ASD SYMPTOMS can vary greatly from person to person depending on the severity of the disorder. Symptoms may even go unrecognized for young children who have mild ASD or less debilitating handicaps. Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:
no babbling or pointing by age 1
no single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
no response to name
loss of language or social skills previously acquired
poor eye contact
excessive lining up of toys or objects
no smiling or social responsiveness
Later indicators include:
impaired ability to make friends with peers
impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
repetitive or unusual use of language
abnormally intense or focused interest
preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
Health care providers will often use a questionnaire or other screening instrument to gather information about a child’s development and behavior. Some screening instruments rely solely on parent observations, while others rely on a combination of parent and doctor observations. If screening instruments indicate the possibility of ASD, a more comprehensive evaluation is usually indicated.
A comprehensive evaluation requires a multidisciplinary team, including a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who diagnose and treat children with ASD. The team members will conduct a thorough neurological assessment and in-depth cognitive and language testing. Because hearing problems can cause behaviors that could be mistaken for ASD, children with delayed speech development should also have their hearing tested.
If you are observing any of the above indicators in your child, please contact a neurologist, children’s hospital or clinical psychologist/psychiatrist.
Susie Bean Gives Team