cautious about diagnosing children with autism too young. This frustrates parents to no end, as an earlier diagnosis could mean earlier access to interventions known to help children in their most impressionable years counteract the worst byproducts of the disorder.
Autism is a genetic disorder aggravated by environmental factors that affects 1 in 88 children and is four times more likely to manifest in young boys. Treatment of certain symptoms include the use of the hormone known as Melatonin, and some more controversial new finding s show that scalding hot baths or whipworm eggs can come in handy as well. Factors that could increase the risk of autism include anything from excessive pollution in large cities to a rather interesting link found to a mother's weight gain bordering on obesity.
How young can your child be to be diagnosed with autism?
According to the Australian La Trobe University's research by Dr Josephine Barbaro, children as young as 12 months old can be diagnosed rather accurately on the spectrum. Parents need the closure early so they can prepare for a life living with an autistic child's needs. Siblings would need to be informed and prepared for what they would have to face as well. Many factors will have to be properly researched, and the early one starts, the better. These include:
- Figuring out how to best potty train the child
- Keeping those around you informed about what things NOT to say to the child growing up
- Gathering inspiration from role models you would want your child to look up to
- Reading up on and having others read about what autism is all about
What should you be looking for?
As a parent, there are certain cues you should look for before taking your child in to be tested. Mind you, testing from the age of 12 months is not available everywhere. Australia has pioneered the technique and countries like Poland, Korea, Japan, and Bangladesh are having their health care professionals trained for it. 300 doctors have already been trained in China. 10,000 children between the age of 12 and 24 months have already been checked. Most of them were found to be on the spectrum. The Tianjin government has agreed to conduct autism surveillance using the program developed by Dr Barbaro for every child born in the city within the next seven years. But what is it that they look for?
- Failure to make eye contact
- Failure to smile when smiled at
- Failure to share toys
- Repetitive behavior
- Limited interests
- Lack of mimicked behavior
- Problems with looking at faces
- Problems with learning from those around them
- Lack of interest in playing social games
- Failure to point
- Failure to respond when name is called out
Now, either of these alone may not mean that a child is on the spectrum, but when there are multiple factors accounted for, there is a good chance your child has autism. Hopefully early diagnoses will spread into the rest of North America and help parents plan out the rest of their own and their child's lives from an earlier time period. Between settling on their own career choices and figuring out what paths their children may or may not follow as they grow older, life suddenly will take on a different sin and we must adapt to it all as soon as possible. Having your child diagnosed with autism from a young age through using certain social cues as a guiding point will help parents around the world immensely, in my opinion.