Parents often worry about their child’s progress.
Regardless of whether your son or daughter is your first child or you have other children, it’s understandable to be concerned if he or she doesn’t seem to be meeting common developmental milestones in the same way as peers.
You might even be wondering: Does my child have autism?
If this is a question you’re asking yourself consider these common signs of autism, shared by Kids First team below.
Children who have autism often have problems with age-appropriate socialization. If your child has autism, even as a baby or toddler, he or she may display social communication problems, including:
- Lack of eye contact
- Does not like to be cuddled, even by close family
- As a baby, does not pay attention to faces
- Frightened by unfamiliar faces
- Does not smile or respond to other people’s emotions
- As a toddler, has little or no interest in make-believe play, such as caring for a doll or making truck sounds when playing with a play truck
- Lack of interest in playing with other children, preferring to play alone
- The child seems to be in their own world
- Does not respond to their own name
As a child with autism starts school and progresses into the teenage years, many of these same social signs will continue, but they may be accompanied by things such as:
- Problems with conversations, including dominating conversations and not understanding how to take turns
- Especially in girls, rather than avoiding the make-believe world, the child may be strongly imaginative, escaping to nature or fiction to avoid facing the real world
- Being strict about following rules in school and sports
- Needing to follow a routine, and sometimes having a meltdown if their routine is disrupted
- Unusual anxiety when in crowded public places
Children with autism often display behaviours that could be considered unusual. Some of those behaviours include:
- As a baby or small child, excessive crying or, on the other extreme, a lack of crying
- Repetitive actions, such as hand flapping, spinning around in circles, pacing, or prolonged rocking
- Unusual sensitivity to loud noises, strong smells, taste, or certain textures (such as socks or clothing tags)
- Reduced reactions to sensory input, including low pain sensitivity or little reaction to sounds
- Obsession or fixation on a certain object or subject, with little to no interest in anything else
- Unusual play, such as lining up or spinning toys
Communication, including speech and language skills, is another area where many children with autism struggle. If your child is dsiplaying signs of autism, you may have noticed problems like:
- Delayed speech, this includes not saying single words, babbling, or imitating the sounds made by others by about a year old as well as not having four-five word sentences by about three years old
- Loss of language skills, including a child who once talked suddenly appearing to have no language skills
- Lack of non-verbal communication, this includes not pointing to objects, nodding their head, and understanding the non-verbal social cues of peers
Some children with autism also display problems with certain motor skills. Some motor skills signs that your child may have autism include:
- Being unable to crawl or stand with assistance by about a year old
- Cannot walk alone by 18 months or walks only on his or her toes
- Unable to climb, kick a ball, or navigate stairs without help by the age of three
When to seek advice
These are just some of the signs of autism. Even if your child is displaying some of these signs, that does not necessarily mean your child has autism.
An evaluation by an expert will be needed to determine the cause of these developmental delays or behaviours.
If you think your child may have autism, contact us. We can help you get a proper diagnosis as well as provide early intervention services, increasing your child’s chances of success.
© 2017 Kids First Children’s Services
Early Intervention at Kids First
Kids First is a NDIS Registered Provider and our team has years of experience supporting children and families who live with autism.
Contact us on (02) 9938 5419 to chat about your child’s needs.