Often question asked are: “Do you have a difficult toddler or is it Autism?” or “Is my toddler stubborn or is it Autism?”
First and foremost, what is autism? It refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges in social and speech & language communication skills. It often appears during infancy stage or early childhood which causes delays in many basic areas of development, such as learning to talk, play and interact with others.
As the number of children being diagnosed with Autism arises, these are two of the questions that parents may asked themselves especially the new ones. The thing is, it is very tough to determine the initial signs of Autism. Research suggests that autism can be detected during child’s first few years of life.
What are the early signs of Autism?
If you’re child doesn’t:
- Make eye contact (not looking at you when being fed or not smiling when being smiled at)
- Pay attention or get scared to new faces
- Respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice
- Smile or follow moving object with eyes
- Babble, laugh or talk
- Use gestures such as waving or pointing
- Make noises to get your attention
- Imitate movements or facial expression
- Show affection to familiar people (mom, dad, caregivers)
- Push down on legs when feet are placed on firm surface
- Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
- Connect or play with others
These are just few of the early signs of Autism. As a parent, you are in best position to notice and spot the earliest warning signs of autism. You know your child better than anyone else. You can consult a pediatrician if these signs are observed but don’t disregard the importance of all your observations and experiences with your child.
So, what should I do as a parent?
- The most important thing to do is toobserve and monitor your child’s development.Write down everything that you notice. Take photo or video of your child so you can keep track of it. Autism involves a wide range of developmental delays, so you have to monitor if you’re child’s developmental milestones are met. However, if your child is delayed, it doesn’t mean they have autism. These are just indicators of heightened risk.
- If you feel that there is something wrong, act now. If your child is a little late to talk or walk, you don’t have to panic. This is because every child develops at a different pace. There is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to healthy development. However, if your child is not meeting the milestones or you feel like there is a problem, consult your doctor immediately.
- Waiting is the worst thing you can do.Many parents are told to “wait and see” or “don’t worry, we shall wait for a while.” Don’t ever risk lose a valuable time at an age where your child still has the best improvement. Whether this is caused by autism or other factors, these developmental delays on our children won’t be solved by themselves. We must give extra help and targeted treatment, so the condition won’t get worse.