Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an individual’s social and communication abilities. The earliest signs manifest before 3 years of age and therapeutic intervention tailored to each child’s unique needs has been found to be the most successful course of treatment to improve social interactions, communication skills, and behavioral concerns related to autism. Treatments are the only possible cure for autism. Early detection is needed for ensuring that a child with autism receives the kind of special attentive care they need.
Coping mechanisms need to be evolved by both the minor and the parents. Therefore, as parents, you must be sensitive to your child’s behavioral characteristics – the following signs should alert you the possibility of your child having autism.
Autism Spectrum Test
1. Intense Struggle With Ordinary Activity
All children have a different developmental pace and personal traits too. Some take to concepts of sociability, playing, hygiene, etc. faster than others. Others may be slower learners. However, if you find your child to be struggling with all kinds of ordinary activities, you should begin being more observant. A child with Autism may show slow or no improvement at adeptness at understanding/accepting concepts despite repeated emphasis.
2. Extraordinary Sensitivity
Autistic children process sensory input in a different way from others. Thus, they often display an extraordinary sensitivity to external stimuli such as light, sound, taste, smells, texture, color, etc. A child with autism may be very particular about the color of their clothing, foods of a particular viscosity or taste, so on and so forth. While all children have their likes, dislikes and pet peeves, autistic children display great fixity and consistency in their preferences.
3. Extreme Lack of Sensitivity
Sometimes autism may lead to hyposensitivity instead of hypersensitivity. In this scenario, children may not respond with the kind of instinctive reaction on exposure to stimuli as you would expect. They may often put themselves in dangerous situations being visibly unperturbed by the consequences. For example, a child with autism may burn themselves in the shower, be nonchalant in the cold, feel nothing on insect bites, etc.
4. Repetitive Actions
Most autistic children display a proclivity towards repetitive actions. They may exhibit a typical bodily movement or facial expressions with recurrent frequency. They may even have a compulsive need for certain routines and patterns to be maintained on a daily basis. A child with autism may get too upset about the arrangement of their toys or the time/place/order in which you serve food.
5. Attachment to Objects
Typical children have favorite toys, clothing, or objects. Autistic children tend to develop an unusual attachment to objects such that they interact with them as replacement for people. They will talk to them, care for them as if they are living, be very drawn in by the object’s physical characteristic, so on and so forth. Autistic children may caress the object often or be very concerned about its placement/whereabouts.
Since autism portends underdevelopment of one’s social skills, aloofness is a common trait in most autistic children. They will prefer to stay away from their peers, spend time with inanimate objects than with humans, and seldom interact with even a known person with much involvement. Such aloofness is often confused with shyness and is admittedly not a very specific or telling characteristic to be relying upon. However, when present with other symptoms, it could be helpful in detection of the condition.
7. Struggle in Communication
Autism often manifests in a child as seriously hampered communication ability. Those with autism will rarely ever start conversations and respond unsatisfactorily to someone else’s attempts to. Autistic children have difficulty making eye contact with others, talking at an audible pitch, doing what is asked of them, etc. Such struggles with communication do not seem to be eliminated with ageing, as would be normal with most children.
Even as autistic kids may struggle with ordinary skills and daily chores, you may find them to be highly fascinated or knowledgeable about something in particular. They may have a specialized interest which leads them to garner as much information about something as possible, with far more thoroughness than you would expect from a child.
In some cases, autistic children may injure themselves habitually. They may bang their head repeatedly, poke their eye over and over again, pick at their skin and so on.
10. Obvious Delays in Development
Not all children grow and develop in such regimented fashion, but you should be aware of the typical milestones anyway. Most babies are found babbling and gesturing within 12 months, speaking single words in 16 months and saying 2-3 word phrases within 24 months. If your kid’s pace is far off of these markers, having them checked for autism would be prudent.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a medical condition that requires medical intervention if a child is to improve. Evaluation for ASD is typically a covered benefit through most insurance plans. For individuals with Tricare insurance, KANS is the only approved provider in Maricopa County authorized to conduct ADOS-2 assessments.
Autism assessment includes the following:
- Extensive clinical interview with the child and their parent or guardian
- Testing using the Autism Diagnostic and Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2)
- Testing of adaptive skills and behaviors
- Behavioral questionnaires completed by care givers and teachers regarding behaviors observed across a variety of settings
KANS evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder meet criteria needed for consideration for special services through insurance companies (Applied Behavioral Analysis services), special school services, and services/funding available through Department of Developmental Disabilities.