According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Autism is said to effect 1 in 88 children. The majority of children seem to be diagnosed by the age of three and many parents notice signs beginning at eighteen months of age. Some people knew from the time their child was born that they were impacted; others noticed it during the early months when milestones didn’t happen. The amount of time someone spends consistently with a child will of course allow for better awareness of symptoms, whether it be by the parents or a single caregiver.
Autism is given as a diagnoses when there are several symptoms in all three catergories.
Delay in language lack of communications skills
Not sharing attention – does the child ever initiate play or bring a toy to look at or be played with?
No pointing or looking to where someone else is pointing.
No waving hello or good bye
No words or forming sentences when developmental milestones have passed.
Lack of or poor eye contact
Difficulty with breast feeding.
Stereotyped or repetitive behaviors
Not playing with toys in their created fashion e.g. toy cars just spinning wheels or removing them
Taking the toy apart, stacking toys and lining up toys.
Typical behaviors asssociated with obessive compulisve disorder (OCD).
Repeating themselves, repeating text from movies known as scripting or echolalia
Social skills, which in young children overlap with communication skills
Being unable to participate or hold a conversation
Unable to understand emotions or display empathy.
Difficulty making friends.
Not wanting to particpate in play, prefers to be alone.
Self stimulatory or Stims in regular behavior
Hand flapping, spinning, head banging.
Sensitivity to sensory items: typical loud noises, household appliances, sirens, fireworks, talking. Unable to sleep on a flat surface such as a crib or bassinette. Excessive startle reflex when laying a baby down for a nap.
Not wishing to be held, or needing to be swaddled and held much more often then what is considered typical. As in all things, you will have to judge what is just the way one individual varies from another, and what is actually a symptom to a bigger problem.
As with all symptoms of any possible disease or condition it is when the symptoms are out of the persons comfort zone. Fatigue is a vague symptom that is a symptom of cancer and of not getting enough sleep. Just because a child is spinning themselves is not necessarily a symptom of autism, but rather how often, how much and whether these symptoms accompany other symptoms.
If Autism is suspected next step is make an appointment with a Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician.In our case, I suspected something was off right from the beginning. My son could not breastfeed after an enormous effort and time put in, and even despite having access to multiple lactation consultants. Never could latch, but did not have any oral biological issues. He also could not sleep in his bassinette and had to sleep in a car seat, he would startle regularly when being laid down. He did not like to be held, play or would make much if any eye contact. There were numerous other issues with play and lack of speech that eventually got the attention of his doctor, but he was three and half by then. Go with your gut (unless your gut is super paranoid).