About one in 68 American children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That number remains consistent across all social, ethnic, and economic classes, though autism occurs more than four times as often in boys than girls. While the autism spectrum ranges from mild to severe, developmental specialists and occupational therapists may help children overcome many social and intellectual challenges associated with the disorder. Early detection can help, so it may be helpful to parents to recognize the early symptoms of autism in children.
No eye smiling or eye contact is an early sign of Autism
Most infants seek out social bonds with their parents and other family members, curiously examining their faces and learning to smile while engaging their loved ones. From an early age, autistic children may not engage socially in this manner. They may show little interest in looking at their parents or making eye contact, and may not respond with smiles when their parents engage them.
Not reacting to their names is an early symptom of Autism
Within the first year, most children learn to recognize and respond to their names, turning their heads to locate the speaker. If a child doesn't react to such requests for their attention, it could be an early indicator to consider testing a child for autism spectrum disorder.
Not imitating can be a sign of Autism
A huge part of babies learning social behavior is imitating their elders. By responding to gestures, sounds, and actions in kind, an infant will take the metaphorical first steps toward developing patterns of communication. Autistic children often show less interest in the actions of others, and may not instinctively mimic the facial expressions or gestures of their parents or siblings.
Inability to interpret gestures and tones can be an early symptom of Autism
Most of us recognize the significance of a friendly smile, the playfulness of a wink, or the anger in an arched tone. We learned to understand these facial expressions, gestures and tones from an early age. However, autistic children may not grasp the meaning of such social cues, and instead will respond to emotive expressions flatly, without piqued interest, humor, or concern.
Delayed speech can be an early sign of Autism
While many autistic individuals wind up having extensive vocabularies, difficulties with speech are common among autistic children. From an early age, this may present as babies failing to babble and make nonsense syllables the way most young children do. As an infant grows, it may fail to reach common speech benchmarks, failing to grasp the use of verbal language, or to assemble words into sentences. Instead they may be slow to move beyond using only single words to convey meaning.
Doesn't play with others is an early symptom of Autism
For the most part, humans are inherently social creatures from the get go, whereas children on the autistic spectrum may begin to show signs of asocial behavior. One of the early symptoms of autism in children may be a preference to play alone, rather than responding to attempts by others to play with them.
Early symptoms may lead to early treatment for Autism
FITS OT services include sensory processing and auditory interventions to help children develop the skills needed to interpret the sights and sounds of the world around them. The earlier ASD is detected, the sooner a child may learn to adapt, and acquire more social awareness during the important developmental years.