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What Signs Can Help Parents Diagnose Children With Autism?

Sep 9, 2008
A lot of time and research is being put into learning about development in children with autism, because unfortunately, the number of children who are developing symptoms of autism is increasing. However, children who are autistic do not all show the same developmental delays, such as impaired social skills, nor do the delays show up at the same times. Most autistic children start showing their first signs before they reach the age of 3.

Physicians are very hesitant to diagnose a child as being autistic when they are very young. This is mostly because children develop differently and can exhibit different types of behavior at different stages.

There are times when children are given "behavior labels" too early and this can cause reduced expectations for the child, as well as restricting them from enjoying opportunities and experiences that would be afforded to a "normal" child. This is why many physicians tend to wait before they label children with autism issues.

While it is important not to diagnose a youngster as an autistic child too early, because of the possibility of error, it is also important not to miss certain symptoms of this disorder and therefore not diagnose it at all, which could be completely detrimental to the child. Early detection will allow parents to address the problems that their child may have and help them to get the services for necessary intervention. There are certain signs for parents of autistic children to look for.

Does the child respond to their name when spoken by a parent or caregiver? Most babies are responsive to familiar voices calling their names and will respond with a look or a smile. Does your child imitate other people?

Children love to mimic movements, such as sticking out their lounges and making waving movements. If a child is not showing signs of doing this, then it may not be time to panic, but it also might be autistic behavior that you should mention to your child's physician.

It is always important to let your physician know if you think that your child is experiencing any signs of developmental delays, especially if you think that those delays could be linked to autistic behavior. Be aware that the physician may not want to do testing at a very early age. If this is the case, yet the child continues to exhibit the delays, then speak to the physician again.

Ask for materials and information about children with autism, and do some extra research on this disorder. The key is to make sure that the doctor understands your concerns and begins to share them with you. If your family doctor seems to have no interest in testing your child, then it may be time for a second opinion.
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